If you are a rostered leader in the Northeastern Iowa Synod, you are familiar with the Augsburg Fortress little daily devotional, Bread for the Day.
This little treasure includes a brief scripture reading following the daily lectionary, a prayer and a hymn for each day along with other treats including introductions to seasons, notes on festivals and commemorations and other prayers.
What you may not know is that this resource came about at the initiation and request of the Northeastern Iowa Synod.
Bishop Ullestad was looking for a resource that could unify congregations and leaders in the synod in prayer and nothing available quite fit what the Synod was looking for.
Pastor Darrel Gerrietts, Assistant to the Bishop, was given the task of creating a format that was simple, could be used by those pressed for time, but could also be useful if one chose to go deeper into prayer and scripture. The current pattern of bible readings from the lectionary, prayer and hymn were what he came up with.
Bishop Ullestad was encouraged by the Conference of Bishops to take this idea to Augsburg Fortress, who were happy to work with the synod to come up with this devotional. It was first printed in 2007. It has turned out to be a very popular resource and usually sells out.
Augsburg Fortress CEO, Beth Lewis, and her husband use it for their devotional time together. “It’s a great way for us to slow down for a moment and connect with God as well as with one another.” (See what else Beth has to say about Bread for the Day)
Each year one or more members of the Northeastern Iowa Synod is asked to author a month of prayers to maintain that connection with our synod. (I wrote the May prayers for 2015.)
Along with rostered leaders and synod council members, the synod distributes Bread for the Day to every call committee and church council in the call process so that we as a synod can be united in prayer during this process.
Bishop Ullestad appreciates the inclusion of the morning and evening prayers from the Small Catechism and the notes on saints and commemorations.
“These remind us of the great cloud of witnesses through the ages who also faced difficulty but kept the faith. Praying together keeps us united with all the saints of every time in the one true thing on this earth that is eternal – the church”.
Pastor Joelle Colville-Hanson, Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA