Bishop Morgan, "leader of leaders," dies

                  By Heather Hahn - United Methodist News Service  Retired United Methodist Bishop Robert “Bob” C. Morgan, who twice oversaw the merger of annual (regional) conferences and mentored a number of active bishops, passed away Sunday, March 16. He was 80. “I always refer to him as a ‘leader of leaders,’” said Bishop Lindsey Davis, who served as a district superintendent under Morgan and considers him a mentor and friend. Davis now leads the Kentucky Annual and Red Bird ...

Dr. Peter Steinke conference - March 31- April 1

Vermeer Leadership Alliance presentation, Vermeer Global Pavillian, Pella Peter Steinke is an internationally respected congregational systems consultant who has also served as a parish pastor, an educator, and a therapist for clergy. He has served as a pastor, developer, and consultant at churches in Virginia, Texas and Illinois, and has taught classes at The Lutheran Seminary of Philadelphia, The Lutheran Seminary of the Southwest, Denver Seminary, and Austin Theological Seminary. Dr. ...

ISU collegiate Wesley Foundation has offerings for students

The Wesley Foundation at Iowa State will offer a new study series in the final weeks of Spring semester..."Discussion of the Week".  The topics for each session have come from previous studies, but these are completely previous participation in Wesley Foundation studies is necessary. Students can attend one, a few or all of the sessions. The Wesley Foundation is offering two identical sessions of this study each week to adapt to student schedules.  Here are the topics:           ...

Complaints filed against Bishop Talbert

By Heather Hahn - United Methodist News Service Formal complaints have been filed against retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert alleging “he has violated the sacred trust of his office,” said a March 13 statement from the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops. The United Methodist Council of Bishops on Nov. 15, 2013, requested the complaints be filed against Talbert, after he officiated at the union of two men — Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince — on Oct. 25, 2013, in Birmingham, Ala., despite ...

Deadline approaching for Denman evangelism award nominations

The Board of Discipleship of the Iowa Annual Conference is accepting nominations for the Harry Denman Evangelism Award for Clergy, Laity, and Youth. This prestigious award recognizes a person whose life and ministry exemplifies the teaching of Christ and the Great Commission. Recipients of these awards, nominated by individuals, churches, or districts, and selected by the Annual Conference, live their call to "Offer Them Christ" daily as modeled by Dr. Harry Denman, founder of The Foundation ...

Des Moines Register: Iowa Methodist School of Nursing building set to implode

By Katherine Kling - Des Moine Register - March 13, 2014 The Iowa Methodist School of Nursing building will crumble to the ground Sunday morning, officials said. The implosion will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday and last 18 seconds, said UnityPoint Health spokeswoman Amy Varcoe. The cloud of dust will last about 20 to 30 minutes. Located on the northeast side of the Iowa Methodist Medical Center campus, the former nursing school building stood for about 100 years. The last class of nurses graduated ...

Clarification of the March 10, 2014 Just Resolution of the Dr. Thomas Ogletree Case

  March 12, 2014  - There has been some confusion and inaccurate reporting following the March 10 press conference announcing the Just Resolution in the case of Dr. Thomas Ogletree. The following will hopefully clarify the terms and outcome of the Just Resolution in the case of Dr. Ogletree. First, the charges against Dr. Ogletree were not “dropped.” Rather they were “resolved” by a just resolution process as outlined in the United Methodist Book of Discipline. The judge of the court, Bishop ...

Japan: Long Recovery from Triple Disaster

              By David Tereshchuk * March 11, 2014—Today marks a milestone for Japan. It is a full three years now since the triple disaster –earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown—hit the country so devastatingly in 2011. From the very beginning of aid efforts, UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, has been deeply involved in a range of disaster response, relief, recovery, and rehabilitation efforts. Even though, as UMCOR’s deputy general secretary, the Rev. Dr. J. ...

United Methodist Church Foundation Celebrates 15 years

Celebrates management of over $108 million investments Nashville, TN – The United Methodist Church Foundation celebrated its 15th year of operations and growth for ministry organizations of all sizes and types within the UMC. Meeting in Nashville, TN on March 6-7, 2014, the directors engaged in a strategic planning process that focused on the diversity of ministry endowments invested during its history to date. Byrd Bonner, the Foundation’s founding president, credited the foresight of ...

Social justice agency issues call to boycott SodaStream

The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has issued a call to boycott SodaStream, a countertop carbonation device produced illegally in the occupied West Bank of the Palestinian Territories. The decision to engage in the boycott of SodaStream was overwhelmingly endorsed by the agency’s Board of Directors during its spring meeting here this month. SodaStream is among 23 “Products of the Year” announced last month by Parade Magazine. The company is Israeli-owned, but its ...

Change the World

On May 17-18, thousands of hands will join together in service during Change the World weekend. Sometimes a milestone sneaks up on you. It's hard to believe that 2014 marks five years of United Methodist participation in Change the World. This year we want you to raise your hands to help work together to create better neighborhoods, communities and a better world. When we do events around basic needs, creation care, education, humanitarian relief, and malaria, we help our neighbors find hope. ...

Mission gifts en route to Nigeria

The 2014 shipment of mission gifts for Nigeria is loaded and on the way.  Each year the Iowa Nigeria Partnership oversees the collection items such as robes, Bibles, hymnals, beds, examination tables and medical supplies for communities and schools in Nigeria. The sea containers that will travel for weeks across the ocean to Nigeria were also the final destination for the various InGathering kits assembled in churches throughout the Conference and delivered to Conference InGathering sites. “...

Patty LaGree to retire as Director of Ministerial Services

Patty LaGree, who has served as the first Director of Ministerial Services, will be retiring effective July 1, 2014.     “I know you will want to thank Patty for her service,” said Rev. Barrie Tritle, Chairperson of the Board of Ordained Ministry.  “We have been blessed by her care for details, her organizational skills, her spirit of hospitality and her passion for our ministry together.  I am very grateful for this position being created and having Patty serving so faithfully in this ...

Strategic Priorities are a way of being

 A set of strategic priorities were adopted at the 2013 Annual Conference Session, and they are something that continue to unfold. Rev. Bill Poland, assistant to the bishop for Administration, recently sat down to discuss the priorities. “As I understand the Strategic Priorities, there really are two priorities,” said Rev. Poland. “And that is creating and equipping world-transforming communities of faith, and also developing leaders in ourselves and others, both clergy and lay, for the sake ...

Evaluating Worship and Music

by Dean McIntyre - It was a simple question that came in the Q&A portion of a recent workshop. The woman stood and said, "My church started a contemporary worship service a few months ago. We converted our early Sunday morning service from traditional to contemporary and now we want to evaluate it. Other than attendance, how do we do that? How can we know if the contemporary service should continue?" I was not prepared for the question, so I was unable to respond to it intelligently ...

HSOP Announces Matching Funds for Associate Director Position

Haiti Solar Oven Partners (HSOP) is excited to announce a blessing--and a challenge--that will help HSOP reach more Haitians with life-changing solar ovens and training Due to the generosity of anonymous donors, HSOP is now one step closer to raising the dollars necessary to support an associate director position. HSOP Director Rick Jost has announced donor gifts totaling $6,000 to be used in a matching gift challenge to other HSOP supporters. "The $6,000, when matched, will pretty much get ...

Celebrating Women"s History month in the UMC

3/6/2014 The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women is celebrating Women’s History Month with special resources every day of March. The 2014 theme is “Women of Character, Courage and Commitment,” and GCSRW is marking that theme in The United Methodist Church three different ways: – Highlighting a different woman in UMC history each day on the agency’s website. – Providing inclusive-language, liturgically appropriate worship elements for each of the five Sundays of the ...

Resources for Lent and Easter Available on GBOD Website

A comprehensive collection of resources to help individuals and congregations prepare for Lent and Easter are now available at the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) website. The collection, titled His Resurrection, Our Life, provides specific information and materials to aid clergy and laity as they organize services for Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Other resources on the website are designed to help small groups, individuals and children and ...

Conference Legislative Advocacy Team Update

Please view the following one page documents summarizing the IAUMC's stance on the following bills and social issues: Civil Rights Providing Interpreters and Translators for Persons with Limited English Proficiency in Legal Proceedings. (SF2199) Approve Human Trafficking and Iowa Mental Health-Suicide Prevention Establishing an Iowa Center for Suicide Prevention through the Department of Public Health and requiring school employee training in suicide prevention and trauma-informed care. (SF...

Iowa Conference provisional deacon: Being woman, being human

General Commission on the Status and Role of Women post in honor of Women’s History Month By Tyler Schwaller After one of the discussion sections for a course I took in the first year of my Master of Divinity program, a friend remarked to me, “I really appreciated how you stood up for women and feminist ideas today.” I understood the sentiment and was grateful for the connection, but it was entirely strange for me to hear. I felt as if I were being thanked for doing something as basic and ...

Special Sunday Offering benefits UMCOR's disaster relief

The Countdown To One Great Hour of Sharing Across The United Methodist Church New United Methodist Committee on Relief video offers an interview with Marji Hill who serves on the ground with UMCOR and has seen the positive impact that churches giving through One Great Hour of Sharing can have. Tune in to gain insight into the work of UMCOR and join for the fourth Sunday in Lent. The new video podcast is also available on iTunes. Click HERE.  

Giving keeps pace with denomination"s budget

By Heather Hahn NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) United Methodist conference treasurers aren’t singing “Happy Days Are Here Again,” but they’re not singing the blues either. A number of United Methodist financial personnel say a mood of cautious optimism holds. Giving during the last couple of years has been steady, and there is a notable improvement from the deep recession of 2009.  Preliminary figures from the General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination’s finance agency, show ...

Member of Asbury UMC Bettendorf is new Churches United director

The Board of Directors of Churches United of the Quad City Area announces\d the promotion of Anne  Wachal, current Acting Executive Director and Program Manager to Executive Director of the 53-year- old organization effective March 1.   Wachal is a member of Asbury United Methodist Church in Bettendorf.   Wachal has been employed with Churches United since June of 1999 and has served as Program  Manager and Associate Director for many years. Under her leadership, Churches United expanded...

United Methodist social-justice agency affirms human rights for all people

GBCS Board of Directors issue statement saying everyone has right to security of person and protection against violence.   March 3, 2014 - General Board of Church & Society, The United Methodist Church   As United Methodists, we believe: span style="font-size:9.0pt; font-family:">The rights and privileges a society bestows upon or withholds from those who comprise it indicate the relative esteem in which that society holds particular persons and groups of persons. We affirm all persons as ...

Early bird registration now open for ICT4D conference

Registration is open for the Game Changers Summit, a technology conference designed to help churches, universities and organizations connect their global mission agendas with technology solutions for the developing world. Attendees will learn step-by-step how to undertake a project in a developing country, as well as get advice from global experts and meet others with similar interests. The 2-1/2 day conference, scheduled for Sept. 3-5 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, features ...

Ukraine youth forum focuses on 'changing world'

UZHGOROD, Ukraine (UMNS) –   "Christianity 4.0" was the theme for the Youth Forum 2014 that focused on the four dimensions of Christianity and its influence on the family, the church, the society and the future. Retired Bishop Hans Vaxby preached about the fourth dimension, Christianity and its perspective.  Participants of the Youth Forum-2014:"We are heading to change this World" "Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see —how good God is." (Psalm 34:9, MSG) Read more.

"Why get arrested?" Bishop blogs on immigration pray-in

On February 17, 2014, I joined other people of faith and kneeled in front of The White House to pray.  This planned gathering in Washington, DC was to bring attention to the nearly two million persons deported as a result of what many of us believe to be an absence of fair immigration policy that allows millions to emerge from the shadows of society with opportunity for citizenship. I, along with other United Methodist leaders, have met with White House staff and members of the Senate and ...

Rwanda ministry teaches independence

by Sherrie Norris - UMNS - A team from Boone United Methodist Church left Feb. 3 for Butare, Rwanda, and returned nearly two weeks later with a new appreciation for the word "empowerment."  Jason Byassee, senior pastor of Boone United Methodist Church, and church members J.J. Brown, Cameron St. Clair and Price St. Clair considered it an honor -- and a blessing -- to have made the trip through ZOE ministry.  ZOE is an orphan empowerment program founded by North Carolina ...

Simpson College presents Carver Medal to Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender

Click here to listen to the medal ceremony, includes President Jay K. Simmons' introduction and General Adams-Ender's Carver Distinguish Lecture. Click here to see a photo gallery from the Carver Medal ceremony Simpson College presented its 2014 Carver Medal to Brigadier General Clara L. Adams-Ender.  The Carver Medal is given "annually [to] recognize an outstanding individual whose life exemplifies the commitment and vision of service of George Washington Carver." Brigadier General ...

Board of Church and Society conducting essay contest

The Board of Church and Society of the united Methodist Church is conducting an essay contest and will present five scholarships ranging from $1000 to $200.  The contest is open to students who are high school juniors or seniors during the current school year (2013 - 2014) and who live in Iowa or attend an Iowa high school.  Students need not be a member of an United Methodist Church or any other religious body.  "Causes and results of inequiitable distribution of wealth, opportunity or ...

Iowa Nigeria Partnership Needs Your Help

On Wednesday, March 5, two sea containers need to be loaded to be sent to Nigeria filled with boxes of InGathering kits, medical supplies, PETs, solar refrigerators, panels and hardware.  The first container will be filled at 9 a.m., and the second one at 1 p.m. We need about 12 – 15 workers to help move these items from our two storage trailers into the sea container.  We also need to collators to record the number of boxes.  Please consider coming to help on March 5.  You will be inside ...

Age no obstacle in Dallas same-sex wedding

By Sam Hodges* February 24, 2014 | DALLAS (UMNS)                   Public defiance of The United Methodist Church’s same-sex marriage ban has increasingly made headlines in the last few months. But the action set for Saturday, March 1, will be like no other, featuring three octogenarian Texas men. The Rev. William McElvaney, 85, plans to officiate at the Dallas wedding of Jack Evans, 84, and George Harris, 80. The latter have been a couple for 53 years, and for more than two ...

UMCOR offers 40 days of Lenten devotionals

    NEW YORK (UMNS) - "The practice of Lenten disciplines," says Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, "offers us the opportunity to deepen our faith, renew our commitment and prepare ourselves for the gift of Christ's Resurrection." Jung, who serves the Wisconsin Annual (regional) Conference, is one of several writers of a new collection of 40 Lenten devotionals that share the life-changing ministries of the United Methodist Committee on Relief.  Click HERE to download.

Registration, features changed for MissionInsite

    Changes have been made to the registration process on the web site for The changes involve the Welcome Screen and the addition of new Directed Studies to assist users in taking advantage of a number of the key features of the system. Click HERE for more detailed information for churches using the MissionInsite demographics resource.

Rev. Terra Amundson to become new Southwest Superintendent

Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble announced Sunday that the Rev. Terra Amundson will become the new Conference Superintendent for the Southwest District of the Iowa Annual Conference.  She will begin her ministry on the District on July 1, 2014. “I am pleased to welcome a gifted pastor and leader in the Iowa Conference,” Bishop Trimble said.  “Terra has led worship at the Annual Conference Session and has served  faithfully in the local church and Annual Conference” Rev. Amundson is currently ...

Former Iowa bishop to speak at ethics and criminal justice event

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UMNS) – "Christian Ethics and the Crisis in U.S. Criminal Justice" will be the focus of this year's Sprague Lecture Series from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 8 at the University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus. Speakers include Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness"; James Logan, author of "Good Punishment? Christian Moral Practice and U.S. Imprisonment"; and Ohio West Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer.  The ...

Lifelong Methodist garners "Who is My Neighbor" award

 On January 20, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Dorothy Higdon, of Cedar Rapids, received the 2014 Percy and Lileah Harris "Who Is My Neighbor?" award at a ceremony in St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids. The award is “In recognition of a lifelong faith commitment to living in harmony with others and to promoting equality and social justice in the community.” The “Who is My Neighbor?” theme is based on the story of the Good Samaritan. Dr. King used the story of the Good Samaritan in...

Student Merit Day Scholarship applications on-line, deadline approaching

The Student Merit Day Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year is available on-line on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry website. This is the only way to complete the application. The Fall 2014 GBHEM on-line scholarship application is open January 6, 2014 - March 5, 2014 at this Web page. Applications for ALL Scholarship Programs must be completed by midnight of March 5 for consideration.  The GBHEM Office of Loans and Scholarships is partnering with a company to provide ...

Mission Camp Experiences with Matthew 25

Looking for a meaningful way for your confirmation class, youth group, or intergenerational team to put their faith into action? Do you have a heart for helping your neighbors but need a structure and a plan? Matthew 25 in Cedar Rapids is now scheduling mission camps for the spring, summer, and fall of 2014. Options for groups include full weeks and short weeks, in addition to specially designed events. Mission campers work together and spend time reflecting upon issues such as local foods, ...

Online engagement ideas for Lent

                  Gavin Richardson Lent is a time of reflection. It is also a time many individuals seek ways to deepen their spiritual relationships. Here are some creative ways churches can engage members and potential visitors during Lent. 1. Photo-a-Day Meditation: To provide an easy entry for seekers at Lent last year, Rethink Church created a photo-a-day meditation that invited participants to submit their photos on social media that related to the word of the day. These ...

Omaha clergy embrace new ways, like the Eagles, to captivate congregations

By Michael O'Connor / World-Herald staff writer  - A church band played the Eagles' song “Desperado” while pastor Bruce Davis preached on a winter morning. Davis tied the song's lyrics — “You better let somebody love you, before it's too late” — to God's love for all people. The Omaha pastor regularly weaves pop music into his sermons at St. Andrew's United Methodist Church to make his preaching more engaging. Local clergy say it's more important than ever to deliver sermons that ...

Peace conference deadline extended

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) – Because the inclement weather has affected many in the southeast, the early registration deadline for the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference has been extended until March 1. The 2014 Lake Junaluska Peace Conference: Faith, Health, and Peace: Seeking the Basic Right to Good Health for All God's Children will be March 27-30 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center.  Click HERE to register.

UMCOR builds health near Sochi Olympics

Building Health Bridges in the Caucasus By Julia Kayser - Just five miles south of Sochi Olympic Park, where the 2014 Winter Games are being held, is a disputed territory with a bloody history. Abkhazia is one of two de-facto independent administrative regions located in the Caucasus; South Ossetia is the other. Historically part of Georgia, they separated from that country with the support of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Although each of the regions is ethnically and ...

She embraced God's call to ministry, but illness cut her life short

By Carol McPhail - She had the voice of an angel, but Carrie Chandler Reece found her life’s work in ministry as a United Methodist pastor, welcoming broken souls and preaching at a small rural congregation in Summerdale. The Bay Minette resident’s life was cut short by a rare form of a rare illness, Cushing’s disease, on the day after Christmas. She was 36. “From the time she was a teenager, she loved people, and loved helping people,” said her mother, Cathy Chandler of Bay Minette. ...

Opportunity to Show Your Support: Attend Interfaith Service to Support Wasike Family

Mike Wasike was badly beaten during a car-jacking last year in Des Moines and remains in need of medical care. An Interfaith Service of "Prayer, Support and Love" to help the Wasike family will be held Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 7pm, at Tifereth Israel, 924 Polk Blvd. Please join Tifereth Israel Synagogue, Maple Grove Methodist Church, Temple B'Nai Jeshurun and the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines in supporting Mike, his family and all they've had to endure over the last year. Read ...

The Other Woman at the Well: a celebration of ministry

Mark your calendar for Sunday, March 16 from 3-5 p.m.  Women at the Well, the Iowa Conference's mission congregation inside the Iowa women's prison in Mitchellville, is hosting a worship service at First United Methodist Church, 1001 Pleasant Street in Des Moines.  Bishop Julius Trimble will be preaching, based on the story of the woman at the well from John 4, which is appointed for a Sunday later in Lent.  As we remember "The Other Woman at the Well" through this celebration of ministry, ...

Warmed by the Carribean Sun and Loved by the Dangrigans

            It was a sense of relief for twenty Iowan United Methodist Volunteers in Mission to board a Delta flight to Atlanta and on to Belize after a winter of snow, sleet, ice and below zero weather. From fourteen United Methodist Churches across Iowa, volunteers were loaded with painting equipment, Vacation Bible School materials, sewing and canning supplies, snacks and good humor. The final destination was Dangriga, a small community on the Caribbean Sea, about 3 hours bus ride ...

Rev. Harlan Gillespie to become new North Central Superintendent

Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble announced Sunday that the Rev. Harlan Gillespie will become the new Superintendent for the North Central District of the Iowa Annual Conference.  He will begin his ministry on the District on July 1, 2014.   “I have worked with Rev Harlan Gillespie and respect his passion for the church, his attention to detail and his love of worship,” Bishop Trimble said.  “As a delegate to the World Methodist Conference held in South Africa, and as one who loves Wesleyan ...

Communicating Faith in the 21st Century

For too long, the voice of people of faith has been hidden, drowned out or altogether silent in the public media. This course is designed to help you reclaim your own voice in order to speak faith to a world desperately in need of the good news of God's love by using the communications tools of the 21st century.  Download the course overview and syllabus (PDF, 138.KB). Course Details: • Cost: $29.99 • 2014 Course Dates ◦ March 12 - April 23, 2014 - Click here to register for this course....

Faith leaders to risk arrest at White House on President"s Day

United Methodist bishops among those issuing call to reverse immigration policies before reaching 2 million deportations. WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two bishops are among several United Methodists, including top executives of United Methodist Women, who will risk arrest at a pray-in on President’s Day, Feb. 17, in front of the White House. The United Methodists are among faith leaders, undocumented immigrants and labor leaders who will gather in Lafayette Park at 1 p.m. to pray as ...

Iowa United Methodist Men Annual Meeting

Saturday, April 5, St Marks UMC, Iowa City. Keynote Speaker is Bob Hoover, Pastor Lee Schott and Pastor Arnette Pint will speak about their experiences at Women at the Well. Reports and presentations will include Youth Ministries, Self Help International, Hunger Relief, Upper Room Prayer Ministry, Legacy Program, EMS Program, Heifer International and P.E.T.   Click HERE for a brochure.

Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence established

The General Commission on United Methodist Men recently established The Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence.  “I was incredibly excited to hear that you had formed the Susanna Wesley Award to recognize the achievement of women,” said Dawn Wiggins Hare, top staff executive of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. “United Methodist Men rock.” Who will be the first woman to receive this award? It could be the wife of one of your members. It could be your pastor or the wife of ...

2 clergy face 24-hour suspension for gay weddings

By Heather Hahn - UMNS Two United Methodist pastors in the Pacific Northwest Annual (regional) Conference under complaint for officiating at same-sex unions in violation of church law will face not a trial but a 24-hour suspension without pay. That was the conclusion of the Rev. David Orendorff, appointed by Greater Northwest Area Bishop Grant Hagiya as the counsel for the church in the case — roughly the equivalent of a prosecutor. Hagiya told United Methodist News Service he has accepted ...

What does it mean to be a Methodist in Slovakia?

2/13/2014 Thanks to donations from all over Europe the Fund for Mission in Europe was able to help strengthening the identity and the witness of the United Methodist Church in Slovakia. Methodist presence in Slovakia dates back to 1924, when Czech-speaking missionaries start-ed to primarily work among Czechs living there. However, it went through turbulent times of the European 20th century. In the times of the Nazi supported clerical fascist Slovak State (1939-1945), the Methodist ...

African American scholar and author to present two free lectures at Iowa Wesleyan College

Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems has been chosen as Iowa Wesleyan’s 2014 Annual Manning Speaker. She will present a lecture titled So, You Want to Be a Prophet: Jeremiah on Thursday, February 27, at 11 a.m. and a lecture at 7 p.m. titled So, You Want to Be a Prophet: 1st and 2nd Kings. Both lectures will be held in the Chapel Auditorium on the Iowa Wesleyan campus in Mount Pleasant. They are free and open to the public. Dr. Weems has taught at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, where she was the ...

The new Interpreter is hitting mailboxes and in-boxes now! Subscribe now

Take a peek at the recreated, revamped and refocused Interpreter. Preview the January/February issue “We are United Methodist.” Hot topic articles include “Afflicted, but not crushed,” – how reading the Bible helps a young woman manage mental illness; “No Scout Left Behind” – how young people who may feel unwelcome find acceptance in church scouting ministries; and “Rebuilding communications and lives in the Philippines” – about United Methodists who are providing relief and help after Typhoon ...

Scars and hope emerging from Schaefer trial, struggle to resolve United Methodist same-sex wedding laws

United Methodist News Service EDITOR’S NOTE: The Rev. Frank Schaefer, then pastor of Zion Iona United Methodist Church was found guilty of violating the United Methodist Book of Discipline in a church trial and lost his ministerial credentials. Those involved — from the Schaefer family to church members supporting and opposing his actions to Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson — talk with Kathy Gilbert of United Methodist News Service about the pain and about hope for what may happen next ...

Publishing House names two new executives

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) ___ The United Methodist Publishing House has announced two new senior executives will begin work in July. The Rev. Justin Coleman, most recently lead pastor of the Gethsemane Campus of St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Houston, will be the Publishing House's chief ministry officer. The Rev. Brian K. Milford of the Iowa Annual (regional) Conference has been elected chief content officer and book editor.

Henry-Crowe to be installed as General Secretary Feb. 27

February 06, 2014 - CHEVY CHASE, Md. — The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe will formally be installed as General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) during a worship service Thursday, Feb. 27. The installation service will take place at 7 p.m. at Chevy Chase United Methodist Church here.  The installation of Henry-Crowe as chief executive of GBCS, one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church, will occur during ...

Black History Month

February is Black History Month. African Americans have played important roles in the development of the United States; the recognition of their roles in growth and development from a historical perspective is an important step in celebrating the contributions of individuals and the collective changes the African American community has brought about. Celebrate Black History Month: Ideas for Worship Celebrate Black History Month in your worship services by exploring the rich diversity of ...


The Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church ADVOCACY TEAM PLEASE TAKE ACTION AND CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS ON THIS BILL Senate Study Bill 3044 (SSB3044)  Allow 12-year-olds to be trained in use of pistols.  This bill would allow children beginning at the age of 12 to possess a pistol or revolver with the supervision of their parent (or other adult over 21 who is approved by the parent). Possession could be for instructional purposes at a practice range or it could be anywhere ...

Connecting Black History Month to the church

JACKSON, Miss. (UMNS) ___ Mississippi Area Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. urges United Methodist churches "not to simply celebrate Black History Month in isolation from our relationship with the Risen Christ." He suggests ways to make this month count in the life of the church.  Bishop Swanson's commentary is below: Black History Month--The Church's Response The month of February in the United States has been designated as Black History Month. In some of the churches within the United ...

Eyes Wide Open! Conference is February 22

An informative conference on Human Trafficking in Iowa is Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, 9-11:30 a.m. at Westkirk Presbyterian Church, 2700 Colby Woods Dr., Urbandale.   Minors are being trafficked in Iowa's rural towns and metro areas every day of the week. The average age of entry into sex trafficking victimization is between 11 and 14 years of age.   Speakers are Benny Yu, El Pozo de Vide in Mexico; Teresa Downing-Matibag, Network Against Human Trafficking; Iowa Representative Tom Shaw; and ...

Scouting Ministries Sunday is Feb. 9

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) ___ United Methodists will celebrate Scouting this Sunday, Feb. 9, and United Methodist Men offer resources for churches eager to support Boy Scouts of America, Girls Scouts of the USA, Big Brothers Big Sisters and other youth-service groups.  United Methodist Men resources Scouting Ministries Sunday 2014 Scouting Ministry Sunday patch now available  

UMDF offers easy access to finance options

NEW YORK (UMNS) ___ For more than 50 years, the United Methodist Development Fund has helped United Methodists create new spaces for worship in existing and new places. Now, a new website will give local churches, districts, annual conferences and other United Methodist entities easy access to information about the fund's competitive loans and investment opportunities.  The United Methodist Development Fund helps United Methodists create new spaces for worship in existing and new places, one ...

Builder's Call Sunday

Lay Leaders and Pastors:  One of the most effective ways we can support the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in and through our churches is with the Iowa United Methodist Builders. Twice a year, in the spring and fall, two selected churches receive financial support from Builders and supporting congregations all across Iowa for the building of new facilities, additions to existing facilities, major remodeling, new parsonages or land purchases. ...

Some United Methodists speak out against the denomination's same-sex marriage ban

A group of Oklahoma United Methodist clergy and lay people who disagree with the denomination's ban on same-sex marriage are expressing their dissent through recent advertisements in newspapers around the state. By Carla Hinton - Some Oklahoma United Methodist clergy and lay people are expressing their opposition to their denomination's same-sex marriage ban through advertisements in newspapers around the state. The Rev. Trina Bose North and the Rev. Deborah Ingraham said their ...

Iowa Senate panel OKs $2 million in additional low-income heating aid

Written by William Petroski -  Des Moines Register    An Iowa Senate subcommittee approved a $2 million additional state appropriation Monday for the states Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which has seen heavy demand because of a cold winter and soaring propane prices. The measure now goes to the Iowa Senate Appropriations Committee.   Sens. Liz Mathis, D-Cedar Rapids, and Amanda Ragan, D-Mason City, both backed the Senate Study Bill 3137, which is sought by a host of groups, ...

Camp Hope 2014

CAMP HOPE is a great experience for young people (ages 8-12) who’ve had a family member incarcerated either currently or in the past.  It’s a time for sharing and reflection in Christ and also a place for fun and relaxation.     WESLEY WOODS (near Indianola, Iowa) and PICTURED ROCKS (near Monticello, Iowa) are two very beautiful camps, with many exciting recreational options—like swimming, archery, canoeing, high and low ropes, and many more fun and cool activities.  But most importantly, it ...

Iowa Camp Challenge 2014

  Again this year, the Iowa UMC Camp and Retreat Team challenge you to send more youth for our Summer Camping Season!   Two Churches in each district will be given a free, fun-filled afternoon at one of our camps this next fall or spring.   One of the recipients will be the church that has the largest percentage growth of campers from last camp season.  The second recipient will be the church who sends the biggest increase in camper numbers from the previous year.   As always we would ...

National UMC CEF Conference 2014 early bird deadline approaches

The National UMC Christian Educator’s Fellowship Conference, “May the Circle Be Unbroken” will be held in Nashville, TN, Oct 17- 20. The early bird deadline of Feb 28 is fast approaching where attendees can save $100 over regular registration cost. Also, if you become a member of the National UMC Christian Educator’s Fellowship you can save an additional $100 off your registration fee. This is a great educational opportunity for anyone in ministry that has some of the best speakers and ...

Register now for Iowa School for Ministry

Event to be held April 22-25   Get ready for a completely different School for Ministry experience.   This is truly the School for ministry re-imagined.     Imagine this: an opportunity to fully combine continuing education with relaxation and renewal.  Imagine a beautiful lakeside location (Honey Creek Resort State Park in Moravia on Lake Rathbun) with a more relaxed schedule for the school that allows for time to do things like walk, boat, bike, fish, go to the spa, or just visit with ...

Donor gives $1.1 million to Imagine No Malaria

By Larry R. Hygh Jr.*   LOS ALTOS, Calif. (UMNS) — Not everyone can give $1.1 million, but everyone can think of a way to “give just a tiny bit more,” says Barbara Ferguson, whose donation is the largest ever given from an individual donor to Imagine No Malaria.   “I think it’s important that we all give back in some small way to make this world a better place for folks to live,” says Ferguson, a laywoman from Los Altos United Methodist Church in California’s Bay Area.   Her donation to ...

February 2014 School Teachers for Nigeria

February 2014 School Teachers for Nigeria   Progress Report on Banyam Theological Seminary Home Renovation:  On 1/16 Titus Bewula along with 2 seminary students pulled the roof off of Nuhu Haruna’s home on the seminary campus.  Materials had been purchased to replace the termite ridden rafters, the roof with new zinc, and the ceiling.  Next will be to replace doors and windows before the house is completed.     This is the first house of 5 homes that need serious renovation. Left over ...

Builder's Call Sunday

Lay Leaders and Pastors:    One of the most effective ways we can support the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in and through our churches is with the Iowa United Methodist Builders. Twice a year, in the spring and fall, two selected churches receive financial support from Builders and supporting congregations all across Iowa for the building of new facilities, additions to existing facilities, major remodeling, new parsonages or land purchases. ...

Church grants help once troubled vet help others

By Beth DiCocco -   When singer-songwriter Jason Moon performs at Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church in Schenectady in February, he will be bringing full circle a journey that started when that congregation reached out to him years ago.   Moon is an Iraq veteran who returned home in 2004 carrying the burden of PSTD, post-traumatic stress disorder. Four years later, in March 2008, he attempted suicide. But in September of that year, he got the help that would eventually allow ...

Looking for a Lenten Study?

Green Church: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice! by Rebekah Simon-Peter is perfect for a 6 week study.  Written by a UMC Elder and former environmental scientist, this book has the Biblical foundation for creation care as well as practical steps every church can take to make a difference.   The Board of Church & Society has purchased a copy of the book for each District office so that pastors can look through it.  Grants are available to help churches purchase books.    Contact Rev.sarah ...

UMCOR's Return to Leyte

By Rev. David D. Cosmiano, District Superintendent, United Methodist Church, Eastern Visayas District, Philippines. On December 5-6, 2013, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) returned to Leyte Province in the Philippines to distribute relief goods among survivors of Typhoon Yolanda, or Haiyan, as the storm is known outside of our country. UMCOR is an agency of the global United Methodist Church and is in charge of relief operations whenever there is a natural or a human-caused ...

Milford named Chief Content Officer and Book Editor

The Reverend Brian K. Milford has been elected as the Chief Content Officer & Book Editor of The United Methodist Church.  He will begin his new responsibilities on July 1, 2014. Neil Alexander, President and Publisher of the United Methodist Publishing House, announced the election by the Board’s Executive Committee saying, “A treasured part of United Methodist heritage is the importance of quality literature – from scholarly to broadly popular.  From the wide-ranging reading and prolific ...

New group aims to find way to "live in a divided church"

1/28/2014 Heather Hahn - United Methodist News Service A new United Methodist group in the United States is forming with the aim to advance “the Kingdom of Christ,” despite the denomination’s growing divisions over same-sex unions and gay ordination. In practice, founders of the new Wesleyan Covenant Network say, they are committed to mutual accountability, evangelism and upholding the United Methodist doctrine, ...

Bishop Matthews asks for prayers, action after D.C.-area mall shooting

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — “A deep sense of tragedy hangs in the air,” Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference wrote as he called Jan. 25 for prayers in the wake of the shooting at the Mall in Columbia, a few miles from the Conference Mission Center. The shooter and two victims were reported killed. “As I write, details of the shooting are still being released,” the bishop said. “…In addition to praying for the shooter, those killed and injured and all of their...

United Methodist expert on baptism, sacraments dies

United Methodist News Service The Rev. Gayle C. Felton, 71, a clergy member of the North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference known for her published works on baptism and the sacraments, died Jan. 25.   Felton was the primary author of the 2004 denominational statement on Holy Communion, This Holy Mystery, and wrote By Water and the Spirit, a study guide for the 1996 denominational statement on baptism.   Read more.  

Judicial Council releases April docket

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Judicial Council has released the docket for its April 23-26 meeting in Little Rock, Ark. In the five-item docket, the council will review bishops’ decisions of law on issues including a marriage equality resolution and a lesbian clergy candidate, along with a request for a “declaratory decision” about providing same-gender spouse benefits from the denomination’s finance agency.   View docket    

Advocacy Day 2014 focuses on "Immigration, Human Trafficking, and Iowa Legislation"

Click here to see a photo gallery of Advocacy Day The 2014 United Methodist Women/Iowa United Methodist Advocacy Day focused on the intersection of immigration issue, human trafficking, and Iowa Legislation.  Presentations from keynote topical speakers and coaching for contacting legislators guided the nearly 50 persons present, at Wesley UMC, prior to the group moving to the Capitol building. Consistent with the adopted priorities which call for “communities of faithful people…[to] live out ...

Bishop says include unborn in "radically inclusive church" mission

  United Methodist News Service -Wayne Rhodes     WASHINGTON —Bishop Ken Carter Jr. told the 26th annual Lifewatch Sanctity of Life Service that the mission of a radically inclusive church must include the unborn in its inclusiveness.   The bishop went on to issue a call for United Methodists to seek a coherent social teaching, a consistent ethic of hospitality and a compassionate witness to and for life.   Carter, the episcopal leader of Florida Annual (regional) Conference, spoke a the...

Cultural trends you may have missed

By Gavin Richardson You may have noticed the recent rise of videos and images in communications. However, you might have missed some larger cultural trends.   1. The rise of the media device.   Tablet and smartphone devices continue to become more the norm than the exception. In 2013, more than a third of all American adults (18 and older) owned a tablet device with those numbers growing closer to one-half in the 34-44 age demographic. More than 60 percent of Americans use ...

New Dean of "Discipler" position offered through Iowa UMC CEF

  The state officers of the UMC Christian Educator’s Fellowship (CEF) have just opened up applications for our state Dean of ‘Discipler’ Training program.  If you have any interest in the position please feel free to contact one of the contact persons.     Here is the information regarding the position:   2014-2015 Dean of Discipler Training Position Description   Overview: Coordinate on-line Discipler Training utilizing the General Board of Discipleship training across the Iowa Annual ...

Church and Society opposes new sanctions for Iran

The United Methodist Board of Church and Society is among more than 60 organizations that signed a letter to U.S. Senators urging them not to support new sanctions that could “critically endanger” possibility of a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff with Iran.   See the letter HERE.

Latin American & Caribbean Methodist Women Leadership Conference

General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Lima, Peru, Wednesday, January 22 to Saturday, January 25 The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry announces on behalf of the Latin America & Caribbean Methodist Women Leadership Conference Design Team the very first Latin America Methodist women leadership conference.  The theme of the event is “Afirmación de la Dignidad de las Mujeres en América Latina y El Caribe y el Rol de las Mujeres en la Iglesia” ("Affirmation of the dignity ...

King day celebration in Wisconsin to feature sermon by Bishop Trimble

Click here to watch the live-stream A Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration hosted by Bishop Jung for the Wisconsin Conference will be held on Monday, January 20, at 7 pm at Albright UMC, 5555 W. Capitol Dr., Milwaukee WI 53216. Bishop Julius Trimble will be preaching at the event, which will focus on a worship service celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and what we are doing to live out his vision.   A combined choir from Milwaukee area United Methodist Churches will rehearse at 6:15 pm, ...

Preaching professor turns "player coach"

United Methodist News Service - By Sam Hodges PLANO, Texas  (UMNS) — At Christ United Methodist Church, clergy have their own personal trainer. Alyce McKenzie doesn’t correct the pastors on crunches or make them move aerobically. She works with them on focusing a sermon, finding fresh metaphors and taking risks to connect better with people in the pews. “In this visual age,” she notes wryly, “all people want is the reality of careful preparation and the appearance of total spontaneity.” ...

Resources Available for Week of Christian Unity

The Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships (OCUIR) of the Council of Bishops is encouraging United Methodists around the world to participate in the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 18-25, 2014. "We participate in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to remind ourselves that we belong to Christ, and that we are one family in Christ," said Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, ecumenical officer for the council. *Has Christ Been Divided?* is the theme for this year's ...

Free GCSRW webinar series begins Feb. 4

1/14/2014 - By Susan Keaton A series of webinars aimed at helping develop principled leaders in The United Methodist Church is being offered this year by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. “These webinars all offer skills for Christian leadership at the local, regional and connectional level,” said Audrey J. Krumbach, the agency’s director of gender justice and education. The first online seminar, offered at 7:30 p.m. (EST) Feb. 4, is a primer on Robert’s Rules ...

Moving forward and looking back - in summary

*Rev. Larry Hollon is a lifelong storyteller with experience in radio, TV, print and video. He is the general secretary of United Methodist Communications, and also serves as publisher of United Methodist News Service.  By Rev. Larry Hollon In the past four posts, I’ve pointed to how information communication technology and communications strategy have been employed to encourage transparency as we discuss how new media influence us and the practices of the church. We’ve seen how the power of...

Commentary: Discipleship requires evangelism

Questions to consider Here are some ways to practice sharing the story and seeking opportunities to share the Good News within the life of your congregation. • Practice paying attention to God’s work in the world. Set aside time in your worship service, Bible study or Sunday school for people to share their God sightings. If you regularly share joys and concerns, it might be helpful to reframe that time by asking, “Where did you see God this week?” or “Where did God allow you to be in ...

Iowa UMC camps and retreats - Come be in ministry with us this summer!

                                                                                                                                                  If you’ve never had the opportunity to come and be part of our summer ministry team, 2014 is the year to start. All three of our camps are wonderful places to work and to learn about camp and retreat ministry. If you’re an older high school student or in college, or just out of college and want to try something new, get in touch with us, ...

Survey: Reported Christian "martyr" deaths doubled in 2013

Reuters - LONDON -- Reported cases of Christians killed for their faith around the world doubled in 2013 from the year before, with Syria accounting for more than the whole global total in 2012, according to an annual survey. Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, said on Wednesday it had documented 2,123 "martyr" killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. There were 1,213 such deaths in Syria alone last year, it said. "This is a very ...

Bishop Tuell, church law expert, dies at 90

United Methodist News Service - By Heather Hahn Retired Bishop Jack M. Tuell, a widely respected expert of United Methodist church law, died Friday, Jan. 10. He was 90.  “He will be considered one of the two or three giants of our council (of bishops) in the latter part of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century,” said retired Bishop William B. Oden, a longtime friend, who now resides in Santa Fe, N.M. Greater Northwest Area Bishop Grant Hagiya added, “Bishops like him only ...

Holston missionaries postpone return to South Sudan, pray for peace (Jan. 9)

"They support what we're doing and they realize we have not abandoned them. Holston has not abandoned them." -- Libby Dearing By Annette Spence - Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church ALCOA, Tenn. -- Missionaries Fred and Libby Dearing have postponed their return to South Sudan after deciding they could do more to help their ministry partners while in the U.S.  than in Africa. “Even if we dearly wish we were there, it’s not about us,” the Rev. Dearing said on Jan. 9, while ...

Moving Forward and Looking Back - Connecting

Faith Media + Culture - Perspectives from Larry Hollon   In this fourth post in the series, I reflect on how communications technologies make it possible to connect with people half a world away, and why that’s important. Connecting continents New mobile technologies make it possible to connect with others in ways that were not previously possible. In The United Methodist Church, in which I am ordained, we often speak of ourselves as a connection. The term is not ...

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