News


School for Lay Ministry extended learning opportunity

School for Lay Ministry extended learning opportunity

10/20/2017
The SLM Commission is once again excited to offer some Extended Learning Opportunities at Cornell College this fall. Classes are open to all clergy, laity or anyone interested so please get the word out. We hope many can take advantage of these opportunities. If you are interested in attending any of the classes that will be offered, additional details and the registration form is posted on the SLM Website within the purple SLM at Cornell College box.  If you are interested in attending and ...

Nonprofit seeks to reduce food insecurity

Nonprofit seeks to reduce food insecurity

10/19/2017
There are 99,000 Polk County residents who are food insecure1. Of those people, 72,000 have enough to eat thanks to supportive services such as Bidwell Riverside Center’s food pantry.  Bidwell Riverside Center works to reduce food insecurity every day. The pantry at Bidwell served more than 15,000 people in 2016. That’s 20% of the Polk County residents who were food insecure but still managed to have enough to eat. Last year, Bidwell distributed approximately 122,000 clothing items, 37,000 ...

Upcoming events at Wesley Woods

Upcoming events at Wesley Woods

10/19/2017
Fall Festival Spend an afternoon at the Woods! The Wesley Woods staff is excited to host our first Annual Fall Festival and Open House Saturday, October 21 from 2 - 7pm. Bring your family and meet the Wesley Woods staff team and get to know our new folks.  Take a wagon tour of the grounds and enjoy activities in the equestrian center. Spend the afternoon hiking, canoeing, painting pumpkins, playing yard games, and enjoying the fall colors at camp.   We’ll finish the day with a supper of chili, ...

Website homepage to feature new look

Website homepage to feature new look

10/18/2017
Beginning Friday, October 20, the homepage of the Iowa Conference website will feature a new look.  With clearer access to interior sections the refreshed presentation will include links to separate sections for the vision, mission, and wildly important goal, features, current news, and a comprehensive index at the bottom of the page that includes a “subscribe” button to Conference publications. “It’s important for the website to support the Conference vision, mission and wildly important goal,...

Iowa Conference Conversations podcast

Iowa Conference Conversations podcast

10/17/2017
Iowa Conference Conversations podcast is now available on both iTunes and Google Play music.  “Thanks to the extraordinary work of Wil Ranney, ‘Conversations’ will be more widely available and something you can subscribe to,” said Dr. Arthur McClanahan, the Conference’s Director of Communications. Some 63 “Conversations” are posted, as of October 17, 2018.  The episodes range from brief three-minute dialogues to ten-minute interviews, to a few extended conversations and presentations.  Most ...

Iowans generous in disaster response

Iowans generous in disaster response

10/17/2017
Iowa United Methodist communities of faith were very generous in their giving to disaster response in September.  Giving from 155 congregations amounted to $59,386.41, of which $3,952.93 was designated for an international response and $55,433.48 for domestic disaster response. In this difficult 2017 storm season, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been particularly attentive to the devastation in Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.  The United Methodist News ...

Advent through Christmas—Coming Home Worship Series

Advent through Christmas—Coming Home Worship Series

10/16/2017
In the United States, Christmastime and thoughts of home just go together. “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” and “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” are two of the most popular holiday songs, year after year. Christmas movies and television shows regularly feature stories of people going to their family home or extended family home over the holidays. Among the rituals we create for this darkest time of the year in the Northern hemisphere, perhaps the majority of them are associated with ...

PET renamed Mobility Worldwide

PET renamed Mobility Worldwide

10/16/2017
Pastor Audrey Young shares how the Personal Energy Transportation (PET) got its start in Iowa and how they are made, delivered and received.

Prayer and Mission

Prayer and Mission

10/16/2017
Ryan Christenson, Northwest District Field Outreach Minister shares ideas for churches to expand their prayer life and mission.

Begins tenure on July 1, 2018

Begins tenure on July 1, 2018

10/13/2017
Bishop Laurie Haller announced today that Rev. Harlan Gillespie will be the new Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, effective July 1, 2018.  Gillespie, Superintendent for the North Central District, also currently serves as Dean of the Appointive Cabinet. “The Assistant to the Bishop works with the Bishop in administering the life of the annual conference,” said Bishop Laurie. This includes representing the Bishop on conference administrative committees and at conference events, ...

38th Annual Thanksgiving Ingathering site information

38th Annual Thanksgiving Ingathering site information

10/12/2017
38th Annual Thanksgiving Ingathering Saturday - November 4, 2017 Projects supported by Thanksgiving Ingathering donations include: Self-Help International Heifer Project International Church World Service UMCOR-United Methodist Committee on Relief Mobility Worldwide (formerly PET- Personal Energy Transportation) Local food pantries across Iowa  Click here for more information about the Thanksgiving InGathering. NO cash, NO checks, and NO Remittance forms in the kit boxes. Make checks payable ...

Commission on Race and Religion Workshop

Commission on Race and Religion Workshop

10/12/2017
When Friday, November 17, 2017 at 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM Add to my calendar Google,  iCalendar/Outlook,  Outlook Online,  Yahoo Where Conference Center - John-Charles Wesley 2301 Rittenhouse Street Des Moines, IA 50321 View map → Contact DeeDee for Felicia The Commission on Race and Religion is pleased to offer a training event for all laity or clergy. In this training we will: *    assist Iowa United Methodist churches that are transitioning to a cross-cultural/cross-racial ...

Iowa UMC Clergy Women's Convocation

Iowa UMC Clergy Women's Convocation

10/12/2017
  When Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 6:00 PM to Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 11:00 AM Add to my calendar Google,  iCalendar/Outlook,  Outlook Online,  Yahoo Where First United Methodist Church 516 Kellogg Avenue Ames,  View map → Sunday Nov 12. 6 PM - Tuesday Nov 14. 11 AM First UMC Ames  $50 event registration Lodging on your own RSVP TODAY! Great Women Preachers of Iowa lead us through the scriptures of Advent & Christmas as we worship together, enjoy fun and educational workshops ...

Re: Letter from United Methodist Insurance

Re: Letter from United Methodist Insurance

10/10/2017
TO ALL IOWA UNITED METHODIST CHURCHES - October 2017 RE: United Methodist Church Minimum Insurance Requirements The Iowa Conference has become aware that United Methodist Insurance is sending each church a letter attempting to enroll you in their insurance program. The mailing indicates that there are new “minimum insurance requirements” that each church must comply with. Please click here to read a letter from Conference Treasurer Maggie Biggs for more information.

November JFON newsletter to churches

November JFON newsletter to churches

10/9/2017
Click here to read JFON's November newsletter.

Wesley in Muscatine recovers and grows together after tornado

Wesley in Muscatine recovers and grows together after tornado

10/7/2017
By Katie Roquet Worshiping and ministering while there is a construction zone filling your main sanctuary is certainly a challenge. Here at Wesley United Methodist Church in Muscatine, we were hit by an EF2 tornado on March 6th, 2017. The damage it left behind was significant, destroying our beautiful Casavant pipe organ, damaging much of our chancel area, leaving a gaping hole in the roof, and causing minor damage in many other areas of our main church building and our Family Life Center. ...

An important message from Bishop Laurie

An important message from Bishop Laurie

10/6/2017
The entire country woke up on Monday morning to the shocking news that a lone gunman unleashed hundreds of rounds from high-velocity semi-automatic weapons from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel onto a crowd of 22,000 people at an outdoor music festival. It was the deadliest mass shooting modern US history. 58 people were killed and hundreds more were injured. Among the victims was Carly Kreibaum of Sutherland, Iowa, who had a husband and two children. Authorities are just beginning to piece ...

Clean-up buckets on the way to help

Clean-up buckets on the way to help

10/6/2017
On Monday, October 2, Addison Gaskin and Barbara Hartsock, two drivers for the family-run Weinrich Trucking business, stood in the parking lot of Altoona United Methodist Church, waiting to have their rig filled with nearly 400 clean-up buckets, plus boxes full of hygiene kits, that volunteers had assembled to help hurricane victims.  (Later in the day, more than 300 additional clean-up buckets were collected from First United Methodist Church in Marion.)  “It’s 53 foot long, and it’s about 8, ...

Discipleship Pathways presentations offer challenges, hope

Discipleship Pathways presentations offer challenges, hope

10/3/2017
In the opening days of October, Ken Willard led “Discipleship Pathways” presentations in the Southwest, North Central, Northwest and South Central districts. Designed in part to further the conference’s “Wildly Important Goal” to see every community of faith develop a discipleship pathway by 2020, Willard’s workshops attracted hundreds of clergy and lay people eager to learn the process for developing a discipleship pathway. Making the Connections For those who don’t quite know what to make of...

Upper Midwest Extension Course of Study nurtures fruitful pastoral leadership

Upper Midwest Extension Course of Study nurtures fruitful pastoral leadership

10/3/2017
“It’s an alternative to the educational program offered by our seminaries,” explains Dr. Dennis Tevis, the director for the Upper Midwest Extension Course of Study. “It’s a 20-course program that covers things that pastors need to know in serving congregations, from congregational care to preaching to Old and New Testaments, to historical theology and contemporary theology.” Part of the Garett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, the Upper Midwest school serves part-time ...

Waterloo Kimball receives award

Waterloo Kimball receives award

10/2/2017
Waterloo Kimball UMC has received The State of Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award for their Partner in Education program with Orange Elementary School where they had 16 reading buddies during the 2016-17 school year who read over 400 hours. They also have volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, Eye of the Needle and the local hospitals. Congratulations Waterlook Kimball, that's how you show the world that the United Methodist Church is filled with Difference Makers! Click here to see a gallery of ...

Cleaning kits are on the way

Cleaning kits are on the way

9/29/2017
“The final trucks that we’ve arranged so far, on Monday, will be picking up just under 2,000 buckets across Iowa and delivering them to Midwest Missions,” reports Rev. Catie Newman, who is the disaster response coordinator for the Iowa Conference. “We’ve tried to get all the buckets into three locations so we just have three pick-ups for them that day.” Those kits will soon be helping people in the many areas ravaged by hurricane begin the overwhelming task of cleaning up, but of course there is...

Reaching out to storm survivors in Puerto Rico

Reaching out to storm survivors in Puerto Rico

9/29/2017
Photo credit: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Celebrating traditions at Santiago UMC

Celebrating traditions at Santiago UMC

9/28/2017
While the farmers are harvesting crops in the fields around it, the children are gathered inside the small country church assembling over two dozen school kits for Ingathering and rehearsing a song for the church's 125th Anniversary celebration Sunday, October 1. Santiago UMC has invited the public to an open house from 1 to 4 PM with historic displays, homemade desserts, and ice cream. A free-will offering will be received for an upper level handicapped accessible project. At 2 PM former ...

Disaster Response Spiritual Care Training

Disaster Response Spiritual Care Training

9/28/2017
Please join us if you are interested in becoming a caring Christian presence in the midst of crisis or disaster. Monday, October 23, 2017  10:00 am – 3:00 pm  Cost is $40.00  (and includes, materials, lunch, background check and badging) Iowa Annual Conference Center  2301 Rittenhouse Street  Des Moines, Iowa Leaders: Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Ballon and Pastor Catie Newman Our time together will include conversation covering:  What is a crisis?  What is a disaster?  How can we cope with disaster ...

Conversations about mental health

Conversations about mental health

9/26/2017
By Monique Shore Mental health issues touch the lives of many in our pews and in our communities. And yet, even in what should be the safety of our family of faith, it can be difficult for individuals to share these burdens. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Iowa consistently ranks at the bottom of all states for mental health programs and services.  Inadequate mental health services are a contributing factor to nearly every issue our society struggles with - health care, ...

Poland looks to build community

Poland looks to build community

9/26/2017
Starting in January, Rev. Bill Poland, currently serving as the Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, will become the Director of New Faith Communities. He’s excited about the opportunity and looks forward to engaging with people throughout the Iowa Annual Conference as he works to help “build systems for building new faith communities.” New Position This is actually a brand new position that grew out of a study of the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) where it was determined that there ...

Wesley Woods Promises “Amazing Experiences” for Youth and Adults

Wesley Woods Promises “Amazing Experiences” for Youth and Adults

9/25/2017
Coming off of a life-changing 62nd summer of ministry, Wesley Woods United Methodist Camp and Retreat Center is growing in new and exciting ways to meet the ministry needs of the Iowa United Methodist Church. To help usher in growth and new experiences, Wesley Woods is excited to welcome new Site Director Chip Hutler to Iowa. “We are thrilled to have Chip here in Iowa,” says Bryan Johnson, LDM for Camping and Christian Formation. “We think you are going to love getting to know him and will ...

Helping Disaster Survivors

Helping Disaster Survivors

9/20/2017
A Conversation with Disaster Response Coordinator, Rev. Catie Newman The sheer number of natural disasters in recent weeks has been overwhelming. Hurricanes have wreaked havoc in the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and now Puerto Rico, while wildfires have raged out west. “Everybody really wants to do something to help when we see those pictures of folks surrounded by devastation,” says Rev. Catie Newman, the disaster response coordinator for the Iowa Annual Conference. “And ...

Big changes at UMCOR and for next year's Ingathering

Big changes at UMCOR and for next year's Ingathering

9/19/2017
By Audrey Young, Iowa’s General Secretary for the Iowa Board of Global Ministries It may be a good idea to bring all leftover bulk items for kits to our 2017 Ingathering, rather than holding anything over for 2018, as is the custom of some local churches. “We have been assured UMCOR will accept all of our kits from our 2017 Thanksgiving Ingathering this year. The book for next year, 2018, will reflect the changes,” stated Dan Houston, Iowa Ingathering Chairperson. The first big changes already...

Dir. of New Faith Communities named

Dir. of New Faith Communities named

9/18/2017
Rev. Bill Poland to become Director of New Faith Communities  Bishop Laurie Haller announced today that she will name the Rev. William W. Poland to the newly-created position of Director of New Faith Communities.  He will begin his new responsibilities on January 1, 2018. “Our first strategic priority in the Iowa Annual Conference,” said Bishop Laurie, is “‘creating world-transforming communities of faith.’ Because we believe that Jesus’ mandate to his followers to ‘go and make disciples’ ...

Earn 1 CEU by attending the 2017 Orders Retreat

Earn 1 CEU by attending the 2017 Orders Retreat

9/14/2017
Earn 1 CEU by attending the 2017 Order of Elders, Order of Deacons, Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members Retreat! Peacemaking Circles with Fred Van Liew & Bishop Laurie Haller Preaching Click here to register. The 2017 Order of Elders, Order of Deacons, Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members Retreat will be held Tuesday, October 3rd at 10 a.m. - Wednesday, October 4th at 3 p.m.at Collegiate United Methodist Church/Wesley Foundation in Ames, IA. Peacemaking Circles offer a...

Urgent need for Clean-Up Buckets and Hygiene Kits

Urgent need for Clean-Up Buckets and Hygiene Kits

9/14/2017
Clean-Up Buckets and Hygiene Kits are Urgently Needed For Disaster response in Florida, Texas, Montana, Idaho, India and Mexico Kits and Buckets can be dropped off at the locations listed and will be shipped to the nearest UMCOR Depot  At this time we are ONLY accepting Clean-up Buckets and Hygiene Kits for shipping. Financial gifts/offerings must be sent directly to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee On Relief) go to UMCOR.org or to the Iowa Annual Conference, Special Advance #901670. To see the...

Local church data from statistical reports

Local church data from statistical reports

9/13/2017
The General Council on Finance and Administration has a web site—www.umdata.org—that has been collecting data on local churches through their Healthy Church Initiative.  This is a different Healthy Church Initiative program from the one we are using in our annual conference; the GCFA program focused on preparing local church reports based on the Statistical Reports (membership, worship attendance, etc.) that all congregations submit at the end of the year.   The attached document gives ...

Retreat lays fresh foundation

Retreat lays fresh foundation

9/13/2017
On September 8 and 9, a group of Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church leaders gathered at Honey Creek Resort in Moravia, Iowa to spend time reflecting and recreating together as a team. The mission of the Leadership Team Collaboration was to engage leadership staff in discernment and planning that builds trust and enables completion of important tasks while other healthy conference processes are underway.   In attendance were Bishop Laurie Haller; Bill Poland, Assistant to the Bishop ...

Hurricane Irma notice from Bishop Laurie

Hurricane Irma notice from Bishop Laurie

9/6/2017
Dear Friends, As you know, Hurricane Irma is heading toward the Caribbean right now. So soon after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana, Irma may prove to be equally as strong. I am sharing a letter from Bishop Héctor F. Ortiz Vidal of Puerto Rico. Please pray for all those in harm's way. Blessings, Bishop Laurie   Grace and peace to you and the General Ministries family. Puerto Rico will be confronting Hurricane Irma in the next hours. This hurricane has been classified ...

Bishop calls for DACA compassion

Bishop calls for DACA compassion

9/4/2017
Please join me in praying for President Trump, who will be making a decision, perhaps tomorrow, around continuing DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA is an immigration policy, founded in 2012, that allows certain children and youth who entered the US as minors to receive a two-year time of deferred action on deportation and a work permit. There are currently about 800,000 children and youth, nicknamed “Dreamers,” who are protected under this program. If the program ends, their ...

Hurricane Harvey Response Update

Hurricane Harvey Response Update

9/2/2017
Answers to Most often asked Questions and Kit Shipping Information With so much press and different reports from the aftermath and response efforts in Texas and Louisiana figuring out how we can help can be confusing. Here is the most up-to-date information that we have from UMCOR, and our plans here in Iowa. SHIPPING PLANS: We have already sent 1000 Clean-up buckets to Texas thru the UMCOR system.  Our next shipment will go out on Monday, September 18, 2015.  Your kits will need to be ...

Engaging the Wildly Important Goal

Engaging the Wildly Important Goal

9/1/2017
Every church in the Iowa Annual Conference will develop a process for intentionally forming disciples of Jesus Christ by the year 2020. That Wildly Important Goal is the ambitious direction overwhelmingly and enthusiastically set for every one of Iowa’s 767 United Methodist congregations by the lay and clergy members of the 2017 annual conference session. “No matter the size,” notes Rev. Ryan Christenson, Field Outreach Minister for the Northwest District, each church can provide a healthy ...

Cedar Rapids Trinity joining with St. James United Methodist Church

Cedar Rapids Trinity joining with St. James United Methodist Church

8/31/2017
The Cedar Rapids congregations of St. James United Methodist Church and Trinity United Methodist Church have been on a shared journey over the past two years. In May 2015, they voted to become a Cooperative Parish; then on June 3, 2017 they voted to become to a merged congregation named Trinity-St. James United Methodist Church; and then in July 16, 2017 they voted to put the Trinity building up for sale and combine all ministries and worship at the St. James building.   Yet this shared ...

Rev. Faith Fowler's Tiny House project featured on PBS series

Rev. Faith Fowler's Tiny House project featured on PBS series

8/29/2017
Rev. Faith Fowler (who lead the 2017 Annual Conference Plenary Teaching Session) Executive Director of Cass Community Social Services Tiny House project is featured on PBS Newshour's special series on poverty and opportunity called "Chasing the Dream."  Watch report

The Four Areas of Focus

The Four Areas of Focus

8/28/2017
The Four Areas of Focus express the vision and yearnings of the people of The United Methodist Church. Narrowing our focus to these four areas allows churches to use their resources effectively as they live out God’s vision for the church. Engaging in Ministry with the Poor Christ calls us to be in ministry with the poor and marginalized. Our emphasis is on “with” – standing with those who are regarded as “the least of these,” listening to them, understanding their needs and aspirations, and ...

Update from Disaster Response

Update from Disaster Response

8/28/2017
A  Note From Disaster Response Hurricane Harvey The stories from Texas are heartbreaking.  The rain continues to fall and the situation gets worse by the minute. As we watch our Sisters and Brothers in this time of disaster, many of us want to “do something to help”. The Texas United Methodist  Disaster Response Network is already at work sheltering and meeting the needs of many people.   UMCOR is in the process of shipping Clean-Up Buckets and Health Kits,  Supplies, Tool Trailers, and Shower ...

Bishop Laurie on Hurricane Harvey

Bishop Laurie on Hurricane Harvey

8/27/2017
A PASTORAL MESSAGE FROM BISHOP LAURIE Our collective hearts are heavy as we watch the news about the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas and parts of Louisiana. There are two things we can do: pray and act. I invite you to use this prayer that Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Annual Conference has shared. Oh God, we need your help. We need the rain to end, the floodwaters to recede, the damaging winds to stop. We need fortitude to cope with this disaster. We need love to share with ...

UMC Bishops stand against racism

UMC Bishops stand against racism

8/17/2017
Council of Bishops President Bishop Bruce R. Ough has challenged United Methodists and all peoples of faith to be bold in the witness against racism and white supremacy, which he described as repugnant and against the Christian faith. In a statement to the more than 12 million members of The United Methodist Church, Bishop Ough expressed dismay and grief over the clashes between white supremacy advocates and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. “I am shocked by the blatant resurgence...

Embrace love: Charlottesville

Embrace love: Charlottesville

8/16/2017
In our baptismal vows, United Methodists “accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”

World Communion Sunday

World Communion Sunday

8/16/2017
Soon, we will come together as Christians in celebration of World Communion Sunday.  On this Special Sunday of The United Methodist Church, not only do we celebrate our unity in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, but we also come together as United Methodists to lift up underserved students with a special offering.  Our gifts help provide scholarships for racial and ethnic minority students, removing the financial obstacles for young men and women for whom education is difficult, if not ...

JFON National Board of Trustees member gives thanks

8/15/2017
The work of Justice for Our Neighbors is a fascinating effort on the part of many diverse groups throughout the country.  A challenging job is made harder in a climate of fear and suspicion such as we see surrounding us in these times.  Even those that truly qualify for legal status and assistance approach completing the required tasks with caution from apprehension about what might change tomorrow.  Such is the world JFON serves.  The honor of serving on the National Board of Trustees has ...

School for Lay Ministry classes begin soon

School for Lay Ministry classes begin soon

8/15/2017
Jesus tells us in Matthew 20:28 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Several years ago dedicated people with great vision initiated the School for Lay Ministry in the Iowa Annual Conference. Since that beginning in Indianola at Simpson College, the school has expanded adding campuses at Morningside in Sioux City and at Cornell in Mount Vernon. In 2014, a Spanish language class was added at Simpson.  The purpose of the ...

Imagine No Malaria comprehensive report

Imagine No Malaria comprehensive report

8/4/2017
Rev. Gary R. Henderson, Executive Director Imagine No Malaria MY SISTERS AND BROTHERS: Words are inadequate symbols to express the depth of my gratitude and joy as I think about what God has done and is continuing to do through each of us because of Imagine No Malaria. You dared to believe in a God-sized dream and we are witnesses to its fulfillment.  Because of your faith and hard work, together, we have accomplished the miraculous. In the following pages, you will read about our shared ...

August 2017 JFON newsletter to churches

8/2/2017
Click here to read the August newsletter to churches.

JFON Client stories

8/2/2017
Please share these stories of Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors clients with your churches.     Client Story  from Brynne Howard  (June 9, 2017 Staff Report to JFON Board)   Martha and her husband, Marcos had already had been led down several dead-end paths and spent thousands of dollars on attorneys trying to obtain legal status for Martha by the time they came to meet with Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors. Martha came to the United States more than 20 years ago.  Soon after Martha came to the U.S....

Marshalltown JFON clinic truly a team effort

Marshalltown JFON clinic truly a team effort

8/2/2017
The vision for a Justice for Our Neighbors clinic began years ago when Judy Kading lived in Marshalltown. As you are well aware, this has long been a passion for Judy. She led study groups among United Methodists and others, eventually making an application for a Marshalltown clinic. However, that application was denied. I believe, Cedar Rapids received the new clinic at that time. The thought was that persons from Marshalltown could seek assistance from the already established and growing Des ...

Altoona UMC mission-minded

Altoona UMC mission-minded

7/26/2017
The Altoona United Methodist Church has a tag line that reads "your place to connect." The church is doing just that by sharing their love and resources with others through missional giving.   “Unlike most United Methodist churches we have a special emphasis on missions,” said Pastor John Gaulke. “We do a Thanksgiving dinner every year and give all the proceeds away to missions.”   Barely paying bills to helping others Altoona UMC did not always have the funds to help others. More than 20 years ...

Bishop Laurie’s Journeys

Bishop Laurie’s Journeys

7/24/2017
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s not a race. This is a ride, where we’ll be with thousands of people, from around the world,” says Bishop Laurie Haller of the one-week journey that she’s readying to take. “RAGBRAI is known internationally as one of the premiere rides in our world for ordinary people like me, who just want to go out and have a good time and see this beautiful state.” Bishop Laurie will ride across Iowa in the 2017 RAGBRAI. In this Iowa Conference Conversation, she also ...

JFON July Newsletter

7/5/2017
Click here to read the July 2017 Newsletter

2017 AILA Chapter Pro Bono Champions

2017 AILA Chapter Pro Bono Champions

6/29/2017
The American Immigration Lawyers Association, a national organization, held its annual meeting last week in New Orleans. Justice for Our Neighbors attorney Ann Naffier was nominated by the Iowa-Nebraska AILA chapter for their annual award called Pro Bono Champions. Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors is very proud of Ann and of all on our team of attorneys.

Our Gift to You is a Gift for Mission

Our Gift to You is a Gift for Mission

6/29/2017
Detailed in the graphics with this article is the extent to which the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church is reaching out every day to help immigrants and refugees through the service of a hard-working staff at Justice for Our Neighbors.   The team of four attorneys: Brynne Howard, Ann Naffier, April Palma and Emily Sohn Rebelskey, augmented by the two BIA-accredited reps Grisell Herrera and Laura Mendoza, along with the able efforts of legal assistant Racheal Duang is ...

Board Exec Committee issues statement

Board Exec Committee issues statement

6/16/2017
The Executive Committee of the Iowa Conference Board of Ordained Ministry has said that “sexual orientation or gender identity” will not be criteria to “deny any candidate’s ability to live up to our United Methodist standards for fitness” for ministry.  The Committee also cited a footnote to paragraph 310 of the Book of Discipline which states, in part, “The United Methodist Church has moved away from prohibitions of specific acts, for such prohibitions can be endless.”   In a unanimous action,...

JFON Report from CLINIC Convening

6/16/2017
Justice for Our Neighbors staff members Laura Mendoza, a native of Mexico, and Grisell Herrera, a native of Cuba, submitted the following report regarding their recent trip to Atlanta, GA to attend the CLINIC Convening, which is a large conference for BIA Accredited Representatives. Both Grisell and Laura are accredited Representatives of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Their extensive preparation in immigration law helps to add value to the services of JFON here in Iowa.     By Grisell ...

AC2017 Monday's Legislation

AC2017 Monday's Legislation

6/13/2017
Conference Session attendees voted Monday to suspend the rules for the purpose of taking up  ACTION ITEM # 201 Rules of Order - which had been removed from the Consent Calendar on Saturday. A motion was made from the floor for a Budget Amendment to add $60,000 to the Budget for Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa; the Amendment was not supported. A motion was made from the floor for an Amendment to ACTION ITEM 201 that would allow for Conference members lacking Internet access to be provided a ...

AC2017 Special Offerings

AC2017 Special Offerings

6/13/2017
Several special offerings will be received during the June 10-12 Annual Conference event.   They included: The collection to benefit the Clergy Support Fund taken during the Clergy Session on Saturday netted $4591.02. An offering for Cass Community Ministries was taken during the Retirement Celebration and netted $4753.04 The collection taken at the Service of Ordering was for Simpson Youth Academy and netted $6050.63 At the Fixing of Appointments Service a collection was taken to support ...

AC2017 Acknowledgement of Diakonos

AC2017 Acknowledgement of Diakonos

6/12/2017
View images from the Monday session of the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference. The Diakonos for this year’s Iowan Annual Conference Session were acknowledged during the Monday session. “These young people are not your church children,” Diakonos Coordinator Steve Braudt told the Conference Session. “They are children of God and your brothers and sisters in Christ.” Rev. Braudt, associate pastor for Asbury United Methodist Church in Bettendorf, listed some of the numerous service tasks the Diakonos ...

AC2017 Change a Child's Story Celebration

AC2017 Change a Child's Story Celebration

6/12/2017
View images from the Monday session of the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference. The Change a Child’s Story ministry was celebrated Monday at the Annual Conference Session. Patty Link is Advocate for Change a Child’s Story and in her address before the Conference Session she called the ministry Task Force to the stage, as well as asked everyone else present who has taken part to raise their hand. This illustrated the widespread nature of participation in Change a Child’s Story. Link acknowledged them ...

AC2017 Fixing of Appointments Service

AC2017 Fixing of Appointments Service

6/12/2017
The final day of the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference Session opened with the Fixing of Appointments for the 2017-2018 Conference year. Newly appointed pastors were announced for each of the eight Iowa Annual Conference Districts. Bishop Laurie Haller asked for prayers in her opening remarks, especially for those in new appointments. Rev. Jackie Bradford, Superintendent Northeast District was Dean of the Appointive Cabinet this year and Bishop Laurie told the Annual Conference Session, “She has ...

AC2017 IUMF Annual Membership Meeting

AC2017 IUMF Annual Membership Meeting

6/12/2017
President-elect for the Iowa Annual Methodist Foundation Board of Directors Kris Manning called the Foundation’s annual meeting to order on Monday afternoon during the Annual Conference Session.   Manning ran down Foundation assets as of the end of 2016 for the Annual Conference Session.   The balance on January 1, 2016, was $34,999,682. The New Investments and Gifts figure was $839,845 and Investment Income was $554.789. The Change in Value $1,457,610.  Taken from this was Distributions to ...

AC2017 One Matters Discipleship Award

AC2017 One Matters Discipleship Award

6/12/2017
The two recipients of the 2017 One Matters award at the Iowa Annual Conference were Polk City United Methodist Church and the two-point charge of Graettinger and Terril United Methodist Churches. Graettinger and Terril United Methodist Churches The Graettinger and Terril United Methodist Churches are experiencing a time of revitalization. They are being led by Lana Williams, a lay person who responded to an invitation at Annual Conference Session for persons feeling called to pastoral ministry....

AC2017 Peacemaking Circle Training

AC2017 Peacemaking Circle Training

6/12/2017
Annual Conference Session attendees had the opportunity to take part in Peacemaking Circle Training on the Annual Conference Session’s final morning. The Peacemaking training has been conducted in three Conference sites involving six Districts over the last several months with more sessions planned. The training is facilitated by attorney and justice advocate Fred Van Liew, a consultant for the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center (DMPC).  Van Liew introduced the process at the Monday ...

AC2017 Healthy Conference Vision Report

AC2017 Healthy Conference Vision Report

6/11/2017
Rev. Barrie Tritle presented on the Healthy Conference Initiative on Sunday afternoon at the Iowa Annual Conference Session, offering a brief history of the initiative and an update on its progress towards alignment of the Conference around its Vison, Mission, and Strategic Priorities.  The hope is for the work of this team to assist the Conference to thrive, he said.   The Healthy Conference Initiative (HCI) Team, or Bishop’s Operational Team, was formed in 2015. Spiritual Leadership ...

AC2017 Laity Address

AC2017 Laity Address

6/11/2017
The Laity Address for the 2017 Annual Conference Session opened with the hymn O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing.   Conference Lay Leader Margaret Borgen told 2017 Annual Conference Session attendees in her address that John Wesley’s writing on being altogether Christian has relevance to the Conference Session goal of being difference makers.   “The Almost Christian sermon is a very long sermon in which Wesley ultimately asks rhetorically “What it is to be 'altogether a Christian?'” Borgen said. ...

AC2017 Legislative Action

AC2017 Legislative Action

6/11/2017
The following legislative action took place Sunday at the Annual Conference Session. The action items can be accessed in the 2017 Pre-Conference Manual, with Section III amendments linked on the Conference homepage. Further additional items and corrections are available HERE. Information on the Rules of Order changes is available HERE.   The 2018 Working Budget was approved in a 782-168 vote   Section I: Constitutional Amendments Constitutional Amendments were voted upon at the Annual ...

AC2017 Service of Ordering of Ministry - “Will You Bear the Cross or Just Wear It?

AC2017 Service of Ordering of Ministry - “Will You Bear the Cross or Just Wear It?"

6/11/2017
View images from the Service of Ordering of Ministry Bishop Laurie Haller preached for the Ordering of Ministry service on Sunday morning during the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference Session, asking the faithful present, “Will you bear the cross or just wear it? The service saw 16 United Methodist individuals commissioned, ordained or recognized. The ecumenical representative for the Service was Rev. Bill Spangler-Dunning, Regional Minister and President Christian Church in the Upper Midwest. Rev. ...

AC2017 Service of Remembering

AC2017 Service of Remembering

6/11/2017
View images from the Service of Remembering. The Memorial Celebration for the 2017 Annual Conference Session honored 49 departed souls. The Annual Conference Session theme of “Creating Difference Makers” related directly to that afternoon’s celebration, Rev. Brian Milford told the gathering in his sermon for the service. “Celebrating the lives of those who now rest from their labors,” he said. “We do so acknowledging the differences they made in our lives. We celebrate the lasting fruit they ...

AC2017 Board of Pensions Annual Meeting

AC2017 Board of Pensions Annual Meeting

6/10/2017
Board of Pensions Chair Beverlee Bell told Annual Conference Session attendees at the Board’s meeting during the Conference that Pensions assets were higher than labilities. This news met with applause from those at the Conference Session.   As of January, they were 122.7%, she said, though the Board would like that to be at 130%.   “But we understand the financial climate we are in,” said Bell. “And we can grow it through good investments.”   Bell explained that the Pre-82 Pension Plan rate ...

AC2017 Celebration of Ministry — Graduates & Award Recipients

AC2017 Celebration of Ministry — Graduates & Award Recipients

6/10/2017
View an album of images from the awards banquet At the Celebration of Ministry awards banquet, 39 people from the School for Lay Ministry were awarded for their 2017 graduation. From Cornell College where Lynn Calvert is the dean, the graduates were: Margaret Adams, Uyntha Duncan, Patty Ferrel, Steven Grace, Jessica Lake, Eileen McPherson, Sue Ney, Jolyn Richards, Kristine Rodney, Steve Schmudde Harry Stimson, Deb Streff, and Christine Werling-Witkoske. From Morningside College, the graduates ...

AC2017 EmpowHer gives women entrepreneurs a leg-up

AC2017 EmpowHer gives women entrepreneurs a leg-up

6/10/2017
On day one of the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference, attendees had the choice of attending nine workshops following the afternoon session. Attendees were given a glimpse into the United Methodist Organization EmpowHer.   EmpowHer was started in association with the Iowa Nigeria Partnership (INP). EmpowHer follows a microfinance model, where entrepreneurs, specifically women, are given small loans to start a business.   Microfinance has around for centuries, the modern model of microfinance is ...

AC2017 Laity Session

AC2017 Laity Session

6/10/2017
View an album of images from the 2017 Laity Session on Flickr Bishop Laurie Haller opened the Laity Session on the first day of the 2017 Annual Conference Session, telling the laity, “We are partners together.” The bishop addressed lay persons of the Iowa Annual Conference before leaving to attend the Clergy Session, saying first she’s always it was important for the Episcopal leader to be part of the Laity Session. The bishop cited President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 Four Freedoms speech ...

AC2017 Nine Breakout Teaching Workshops

AC2017 Nine Breakout Teaching Workshops

6/10/2017
Nine workshops and teaching sessions were presented on Saturday afternoon.   Approximately 900 took advantage of the offerings that included Faith-based Community Ministry; School for Lay Ministry; EmpowHer; Navigating Your Benefits; Tiny House Homeless Project; Women at the Well Community Reentry Program; Mental Health Support and Advocacy; Immigration and Refugee Services and Making a Difference Through Prayer.   Faith-based Community Ministry, part of Cass Community Social Services, provides ...

AC2017 Plenary Teaching Session with Faith Fowler

AC2017 Plenary Teaching Session with Faith Fowler

6/10/2017
Rev. Faith Fowler offered the Plenary Teaching Session address Saturday at the Iowa Annual Conference Session, weaving humor, grit and moving, real-world excerpts from her ministry. Rev. Fowler has been the Senior Pastor of Cass Community United Methodist Church and Executive Director of Cass Community Social Services (CCSS) since 1994. The Detroit nonprofit agency addresses poverty with food, health care, housing and employment programs.   She has also served in several community-focused Board...

AC2017 Presentation of Working Budget &Treasurer’s Report

AC2017 Presentation of Working Budget &Treasurer’s Report

6/10/2017
Maggie Biggs presented the Treasurer’s Report and 2018 working budget on Saturday at the Annual Conference Session. Biggs was officially approved as Conference Treasurer by a voice vote in advance of her the presentation.   She detailed for Session attendees the Iowa Annual Conference and budget process, statistical data, the 2018 working budget, apportionment receipts for 2016 and how Conference monies are spent.   Biggs began with the analogy of the Iowa Annual Conference as an automobile with...

AC2017 Retirement Celebration - Bishop Kiesey

AC2017 Retirement Celebration - Bishop Kiesey

6/10/2017
Click here to view an album of images from the Retirement Celebration “What a joy it is to be here tonight,” Bishop Kiesey told the Iowa Annual Conference Session. She said that being there at the Conference Session felt like coming home. A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Bishop Kiesey served in several Iowa churches after her ordination. She was elected to the episcopacy in 2004 by the North Central Jurisdictional Conference and appointed to the Dakotas Area. After eight years there, Bishop Kiesey...

Are You a Difference Maker? - AC2017 Episcopal Address

Are You a Difference Maker? - AC2017 Episcopal Address

6/10/2017
Watch the video of the Episcopal Address. Watch the video played during the Episcopal Address. Bishop Laurie Haller offered the episcopal address Saturday at the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference session, her first since being named bishop of the Iowa Annual Conference. Bishop Laurie spoke to the Conference on the session’s opening day about how abiding in Christ’s love empowers us to bear fruit so that we become difference-makers. Her address opened with the Scripture verse John 15:1-17, which ...

Just Resolution is announced

Just Resolution is announced

6/5/2017
A Just Resolution has been achieved to the complaint filed by the Appointive Cabinet against Rev. Anna Blaedel.  All involved have agreed to issue a “statement of invitation to the clergy and laity of the Iowa Annual Conference, as well as the broader United Methodist Church,” expressing the “desire to be of one heart…[to] strive to live lives marked by faithfulness and integrity, and to seek to build a more just and loving church and world.”   Rev. Blaedel was cited for conducting a same-gender...

JFON's June newsletter

6/2/2017
Click here to read the JFON's June newsletter to churches.

AC 2017 – Creating Difference-Makers

AC 2017 – Creating Difference-Makers

6/1/2017
Meeting under the banner of “Creating Difference Makers,” lay and clergy will gather for the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference session.  The three-day event will be held at the Iowa Events Center/Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.  The 174th yearly meeting will feature powerful preaching, inspiring singing, informative teaching sessions, vital reporting, and the reconnection of fellow United Methodists from across the State.   Bishop Laurie Haller will call the members of the annual conference to order on ...

Client stories from Justice For Our Neighbors

Client stories from Justice For Our Neighbors

5/31/2017
These stories are written by JFON staff. All names have been changed to protect confidentiality. Jose Jose came to us after he was diagnosed with cancer. He was unable to pay his private attorney because he was undergoing chemotherapy and unable to work. Due to a misunderstanding with his previous attorney, he had allowed his work authorization to lapse and is at risk of losing his health insurance. Because Jose’s case is time-sensitive, and the great risk to Jose’s health, JFON has taken a ...

Kids helping kids

Kids helping kids

5/25/2017
The United Methodist Church of LeMars in Northwest Iowa has a special kids group. The Kids 4 Christ program is made up of children ages 3 to those in 5th grade. The group recently raised $1,050 to donate to other children through the Children’s Miracle Network. “We don’t want to limit our ministry only within our building,” said Rev. Okitakoyi Lundula. “We make it so we are there for the community and beyond the local church.” Kids 4 Christ meets every Wednesday with 45 children attending ...

Iowans for United Methodist Kairos Response

Iowans for United Methodist Kairos Response

5/24/2017
Our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land are pleading for our help and asking the Church to take effective action to end the Israeli occupation and bring about a just peace in the Holy Land. The national United Methodists for Kairos Response group formed in response to this urgent call from Palestinian Christians. First UMC is currently forming a more local (statewide) UMKR group. If you are interested in seeking justice for Palestinians and would like to join this group, please ...

Christ UMC provides 'Huts for Haiti'

Christ UMC provides 'Huts for Haiti'

5/23/2017
By Brian K. Oliver* What do 100 servings of lasagna, an Iowa made grain bin, and a play about a missing Boston cream pie have to do with helping people in Haiti with safe housing?  Everything, if you are at Christ United Methodist Church’s dinner theater to raise funds for the South Tama County Huts for Haiti project. The Huts for Haiti project began with Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Tama and other area churches, including Living Faith UMC in Tama and Christ UMC in Toledo, were soon ...

Invitation to ‘something bigger than ourselves’

Invitation to ‘something bigger than ourselves’

5/23/2017
“We, who are called United Methodists, come together as partners with God and each other claiming a shared mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ.”  That belief, shared by the Appointive Cabinet of the Iowa Conference, invites the 767 communities of faith into local, regional, and global shared ministry, that empowers local churches to be “part of something bigger than themselves.”   As an example, the Cabinet notes, “no matter how large, [no one congregation] can build health clinics that ...

Get Ready for the Best Week Ever

Get Ready for the Best Week Ever

5/9/2017
By Roxanne Strike Camping season will be here before you know it and for camp goers, it’s going to be the Best Week Ever, said Bryan Johnson, Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation.   “No matter which camp you up for it’s the best week ever,” said Johnson. “There is literally something for everybody.”   Click here for information about the Iowa Conference camps The Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church supports three campgrounds: Camp Wesley Woods in ...

2017 Laity Day with Bishop Laurie

2017 Laity Day with Bishop Laurie

5/4/2017
The 2017 Laity Day with the Bishop provided an opportunity for members of Iowa’s nearly 770 communities of faith to discover new ways to make a difference…in their own lives and in the experiences of others.   Held at First United Methodist Church in Indianola, this year’s event was Bishop Laurie’s first since coming to Iowa in September 2016.  She was joined on the program by Ann Naffier and Brynne Howard from JFON and Jill Eichner Brow and Colleen Petaros, representing the School for Lay ...

AC2017 Mission Project tackles hunger

AC2017 Mission Project tackles hunger

5/4/2017
Childhood hunger doesn’t just happen in large cities like New York or Los Angeles or in developing countries. It happens in towns of all sizes and in all states. That is the issue Rev. Catie Newman and Rev. Jena Manchester want to highlight with this year’s Annual Conference Bishop’s Special Mission Project.   “We’ve chosen to support ministries that help feed children in our communities,” said Newman. “It is becoming increasingly more important for churches and community members to step up and ...

In remembrance of the tragedy of the Seoul Ferry

In remembrance of the tragedy of the Seoul Ferry

5/4/2017
Chan Gok Kim, who serves as a pastor at the Korean United Methodist Church in Iowa City sent this story in about the memorial of the tragedy of the Seoul ferry. Please read his words of hope for the nine lost souls including, Da-yoo Huh an 11th grade high school girl. Read here.

Changes at Wesley Woods

Changes at Wesley Woods

5/3/2017
The Iowa Annual Conference Camping and Retreat Ministry is seeking an experienced professional to lead and manage Wesley Woods United Methodist Camp and Retreat Center in Indianola, IA. Former Site Director Deke Rider and Equestrian Coordinator Suzanne Rider have recently resigned to pursue other opportunities. “Deke and Su have impacted thousands of lives during their time at Wesley Woods and we are thankful for their ministry” says Bryan Johnson, LDM for Camping and Christian Formation. “We ...

Ministry groups gather in common purpose

Ministry groups gather in common purpose

5/3/2017
Members of many ministry groups gathered at the Conference Center to affirm their common purpose and commitment to the emerging mission and vision of the Iowa Annual Conference.  The joint session of the operational teams, help on April 24, 2017, provided an opportunity to review the basis of their work together and to experience consensus about the mission and vision of the Conference.   The teams all relate to the L3 – loving, learning, leading – perspective that has been brought to the ...

Mission accomplished

Mission accomplished

4/24/2017
By: Lynn Calvert, Iowa Conference UMW President It all started with an idea….a dream really. How to get women and youth of all ages to participate in an ACTION project, to understand that United Methodist Women are relevant at all ages, to learn from each other and appreciate all of God’s gifts to each of us.  To demonstrate Faith, Hope and Love in Action!! The plan became clear to offer an Intergenerational Mission Trip in 2017 for individuals in 6th grade and older.  On March 11, 2017, a ...

Large-Scale Overhaul of Rules of Order Proposed for Annual Conference

Large-Scale Overhaul of Rules of Order Proposed for Annual Conference

4/19/2017
By Robert Lyons* A proposal at this summer’s annual conference would separate the Rules of Order into three documents and shorten it all from its current 144 pages to just 25 pages.   The proposal is the product of countless hours of work done by the Iowa Conference’s Rules of Order Committee over the past year. Committee members were joined by representatives of Spiritual Leadership, Inc. (Click here for more information about SLI) who encouraged the large-scale overhaul.   Click here to view...

Bishop Laurie runs the Boston Marathon

Bishop Laurie runs the Boston Marathon

4/17/2017
“I am a child of God and God made me to run.  I was born to run,” said Bishop Laurie Haller, one of the entrants in the 2017 Boston Marathon.  “By running in the Boston Marathon,” she added, “and in everything I do, my only goal is to praise God and give thanks.”   Bishop Laurie ran, for the tenth time, in the Patriot’s Day race.  “I’m going to be running with my youngest daughter, which is a first for her.  It will be a great weekend for me.”   Click here to see Bishop Laurie cross the finish ...

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