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Alejandro (Alejandro) Alfaro-Santiz
Clergy : Trinity Las Americas UMC
My name is Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz, I'm originally from Guatemala. I moved to the USA in 2010 to attend seminary at Iliff School of Theology in Denver CO and became United Methodist. I'm United Methodist not by tradition or heritage but by choice. I was amazed by John Wesley's understanding of personal holiness and social holiness, it captures the life of Jesus. Jesus had a daily deep connection with God and out of that time with God, Jesus went out into the world and worked for justice, making sure that all the people had a place at the table.
I've served in the Hispanic standing committee, I currently serve in Parish Development and Central District Operational Team. I believe the IAUMC can do more as a connectional church.
I have served in the IAUMC for six years, as an immigration specialist for the central district, at Wesley UMC, Las Americas UM Faith Community and currently serving at Trinity Las Americas UMC (TLA) in Des Moines. We are a multicultural congregation with a bilingual worship service. TLA is a diverse congregation, we have black, brown and white people; people of different immigration status; people of different sexual identities; people of different socioeconomic status; people of different physical and mental abilities, people of different theologies; people of different political orientations, we have babies, toddlers, childrens, teenagers, young adults, adults, and older adults. It is beautiful, and very very hard because we are so different, but we don't focus on erasing our differences, but we celebrate our differences. Instead of thinking of us as a melting pot in which everyone is melted into one thing, we think of ourselves as a vegetable salad in which the tomatoes have their own flavor, and so does cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, etc. We believe we are breaking the most segregated hour of the week and we can only do so with the help of the Holy Spirit.
As a Christian, I follow the example of Christ and my lens to read scripture is John 10:10a "I have come so that you may have life and life abundantly". Jesus Christ loved and welcomed everyone, and that's what I've taught and will continue to teach wherever I'm appointed to serve.
Laity : Dubuque, Grand View
I believe in the power of the Church. I was raised in the faith at Tipton UMC, served as a choir director at Janesville UMC, proudly graduated University of Dubuque Seminary, and currently work as Creative Director at Grand View UMC, Dubuque. I believe in the power of the Church because I have seen it active, moving, and changing lives.
As a young adult in our conference, I have participated in years of Annual Conference, served on a conference committee, and have been active in local churches and district gatherings. All good things, but nothing compared to the hope seen in the local church. The local church - your local church - is where people are encouraged, challenged, helped, greeted, and most of all - introduced to the life-changing, convicting and redeeming power of Jesus Christ. It is through that kind of church that Jesus can transform the world.
I believe that in our fighting we have shown the world a poor witness of what the Church can do. Though I believe in the power of Church, the current system of being United Methodist is not working. If I have the privilege of representing Iowa United Methodists in 2020, I would stand for two separate, distinct, and promising expressions of Methodism, where both can return to the nature and mission of Church. Let us no longer be a poor witness to the power of the Church, and instead provide two unique opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus with a hurting world.
Kimberly (Kim) Andeway
Laity : Central United Methodist Church- Oskaloosa
I was raised in the United Methodist Church and have been blessed to be a member of the Central United Methodist Church in Oskaloosa for almost 40 years. I have been active in the life of the church by serving on various committees, coordinating youth mission trips and leading youth group. My husband and I are also Confirmation teachers and have been doing so for the last ten years.
It has become clear through teaching Confirmation classes that the church has become less relevant in the lives of our youth and that while the students still profess their faith and confirm their membership, many do not maintain active involvement in the church long-term. In order to ensure we are a thriving church for our future, we are obligated to examine why this is happening and work to remedy it.
I have always been led by the simple Wesleyan ideology of “the gospel of Christ knows of no religion, but social; no holiness but social holiness”. Following college, I worked as a social worker for approximately 20 years, primarily with children and families in need. I have intimate experience with institutional systems outside of the church which are initially created to help and protect people but can often lead to additional victimization. This is not unlike the systems within our Church. While our processes and procedures often work to unite us, they are also currently harming and destroying relationships with God and the Church. I believe some of Wesleyan theology was intended to be so simple. “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can.” We must ensure our church affirms the sacred worth of all of God’s children and celebrates the full participation of LGTB+ people in the life of our Church. Our Church is hurting. Our Church is hurting our own members. This surely is not God’s desire. When we have people leaving the Church because of the harm the Book of Discipline creates, a rulebook that we have created, we have a responsibility to reevaluate if we are truly a church of God’s people. I believe this can and must be done in a loving and humble manner. I do not take the honor of being an UMC Delegate lightly and spent a great deal of time in prayer to discern if this is part of God’s plan for me. I believe it is and intend to offer my perspective in a loving, graceful and humble manner. Thank you for your consideration.
James (Jim) Baty
Laity : United Methodist Church of Mount Vernon, IA
I have been a leader in this congregation since moving to town in 2001. My present role as chair of Church Council has brought me deeply into the health and wellness of a congregation that has long been positioned as reconciling, accepting and encouraging of all persons, believing in their sacred worth and acknowledging their perfect creation. The issue faced in the four years preceding #GC2019 was one of great stress to the UMC but one of even greater stress to the congregations across the church. Church members and congregations as a whole are largely left out of the conversation and have a general sense of ineffectiveness. This has resulted in great anguish realizing the only option to impact the future of their faith journeys and beliefs is to painfully choose whether to take leave of the church or to hope to endure. At a time when there is strong evidence of increasing and advancing personal journeys of faith throughout society, the church seemingly stands prepared to set boundaries and stronger rules. At a time when God is breaking chains of oppression and subversion, passionately impacting individual hearts, the church wages a battle on how to define, how to confine and how to inflict. My experience is in leading worship, small groups, youth, adults, Biblical studies and devotional conversations with the goal of iron sharpening iron and constantly leaning into Christ for wisdom, compassion and truth.
Richard (Richard) Boatman
Clergy : Oakwood United Methodist - Pleasant Hill
I am a type A contemplative. The inner life of “Christ in [us], the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) has been a primary focus for many years. The early influence for this pursuit originated with my mother, the first and best mentor. Her faith was a rich blend of biblical literacy with some mystical leanings.
Though a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, my faith journey transcended these roots. As a high school senior, I began traveling nationally with an evangelistic gospel team. This experience of singing and speaking in all denominations expanded my perspective of God’s kingdom.
After several years of being “on the road,” I helped plant an interdenominational church in Marshalltown. This pastorate lasted for six years. Doors then opened for a seven-year tenure within the Society of Friends. While serving as a Quaker pastor, I earned an undergraduate degree from William Penn University. During these years I was also a youth service worker at the Iowa Juvenile Home, a residential treatment center. Towards the end of this period, “I felt my heart strangely warmed” to return to the church of my childhood.
With great joy, I came back “home” in 1995 and started serving in the United Methodist Church. Nearly twenty-five years later, I have been honored to pastor flocks in Reinbeck, Ogden, Eldora, and, currently, Pleasant Hill at Oakwood UMC. During these years I was also able to earn an M. Div. and D. Min. from UDTS, and to complete a Two Year Academy for Spiritual Formation.
Laity : Center Point United Methodist Church
My name is Laine Boesenberg and I have been a member of Center Point UMC for 15 plus years where I am actively involved in small groups, ministries, and I am the chairperson for our SPRC. My husband, Ben, and I are the parents of two young boys who are full of life! I love to run and to garden, I love my family, and I love the Church. Through my love for His Church, I have discerned a call to be a 2020 Conference delegate.
As I witness the ongoing controversy over the human sexuality issue, I am convinced that we cannot compromise truth for the sake of unity. I believe we are all
made in the image of God, and as such, all are of sacred worth to the Lord, yet all have sinned and fallen short. We need the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and the transformation He offers to all of us. My prayer is that we can once again focus on transforming the world through the love of Jesus and as Christians we will strive "to be in the world, but not of the world."
Laity : Grace UMC, DM
Historically, the UMC (and its predecessors) has powerfully spread the Gospel on new frontiers and in established communities. It went where others didn’t and preached both personal and social holiness. It raised up reformers, inspired charity and led many into public service determined to build a better world. It’s a proud heritage that shaped history! I was a beneficiary of that heritage growing up in North Dakota where my family belonged to a church that honored great preaching, loved kids and sent us to camp. My first emotional encounter with Jesus was at Wesley Acres Camp after 8th grade. I went home a changed person, knowing that following Jesus meant living my life generously for others. There was no going back! My faith was further formed in our big tent denomination, being exposed to both liberal and conservative saints.
I am committed to the UMC being a continuing influence for good, leading individuals to a loving God and sending people into the world, inspired by faith, to be a force for good in every place. At several times in our history we have struggled with inclusiveness (racial, women) and ultimately made the right decision. Now we struggle with being fully inclusive of LGBTQ persons. I am committed to help us come again to the right decision and be fully inclusive including ordination and marriage. God created and loves everyone completely and equally; how can we do less?
I will also support greater autonomy for American Methodism, while still embracing the global Wesleyan family.
My experience in both the church and secular worlds prepares me to contribute to reaching difficult and loving solutions in a respectful way: In my local churches, I’ve done most everything and now love facilitating the New Member Classes. I’m the Conference Lay Leader, Kaizen Leadership Team facilitator and have previously served in many ways including Imagine No Malaria, CCOM chair and as first alternate to GC2016. In the General Church, I’m honored to be a member of the General Board of Church and Society serving several leadership roles. Outside the church, I was a nine-year member of the Des Moines School Board, President of both the Iowa PTA and Iowa Association of School Boards and now serve on the Boards of Rust College and the Area Education Agency.
I will energetically bring both “head and heart” to GC2020.
Paul (Paul) Burrow
Clergy : Perry/Minburn/Rippey/Fairview
I have been a United Methodist since being confirmed in 1968. I taught Spanish and Social Studies for 33 years in the public schools at the secondary level. I began serving as Part-time Local Pastor in 2001 after serving for 2 years as Pulpit Supply. I became a Full-time Local Pastor in 2010 after retiring as a teacher. I was ordained as an elder in full connection in 2013.
I have served on the Conference level on the Resolutions Committee, as the Chair of the Standing Committee on Hispanic Ministries, as the Chair of the Board of Global Ministries, on the Budget Team, and presently as the Chair of Conference Connectional Ministries Council (CCMC). I have also served as South Central District Lay Leader, on the South Central District Missions Committee, and on the South Central District Matthew 25 Committee, and also on the Central District Hispanic Ministries Committee.
I stand for full inclusion of all individuals in our churches. Because of that, I will vote to eliminate the language on incompatibility and will vote for inclusion of all who are called to serve as clergy including LGBTQIA+ individuals. I feel that clergy should be able to marry anyone who desires marriage within the church. I am convinced that we need to alter our polity so that only those who are actually governed by the Discipline vote on the Discipline.
I would appreciate your support.
LaTonya (LaTonya) Calderon
Clergy : Stuart - Mt. Vernon UMC
For prayerful consideration:
I am an African American Black Female raised Missionary Baptist, now living United Methodist. My life has always been a life of tension which taught me different perspectives and openness.
I have had nearly 27 years of ministry, 17 of that in the UMC. I have served appointments in Waterloo/Evansdale/Raymond, Des Moines, Indianola and currently Stuart. I have served Hawthorn Hill Bd., Board of Ordained Ministry, Personnel Availability Review Committee, School for Ministry Registrar, and SW District Operational Team.
My core principles: Respect of Others, Building Unity & Celebrating Diversity which are guided by 1 Corinthian 13:4-7:
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I believe I am called to help the church strive toward this love.
A love that seeks to fix a broken legislative process which continues to divide.
A love that calls and validates “whosoever” will answer the call of Christ, Lay and Ordered.
A love that cast out fear & control and creates sound minds & power.
A love powerful enough to reveal truth amidst scriptural interpretative differences.
A love that doesn’t judge or discriminate but is a plumb line for holiness and righteousness.
This love is HARD connectional/relationship work! I’m ready to do the work!
Lynn (Lynn) Calvert
Laity : St. Mark's, Iowa City
I am a life-long United Methodist and have served in numerous ways in my local church. I am currently Dean of School for Lay Ministry, Cornell site and have served in this way since 2011. I am also currently Iowa Conference United Methodist Women President after having served at the local and district levels. I have also served on the Conference Budget Team and am currently on the Conference Kaizen Leadership Team. Recently, I served on one of the Board of Ordained Ministry exam teams. I have also facilitated 20 workshops on The Faith Communities Response to Domestic Violence, reaching hundreds of people. I have also been on three district leadership teams. These positions have enabled me to meet and work with many clergy and laity with different understandings of our current position.
I believe we should minister to all and allow all to minister. I believe we all read the same scripture and hear different words. I strive to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.
Laity : First United Methodist Church of Marion
I grew up ELCA Lutheran and in my high school years experienced a period of conflict within that denomination like what the United Methodist church is facing now. I felt like church leadership was not forthright about the issues facing the church and the politics involved. As a lay leader in the United Methodist church, I want to be a part of a transparent conversation that doesn’t withhold information from their congregations.
I desire to see the United Methodist church hold to a distinct, transformational identity within a changing, post-Christian culture. I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to place Him at the center of our identity and conform ourselves to Him, rather than conforming His words to our liking. I think that need to do a better job of being the people of God rather than squabbling and jockeying over political position. I long for the United Methodist church to embrace the movement of the Holy Spirit rather than cling to vestiges of a failing and fractured institution. I want my family to be led by leaders who submit to Christ’s authority above their own preferences. I want to see our church embody reconciliation, redemption, justice, and beauty in our time and if elected will seek to lead toward this vision.
Local involvement: Director of Worship and Technology, Preacher, Director of Local Mission
Conference/District involvement: Annual Conference worship leader, Conference Licensing School staff, School for Practical Ministry worship leader, Summer Games University board member.
Michael (Mike) Carey
Clergy : Janesville/Hudson
I have been serving the Iowa Annual Conference since 1999. Previous to that, I served in the Minnesota and North Indiana Conferences of the United Methodist Church. I have been professional clergy since 1973. I have served on district committees on congregational development and church and location. I have served conference committees for Equitable compensation, Christian Unity and I currently serve as a conference trustee from the northeast district. On July 1, will be appointed to Nevada UMC. Prior to that I have served: Janesville/Hudson, Cresco, Riceville/McIntire and Newton First associate. My wife is Candie Carey who is also an elder, serving the New Hampton UMC.
I am deeply grieved by the recent decisions of the 2019 special general conference. I am progressive in my belief that the United Methodist Church needs to be totally inclusive and stop inflicting pain upon any and all groups. I favor the ongoing conversations that are going on around the connectional table that would create a special committee or even a central conference that would deal specifically and exclusively with matters relevant to the UMC in the United States.
I believe the worst thing we can do as a church is to let go of one another. Schism is worse then heresy. I believe through the power of the Holy Spirit, there is a way to unravel this Gordian knot without cutting it. There is nothing we can do better apart then together. We need to continue to work this process through.
Thomas (Tom) Carver
Clergy : Bettendorf, Asbury
Relationships are everything. Human relationships that reflect God's love in Jesus are a taste of heaven. Earning trust is the first task of leadership. I attempt to earn trust by being present with people, listening in order to understand, and then seeking their well-being above my own. It is only after trust has been established that a vision for the future can be cast. Transformation then happens as the Holy Spirit works through relationships of people helping each other to make God’s vision become reality.
I have served churches in Toledo and Shueyville (22 years). I’ve been on the Conference Board and District Committee of Ordained Ministry and also served in city government. As a District Superintendent I was instrumental in changing the annual pastoral evaluation to become the current “Another Set of Eyes” tool. I was a jurisdictional delegate in 2012 (reserve) and 2016.
I'm a traditional compatibilist which means that I value people who have a different perspective than mine. I am inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote that, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
Just like outdated church buildings, our denominational structures can become a millstone that weighs us down in a changing environment. I will work for change that provides flexibility and enough space for differing interpretations of Scripture. One thing is sure, Jesus is the hope of the world who can unite us in mission even if it is in separate structures.
Laity : Des Moines, Marquisville United Methodist Church
I was baptized, raised and confirmed (in 1968) in the United Methodist Church. As Bishop Haller recently said, “The Laity is at the heart of the United Methodist Church”. Part of the way to be the heart is to serve.
As a member of Marquisville UMC in Des Moines, I am very active. I became a Certified Lay Servant in 2016. I serve as Liturgist, fill the Pulpit when called upon, and the Treasurer. I am currently attending School for Lay Ministry and am scheduled to graduate in 2020. It has helped me be more comfortable serving.
In regards to serving on the District or Conference level, my only area of service is as an equalization member for the Central District.
I am part of the Walk to Emmaus, Chrysalis communities and have not only served on the weekends but on the Board for both. I am also a martial artist and serve as Treasurer for the State Taekwondo Association, tournament volunteer, judge, and referee from coast to coast.
In regards to the major issue affecting the church, I believe that we are called to love one another and aren’t to be the judge and jury. Each person will need to stand before God and respond to how we have lived our lives. I am unaware of the other issues and concerns which will be brought up at General Conference at this time.
Katie (Katie Z.) Dawson
Clergy : Des Moines, Immanuel
I am a bridge builder. I served in the small town of Marengo and now at Immanuel in Des Moines. Between, I led Imagine No Malaria Iowa as we raised more than $2 million to save lives in sub-Saharan Africa. I have taught HCI groups, helped craft our strategic priorities, and currently serve on our conference Rules of Order and the General Board of Global Ministries as the Secretary for UMCOR. I see the amazing things we accomplish by contextualizing ministry, listening, and collaborating across borders, barriers, and theological divides. I also can see all we have to lose if we do not care well for the work before us and one another.
I have learned that we can only do this if we trust others enough to share our truths. I believe God is working through our LGBTQ+ siblings and I will be in ministry with them (including weddings) and affirm their call to ministry (including ordination). I also believe that no part of the church can say to another “I have no need of you,” and continue to be in conversation with conservative colleagues. I believe we must repent of colonialism and can have a better, mutual relationship with our siblings in Central Conferences.
The 2020 Conference must also repent of the harm done to our witness and to LGBTQ+ persons as we respond to the damage and division of 2019. We must wrestle with the global nature of our church, strengthen congregations, and repair our broken connection.
Laity : First United Methodist Church of Marion
The United Methodist Church is my home. I was baptized and confirmed in the United Methodist Church. Growing up at the Shueyville United Methodist Church I had great leaders and a Pastor who shaped me into the disciple I am today. As a youth I tried to volunteer for all I could at church. If the church’s doors were open, you most likely saw me there throughout my middle and high school years.
While at Shueyville, I was sent through Chrysalis. I was given many opportunities to serve in leadership roles at Chrysalis and also served as the Community Lay Director for 3 years. My time at Shueyville helped shape me to be the leader that God has called me to. Since my graduation from the University of Iowa I have been working in youth ministry.
I am a millennial who loves Jesus, fiercely. I want to represent that in all that I do and all who I am. I often say to my students, "You may be the only Jesus someone ever sees." I strive to live out the great commission that Jesus left us with, to make disciples for the transformation of the world.
I want to help grow this church into a new future, a future of active disciples. The United Methodist Church is changing in my generation of people, and I have many more decades left in this church. I want to see this church actively running toward the goal that God has set before us.
Laity : Indianola First United Methodist Church, Indianola IA
I have been a member of Indianola First United Methodist Church for more than twenty years. During these years I have been blessed by a welcoming community, United Methodist Women circles, pastors/mentors/teachers/facilitators and friends that have helped me and my family in our journey to learn and grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.
This journey has inspired me to serve in the local church, the district, conference and jurisdiction in different leadership roles. Through these service opportunities and by engaging in local and global mission opportunities I have continuously learned to live in deep appreciation for the similarities and differences amongst brothers and sisters with different backgrounds and that have experienced different faith journeys from mine.
Through the School of Lay Ministry I gained understanding about our United Methodist traditions, doctrine, policies and structure; and also deepen my relationship with God and grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I believe our church and connectional system are uniquely equipped to serve the needs of our communities and transform the world by living our faith and serving others in loving and respectful ways.
I ask for your support and vote to be a delegate to General Conference.
Laity : Ankeny First United Methodist Church
I am Lindsay Drake, a young adult lay delegate from the Central District. I serve as the Director of Adult Discipleship at Collegiate UMC and Wesley Foundation in Ames, where I have the privilege to be a part of a community of faith that is committed to the full inclusion of all people.
While my love runs deep for the local church, I also see the valuable potential in the connectional nature of this denomination. This very conference nurtured me as a youth and led me to a life committed to the work of the church and a life seeking justice for all of God’s creation. I believe deeply in the need for an inclusive United Methodist Church in our world.
I have served:
*as a reserve delegate to General Conference in 2016 and 2019
*as a jurisdictional delegate in 2016
*various conference leadership roles, including the chairperson for the Board of Discipleship, a member of the SLI and L3 Communities of Faith team, School for Lay Ministry Commission member and currently the vice chairperson for Conference Connectional Ministries Council
*as a member of the Board of Directors for the United Methodist Publishing House.
I grieve the decisions made at the 2019 Special General Conference. This denomination must no longer stand on the premise of exclusion and injustice, especially towards our LGBTQIA+ siblings. General Conference 2020 is our opportunity to move towards a kin-dom full of God’s love and grace.
Paul (Paul) Evans
Clergy : Garner United Methodist Church, Garner, IA
A lifelong member of the United Methodist church I was baptized, confirmed, and served the Correctionville UMC and served as a board member. After moving to Cushing, I became their UMYF adult leader. Receiving my call to ministry in 1986 I attended Westmar College and served as pulpit supply at the Seney UMC being licensed as a local pastor in 1989. I then attended Iliff School of Theology while serving two rural churches in Colorado. Becoming an elder in 1996 I served Bedford/Gravity, Kingsley, Ogden Community, and now Garner.
I have served on the Conference Connectional Ministries Council, as Sioux City District Stewardship Chair and District Chair of Church Building and Location, Fort Dodge DCOM, Chair of the North Central DCOM, North Central Disaster Response Coordinator (the only ERT trainer for the Iowa Conference). I presently serve as Chair of the North Central Nominations Committee.
One of the strengths of the UMC is its diversity which keeps us connected to the changing ministry in today's world. It is disappointing that General Conference 2019 failed to pass The Way Forward to honor that diversity. Instead of allowing each minister and church to follow their own spiritual guidance from God, neither forcing ministers to perform gay marriages, but also not punishing those who see this as a civil and loving spiritual right. It is not fair that the Central Conferences are allowed to follow their own cultural differences but do not allow the U.S. to do the same. This needs to change.
Robert (Bob) Fenstermann
Laity : 1st United Methodist Church, Red Oak, IA
I was baptized in the Methodist Church as a baby, attended Sunday School, MYF and church regularly all my life. I have been a member of 1stUnited Methodist Church, Red Oak for the past 29 years. During this time I have taken an active part by chairing SPRC, Finance and the ADBoard. I am presently Lay Leader for 1stUMC and have represented our church at Annual Conference several times. I attend weekly Bible study and sing in the church choir. For 8 years I led the Middle School age Youth Group. I went on the Walk to Emmaus in 2009 and have been an Asst Table Leader. My enlistment in the Marine Corps, part of which I was a Chaplain Assistant, taught me leadership skills that I use often.
The unpleasant activities that took place at the St. Louis General Conference are unacceptable and have to stop. If chosen to represent the Iowa Conference at Minneapolis I will abide by and support The Book of Discipline as it stands. I believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman. I Believe that God loves us all and he is leading us to make the correct decision. I believe that we, as Methodists, must decide that although we have differences we can come together in a civil manner and divide into two separate churches and follow the word of God, not follow the way of society.
I pray that we allow God to lead us.
Lilian (Lilian) Gallo Seagren
Clergy : District Superintendent
I was born and raised in the Philippines in the parsonage. My father, Luis, served the United Methodist Church for 50 years. Educated in public schools, public university, and a United Methodist Church-related university in the Philippines. Prior to entering credentialed ministry and seminary education at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, I was a Registered Social Worker, a community organizer and a Social Work Educator for seven years. I also taught Pastoral Care, Age-Level Ministries, Practical Ministries and Biblical Theological Reflections at Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines. I have served the Iowa Annual Conference for twenty three years and currently serving the 7th year as Southeast District Superintendent.
I was the 6th elected clergy in 2012 and the 1st elected clergy in 2016. I have always been convinced that laity-clergy partnership, intentional discipleship and mission engagement are the drivers of healthy congregations. Wherever I am serving I faithful and fruitfully recruit, encourage, equip and deploy leaders, servants, and credentialed laity and clergy into the fields.
I believe that The United Methodist Church will only be able to reach unity when we make a commitment to co-existence in our theological diversity. I am an "Evangelical Clergy" who has committed one's mind and heart to co-exist with others. Holiness of the heart begins with our relationship with Jesus whose love has pursued us gracefully and mercifully. Holiness of the heart necessitates my enduring commitment to being formed and shaped by the Holy Scriptures and the perfecting work of the Holy Spirit. In a world where one tribe is against another, one religion is suspicious towards the other, one race is indifferent towards another, and one socio-economic class is prejudiced towards the other, I dream of a Church that is committed to co-exist in the spaces of worship and prayer and in the fields of service and witness. Impossible dream this may sound but by the grace of Jesus and the every present power of God's Spirit, I am committed to give myself in the ways I have been gifted to this witness and dream.
Matt (Matt) German
Clergy : Cedar Falls First United Methodist Church
I am a life-long United Methodist. This is the church that baptized me, confirmed me, and nurtured my call to ministry. It is the denomination that I have dedicated my life to serve as an Ordained Elder. I have been in professional ministry for the last 15 years and have a deep love for God’s church. I have served through many district committees including Parish Development, District Ministry teams, and am a faculty member of the Iowa Licensing School. I was discipled in a small church but have served a county seat and large membership congregations during my ministry that have been very diverse in theological perspectives.
I believe there is room in the church for conservatives and progressives if we would only create the space to be in collective ministry together. The discriminatory language of the traditionalist plan from the 2019 General Conference has excluded our LGBTQ kin. It has also alienated centrists and progressives from the church. In light of this, choosing to be silent is not an option. A large portion of the North American United Methodist Church is wondering if there will be a place for them any longer. As Paul says, “The eye cannot say to the hand I have no need of you.” We are one body in Christ Jesus. We are called to turn towards each other…and not on one another. I desire to lead a local church and a denomination that leaves room at the table for us all.
Humberto (Humberto) Gonzalez
Clergy : Fe y Esperanza UMC
Hi. I am a Cuban immigrant who sees every day the combination of God's grace and power all over my life, family and ministry. I got here to the US called by God to reach out to all people, and that's what I've done. I have served both English and Spanish speaking churches as a pastor for the last 7 years, and got ordained in June 2018. I'm currently serving a multicultural Community of Faith at "Fe y Esperanza UMC" in Council Bluffs, IA. I feel called to ministry to all people with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
This is the Good News that saved me 27 years ago as a teenager. The understanding that sin keeps us away from God, but repentance reconciles us with him as expressed in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Therefore I'm not called to preach my truth or my feeling, but God's message of Transformative Grace. A Grace that is so amazing that will not leave us the way we are found but change us all for better.
I believe the continuing conflict over human sexuality have us already divided, and has been damaging all sides of the controversy for too long. I think General Conference 2020 is the opportunity to may way for a healthy separation in which all sides can make their way forward without restrictions or conflicts over this matter.
Thanks for taking your time to read. God bless you!
Kay (Kay) Graber
Laity : United Methodist Church of Mount Vernon 1962
I have been a member of the UMC of Mt. Vernon Iowa since 1962. During that time I have been UMW President, director of VBS, chair twice of Administrative Council and Church Council, was chair at the time we adopted a Diversity/ nInclusivity statement in 1997, published in local paper and including homosexuals as well as people of color, etc. As chair of Peace and Justice ministry team, I led a five-year support of an undocumented immigrant paying all fees for his green card and am now the JFON Clinic Coordinator at Lovely Lane Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids. I have a gay son who is living with a partner. They are the two most loving people I have ever known. My son's students at the Univ. of NC say they have never had a professor who cared so much about them. I am passionate about inclusion of gay and transgender persons as children of God with full rights to marriage and the pastorate. I have been a delegate at Annual Conference for the past 4 years.
Clergy : St. Charles Parish (UM-D)
Serving a federated church (UM & Disciples of Christ), I have experienced the support of two different denominations in different ways. While we have many things that we need to change, I am thankful to be United Methodist. The support, connectional nature, and systems to keep ourselves in check are things I took for granted before serving in St. Charles.
Angela (Angela) Hansen-Abbas
Laity : Rippey UMC
As an active member of the UMC all of my life, my passion is in missions and spreading God's love to those around me. I have been active in youth ministry for 15 years and enjoy seeing their faces light up as they finally "get it." I have been the Central District Lay Leader for 4 years which allows me to serve on many Central District committees. I graduated from the Simpson School for Lay Ministry in 2015 and am a firm believer in what John Wesley taught. I am a facilitator for Health Church Initiative. I am on the Central District Operational Team and am excited about growing the concept of Loving, Learning, and Leading throughout the Conference as we find a way to continue serving each other in God's love. I have served in many positions in the local church - lay leader, worship leader, SPRC chair, youth leader, pianist, and many more. My belief is that God is Love and we are not to judge. My prayer is that we can find a way to move forward knowing that we are all children of God and our role here on earth is to spread his Kingdom to ALL.
Laity : Alburnett United Methodist Church
I love Jesus and strive to represent Him first and foremost. I heard a loud calling
from General Conference 2019 for young, passionate disciples of Jesus to stand firm in
the faith and lead our denomination forward.
My Methodist roots run generations deep and corn fields wide. Both sets of
grandparents ministered to small, farming communities within the Methodist
denomination – from Sunday school teacher to certified lay speaker. I am a
life-long member of Alburnett United Methodist Church where I was baptized,
began my friendship with Jesus, and later confirmed.
I am proud to serve alongside my husband, Andrew, who is a United Methodist
pastor. Currently, I am volunteering in our nursery where our one-and-a-half-year-old
and three-month-old, alongside other little ones, are continually teaching me love and
grace. I also clean both church buildings weekly.
I am passionate to represent the love Christ has personally shown me. I promise
to continually pray that, as a delegate, I will reflect Christ’s own heart and let the Spirit
lead my every vote. And with your vote, I would be honored to represent you at the
global gathering in 2020. Here I am. Send me!
Clergy : Center Point United Methodist Church
Jesus is the reason I am a United Methodist pastor and with much anticipation I will be ordained in full connection as an Elder of the United Methodist Church at the Iowa Annual Conference 2019. Through my journey of the ordination process, I have been reaffirmed and strengthened as an orthodox Christian. I have served Delmar and Elwood United Methodist Churches and currently pastor at Center Point United Methodist Church.
My wife Amy and I are proud parents of two young daughters and together with passion we serve the Lord. Alongside my role as a pastor, I serve as the East Central District Disaster Relief Coordinator. Each context presents the joy and excitement of Gods transforming power.
Having served three churches, I have witnessed the brokenness and heartache manifested by the theological divide that exists within the United Methodist Church. I believe we have become so separated theologically that it is time to do ministry in a new way that shows respect to one another. Now is the time to embrace our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
I would be honored to represent you. My hope and prayer, if elected to GC 2020 would be to stand upon God’s transforming Word to bring hope and God’s blessing to His Church!
Rebecca (Becky) Heeren
Laity : Christ United Methodist Church, Toledo, IA
Before becoming a United Methodist, I didn't fully appreciate the Connectional System. In the past 35+ years as a UMC member, I have witnessed amazing benefits of these partnerships. It is both humbling and empowering to be part of something bigger. As a delegate to General Conference in 2016 and 2019, I was honored to participate in the discussions and decisions of our global denomination.
Personal: Born and raised in Red Oak, Iowa
Married 39 years to Brent
Toledo, Iowa resident/community volunteer
Host parents -- International High School Exchange Program
Children: Amanda -- Seminary student, Iliff School of Theology
Alisha (Justin) Natvig -- Product Manager
Tyler -- Attorney, specializing in immigration law
Tessa -- Researcher, Iowa Public Policy Center, University of Iowa
Grandchildren: Stella and Oliver -- I have pictures if you want to see them!
Church: Sunday School Teacher
Chair, Missions Committee
Northeast District: Committee on Ministry, and Nominations
Conference: Board of Global Ministries
United Methodist Women:
Current: Conference Mission Coordinator for Spiritual Growth
Past: Dean, Mission u
Northeast District Vice President
Waterloo District Nominations
Education/Vocation: Iowa State University -- BS-Psychology/Family Services; MS-Counseling
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
25+ years in Community Mental Health
Currently: Staff Counselor, Grinnell College Student Health and Wellness
I am passionate about improving the lives of society's marginalized, especially people with mental illness.
My unique skill set (relationship-building, problem-solving, advocating) is a valuable asset as a Delegate to General/Jurisdictional Conference.
I appreciate your consideration and vote.
Laity : St. Mark's United Methodist Church, Iowa City
“In the Spirit’s lively scheming, there is always room to spare.” This line from the hymn “Come and Find the Quiet Center” always makes me smile. I have certainly seen the lively Spirit at work in my own life. Although my academic training is in pharmacy and pharmacology, my current vocation is Christian Education. I may be the only Christian Educator with a Ph.D. in Pharmacology!
For the last 14 years I have written curriculum for the United Methodist Publishing House. I have written for Deep Blue, Grow, and Live B.I.G. children’s curriculums and Bible Lessons for Youth. I have also written the Children’s Leader Guides for some of Cokesbury’s Advent and Lenten studies.
I was involved with the School for Lay Ministry from 2009-2018, co-teaching the Christian Education weekend at Simpson and Morningside Colleges. I enjoyed this experience as it offered me an opportunity to meet people from across the state.
At the local level I have served in many different leadership roles in my church and currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Wesley Center at the University of Iowa.
When I write curriculum, I emphasize God’s amazing, never-ending love for us. I want children (and adults) to know there is nothing that can change God’s love for God’s children. And we are ALL God’s children. As a life-long United Methodist, it is my dream to see the denomination truly live into the slogan, “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.”
Richard (Rick) Hofmeyer
Laity : First United Methodist Church of Fayette
My name is Rick Hofmeyer and I would be honored to represent you at the 2020 General Conference. I was baptized in the Methodist Church and confirmed in the United Methodist Church, so I am a life-long United Methodist. (In fact, my Great Uncle was an Illinois delegate to the Uniting Conference in 1968.) On the conference level, I am completing my second term on CF&A, doing my best to balance our desires with our financial reality. Four years ago, I was elected to be a lay delegate to the Jurisdictional Conference, making me an alternate to the General Conference. As such, I attended both the 2016 General Conference in Portland and the 2019 Special General Conference in St. Louis.
In the local church, I have held most offices through the years, and currently am financial secretary and a member of the SPRC. My church has 15-20 worshipers in the pews most Sundays, and is in a 2 point charge with another similar church 15 miles away. I have experienced the challenges and triumphs of small, rural churches for decades and will take that knowledge to the General Conference if I am elected.
In this polarized time, both in our nation and in our church, I will listen and prayerfully consider the views on both sides of each issue, and will vote as I believe small Iowa churches would vote. Thank you for your consideration.
Rachel (Rachel) Hollingsworth
Laity : Immanuel United Methodist- Des Moines
I have been United Methodist my entire life. As I grew up, the United Methodist Church fostered my call to ministry and helped form me into the person I am today. I have always been interested in justice, and I am called to lead social change. Part of social change is figuring out a way forward for all of us after the 2019 General Conference. I want to be a part of this process in the upcoming year and at General Conference 2020 as an ally with members of the LGBT+ community, and as someone that will serve as a pastor in the near future. My position going into General Conference 2020 is that we are to "make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." Regardless of the future of the Church, and no matter what side people are on, we must remain committed and recommit ourselves to this mission. As we make decisions about the future of the United Methodist Church, I will think about this mission first and foremost.
My experiences interning at the Religious Life Community at Simpson College, interning at West Des Moines UMC, serving on the Iowa Commission on the Status and Role of Women, and the Central District Nomination's Committee, have all helped me articulate my passion for both the local church and our larger Christian community.
Chad (Chad) Jennings
Clergy : Newton, St. Luke UMC
As a delegate to General Conference, I will represent the interests of the Iowa Annual Conference and its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ that exhibit faith, fruit, and fire. I promise to listen before speaking, pray before deciding, and follow the Spirit’s call in decisions that affect the life and ministry of United Methodists around the world.
I am a life-long United Methodist in Iowa and a pastor for 16 years. My desire is to serve here for many more. I serve as Vice-Chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, on the Central District dCOM, and mentor several pastors in process. I teach Worship and Preaching at the Iowa Licensing School. In the past, I have served on Sessions and led the Academy for New Ministry Development. I have served in rural, suburban, and small town settings.
I believe that the local church is where most of us engage in ministry, but that our ministries are made stronger by the connection of The United Methodist Church. I am called to work toward making those connections even more meaningful for the future of God’s church.
Heecheon (Heecheon) Jeon
Clergy : Central District Superintendent
With prayerful discernment I would like to offer myself as a delegate nominee to help prepare a church more relevant for next generations in enhancing the mission of the global United Methodist Church. Because we are living in a globally diverse world, I believe the church needs to be equipped and transformed to carry the gospel of Jesus to the people in Iowa as well as around the world with creative imagination. I imagine a church that welcomes all and journeys toward diversity and inclusion. It requires adaptive leadership, innovative boldness, the capacity to be theologically and culturally multilingual, passion for justice and equality, convicted humility with integrity, a curiosity to learn, and a risk-taking courage to try and fail. We need deeply committed leaders who have a passion for our Wesleyan heritage and global methodism that fosters social and personal holiness, liberating education for all, and the worldwide church. We also need effective leaders who are grounded in biblical and theological foundations and faithful commitment to offering Christ to the world in this time of uncertainty, plurality, ambiguity and volatility.
I have demonstrated all these leadership qualities as the central district superintendent, a board member of GBHEM, a adjunct professor of Philosophy and Religion at Drake, a member of the Board of Trustees of Simpson College, and a pastor who passionately served rural, suburban, and urban churches in Iowa. I also hold a PhD from Claremont Graduate University in Philosophy of Religion and Theology, and published books and articles, including Subjectivity of Différance. With those qualities and experiences I would be able to serve our annual conference as well as the general church as a delegate. I would be truly honored to represent the diversity of Iowa Conference and to help guide the future of our denomination at this critical juncture.
Alexe (Alee) Johnson
Laity : Osceola UMC
I have been actively fighting for social justice since a young age. When I was only 6 years old, I started a mission project at my church collecting shoes for school children in Mexico. More recently, I have been serving as a youth member of the Board of Church and Society, further fighting toward justice and I am active in Osceola United Methodist church in Osceola Iowa. I also had the opportunity to partake in the Simpson Youth Academy-- doing God's work, learning about theology, and learning about vocation. Now, I hope to fulfill God's purpose for me by advocating for those who need advocated for-- LGBTQIA people like me, people of color, women, youth, and all of God's children who are oppressed. We are tired of being voiceless. We are tired of being powerless. And with your help, I would like to prove that anyone can do anything. For, even a young, queer kid like me can do all things through Christ. That is, if you would just give me a chance.
Alexis (Alexis) Johnson
Clergy : Broadway United Methodist Church
I have been an active part of the UMC since I was six months old. This is the church that raised me, nurtured my call into ministry, and continues to be the vehicle through which I believe the world could be changed. I love our understanding of ourselves as a "big tent" denomination. I have purposely chosen to be in relationship and ministry with those I disagree with because I believe our best growth comes from deep conversations. In a society that is continuously defining "us" and "them", I believe Hope Made Real is the unifying and reconciling work of Jesus Christ.
In my time as an Elder in Iowa, I have served as a RIM leader, a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry including the Executive Committee, a member of the District Committee on Ordained Ministry, and the Chaplain of the Iowa Licensing School. I am currently part of the team tasked with designing and implementing the Eight-Year Assessment. I am passionate about investing in lay leaders and empowering the call to ministry in its many forms. What is happening at the General Conference level has a great impact on every level of our life together, and I want to be a part of that conversation.
Amy (Amy) Johnson
Clergy : Osceola United Methodist Church
Thank you for your consideration. My involvement in my church, community, and denomination runs deep. I have a relentless love for Iowa and all her people. I serve the church as pastor, DCOM member, a member of the Ministry with the Poor Core Team, a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry, and as a mentor. As my call comes from discovering grace in the midst of my own struggles with growing up in poverty, I have a deep compassion for ministry with those who are experiencing harder times than most, and I absolutely affirm the words of scripture: "nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus." I have known too painfully the rejection of a judgmental church due to nothing more than birthright. Still, despite rejection as a small child by that church, I have only known a gracious God. Our message to the world must be that whatever the future holds, even in the midst of our sin, we shall stubbornly love our neighbors and abundantly share God's never-ending grace. It is not for us to direct God, but for us to share a God who is so much better than we can ever be with the future members of our denomination. If God's will is for me to serve as delegate, I will remain faithful to that call.
Clergy : Grace United Methodist Church, Oelwein, Iowa
I began my first full-time appointment April 1, 1981. Because of my wife's health, I retired April 3, 2016. After a one year "sabbatical" I returned to pulpit supply for a church in transition for one year, and since July 1, 2018, I have been at a half-time appointment.
Because the church has reached a state of "irreconcilable differences" the division into two separate churches seems inevitable. Making this transitions as equitable and sustainable as possible, especially for the local church must be our main goal.
Scott (Scott) Kisker
Clergy : United Theological Seminary
I am an elder in the Iowa Annual Conference, serving in extension ministry as a professor of church history and associate dean for masters programs at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH. I was educated at United Methodist schools, earning an MDiv from Duke Divinity School, and a PhD from Drew University. My ministry focus is teaching, seminary administration, speaking throughout the connection, domestically and Internationally, and writing. My books include The Band Meeting (with Kevin Watson), Longing for Spring (with Elaine Heath), Mainline or Methodist?, and Foundation for Revival. I am also one of the hosts of the bi-weekly Wesleyan podcast “Plain Truth: A Holy-Spirited Podcast,” a ministry to engage and resource the church.
Prior to coming to United I served as pastor of the American Protestant Church in Bonn, Germany, director of the Charles Wesley Heritage Center in Bristol, UK, pastor at Colesburg United Methodist Church in Colesburg, IA, professor of church history at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and director of the Course of Study for the Northeast Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. I am married to Roberta and have five children, Maria, Susanna, Isaac, Tabitha, and Naomi. We are active members of New Hope UMC, a storefront church in Dayton, OH that focuses on recovery. I view the critical issues of the facing the church today as a church historian, concerned with preserving the doctrine, discipline, and unity of the Church across time and geography, who longs for renewal in our connection through the work and power of the Holy Spirit.
Prudence (Prudy) Klinger
Laity : Waterloo First United Methodist Church, Waterloo, Iowa
Community mission, outreach, and service are my focus. As an active member of Waterloo First, my husband and I created (and still cook for) a community meal monthly in our church and work with the Church Row Community Meals to feed the neighborhood. As an engaged layperson, I am the lay leader and serve as the facilitator for the Northeast Iowa District Operational Team. I also serve on the SPRC, foundation board, the administrative council, and you'll find me singing in the church choir every Sunday.
I attended the St. Louis General Conference in February hoping to be present when the United Methodist church became fully inclusive and came home filled with the certainty that I have been called to represent folks like me and my home church who want our voice to be heard and for our church to thrive. I do not believe it is right or fair (or practical) to allow the Discipline to be contextually flexible to every place on earth except the U.S. and am committed to changing our church law.
Clergy : Cedar Falls First
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
(I commend the whole letter to you: http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/letter_birmingham_jail.pdf .)
“Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
I spoke up, “I’ll go. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)
- Ordained in 1997
- Pastor, Cedar Falls First UMC
- Member, Board of Ordained Ministry (Co-Chair, Examinations)
- Member, Northeast District Committee of Ordained Ministry
- Faculty member, School for Lay Ministry
Clergy : Fort Dodge First UMC
I have been an active United Methodist since my confirmation in 1990. It was at Broadway United Methodist Church in Council Bluffs that I named and claimed my call to ministry. I attended Morningside College and then received my MDIV from Saint Paul School of Theology. I was ordained in 2009 and have served Carter Lake UMC, Boone First UMC, and currently Fort Dodge First. I have served on the District Committee on Ministry and currently serving on the Board of Ordained Ministry.
I fell in love with the United Methodist Church when I learned about what God's grace was. That God loved me no matter what and all people were welcome into God's church. In the eyes of God I was good enough, even when society said differently. As my daughter Grace would say, "God doesn't make mistakes, God just makes works of art." Each of us is a work of art. We are God's masterpiece. I would love for us as a church to embrace the sacred worth of all people. That we are all made in God's image. We are all loved deeper than we could ever imagine. And that you and I are ALL called to be active in making disciples for the transformation of the world.
My prayer for our church as we move forward is to widen our table to include all those who wish to love and serve Jesus Christ and to build the Kingdom of God. I pray that as we gather at the table we can listen to one another's faith stories and hear where we have found hope and grace. I pray that we can see beyond what divides us and instead see how we can be united in our ministries, our mission, and our vision. It is only then that we can continue to create a welcoming place for all of God's children to learn, worship, and grow.
As a delegate, I promise to listen, to grow, to pray, to learn, and to speak the truth in love.
Frederick (Fred Lewis) Lewis
Clergy : retired - membership at AmesCollegiate UMC
William (Bill) McAlpine
Clergy : Langdon iowa
I am a member of the Langdon UMC, an elder in the Iowa Conference, and a member board of global ministries. I have made five trips to the National Board of Church Camps. I am member of the Rotary, the City Mayor of Laural, Iowa. I was a college teacher for 13 years and my wife and daughter are both pastors.
Clergy : St. Mark's United Methodist Church, Iowa City
“How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in your eye?” (Matthew 7:4)
Brian K. (Brian) Milford
Clergy : President and Publisher of The United Methodist Publishing House
My passion is for increasing the effectiveness of every UM congregation and the UM connectional system in reaching and serving our communities near and far to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. My commitment is to help build UMC capabilities and structures that are rooted in the distinctive Wesleyan tradition and ethos while also attentive to varied contexts, assuring relevance and resonance in sharing the good news and transforming power of Christ in every local faith community.
I am a member of the Iowa Conference, currently serving under appointment as the President and Publisher of The United Methodist Publishing House. I am responsible for oversight of the editorial content and production and distribution of all materials produced for churches, individuals, and seminaries. I also serve on the Connectional Table as General Secretary of an agency of the Church. I hold myself accountable for proactively listening for and advancing the interests of the local church and our shared connectional mission.
Prior to my appointment to UMPH, I served for seven years as district superintendent of the SW district and twice as Dean of the Bishop’s Cabinet. Earlier I served for fourteen years as pastor of Lovely Lane UMC in Cedar Rapids. Before that I was pastor in Granger, Iowa; Greytown, New Zealand, and Glasgow, Scotland. I earned an M. Div. from the Divinity School of Duke University and a Bachelor’s in Science and Business Administration from Iowa State University.
My prayer continues to be that the Church will unite around our shared mission. However I fully recognize that despite our significant legacy as a mainline denomination it may be time for us to separate and reform given the many significant issues causing disagreement and distraction across our Church.
In this and in all things, Jesus’ call to each of us to live lives of sacrificial love and mercy shows us the way to love God and neighbor.
Matthew (Matt) Miller
Clergy : Windsor UMC, Des Moines, IA
I was ordained an Elder in 1995. I am a UDTS graduate in 1992, received my DMin in 2011. I have served the Iowa Annual Conference with Camp Golden Valley, Co-Director of Lay Speaking Ministry, Lay Speaking instructor, and Board of Ordained Ministry. I have served seven (7) different appointments helping revitalize each. I am unashamed orthodox in my beliefs and practice of ministry.
I believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father, but by him. (John 14.6) Everyone is of sacred worth to God and the people called United Methodists, so any/all may come back to God by repentance of sin and receive forgiveness in Jesus' name.
Joy (Joy) Mitchell
Clergy : Mt Vernon
I am a newly ordained clergy woman. I have served as an ordained elder at the United Methodist Church of Mt Vernon for the last three years. I was ordained in 2017. I was raised in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America in Ames. Both of my parents were Iowa farm kids, and that blood runs deeply in my veins. I’ve been a United Methodist for 10 years. This, the UMC, is my spiritual home. Seminary taught me the theology and offered me words for the things I’d believed for years. I cannot remember a time that I did not know Jesus as my Savior and friend.
I serve on the District Committee on Ministry and am a member of the Executive Committee. I also serve on the Board of Ordained Ministry. I have served on both Walk to Emmaus and Chrysalis flights as Assistant Spiritual Director.
The primary thing on many of our minds today is what will happen to our beloved church. Whether we consider our local church or the connectional system, we have all been impacted by pain over our division. My greatest hearts’ desire in the turmoil we face is that God’s will be done. God first. And secondly that we would love our neighbors well. My prayer is that in every way we treat one another with grace and love, speaking kindly to one another, and allowing God to fill us with hope as we move forward, in whatever form that may end up being.
My greatest passion in ministry is prayer. It is an honor to be welcomed into the lives of people, their joys and sorrows, and to usher them to the feet of Jesus. The God we serve is much greater than we can fathom. I often fear that none of us trust God enough. My prayers will be covering all, through the General/Jurisdictional conference if I am elected to serve, or if I’m not. I will seek the comfort, wisdom, and counsel of the Holy Spirit. I will love my neighbor with kindness and respect, and I will do all I know to do, to be a faithful witness for my Lord.
Kathi (Kathi) Mitchell
Laity : Burr Oak UMC
As a graduate of the Simpson 2017 School for Lay Ministry, one of my classmates characterized me as a “social justice nut”. I proudly wear that moniker as I have dedicated my life to serving others in the spirit of Matthew 25 and John Wesley. I am a guardian to 3 unaccompanied Guatemalan children who sought refuge here from violence in their country. I represent the NE District on the Hispanic-Latino Ministries Board, co-coordinate the quarterly JFON Legal Clinic in Decorah, serve on the ecumenical Board of Path to Citizenship, Immigration Working Group of NEIPJC, and Decorah Area Faith Coalition. Over the years I have assisted families and children struggling with issues of child abuse and neglect, poverty, mental illness, behavioral challenges, substance abuse, domestic violence, disabilities, etc., serving families involved in Child Welfare, Juvenile Court, Children’s Mental Health Waiver, and now, in retirement, Crossroads Academy. Currently I have been serving on the Bishop’s Mental Health Task Force as a Site Coordinator setting up opportunities for congregations across the state to access Mental Health First Aid Training. I recently served a term as Conference UMW Social Action Coordinator. I co-coordinate hunger initiatives in the Decorah area – Decorah Community Meal, Community Thanksgiving, and Empty Bowl. Daily I pray for God’s guidance to make decisions that move me toward a closer relationship with Jesus that leads me to love, accept, and serve others with the gifts and talents God has bestowed upon me.
Laity : Mount Vernon United Methodist Church
I grew up in the United Methodist church in Swartz Creek, Michigan I moved to Iowa for work after college in 2012 and attended Saint Marks Methodist Church in Iowa City, and then later First United Methodist Church in Iowa City. I became an official member of the church in Indianola, Iowa in 2016 when I was 32 years old. I'm currently a member of the United Methodist church of Mount Vernon where I serve as a member of the finance committee. I have been a district representative to the Iowa Annual conference for the last 2 years, and am one of the local church representatives this year.
I'm a member of a life group at my church where we get to discuss life. I started a breakfast ministry at our church last year and have gotten an opportunity to meet many of the wonderful people in Mount Vernon. I've also spent some time with the Table to Table organization in Iowa City for a number of years.
I believe in taking the lessons from the bible and employing them into our lives. They are an instruction to our lives and am blessed every time I do this. I think we can all encourage others to be the best Christians we can be. I think one of the special things about the Methodist Church is that we are a global church. People before me spread the word to a global audience and welcomed them with equal footing inside the church. I look forward to the opportunity being able to meet Methodists from around the world and continuing in this great Methodist tradition.
Clergy : Marion, First
United Methodism is in a critical moment. This is a moment to embrace, an opportunity to claim. In our generation we can birth a new Methodism, rooted in the Scripture, empowered by the Holy Spirit and focused on feeding the physically, spiritually and emotionally hungry. For this purpose, I desire to be elected to General Conference.
I have served as Lead Pastor at Marion, First since 2003. Beyond the local church I served 12 years on both BoOM and the Board of Trustees of Iowa Wesleyan College, chaired the Conference “Nothing but Nets” initiative and served various district and conference boards and task forces.
A passion for making new disciples has led me to be involved in Christian camping and to lead a dozen revivals in Missouri, Colorado, and Iowa. The churches I have pastored have been immersed in community-based advocacy and mission, which has included being the hub of UMCOR in the 2008 flood recovery effort, initiating and growing to 13,000 served lunches each summer through the feeding Lunches to Youth program, among others.
Most recently, under my leadership, First United Methodist of Marion acquired 29 acres of property, built and moved into a new worship facility that we desire to be a regional ministry center. My ministry has been marked by collaboration, clarity, and creativity, all qualities that General Conference will need to find our new way or ways. I am happy to be an evangelical growth-oriented United Methodist and ask your support.
Clergy : Winfield/Mount Union
I didn’t grow up in the United Methodist Church. It was at Morningside College that I first came into contact with the mission and ministry of the UMC. Later, after studying the theology and social principles, I found the spiritual home I’d been searching for. I freely chose to be a part of the UMC community. For almost 30 years I have been in ministry within the Iowa Annual Conference, serving 11 congregations of different sizes and in different communities.
I submit my name for General Conference because I have received so much from the UMC and want to give something back, especially in this time of great pain and uncertainty for many. My training and experience with Family Systems Theory helps provide a perspective that can lead us forward into God’s future ministry with trust and hope.
I am a part of a clergy couple with Linda who serves as a Licensed Local Pastor. I have served on my District Committee on Ministry and have supervised many Certified Lay Ministers who are currently leading churches.
Based on that experience and seeing the harm done to many of God’s beloved children as well as the damage done to our mission of grace, I seek to affirm God’s grace-filled ministry present in each person. I want to remove the barriers that prevent each person from knowing that they are Beloved by God, infused with God’s beauty and faithful love, and welcomed to serve God fully and freely.
Norma (Norma) Morrison
Laity : Muscatine Wesley UMC
As a lifelong United Methodist I offer the experience of membership in 10 churches in 4 states, in congregations of 75 to 1000. I have served in many capacities, from Lay Leader to Chairperson and member of many local, district, conference, and jurisdictional committees, from UMW activities to Certified Lay Speaker and your Conference Lay Leader for 8 years.
The UMC grew my faith through life-changing events including (UMW) School of Missions, Disciple Bible Study (4 years), Emmaus, Chrysalis, mission trips to Mexico and Cuba, School for Lay Ministry, and serving as a delegate to the World Methodist Council and 4 General Conferences. I offer additional perspective as a registered Potawatomi Indian and mission work in 4 Asian countries.
My heart grieves for the harm my beloved UMC is doing, both within the Church and in our witness to the world. We must become unified as disciples of Jesus Christ despite our differences and better minister to the spiritual and physical needs of all hurting, marginalized people everywhere. This may mean we bless each other by multiplying into 2 new denominations while staying connected through common boards and agencies. We must love our God more than The UMC.
I work diligently to be a bridge-builder and to set the example of being in right relationship with those of differing theologies to accomplish the mission of the Church. I am committed to study, prayer, and fasting for our United Methodist Church and discernment of the Holy Spirit to lead us.
Laity : Asbury UMC Bettendorf, IA
Over the course of my life, I have had an in and out relationship with God and the UMC. After working to genuinely understanding my walk with God I have been active in the church life of several different churches.
In the churches I have been in I have been active in the life of the youth and small groups ministries. I've helped run VBS programs, help run Sunday School programs, and start and lead small groups, including an active men’s group. During the leading of these programs, I felt a higher call on my life, one that lead me to start attending school for lay ministry. During this time, I continued to discern my relationship with God and felt a further call. I am currently attending Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. In addition to seminary, I’m the Youth and young adult director at Asbury UMC in Bettendorf, IA.
In my service in and out of the church, I have seen how the younger generations are impacted by what our current understandings are, and I have seen the hurt. I am a firm believer in that every person is created in the image of God. That image of God is in each of us, and each has the privilege and duty to extend that to all of the world. It is not our job to change the hearts of those we disagree with, but we are to work together so that God can make that change in all of us.
Sharon (Shari) Naughton
Laity : FUMC, Iowa City, IA
I have been a member of the Methodist church for
62 years and even as a child was active in the church. I attended youth fellowship, Methodist church
camp, sang in the choir and gave the youth sermon
on special Sundays. I attended Morningside College
Where I was a Religious Education and Music major.
I raised my two children in the Methodist Church where they were aldo active in the church youth programs at FUMC in Iowa City. When my son and his family told me they were changing churches for a more progressive one I was crushed but understood. I had to agree with them on our church discipline needing to become more accepting and tolerant discipline instead of a global discipline. That must be a priority. I am on the Board if Trustees at FUMC and am active in its ministries and want to see more acceptability in our discipline.
Emmanuel (Emmanuel) Naweji
Clergy : Harris and Lake Park
I am a life-long United Methodist and a firm believer that God has called us to remain faithful to God and God's mission, which is to make disciples of all nations. That is what I have been helping Churches do here in our Annual Conference since 2008, as a Pastor.
I have been at the General Conference in 2008 and 2012 to help as an interpreter, and as an observer at this year's Special General Conference. I already have some exposure to how our Church's legislative body operates. I also have global exposure since I was born in Belgium, lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe (while studying at Africa University) before coming to the U.S.
My highest education is a Doctor of Ministry from the University of Dubuque. My thesis was on Local Church ministry revitalization drawing on Wesley's and African Pastors serving American UM churches. I have also taught United Methodist Leadership, Doctrine and Organization at the school for Lay Ministry.
Beyond my two Churches, I have served on the NW District Operational Team (3 years), District Committee on Ordained Ministry, and as a mentor for Pastors.
I want to join the team that helps our Church discern the future God has in mind for us all, believing we can access it through intentional discerning grounded in Scripture searching, listening to God and each other.
Thank you so much for your consideration, and I hope you choose me to represent you at the 2020 General Conference.
Calvin (Cal) Nicklay
Laity : Osage First UMC, Osage, Iowa
My name is Calvin Nicklay. I live in Osage with my wife Deborah. We have three grown daughters and three beautiful grandchildren.
I have been a member of the United Methodist Church for 30 years; the past 20 as a member of Osage 1st UMC. A pastor and her husband, in my home state of Minnesota, encouraged me through Disciple Bible Study, lay speaking classes and Walk to Emmaus.
In Osage, I have served on most local church committees, led worship, served as local lay leader and developed a passion for hospitality and outreach. I helped to establish an on-going, monthly, free summer picnic for the community. I currently lead a hospitality team in the local church. I began duties as lay leader of the Northeast District last July and as such am involved with several district committees and the Board of Laity.
I was grieved and left wondering, as so many others, following the 2019 special General Conference. I believe in the inclusion and full participation, in the United Methodist Church, of all people who would believe in Jesus Christ as their savior.
I am hopeful that conversations around the relationship between the United States and the Central Conference will yield more autonomy for the United States.
Cindy Gregorson of the Minnesota Conference reminded her constituents that the last time the General Conference was held in Minnesota, 1954, “delegates made the historic decision to approve full clergy rights for women. I really believe there could be another breakthrough here in Minneapolis in 2020.”
That is my prayer and I would like to be a part of that.
Nathaniel (Nate) Nims
Clergy : Waterloo First UMC
Throughout my ministry, I have sought to make disciples and transform the world through intentional relationships and mission with the community by creating and fostering partnerships. This continually creates unique opportunities that witness to our faith and social principles. My ministry is centered on creating new places for new people, witnessing to the love that God has for everyone. This has led to bar ministries, free pantries, partnerships with area non-profits and more.
In my ministry I’ve served as a RIM facilitator, clergy mentor, member of the SLI and L3 communities of faith team, Threehouse: A Wesley Foundation Board Chair, and former Chair of the Iowa Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, Secretary of Cedar Valley’s Promise Policy Board and member of Main Street Waterloo’s Promotion Council. I was honored to serve as a delegate to the 2016 Jurisdictional Conference and reserve delegate to the 2016 General Conference. In my near decade of ministry, I have served in rural and urban settings, seeing the value of contextual ministry that meets the needs of the community by connecting with the passions of the church. I know that our church can be a witness to God’s grace for all persons. We can mirror the pains and politics of the world, or we can be like Christ and share with everyone we meet the reign of God. My hope and prayer is that I can help our church witness to the grace of God in all that we do.
Rebecca (Becca) Nims
Laity : St. Paul's United Methodist Church
I have spent my whole life as apart of the United Methodist Church. I was baptized at St. Paul’s United Methodist in Cedar Rapids, confirmed at Grace United Methodist in Spencer and was mentored as a teen in late high school at Immanuel United Methodist in Des Moines. Our United Methodist denomination is what has shaped me in my formative years. Whether it be through attending United Methodist camps in the summer, attending and then assisting at Chrysalis, and being active in music and youth ministries in the local churches.
In 2014 I accepted my first role as a Youth Ministry Director at First United Methodist in Cedar Falls. During my time in Cedar Falls, I also served as a Co-Youth Coordinator for the North East District. I am currently working with the youth of St. Paul’s United Methodist in Cedar Rapids.
As I think of our denomination and our young people in our church today, I desire to create a place for all where they can be known and know the love of God.
Clergy : Muscatine, Wesley
I have served the Iowa Annual Conference as a Local Pastor, Provisional Member, and Elder since 2002.
I received my BA from Grandview College, my M.Div. from UDTS, and an MBA from Eastern New Mexico University.
I have served at Tingley-Ellston-Wishard Chapel; Delmar-Elwood; Christ, Toledo-Living Faith, Tama/Montour, and I currently serve at Wesley UMC in Muscatine.
I served as a delegate to Jurisdictional Conference in 2016 and currently serve as the Chairperson of Business and Agenda and of the Rules of Order Committee for the Iowa Conference.
I have come to the reluctant conclusion that the United Methodist Church can no longer continue as we are. We are a “house divided.” I think that we have come to the point that the only way forward for us, without asking either side to violate their consciences or to compromise their deeply held beliefs, is some form of organizational separation. I do not think that this has to be a bad thing and that it can, and needs to, be done carefully, fairly, and peacefully.
I would like to humbly offer myself as one who is able to help us answer the structural and organizational challenges that face us in negotiating with each other about our future together and separately.
I appreciate your support.
Bobby Jo (Roberta) (Bobby Jo) Paige
Laity : Grundy Center United Methodist Church, Grundy Center
Hello! I am Bobby Jo (Roberta) Paige. I am a lifelong active United Methodist being the daughter, sister and niece of United Methodist pastors. I believe in the John Wesley’s balance of a strong faith in Jesus and being socially active locally, nationally and in our world. I believe in the love of Christ for all people and that we are to be Christ’s hands and feet here on earth. I am a lay speaker having graduated from School of Lay Ministry. I am active in UMW recently Dean of Mission u, chairperson for my local unit, and have been Northeast District Social Action. I am active on the Conference Church and Society Committee and MFSA. I am on Northeast District Committee on ordained Ministry. Locally I am the chairperson for our Mission Committee, starting and co-chair of our school’s backpack program from Northeast Iowa Foodbank. In 1997 I went on a VIM to Mexico and recently 2 mission trips to Haiti as an RN.
James (James) Parks
Clergy : Christ Church
My name is James Parks and I am originally from Marion. I have been serving as a pastor since 2004. My first appointment was a rural church that grew from one service to three services as new people joined what God was doing. I am now finishing my second year serving in Davenport where I am learning about ministry in an urban area and building new partnerships.
In these 15 years of service I have been a part of Parish Development Committee for the conference and Board of Ordained Ministry, along with many district and taskforce committees. Leadership and organizational structure are areas I see we can grow and improve to help our local churches be fruitful for God’s Kingdom.
I am a peacemaker and includer. I work to actively navigate difficult conversations to find resolution. I appreciate hearing different perspectives because I know I do not have it all figured out. I am also a hopeful optimist believing that God still does the impossible if we allow room for God to work.
Before the Special General Conference I was an advocate for the Connectional Plan because I felt the best long-term option for our denomination was to multiply and expand. There are still too many hurting people in this world who need the love and grace of Jesus.
If elected to represent the Iowa Conference, I would prayerfully listen to others and the Spirit to find what will lead us to be fruitful followers of Jesus Christ.
Clergy : Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence (IAC)
Our denomination is struggling in the wilderness. In the stories of our faith, wilderness is oftentimes wild, desolate and cruel. Jesus, in the wilderness, prayed for our unity and wholeness. I believe we are in a time where unity and wholeness may require a new look.
I have such deep love for this church I met through Morningside Student Ministries. In the Army, it was the cross and flame offering me connection and home - even in the wilderness of war. It is this denomination that helped to develop and resource me to reach those caught in wilderness moments of their lives. I take seriously God’s call on my life to raise up leaders.
I have served in country, town, college, county, suburban, downtown and conference ministry. For 25 years, I have worked hard for clergy/laity/community partnerships believing we must be in this transformational work together. I have sought ways to serve in the greater connection and could give you a list. Instead, I want to take time to say: my life has been transformed by the saving grace of Christ. My faith would not be where it is without the amazing people of The United Methodist Church. I long for a church that is fully inclusive, because I am better with all of you. I believe we can be a "big tent denomination" - but, even if we cannot achieve that - I promise as your delegate, I will lead with courage, kindness and grace and would appreciate your support.
William (Wil) Ranney
Clergy : Aboundant (Extension Ministry)
If you want someone who will stand firm against the harm that is being done to LGBTQIA+ people, then consider electing me.
At conference, you can be assured that I will actively work to defeat any plan that further institutionalizes discrimination, never compromising on the sacred worth of LGBTQIA+ people. As your delegate, I will name the harm of homophobia and transphobia, and will work to eliminate the policies and practices of discrimination in the Discipline.
I will shed light on specific injustices, such as charges brought against Rev. Anna Blaedel by the IRD, a lobbying firm with the stated intention of dismantling our denomination; and the harm done by our Annual Conference, which has chosen to receive and litigate those charges.
Following the example of Jesus, I will walk alongside the marginalized, and I will let their voice be my guide. Because I am a cis-gendered, white, male, clergyperson, I will join the repentant in naming our complicity in the violence being done, and will call on others to do the same.
I have served as our North Central Jurisdictional board member on United Methodist Communications, and as a member of the Northeast District Operational Team. I have experience in Camp, Campus, Youth, and Discipleship ministry. My primary appointment is to extension with the digital ministry I founded, Aboundant. My Secondary Appointment is at Trinity UMC in Waverly.
I hope you will consider electing at least one representative form the Order of Deacons to serve on our delegation.
Laity : First UMC of Independence
I am currently a senior in high school and will be attending the University of Chicago next year to pursue political science and religious studies. I have grown up in the church, participating in many church events and helping to lead youth programs and VBS.
One of my first memories of engagement in the church was at the Iowa Annual Conference. My mom is a pastor and she brought my family to the Peace March, where pastors and laity from around the state called for peace and justice in our country and around the world. Since then, I have been an active member of the church and spent many summers at the UMC camps here in Iowa and on mission trips around the Midwest. Being involved in the church has fostered my passion for mission and service, a passion that has led me to politics and activism. However, as my faith has grown and strengthened, I have watched as the divisions in our church have widened.
As a young queer woman of color, I have felt the hurt many Methodists have experienced as our church has continued to deny LGBTQ people the ability to marry and be ordained. We as children of God and members of the UMC are called to love and accept everyone, to live out the creed of "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors," and as a delegate, I will remember and follow this creed, making sure that our church will follow our call to love our neighbors and each other.
Brian (Brian) Rohrig
Laity : Orient United Methodist, Orient, IA
I have served in the Orient United Methodist church all of my life having held almost every office and position in the church. I am starting my third year serving on the Conference Board of Pensions.
After 45 years of fighting the human sexuality battle with a similar result, it is time to allow the local church that cannot adopt the language of the Book of Discipline to leave the denomination in an orderly manner. The Traditional Plan began to articulate a method where the local church can leave with its property and money in an orderly fashion without wasting time and energy fighting in a court of law. I think we need to work as brothers and sisters to part ways with each other as friends in Jesus and to stop forcing each other to believe in a position they find unacceptable.
I encourage you to vote for a common sense candidate that can lead the Church through this time of separating as we move forward in our effort to bring others to Christ.
John (John) Rothlisberger
Laity : St. Timothys United Methodist Church
Life moves us in strange and wonderful ways, and if you pay attention to what God places before you and asks you to do, it becomes even more amazing, not necessarily easy. While serving as the Interim Superintendent of Schools in Postville, Iowa, I started on a journey of service I could never have anticipated. Working in Postville brought me to Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors (Iowa JFON), providing legal services to individuals living legally in the United States, but who are lacking the needed resources for our complicated legal system. I was asked to serve on the board of directors for Iowa JFON and eventually to a position on the board for National JFON, headquartered in Virginia. “Loving Our Neighbor as Ourselves” has taken on a new meaning for me and one that only God could have imagined.
I serve as a Dean of the School for Lay Ministry, on the Board of Directors for the Wesley Foundation at the University of Northern Iowa, DCOM for the Northeast District, and the North Central Jurisdiction Court of Appeals.
At the local level, I serve on the endowment board at St. Timothys UMC, and my training in the School for Lay Ministry has helped me to serve as a Certified Lay Speaker and assist with the Healthy Church Initiative.
My ultimate dream is to have God use me to help build an inclusive and truly welcoming United Methodist Church! How I might be used to that end, only God knows.
Dr. Jerry Rozeboom MD
Laity : Center Point UMC, Center Point, IA
My name is Jerry Rozeboom MD. As a practicing Christian Ob/Gyn physician for the past 32 years I have been profoundly blessed to be an active, involved member of the vibrant, growing and Biblically faithful Center Point United Methodist Church for 17 of those years. Our purpose statement as a church is "To Know Jesus and Make Him Known" and I have strived to be a faithful partner in that effort.
The sexuality controversy has now consumed the church for years thus greatly hampering the local and global mission of the UMC. It is imperative that our focus returns to developing a deeper relationship with Jesus thereby equipping us to "Make Him Known". To that end, the 2019 special general conference was convened to hear and implement the will of the global UMC community. The outcome of the special conference did not please everyone nor was it expected to. Nevertheless, it would be fruitless and deeply destructive for the church to continue to re-litigate these issues incessantly.
It is now the responsibility of the church leadership to implement the will of the people as commanded by the outcome of the special conference. If that is not feasible then we must find a way to graciously transition, in Christian love and respect, as separate and yet to be determined entities. The health, viability, and Biblically inspired mission of the UMC are in jeopardy and it would be my goal as a laity delegate to help facilitate this transition.
Darcy (Darcy) Rubenking
Laity : Clarinda, IA
I was raised United Methodist and attended the Lenox UMC throughout my childhood and adolescence. I attended United Methodist Church Camps and United Methodist Holy Spirit conferences. I gave my life to Christ at a retreat at Camp Aldersgate when I was a teenager.
I married Andy Rubenking and have been serving with him for 37 years. We served Fox River parish, Hamburg, Trinity/St. Mark’s/Carter Lake, Fontanelle/Highland, Corning and Clarinda UMC. I have taught Sunday school, sang in choir, served on committees, been UMW president, produced the Living Last Supper, have been Annual conference and General Conference delegate and supported my husband’s ministry.
Walk to Emmaus has renewed my spirit and helped me grow in grace and discipleship. Through participation in Walk to Emmaus as a team member, lay director and board member, I have witnessed changed lives through God’s grace and redeeming love.
I was a General Conference delegate at 2012, 2016 and the special 2019 General Conference. They have been challenging, frustrating, rewarding and enjoyable experiences. It is wonderful to see the global United Methodist Church in action.
I am again asking you to vote for me as your conference delegate to General Conference 2020. I long to see the United Methodist Church committed to lifting up Christ and His resurrection and committed to our Wesleyan roots. I want to see the United Methodist Church focus on its mission to make disciples and spread scriptural holiness throughout the world.
Clergy : Valley United Methodist Church, West Des Moines, IA
I was born into the Vinton Methodist Church, and have been an active participant in Valley UMC in West Des Moines since 1977.
I am torn by recent events in the United Methodist Church. People who leave the church family and go elsewhere because they have options miss the point of being a Methodist. Not being an accomplished student of John Wesley, I know enough about his philosophy to say that it has always made sense. I believe that Wesley is our major tie binding us as Methodists.
Our success as God’s people is about being true to Jesus’ teachings of Love and serving him though Wesley’s message about justice and inclusion and openness.
As a Rotarian, I know the effectiveness of like-minded people focusing on the goal of world peace, battling disease, and giving hope to the poor. More important is to be a part of a church that strives to those ends . . . to have an over-arching spiritual incentive to work with compassion, honesty and integrity.
As an attorney, I have a sense of what is just and fair and right, even in the face of tensions among those goals. As a negotiator and peace-maker and person seeking justice for all right-spirited people, I believe that people of good faith can come and live together. At the same time, there are limits to how much we can compromise our standards of justice and still be true to our God of Peace and Love.
Clergy : Wesleyan College, Macon, GA
I know what's up because I have kept showing up.
Perhaps most importantly, Rev. Anna Blaedel is beloved queer kin, and I have been their clergy support person through three complaint processes. In showing up for each other, in witnessing to biblical and theological rootedness, and in calling the Church to integrity in the Gospel, we have become experts in navigating a dying institution while trusting in Resurrection, which begins with telling the truth.
Craig (Craig) Scott
Laity : Chariton First United Methodist Church
It is with great humility I submit my name for consideration to represent the IAC at the 2020 General Conference. The awesome responsibility of this undertaking is one I am willing to undertake only after intense prayer and thought, as well as the support of my wife.
I have been a multi-year delegate having served at the 2012 and 2016 General Conferences as well as the 2019 Special General Conference. My committee work at General Conference was in the area of appropriations and finance. The highlight of my time was the opportunity to work with incredibly committed people focused on helping the church survive by knowing the simple truth of God's word.
First and foremost I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I believe His word is truth and not subject to revision. The Bible is the word of God and is as relevant today as it has always been. I believe our culture should reflect the word of God as expressed in the Holy Bible NOT the Holy Bible changing to reflect the culture.
If elected I will do my best to represent the lay membership of the UMC. I have no financial ties to the IAC in that I am not a clergy member or a direct or indirect employee of the IAC. I am simply a member of a local congregation.
I appreciate any consideration I may be given and know the IAC delegates will select the most appropriate representation to the 2020 General Assembly.
Michael (Michael) Serface
Laity : First United Methodist Church, Iowa City, Iowa
Unlike many of my spiritual siblings, I was never made to attend church as a child. I dabbled with VBS and Sunday School in grade school. It wasn’t until high school that I made the conscious decision to follow the pathway to become a disciple of God. (To be honest, having a crush on a Pastor’s daughter fueled that decision greatly.) I was baptized at the age of sixteen, in the Clackamas
Erica Shannon Stueve
Laity : Indianola First UMC
Much like the diversity in this state, my faith journey has been molded by a myriad of experiences which give me a unique perspective for the challenge before our church:
Thomas C. (Tom) Shinkle
Clergy : Grand View UMC Dubuque
My service as a clergy delegate to 2016 & 2019 General Conferences was a high honor and I will serve fairly and faithfully if elected again. I have served the Iowa Annual Conference in numerous leadership positions over the last 26 years as an appointed Pastor and will continue to give leadership as called.
I am grieved over the broken relationships that have resulted from this impasse over our rules and stances concerning human sexuality. I only see continued heartache, animosity, and loss if we try to continue legislating the terms of how we are to live together as a UMC. Therefore I am fully dedicated to finding a way for at least two new expressions of Methodism.
There will be pain in dissolving this denomination and creating at least two new ones. However, I do not believe this pain will be as intense and destructive as the pain we have been inflicting upon one another over our differences of theology, ideology, and adherence to doctrine. People not deeply engaged in our conflicts are watching this and leaving. I believe that we can and must do better.
If elected to serve, I will continue to listen/be in conversation with all people, and will continue to be fair in deciding which decisions will lead to the preferred future God has for the Methodist people. It’s time we get on mission; spending time, money, energy, and attention towards transforming hearts and minds so as to change the world, in the name of Jesus.
Beverly (Bev Spencer) Spencer
Laity : West Branch UMC
Longtime active member of West Branch United Methodist Church. Local church service includes 54 years on various committees, including evangelism, administrative board, council on ministries, finance, single board, choir and United Methodist Women (Leadership at all levels including conference president and as a director of Women's Division) Many years as leader of local adult church school activities. Also served on district, jurisdictional and conference committees including episcopacy, boards of ministry, leadership development and nominations. Served as district lay leader and over 30 years as a Conflict Mediation Specialist for the Iowa conference and surrounding conferences. Elected/ served as delegate at five jurisdictional and three general conferences. Effective communication, including careful and sincere listening to varied perspectives on critical issues and spiritual guidance/discernment are important to me as the church confronts a multitude of issues and controversies. Focus on leadership development and support of ministry at all levels are important. I am driven by a focus on cooperative work within a framework of common ground and faith.
Laity : Collegiate United Methodist Church/Wesley Foundation
I grew up United Methodist, in college I chose to get involved with the Wesley Foundation at Collegiate United Methodist Church where I met some of my greatest mentors. Since graduating from Iowa State, most of my professional life has been working for the United Methodist Church, serving in various staff positions at Collegiate United Methodist Church/Wesley Foundation and now on staff for the Iowa Annual Conference. I am now serving my fifth year as the Director of Ministerial Services and this will be my first year as Journal Editor.
I use my Book of Discipline often, I believe that it provides a structure that makes our ministry more effective; however, it is not infallible and we need to amend the Discipline to better reflect the ideals of Jesus and John Wesley. The United Methodist Church has always been very social justice oriented. I believe that the we should be a community where all are welcome and may participate in all aspects of the church. I believe in change and that there still is and can be good in the United Methodist Church. There is more work that needs to be done with social justice, we need to be a positive force in the world, driving change for all who suffer from sickness, starvation and oppression. In addition, I believe that it is time for the church to seriously address environmental justice and be good stewards of the wonderful creation with which we have been entrusted.
Joshua (Josh) Steward
Clergy : Dallas Center UMC, Dalls Center, IA
I was born with cerebral palsy. There are still people who believe my disability is a punishment for sin. They sometimes quote John 5:14: Jesus heals a many by a pool and says “See, you have been made well! Do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” I respond with John 9:1-12: Jesus is asked: "Who sinned that this man is blind?" Jesus answers “Neither this man nor his parents sinned.”
We disagree about interpreting Scripture, because we have different ways of reasoning, different experiences, and different traditions that inform our interpretations. Despite our differences, we are blessed with many gifts by ONE Spirit that guides us toward God’s kingdom (Galatians 3:28). Thus slaves, women, people of color, disabled people, and many others have been belatedly welcomed as disciples and leaders into a repentant church. The UMC lags behind the Holy Spirit in welcoming GLBTQIAP persons. God’s Word is eternal and commands us to be Christ-like. God alone is the judge. We are called to follow, making disciples (Mathew 25 & Matthew 28).
Bruce (Bruce) Tillotson
Laity : Easton Place United Methodist Church Des Moines
I’m a sinner saved by grace.
I was born in Ottumwa, Iowa. We moved to Des Moines when I was eight. I met my wife Midge of 55 years at church. We have been members of Easton Place for over 60 years. We have two sons, two granddaughters and three great grandsons. I am chairman of the SPPRC, President of the Methodist Men, Sunday School Treasurer, Lay Leader and on three other committees. I have been teaching a bible study on Monday nights for over 30 years.
The Methodist denomination has faced many challenges in the past. The issue of homosexuality and the LGBTQ has divided the church. I’ve seen the passion on both sides of the issue. Both sides believe they are right. Jesus died on the cross for everyone.
We must have respect for each other. Allow the Holy Spirit to direct our path. In God’s eyes everyone is of sacred worth. All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. When we trust in the Lord, it’s going to be wonderful to see how He works all of this out.
I was elected as an alternate to the General Conference in 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas. I’m asking you to consider me as a delegate to the 2020 General Conference in Minnesota.
Barrie (Barrie) Tritle
Clergy : Iowa City First United Methodist Church
I grew up on a farm with my paternal grandparents in Spirit Lake, Iowa. I have my BA from Morningside College, MDiv from Candler, and DMin from GETS.
Kae Tritle is my wife of 40 years. Together we have three adopted sons: Josh, Jake and Mike and 2 grandchildren.
I have Pastored in Clinton, Des Moines, West Des Moines, Burlington, and Iowa City. I have served in various leadership capacities in the Iowa Conference such as: Cedar Rapids DS, Chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry and Bishop’s Operational Team leader. In the Greater church I have served on: GCCUIC, Ministry Study, GBHEM, NCJ Episcopacy Committee and as delegate to several Jurisdictional and General Conferences.
I am deeply concerned that our church polity is not working anymore as we become a global church. John Wesley and Methodism through the years adapted to new environments, new contexts and needs of the people. Wesley preached in the streets, used lay preachers and women to spread the Gospel when others thought that was wrong. To reach people for Christ, Methodism has always been practical and adapted its practices before it amended its policies in the Discipline.
We have become punitive towards anyone in the US who wants to adapt and become a home for all. The irony is that our polity does not allow Methodists in the US to adapt but allows the Central Conferences to adapt as needed. I want to help make the Discipline changes that are long overdue.
Kae E. (Kae) Tritle
Laity : Iowa City First
I am a life-long United Methodist, a native Iowan, Diaconal Minister of Health and a Registered Nurse working in patient care at a hospital. I have served our conference as the Wellness Coordinator for the Board of Pensions since 1996. This includes the annual health screening for clergy as well as consulting with various groups and churches in the area of wellness and health-full living.
I believe that God is calling the UMC to a new form of ministry; one of inclusion and healing. In my health ministry work; I encounter many people fractured and broken by life’s circumstances. Our God is a God of hope and healing. It is my hope and prayer that the UMC can and will re-shape and re-form itself into a community that offers the Love of Christ to all. Christ has no hands, feet, or bodies but ours to use for work of ministry in the world. The UMC has accomplished great ministry in the past. Now is the time to re-shape ourselves for ministry in the present and future. People in today’s society need to know that God loves them. They need to know that Christians care without judging them. We need to let God work through us for the transformation of the world.
Other areas of service include: Member of IAC Bd of Pensions/Health Benefits 1991-current; Wellness Coordinator & Faculty for the Upper Room’s Spiritual Formation Academies #18, #23, & #28. Member of IAC General Conference delegation 2004, 2008, 2012; Memoirs Editor of the IAC Journal, 1993-2006, Lay Member of IAC 1995-current.
Laity : St. Paul’s United Methodist Church
I have been at St. Paul’s since I was baptized however I really wasn’t too active until seventh grade. Since then I grew up in the youth program, as soon as I graduated I went to basic training for the Iowa Army National Guard. When I got back from basic I started to get more and more active, I became a volunteer youth leader, I became the young adult representative for church council, this year I have started helping with confirmation and I am part of the logistics team for the CAT survey for St. Paul’s. On any given Sunday, I’ll be at church being the jokester that I am try to make people smile while wearing shorts because that’s a full time commitment and I can’t take any days off for that. I have had many experiences with the Church, ranging going to the Iowa annual conference with Strike Out Malaria, going to Texas on a mission trip with eight churches, to attending the Curious church conference last November, going to Puerto Rico earlier this year to help with hurricane Recovery, attending the Iowa annual conference as a young adult Representative for my district, to watching the youth that I help with grow into the great young adults and helping me transform with them along the way. I am neutral on many things and that goes for a lot of the challenges that lay ahead for the United Methodist Church, I see both sides and understand both sides. I have seen and felt the pain that both sides have felt, I have listened to both sides. I am neutral but I want to see our Church together again and united as one within the United Methodist Church.
Melissa (Melissa) Warren
Clergy : Faith UMC Humboldt, Gilmore City, Livermore, Rutland
I was raised in Bradgate, Iowa, and am a 1993 graduate of Cornell College. I hold an MDiv degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. I became a probationary member in 1996 and was ordained full Elder in 2002. I have served a variety of types of appointments including institutional (Sherrill-Hillcrest Family Services & Collegiate UMC-Wesley Foundation), Youth (Ankeny, First), extension (Hospice of Dubuque), blended (Faith UMC), multiple point, and traditional.
Active in the Iowa Conference, I have been attending annual conference since 1987 as youth delegate, camp staff, district representative, seminarian, and clergy. I have served on several committees and boards including the Bishop’s Task Force on Children and Poverty, BoOM, DCoM, as well as others. My spouse Gerard O’Rourke and I are also active on many levels politically and as social justice advocates.
I have a strong knowledge base about interdenominational as well as ecumenical and world religious issues and am passionate about finding commonality and creating unity. As an ordained woman, I am proud of the traditions within the UMC that have historically worked together to include and protect the rights of marginalized and segregated persons. Church is not about focusing only on what we do on Sunday mornings (upholding rituals and traditions), but is about nurturing faith that is relevant to our everyday lives and equipping believers to carry that faith into the world. God’s work does not happen outside of everyday life, it happens whenever, wherever, and with whomever we find ourselves.
Anne Marie (Anne Marie) Webb
Laity : Maple Grove UMC (West Des Moines)
I am a young adult, majoring in Religion at Simpson College. After graduation in December 2019, I plan to attend seminary and follow my call to pastoral ministry. I’ve been a member of the United Methodist Church since my confirmation in 2011. Throughout high school I served in leadership in children’s ministries at Ankeny First UMC and as a counselor and staff member at Wesley Woods Camp. In college I’ve had the opportunity to serve as a Worship and Interfaith Intern for Simpson’s Religious Life Community, a Worship Intern for Ankeny First UMC and a Worship Intern for Farmer’s Chapel UMC. I have also served as a Lay Delegate to Annual Conference for five years, which has given me a better perspective about church polity and has helped me learn to listen to and respect diverse opinions.
I would be honored to serve as General Conference Delegate. I believe that as a millennial I have a much-needed perspective to bring to the table in any discussion or decisions about the future of our denomination. I am deeply saddened by the decision of the 2019 General Conference to retain the wording in the Book of Discipline that excludes from full ministry the LGBTQ community. I believe that Jesus calls us to be open and inviting, and I want to see us become a church that welcomes all.
Laity : Ankeny First UMC, Ankeny, Iowa
I am the associate director of youth ministry for Ankeny First UMC. I have worked there since September of 2017. Prior to my employment I had worshipped there since 2011, becoming a member in 2012.
As a youth ministry staff person I am committed to encouraging the faith development in young people. I believe the way our denomination conducts itself today will dramatically change the way our youth will decide to act tomorrow. My counterpart and I are committed to making sure every student knows that God moves then and that there IS a place for them in the church.
I believe scripture does not condemn the ordination or marriage of LGBTQIA persons. I am inexperienced in matters of the annual conference and general conference, but I love God and I love my students and am therefore committed to learn and serve my district.