News


Bishop Laurie Haller visits the Iowa Conference Center

Bishop Laurie Haller visits the Iowa Conference Center

8/1/2016
Bishop Laurie Haller and her husband, Rev. Gary Haller, meet Lisa Steel and other conference employees as they tour the Iowa Conference Center last week.

Glory Sightings

Glory Sightings

7/25/2016
By: Rev. Katharine Yarnell, Field Outreach Minister North Central District   Swaledale UMC lets their bells ring Swaledale United Methodist Church participated in the Healthy Small Church Initiative this year, and Pastor Travis Stevick invited longtime church member, Don Hanson, to preach.  To Hanson, this was a bold step out in faith, and it was immensely appreciated!  During Hanson's childhood, the Swaledale church would ring their bell to call the town to worship. Over the years, that ...

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers changes volunteers from thrive

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers changes volunteers from thrive

7/25/2016
thrive UMC board member, Kris Bush and Rev. Jennifer Hibben accept the Volunteer Impact Award from Iowa Homeless Youth Center.

New Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation

New Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation

7/21/2016
Bryan Johnson, Site Director of Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp, has accepted the position of Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation for the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  He will begin on September 12, 2016.   Bryan graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa with a degree in business and marketing.   Camping has long been an important part of his life; he has fifteen years’ experience in camping and outdoor education.    At ...

Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors announces job openings

7/18/2016
Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors is announcing job openings in our office due to the beginning of a new project based on an award from the federal government through the Iowa Attorney General's Office. This award is from the Victim Services Support Program funds. This project will focus on immigrant victims of crime and begins with the July 1 fiscal year. While JFON will continue the church-based legal clinics with a 17 year history here in Iowa, this new project will enable JFON to add several ...

Bishop Trimble assigned to Indiana

Bishop Trimble assigned to Indiana

7/17/2016
Bishop Julius C. Trimble, Iowa’s resident United Methodist bishop since 2008, will become the leader of the Indiana area in September.  The announcement was made during the Consecration Service of the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference on Saturday, July 16.    Celebrate the ministry of the Bishop and First Lady on Saturday, August 6, 2pm-6pm, at the Conference Center Bishop Trimble was elected to be a bishop of the church at the 2008 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, held that ...

Meet Bishop Laurie Haller

Meet Bishop Laurie Haller

7/16/2016
Iowa's new episcopal leader will be Bishop Laurie Haller.  She was elected on ballot 13 at the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference on Thursday, July 14.  Click here to listen to the podcast of a conversation Bishop Haller had with Dr. Art McClanahan Bishop Laurie Haller has served in the Michigan area since 1982.  She was serving as senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Birmingham in the Detroit Annual Conference when she was elected to the Episcopacy on July 14.    Prior to...

Young NCJ delegates discuss the church

Young NCJ delegates discuss the church

7/15/2016
by Chassity Neckers* It has been said that the Millennial generation is the most studied and talked about demographic group today. As a fellow Millennial there are aspects of our generation that I see reflected in myself but there are also characteristics that I would rather not associate with. The Millennial generation seeks to promote change in our world though we are also a group that is still very much in need of guidance. During the North Central Jurisdictional Conference, delegates and ...

NCJ2016 Call for Unity in Thursday Worship

NCJ2016 Call for Unity in Thursday Worship

7/14/2016
During a Thursday worship service filled with music from the NCJ praise band, Bishop Hee Soo Jung of the Wisconsin Annual Conference delivered a sermon entitled “Living Together Amidst Diversity”. Though he joked that as a Korean-American, he is “half kimchi and half Wisconsin cheese,” he drew upon personal, historical, and biblical examples and delivered a serious call: to love one another despite, or perhaps because of, our differences. Bishop Jung pointed to stories of Jesus’ birth from ...

NCJ2016 Episcopal Address by Bishop Kiesey

NCJ2016 Episcopal Address by Bishop Kiesey

7/14/2016
Episcopal Address – ‘Seeking Something Deeper’ The 2016 Episcopal Address moved from pulpit to piano as Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey addressed the chaos and fears experienced by individuals and the church in this day. During the times of disquiet permeating life, “I seek something deeper,” she said. While a lover of words, Kiesey admitted that “I need something more visceral in these uncertain times.” Because she “hears Jesus’ words in a new way” through music, the bishop offered her audience ...

NCJ2016 Update for July 14

NCJ2016 Update for July 14

7/14/2016
NCJ 2016 Summary for Thursday July 14   NCJ elects fourth bishop and says goodbye to four others Thursday at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference was a time of celebrating leadership. Prophetic voices were heard during morning worship and in the afternoon episcopal address. The fourth bishop to be elected was coming to the stage at mid-day. Then business closed in the afternoon with a fond farewell to faithful episcopal servants. Bishop Jung preaches The Opening Worship featured a sermon...

JFON's July 2016 Newsletter

JFON's July 2016 Newsletter

7/7/2016
Click here to read JFON's July 2016 newsletter

NCJ2016 convenes on July 13

NCJ2016 convenes on July 13

7/7/2016
By Arthur McClanahan   The 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church will convene on July 13 in Peoria, Illinois.  Gathering together under the theme, “Living Together…In Unity…Amid Diversity…for Ministry,” the regional assembly is guided by the scriptural words of Ephesians 4:1-16.   In his welcome letter to the delegates host Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton identified the primary reason for the 2016 edition of the once-every-four-years meeting.  “May we dedicate ...

Iowan elected at UMW Assembly

Iowan elected at UMW Assembly

7/6/2016
Just this June, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the North Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Women held their quadrennial gathering. Several women from the Iowa Conference attended, and one of them, Linda Blazek Garvin, was even elected to a position with the UMW. “The new Secretary for the North Central Jurisdiction committee is Linda Blazek Garvin from Polk City,” says Rita Vallery, President of the UMW for the Iowa Annual Conference, noting that Blazek Garvin previously served as ...

Celtic Spirituality Trekking Adventure to Dingle Peninsula, Kerry, Ireland

Celtic Spirituality Trekking Adventure to Dingle Peninsula, Kerry, Ireland

7/5/2016
Eleven pilgrims from Iowa began meeting once a month on Sunday afternoons last January to study Celtic Christianity together, following the work of John O’Donohue, who wrote the international best seller Anam Cara.  Anam Cara is an old Gaelic word meaning, “soul friend,” and was used in the Celtic spiritual tradition to refer to a person or persons who accompany one’s soul on the journey through this life as it encounters its destiny with God. This June, this group of anam cara friends set out ...

Phil Carver looks ahead to NCJ2016

Phil Carver looks ahead to NCJ2016

7/5/2016
The United Methodist Church has been doing a lot of conferencing in the last few months, and now we are at last coming to the jurisdictional conferences. The 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, which includes Iowa, will meet from July 13-16 in Peoria, Illinois. During that time, four new bishops will be elected from a slate of 17 candidates. Click here to listen to the Iowa Conference Conversation with Phil Carver and Dr. Art McClanahan “That’s a little more than we typically have, so...

AC2016: Looking Back, a Summary

AC2016: Looking Back, a Summary

6/28/2016
By Arthur McClanahan*   The 2016 session of the Iowa Annual Conference called its communities of faith to “Therefore Go and Make Disciples.”  Meeting at the Iowa Events Center (Des Moines) the 1472 members of the Annual Conference Session– clergy and lay – gathered to worship, renew commitment to mission that transforms the world, affirm the call of young people to ministry, celebrate the service of retirees, remember the dedicated lives of memorialees, appreciate the eight-year ministry of ...

Disappointment with immigration ruling

Disappointment with immigration ruling

6/28/2016
The United Methodist Church officially is in “support of just and fair immigration policies that benefit and allow the family to preserve and maintain its unity.” Methodists in support of immigration reform marched down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard outside the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. File photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

NCJ: Celebrating Ministry and Electing Bishops

NCJ: Celebrating Ministry and Electing Bishops

6/28/2016
“A Jurisdictional Conference meets every four years, not long after Annual Conference,” explains Bishop Julius Trimble. “In fact, this is the year of conferencing in United Methodism. We had a General Conference in May, and our Annual Conference in June, and in just a few weeks we’ll be gathered in Peoria, Illinois for the North Central Jurisdictional Conference.” The North Central Jurisdictional Conference will be taking place from July 13-16, at the same time that all of the jurisdictional ...

Change a Child's Story pairs up with United Way

Change a Child's Story pairs up with United Way

6/27/2016
On June 21, 2016, Change a Child’s Story Initiative paired up with United Way of Central Iowa to host a Literacy Solstice Event.  From sunrise to sunset on the longest day of the year the United Way hosted events around Central Iowa to make literacy kits for kids and to read to kids in the Boys and Girls Club.   As part of the Bishop’s initiative, United Methodists from across Iowa were asked to volunteer to read to students in poverty during the 2016-17 school year.  In Des Moines, United...

NCJ elects four Directors of UMW

NCJ elects four Directors of UMW

6/27/2016
Elections happen every four years in the church and in the nation. All United Methodists know that. There’s campaigning and balloting for Bishops, Senators, and Representatives. But there are other elections that are just as significant though not as high profile. Folks in all five jurisdictions in the U.S gathered in recent weeks to elect Directors to the National United Methodist Women. The Quadrennial Meeting for the North Central Jurisdiction took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan June 24-26,...

NW Detroit Flood “muck-out” teams needed!

NW Detroit Flood “muck-out” teams needed!

6/27/2016
 From Rev. Becky Wilson, Coordinator of The Northwest Detroit Flood Recovery Project of The United Methodist Church. Brethren Disaster Ministries is doing great work on rebuilds and is also trying to assist with muck-outs but is in need of additional volunteers for muck-out teams. Currently the muck-out teams are working on about a dozen homes with projects that range in size from big to small. A UMC team that volunteered from Columbus, OH earlier in the spring was able to complete eight ...

Vano Kiboko says ‘Je vais bien,’ I am good

Vano Kiboko says ‘Je vais bien,’ I am good

6/26/2016
by Arthur McClanahan and Brooke Pierce* “I am doing very well for now. It’s sure that I am free. I am free from the prison,” states Vano Kiboko in his native French, as his brother Rev. Kiboko I. Kiboko, Superintendent of the East Central District, translates to English. “I want to thank God and thank all the churches in the USA and all the annual conferences that have been praying for me.”  Click here to listen to the Iowa Conference Conversations episode with Vano Kiboko  Click here to see ...

‘The Spirit is calling, moving, inviting'

‘The Spirit is calling, moving, inviting'

6/22/2016
by Arthur McClanahan*   “The Spirit is calling, moving, inviting,” said Rev. Anna Blaedel during the 2016 session of the Iowa Annual Conference.  “Be the church.  Now.  Be the body of Christ,” she added.   Rising to a moment of personal privilege, surrounded by colleagues and friends offered a glimpse into her life story and journey of faith.  “I have been a United Methodist almost my entire life.”  She recalled the time when her parents came to faith when she was four and when she was baptized ...

The Church at It’s Best

The Church at It’s Best

6/21/2016
The Church at It’s Best—Reaching Out in Mission Supported by Church and Community Workers For seventeen years the Iowa Annual Conference has supported a Church and Community Worker assigned to Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors. The first person was Judy Kading, then came Allison Brown, followed by Trina Scott Zuor and now Brynne Howard. The contributions of these Church and Community Workers, who are missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries, have helped to make Justice for Our ...

‘Fill the Truck’ Makes a Big Difference

‘Fill the Truck’ Makes a Big Difference

6/16/2016
While the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference was taking place earlier this month, in the north parking lot, just across from where the attendees were meeting and enjoying fellowship, a big truck from the Midwest Mission Distribution Center was filling up with donations for disaster relief. “We come here to collect disaster response items, so we can send them back out to wherever the need is, free of charge,” explained Jennie Lowry, who was assisting with the donation intake during the conference. ...

Walnut Hills Allotment Garden is Spiritually Nourished Soil

Walnut Hills Allotment Garden is Spiritually Nourished Soil

6/16/2016
Jean and Paul Swenson work hard weeding and mowing the Walnut Hills United Methodist Church allotment garden.

Dr. Ellery Duke announces retirement

Dr. Ellery Duke announces retirement

6/14/2016
Ellery Duke, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and executive director of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, has announced his retirement effective December 2016. Duke has maintained a robust clinical caseload for nearly 40 years, and for 37 years also served as the Center’s chief executive. The Center experienced tremendous development during Duke’s tenure, growing from one therapist and a handful of clients in 1979 – to a multimillion dollar nonprofit organization with 26 counselors serving ...

Needling God Creates Visual Theology

Needling God Creates Visual Theology

6/14/2016
If you’ve ever wondered where some UMC pastors and bishops get the striking, beautiful stoles that they wear as a part of their vestments, Needling God may well be the answer. Needling God is the husband-and-wife team of Ben and Karen Carter-Allen, and they had many of their stoles and scarves on display at the Iowa Annual Conference this year. In fact, one stole was on display for everyone to see when Bishop Elaine Stanovsky of the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone Annual Conferences preached. ...

Patty LaGree, Conference Secretary

Patty LaGree, Conference Secretary

6/14/2016
 This year’s Iowa Annual Conference has concluded, and with it, Patty LaGree’s time serving as Conference Secretary. It’s a position that she first took on seven years ago after receiving a phone call. “Bishop Palmer called me one day at home and asked if I would like to be Conference Secretary. I said I would like to consider it. I needed to know what some of the duties were and the expectations. I looked into that, and decided it was something I would like to give my energy to.” Listen to the ...

The Bishop’s Presence was Powerful

The Bishop’s Presence was Powerful

6/14/2016
It’s been over five years since the towns of Nemaha and Varina were badly impacted by an April 2011 tornado. But Rev. Carl Benge remembers well how a visit from Bishop Julius Trimble during that time made a difference to those communities. “It showed them that, for one, that their bishop cared – that the people in Des Moines cared about what had happened to their town.” Rev. Benge recollects with some amusement how the visit began: “We were there at the VFW, and we had a little presentation and...

Bishop's Statement on Orlando Mass Shooting

Bishop's Statement on Orlando Mass Shooting

6/13/2016
As all of you, I was shocked and saddened to hear of the mass shooting at an Orlando nightspot in the early hours of Sunday morning.  As President Barack Obama said, “We grieve the brutal murder – horrific massacre – of dozens of innocent people.”   The attack at the Pulse Nightclub targeted members of the LGBTQI community, which heightens the tragedy all the more.  Violence, in any form, is unacceptable and when it targets people because of who they are it becomes all the more reprehensible.   ...

AC2016 Lay Leaders Address

AC2016 Lay Leaders Address

6/8/2016
A generous spirit is necessary for the church to do its work. This was the message of the Laity Address given at the 2016 Annual Conference Session. Lay Leader Margaret Borgen addressed Sunday’s Conference Session, telling the assembly that giving to the church is an elephant in the room members find it hard to talk about, but that it is basic to the church’s ability to perform ministry. “Financial stewardship is a priority for me,” she said, “and for the future of the church.” Borgen said ...

Daddy’s Home

Daddy’s Home

6/7/2016
After a decade of war, a blessed and peaceful Father’s Day  As an Iraqi civil engineer working with the U.S. forces, Omar’s life was in constant danger. He learned to take precautions: not answering phone calls from unknown numbers, frequently changing his schedule and his route to work, and even moving his family. He wasn’t the only one with a target on his back; the militias also threatened his wife, young daughters, and family members.  Read the full story on the National Justice for Our ...

AC2016 Change a Child’s Story Update

AC2016 Change a Child’s Story Update

6/6/2016
Clint Twedt-Ball, team member of the Change a Child’s Story team asked Bishop Trimble during 2016 Iowa Annual Conference, “A year ago when we talked, you said that our goal should be to get 100% of the churches on board with Change a Child’s Story. Do you still believe that we can reach that audacious goal of 100% participation?” “Yes!” Bishop Trimble replied. Twedt-Ball continued saying it should be a no-brainer for the churches of the Iowa Conference to reach 100% participation. If there is ...

AC2016 Conference Artist—Therefore Go

AC2016 Conference Artist—Therefore Go

6/6/2016
Rev. Ted Lyddon Hatten addressed the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference a final time on Monday, June 6, 2016 and said that he was preaching on the edge as this was the last time he would be with them in this way. Rev. Lyddon Hatten has retired after 22 years. "Words spoken at the end of a narrative have more weight than those from the middle," he said. Rev. Lyddon Hatten expressed is gratitude to those who have helped and worked with him along the way making a special note to thank his assistant and ...

AC2016 Teaching Sessions

6/5/2016
More than 400 people attended Teaching Sessions offered at the 2016 Annual Conference Session. Six sessions were presented Sunday evening, covering various aspects of ministry and church finances. The sessions included: Social Media and Web Ministry: “Communicating Faith in the 21st Century” Focused on going beyond simply having a church website to effectively implementing a broader online presence. Change a Child’s Story Women at the Well: “And Who is My Neighbor” Breaking down walls with ...

AC2016 First Round of Offerings

6/5/2016
The first round of offerings for the 2016 Annual Conference Session were announced Sunday morning, reflecting robust participation. The Clergy Assistance Fund collection taken at Friday night’s Clergy Session was $4109. The Opening Worship offering collected Saturday morning for the Rust College Choir totaled $5445.34. Collection for Camperships taken at Sunday’s Ordering of Ministry Service was $ 6741.55. Water for Flint garnered $1670.20 as of Sunday morning.      

AC2016 Legislative wrap-up Saturday, June 4, 2016

AC2016 Legislative wrap-up Saturday, June 4, 2016

6/4/2016
The first day of the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference Session saw swift approval of numerous legislative resolutions.   2017 Annual Conference Session dates Saturday, June 10 - Monday, June 12, 2017 were approved, along with 2018 Annual Conference Session dates of June 9-11, 2018. Conference Secretary Nitza Dovenspike was elected, succeeding Patty LaGree. Maggie Biggs interim named Interim Conference Treasurer.   The following action items were approved: Section I: Conference Ministries – Episcopal ...

AC2016 “Our God is Able” - General Conference Report

AC2016 “Our God is Able” - General Conference Report

6/4/2016
Southeast District Superintendent Rev. Lilian Gallo Seagren and Southeast District Field Outreach Minister Phil Carver gave a report on the 2016 General Conference at Saturday’s assembly of the 2016 Annual Conference Session. The Great Commission from Matthew 28:16-20, with the verse, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” was prevalent throughout the 11 days of the Conference, Rev. Seagren said. Iowa was represented by 12 lay and clergy delegates at the Portland, OR., Conference, ...

AC2016 Episcopacy Endorsements

AC2016 Episcopacy Endorsements

6/4/2016
Rev. Barrie Tritle’s Episcopal Endorsement was affirmed nearly unanimously on Saturday evening of the 2016 Annual Conference Session. The First United Methodist Church Iowa City Pastor had received the recommendation as an episcopal candidate of the Iowa Annual Conference’s Jurisdictional Delegation. Four episcopal assignments are due to come open in the North Jurisdictional Conference in the coming months. Southeast District Field Outreach Minister Rev. Phil Carver addressed Saturday’s ...

God “loves the righteous”—Psalm 146

6/3/2016
In the Disciples by The Upper Room for June 1, I came across thoughts about God’s desire for righteousness, which seem to apply to us, here and now, in the United Methodist Church, as supporters of the ministry of Justice for Our Neighbors.  “In the midst of reciting God’s acts of compassion on behalf of the oppressed and hurting, the psalmist writes this new and different line: The Lord loves the righteous.”   “And who are the righteous? We might assume they are morally perfect people. Instead ...

Bishop Trimble speaks to the Conference

Bishop Trimble speaks to the Conference

6/1/2016
Dear Friends,   It has been my pleasure and privilege to serve as your Bishop since September 1, 2008.  I thank you for your faithfulness, generosity and prayers as we together embrace our mission as United Methodists, “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”   People who gathered at the 2016 General Conference experienced vibrant worship, powerful preaching, and a renewed commitment to starting new congregations, while engaging in global missions.   I believe ...

Letter from the Council of Bishops

Letter from the Council of Bishops

5/25/2016
To the people of The United Methodist Church: The Council of Bishops brings you greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has called us to be servant leaders of the church. In 1812, Bishop Francis Asbury, Bishop William McKendree and General Conference Secretary Daniel Hitt sent the first letter to churches following General Conference. This letter seeks to revive that tradition. Many bishops will also be communicating individually in their own areas. Hundreds of lay and ...

Local Church Helps Change a Child’s Story

Local Church Helps Change a Child’s Story

5/25/2016
This week, every student at Hillis Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa will go home with five brand-new books of their very own thanks to the generosity of Immanuel United Methodist Church. Thanks to a matching grant from the Educational Development Corporation, Immanuel UMC is purchasing reading-level appropriate books for every student. The distribution of the books will be during a book fair at Hillis Elementary on May 26. In 2012, roughly 1 in 4 Iowa fourth-graders scored below ...

'A Critical Moment for the Bishops' to speak'

'A Critical Moment for the Bishops' to speak'

5/20/2016
“I think we saw this as a historic moment and a critical moment for the bishops to speak to the church and to the world and to our General Conference,” says Bishop Julius Trimble of the request that came from the plenary floor of the General Conference asking the Council of Bishops to offer a statement about leadership, unity, and the future of the church, following a great deal of debate over legislation on the issue of human sexuality. Click here to listen to the podcast with Bishop Trimble ...

GC2016: Iowan Leads Marshals and Pages

GC2016: Iowan Leads Marshals and Pages

5/19/2016
While the delegates to the General Conference do their important work, a constant presence around them are the marshals and pages who help the proceedings to run smoothly. Iowa clergyman Rev. Dan Fernandez is helping to coordinate the marshals and pages this year, and it is a big job, considering that they need to be on site anytime that the delegates are there. “These are volunteers coming from all over the United States and all over the world. They are deployed according to the day-to-day ...

JFON's June 2016 Newsletter

5/18/2016
Click here to read JFON's June Newsletter

JFON's May 2016 Newsletter

5/18/2016
Click here to read JFON's May Newsletter

GC2016: Connectional Church Raised Me

GC2016: Connectional Church Raised Me

5/17/2016
“I am in Portland because I believe God has called me for this time,” asserts Lindsay Drake, who is a second reserve lay member of the Iowa delegation to the General Conference and one of the younger people at the conference. “We may be the minority here, but we are well represented and we all have a voice. I am encouraged by the number of young people that feel called to be here.” Young, Dedicated, and Ready to Serve One of the earliest events that she attended at this General Conference was ...

GC2016: Technology Helps 'Extravagant Hospitality'

GC2016: Technology Helps 'Extravagant Hospitality'

5/7/2016
“We wanted to make sure our local host teams were able to give people the answer right off the bat when they had a question – and that also means talking to them in a different language,” says Greg Nelson, Director of Communications for the Oregon-Idaho Conference, discussing how volunteer teams at the General Conference, beginning in Portland on May 10, will be greeting and directing thousands of attendees from around the globe. “One of the things about General Conference, because it happens ...

Vano Kiboko released

Vano Kiboko released

5/7/2016
In a stunning sudden reversal, Vano Kiboko has been released from the military prison where he had been incarcerated for “inciting tribal hatred.” The arrest came after he publicly denounced the December 8, 2014 shooting of a woman engaged in a nonviolent protest. In addition, he had spoken out against proposals to change Congo’s constitution to allow President Joseph Kabila to run for a third term. The release, on Thursday, May 5, followed nearly 16 months of imprisonment.  The situation was ...

A Day Sprinkled with Love

A Day Sprinkled with Love

5/5/2016
May Day was spectacular for the South Sudanese Congregation of Mabaan people at Epworth UMC in Des Moines.  They held their first baptismal service with members from Storm Lake, Omaha and Texas along with Bishop Julius Trimble, Central District General Superintendent Dave Weesner, Field Outreach Minister, Karen Nelson along with representatives from Altoona and Grimes UM Churches and other Central District friends.    Many of the congregation was garbed in colorful African dress and after the ...

Renwick UMC will host Special Hair Donation Event

Renwick UMC will host Special Hair Donation Event

5/5/2016
Pastor Lynn Gardner will be cutting at least 12 inches of her long white hair and donating it to "Pantene Beautiful Lengths" for cancer patients, as part of a Special Spring Fundraiser at Renwick United Methodist Church.   On Sunday, May 22nd, the Renwick United Methodist Church will host this special Hair Donation Event that will begin at 6:00 PM with a pot luck supper and the community is invited to join in the fun of the evening.   Following the community pot-luck supper in the Fellowship ...

UM Men and the Prayer Line Ministry

UM Men and the Prayer Line Ministry

5/2/2016
There is a lot of business on the docket for the upcoming Annual Conference, but it will also be a time for celebration, fellowship, and prayer. To provide prayerful support during this time, the Iowa Conference United Methodist Men will be manning the Prayer Line, which anyone is welcome to call with their prayer requests. “We are scheduled to answer the prayer line during the meal breaks on Saturday and Sunday. What happens is the calls to the Upper Room Living Prayer Center will be re-routed...

Advocate for Change a Child's Story Initiative

Advocate for Change a Child's Story Initiative

4/28/2016
On April 25, 2016, Patty Link began work for the annual conference as the Advocate for the Change a Child’s Story Initiative. She will be working half-time for the next sixteen months to provide strategic support and resourcing to the Change a Child’s Story team, so that the conference’s efforts to improve early childhood reading proficiency can be amplified.   Patty is a native of Burlington, Iowa. She spent part of her childhood in Dyersville and has resided in Des Moines since 1999. She ...

Registration Open for Global United Methodist Clergywomen Gathering

Registration Open for Global United Methodist Clergywomen Gathering

4/28/2016
NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 27, 2016 – United Methodist clergywomen from around the world will gather in Houston August 29-31 to celebrate 60 years of full clergy rights for women in the Methodist tradition, and 20 years of the full-clergy-membership diaconate for United Methodist deacons. The gathering is the culmination of regional gatherings of United Methodist clergywomen that have taken place throughout the connection and will be held in the days leading up to the World Methodist Conference.   ...

Matthew 25 honors Mt. Vernon UMC Church of the Year

Matthew 25 honors Mt. Vernon UMC Church of the Year

4/27/2016
Matthew 25 held their annual Celebration Event on April 5, 2016, in commemoration of a successful year supporting their neighbors and to honor a volunteer, church and corporate partner of the year. This year Mount Vernon United Methodist Church was named Matthew 25 Church of the Year. "It is truly the volunteers that push forward Matthew 25's mission to empower people to transform," announced Eden Youngberg, Matthew 25's Development and Communications Coordinator.  "Our volunteers logged over ...

First-hand view of the destruction in Ecuador

First-hand view of the destruction in Ecuador

4/25/2016
This first-hand account of the devastation in Ecuador was written by my good friend Paul Martel.  His foundation, FIBUSPAM, is on the ground already making a difference.  Their website suggests ways to help in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. - Arthur McClanahan 11:55 on the night of April 21st, 2016 finds me in the 34th hour of my trip from Simsbury, Connecticut to the heart of the destruction caused by the brutal earthquake that struck the northern coast of Ecuador on Saturday, April ...

An Update from Change a Child's Story

An Update from Change a Child's Story

4/22/2016
Cherie Miner, a member of Grant United Methodist Church, is part of the Bishop’s Poverty to Opportunity Taskforce, which has led to the creation of Change a Child’s Story. This initiative, which has recognized that educating young children is one of the best ways to ultimately keep them out of poverty, is dedicated to providing kids with books and encouraging volunteers to read to them. The Change a Child’s Story team has been getting the word out to all districts about the effort. “In almost ...

Bertram UMC and HCI Builds Strength

Bertram UMC and HCI Builds Strength

4/22/2016
Just outside of Cedar Rapids is the small township of Bertram, once a railroad town and now the center of a sprawl of new housing developments. “The church in the town is the only institution,” says Bertram UMC pastor Jenny Seylar. “And part of being the only institution is that a lot of people in the town claim the church as their church, although our worship attendance is 25 to 32 on any given Sunday. So we see a lot of people come to our events, we see people come to our special things at the...

First UMC in Ottumwa and HCI Expands Reach

First UMC in Ottumwa and HCI Expands Reach

4/22/2016
Marva Philipsen and her husband have been attending First United Methodist Church, located in downtown Ottumwa, for about five or six years. They found it friendly and warm, and small groups helped them to get involved and connected. But it’s an older church, with an aging membership, and, she explains, it has perhaps tended to be a bit too inward focused. That’s where First UMC was at when they began the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI), a process which Marva has been closely involved with. “I ...

Greenfield UMC and HCI Revives Ministries

Greenfield UMC and HCI Revives Ministries

4/22/2016
While the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) has been in place in the Iowa Conference for four-plus years, many congregations were putting elements of the initiative that equips clergy and laity to reach new people into practice prior to its official inception, and sometimes since without having fully implemented the program. One such church is Greenfield United Methodist Church, with its free health clinic and another ministry called Fields of Faith. Free Clinic Ministry  The church’s health ...

Manning UMC and HCI Focuses on the Mission

Manning UMC and HCI Focuses on the Mission

4/22/2016
An already fruitful and thriving ministry at the Manning United Methodist Church was blessed to grow and reach more people through the work of church members and pastors involved in the ministry, aided in part by the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) process. With The Source worship service and its parent Recovery Bible Study ministry, Manning UMC is touching hearts and helping to repair lives in its congregation and the broader community, in a team effort that has flourished for years between the...

Mapleton community receives books to Change A Child's Story

Mapleton community receives books to Change A Child's Story

4/22/2016
Rev. Jena Manchester, pastor of St. John’s UMC in Mapleton, was collecting books for the Change A Child’s Story initiative to take to the Annual Conference when she started thinking about what those books might be able to do to help people in her own community. “I was praying about what could we do with the books -- how can we change a child’s story? And the answer I heard was ‘Take ‘em to the swim pool.’” Reading at the Pool So she managed to get more than 50 of those books that she had ...

A Gathering of Colleagues

A Gathering of Colleagues

4/21/2016
“We’re trying to find ways to be better connected to each other and to our churches, and to the world at large. And we’ve got some amazing speakers with some amazing teaching going on. And we’re in the beauty of nature,” says chairperson Rev. Ron Carlson of the annual School for Ministry, taking place at Honey Creek Resort State Park in Moravia, Iowa from April 19-22. Click here to listen to the conversation with Rev. Calderon and Rev. Carlson “We know that Jesus went away and he prayed. He ...

JFON's April 2016 newsletter

4/13/2016
Click here to read JFON's April newsletter

2016 Gathering of Senior Pastors of Large Churches

2016 Gathering of Senior Pastors of Large Churches

4/7/2016
The Rev. Mike Janes lead pastor of Christ Church in Davenport and Rev. James Parks lead pastor of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Williamsburg Iowa attend the Gathering of Large Church Pastors on March 31, 2016 at Ankeny First United Methodist Church.

What “the transformation of the world” really looks like

4/7/2016
By Judy Kading “The mission of the United Methodist Church is to create disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”   I have often wondered what “the transformation of the world” really looks like.  Likewise, I have questioned how “to create disciples of Jesus Christ” to make that happen.  Does it only happen in the four walls of a church building? Does it only happen on Sunday morning during a moving church service?   My involvement with the many volunteers who participate ...

The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - April 6, 2016

The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - April 6, 2016

4/6/2016
The Story Continues   April 6, 2016 The story of the Mabaan people from the South Sudanese continues in Ethiopia due to Sudanese leaders’ single-minded quest for power and authority. To escape fighting, persecution, rape and death, many Mabaans’ fled across the border to Ethiopia.  Aaron Limmo completed his studies in Khartoum with the intent on finding his mother and younger brother in South Sudan but this did not happen as people were not allowed to travel from North to South Sudan due to ...

Diane Wasson Eberhart Reflects on the General Conference

4/4/2016
A full Deacon serving at Walnut Hills UMC, Diane Wasson Eberhart is an experienced clergy member of the Iowa Conference delegation to the 2016 General Conference, coming up in Portland, Oregon from May 10-20. Although she says that having been to the conference previously makes her a little bit more knowledgeable, that doesn’t necessarily make it easy. “Some of the process is just hard work, no matter what,” she admits. “Reading through all the materials, and especially being familiar with my ...

McRoberts Invites Iowa UMs to Hold General Conference Delegation in Prayer

4/4/2016
Rev. Sean McRoberts is the first alternate clergy delegate for the Iowa Conference to the 2016 General Conference, which is coming up this May in Portland. Though he has visited several General Conferences in the past, this will be his first time there as a part of a delegation, and there is a great deal to be done beforehand. “There’s a lot of preparation to do, and I think foremost I appreciate our bishop’s call to prayer, to pray for our delegation and to pray for the whole General ...

Vano Kiboko Remains Imprisoned in the Congo

Vano Kiboko Remains Imprisoned in the Congo

4/3/2016
“He’s still there, and things are up in the air. We don’t know what to expect,” reports Rev. Kiboko I. Kiboko regarding his brother, Vano Kiboko, who remains in a military prison in the Congo. The situation is difficult for the entire Kiboko family. “It is painful – emotionally, financially, and psychologically. It’s been tough.” Click here to listen to the conversation with Rev. Kiboko I. Kiboko While some things have improved since Vano was moved to the military prison where he is now held, ...

Iowa JFON supports funding of the Refugee Rise Americorps program

Iowa JFON supports funding of the Refugee Rise Americorps program

3/30/2016
Htay, right, was an interpreter for Kwa at the March "Green Card" Clinic. Both are refugees from Burma.

Ted Lyddon Hatten—For everything there is a season

Ted Lyddon Hatten—For everything there is a season

3/30/2016
To the Iowa Annual Conference,   For everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven… a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to speak, and a time to keep silence.   For 22 years it has been my privilege to serve the Iowa Annual Conference as Conference Artist. It has been my aim with this unprecedented opportunity to contribute to our on-going conversation by offering theopoetic stylings based on our annual theme. It was my hope that I might be able to use visual art to ...

Revitalizing a congregation

Revitalizing a congregation

3/28/2016
Sheldahl United Methodist Church is living into their Healthy Church Initiative prescriptions by trying new ways to build relationships with their community. This piece, written by Dawn Sargasso Pauls, appeared in the March issue of North Polk Iowa Living magazine. Click here to read this article on page 18.  Revitalizing a congregation Sheldahl UMC follows four “prescriptions” to get the focus it needs There was a feeling of uncertainty at the Sheldahl United Methodist Church. “The ...

Trinity/Las Americas serves the community

Trinity/Las Americas serves the community

3/26/2016
Trinity/Las Americas and it’s more than century-old building in Des Moines’ Riverbend neighborhood, was highlighted in a Des Moines Register article.  The piece, written by Michael Morain of the Register staff, focuses on “7 old Iowa churches on their way to new life.”   The focus on Trinity/Las Americas is the final segment of the article written for the Easter weekend.  “Millions of Christians around the world will celebrate Easter,” Morain writes, “the day that defines their religion more ...

The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - March 21, 2016

The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - March 21, 2016

3/21/2016
Written by Judy Marnin and Beverly Nolte Pastor Aaron Limmo completed Grade Eight while staying with an uncle in Khartoum, then capital of the Sudan. Because of high grade scores and excellent study habits, he passed over high school to attend Gideon Theological College, the only high level theological school of the Sudan Interior Church (SIC). Upon completion of his four year study he was given a certificate. It was later in Syracuse, NY that Aaron studied to receive his GED. The Sudan ...

Tritle endorsed as candidate for Bishop

Tritle endorsed as candidate for Bishop

3/21/2016
The General and Jurisdictional Conference delegation endorsed Rev. Dr. Barrie Tritle to be their episcopacy candidate. The lay and clergy who are representing the Iowa Conference voted at their meeting on Saturday, March 19 to support him for Bishop at the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, set for July 13-16 in Peoria, Illinois. There is a process that has brought Rev. Dr. Tritle to this distinguished place, and, as he puts it, “It begins with a lot of prayer and a lot of ...

Books, Books and More Books

Books, Books and More Books

3/18/2016
Jeff Becker and Megan Cassady (Trinity UMC Fort Dodge Director of Youth Ministry) deliver books to Heidi Nelson at Cooper Elementary School in Fort Dodge Iowa.

Connectional Table begins series about key GC topics

Connectional Table begins series about key GC topics

3/16/2016
Continuing the conversation around key topics related to General Conference 2016, The Connectional Table begins a new series of #CTTalks. #CTTalks is an online forum, a series of videos and social media conversations around key topics related to General Conference 2016.  This month highlights the work done by The Connectional Table and the Council of Bishops over the last quadrennium related to matters of human sexuality. This month’s videos will highlight the process that led to The ...

Annual Conference set to gather in June

Annual Conference set to gather in June

3/14/2016
Delegates - lay and clergy - will gather for the 173rd Iowa Annual Conference session in June.  To be held, once again, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, the 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 Julius C. Trimble will call the members of the annual conference to order on Saturday, June 6, to begin the three-day session.  “It’s my ...

HCI brings ‘amazing changes’ to Mt. Ayr UMC

HCI brings ‘amazing changes’ to Mt. Ayr UMC

3/14/2016
Founded in 1856, Mt. Ayr UMC is a rural southern Iowa congregation. It’s a friendly, welcoming church that cares about its relationship with the community. And as such, Mt. Ayr welcomed the opportunity to be one of the pilot churches for the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI), a program designed to help strengthen leadership and grow churches. Prescriptions for a Better Church Mt. Ayr’s pastor, Rev. Charles “Skip” Rushing, praises the HCI process. “As the process goes along, and the more intense...

'An opportunity and a privilege'

'An opportunity and a privilege'

3/11/2016
“I was shocked,” admits Rev. Heecheon Jeon, who was recently appointed Superintendent for the Central District of the Iowa Conference. “I was shocked and I was a little bit scared, somehow. Because I never, never imagined that it would come to me at this point.” Click here to listen to the conversation with Rev. Jeon Rev. Jeon had only been with his current congregation, Mt. Vernon UMC, for about a year when he got the news from Bishop Trimble of his new position, but there was still something...

JFON sends brief to Supreme Court

JFON sends brief to Supreme Court

3/9/2016
News Release   National Justice for Our Neighbors Date: March 8, 2016 Contact: Rob Rutland-Brown, Executive Director (703) 766-0442              National Justice for Our Neighbors and the Entire Justice for Our Neighbors Network Urge the Supreme Court to Allow the Expanded DACA and DAPA Programs to Move Forward   Today, National Justice for Our Neighbors, on behalf of the entire Justice for Our Neighbors Network, filed an Amicus Curiae (i.e., friend of the court) Brief before the U.S. Supreme ...

Support the Iowa/Nigeria Partnership

Support the Iowa/Nigeria Partnership

3/9/2016
By Sue Kromminga Photos courtesy of John Penna and Chris Congdon An intentional decision and a step of faith make all things possible with God’s help.  This story is shared with you to encourage you to become a partner of The Iowa Nigeria Partnership. It's a Brand New Day at Living Faith Parish of Monona! For many years, the missions and outreach to the community and the world were very limited by the three congregations that make up the Living Faith Parish in Monona, Iowa. The annual ...

Awakenings Academy opens at Hillcrest

Awakenings Academy opens at Hillcrest

3/8/2016
  Hillcrest Family Services Announces the Opening of Awakenings Academy, a Residential Treatment Facility Open to Youth Across the Country.   Years in development, supported by countless hours of research, with an unparalleled commitment to the most advanced and effective teaching, treatment and quality control methods, Hillcrest Family Services announced this week the opening of Awakenings Academy, the nation’s newest, and one of only a handful of holistic residential treatment facilities for b...

Bishops to consider accountability covenant

Bishops to consider accountability covenant

3/8/2016
The Council of Bishops Accountability Task Force has recommended adoption of a “covenant of accountability” by the Council of Bishops. The task force invited bishops to prayerfully consider how the covenant might guide and shape their ministry now and in the future. The Council will consider action on the proposed covenant, which is based on discussion from the bishops’ 2015 meeting, work of the task force and further input by the executive committee, at their May meeting preceding General ...

Fe y Esperanza – ‘growing’ church

Fe y Esperanza – ‘growing’ church

3/8/2016
As nearly a hundred people gathered in a circle of prayer, the growing ministry of the Fe y Esperanza moved into a new chapter.  In a “sending service,” held at Broadway UMC, Council Bluffs, the nearly old faith community celebrated its ministry there and began to look towards reaching out to new areas of that city.   The service, filled with smiles, sounds of laughter, and more than a few tears, was the culmination of a ministry that began “with five people present to pray and listen to my ...

Tent witness at the Conference Center

Tent witness at the Conference Center

3/4/2016
I Have a Feeling in My Heart That I’m Supposed to Be Persistent On March 4, the Iowa Conference had a guest named Rev. Mike Tupper who chose some rather unique accommodations for his overnight stay – he pitched a tent out on the lawn. This was not because Rev. Tupper is an avid camping enthusiast, but rather because he’s trying to make a point. Click here to see a photo album of Rev. Tupper pitching his tent.  Others joined him for conversation and witness. Click here to listen to the ...

Getting to know you...the MABAAN story continues

Getting to know you...the MABAAN story continues

3/2/2016
Written by Judy Marnin and Beverly Nolte One of the ways in which Africans in South Sudan find their identity is through their tribes. It’s instructive to know the names and locations of some of the tribes, though there are too many to examine. The largest tribe is the Dinka, 35.8% of the South Sudan population. President Salva Kiir is a Dinka, who are said to control 42% of the area of South Sudan, with 12 of the 28 states of South Sudan under Dinka control.  Next largest in the Nuer people,...

Matthew 25 seeks to build partnership in Morocco

Matthew 25 seeks to build partnership in Morocco

2/29/2016
From left to right, Denise Clark, Barry Boyer, Clint Twedt-Ball, Eric Christianson

Milford and UMPH ready for new challenges

Milford and UMPH ready for new challenges

2/28/2016
His new second floor office looks out at a peaceful mini lake.  But for Rev. Brian Milford, and indeed, for the United Methodist Publishing House, life is anything but tranquil.   Milford, an ordained Elder from the Iowa Conference was named incoming president and CEO of the oldest publishing house in North America last week.  This year he succeeds Neil Alexander at the helm of the denomination’s book and resource provider, having previously served in the capacity of Chief Content Officer and ...

Dancing With the Dominicans

Dancing With the Dominicans

2/25/2016
By: Pastor Lori Shannon Gray United Methodist Church Ah, the joys of an Iowa winter!  In January while many of you dealt with the drudgery of scooping snowdrifts, chiseled ice from your windshields, or watched your breath freeze, I, along with seventeen others, traveled to Samana’ in the Dominican Republic, dined on rice and beans, swatted pesky mosquitos and slathered on sunblock. We represented the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission which annually sends a team outside the United States to...

Immigration attorney April Palma reaches out to children and teens

Immigration attorney April Palma reaches out to children and teens

2/25/2016
April Palma is completing her first year of working as an immigration attorney with Justice for Our Neighbors here in Iowa. She was hired to carry on a fledgling program that reaches out to the children and teens who have come to Iowa from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This program was begun in the summer of 2014 when a hotline was established. The obvious need dictated that JFON, as a Matthew 25 Ministry should become more involved. Here is one of the reasons why we are glad that we ...

New Conference Superintendent Named by Bishop

New Conference Superintendent Named by Bishop

2/22/2016
Rev. Jeon is currently the Senior Pastor of the United Methodist Church of Mt. Vernon, Iowa.   "I never imagined that I was going to be appointed to Bishop’s Appointive Cabinet, Rev. Jeon said.  “I was literally shocked…but I do believe that ‘the first call is God’s call’ that is shaped and formed by many prayers.”   Prior to the appointment at Mt. Vernon (2015), he served Iowa City First UMC as associate pastor (2012-2015) and Corning UMC (2007-2012). He is an ordained Elder and Full Member of ...

Fleeing from Iraq

2/18/2016
Ann Naffier of Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors shares some recent successes.  The generous support of individuals and churches of the Iowa Annual Conference makes this ministry possible.  Thank you.   Fleeing from Iraq  Omar* is a mechanical engineer from Iraq, who worked closely with the U.S. army in Iraq throughout that last decade.  He also worked with an international project specifically focusing on women’s economic rights in Iraq.  From the beginning of his cooperation with the U.S. and the...

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