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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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.