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Abiding in Exile - The Key to Humanity’s Survival 04/15/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Key to Humanity’s Survival 04/15/2021

4/13/2021

By: Priscilla Joel We have wandered through many unknowns the past several months, and as the title of this devotional series would inform you, it has often felt like we’ve been exiled. Exiled from each other, exiled from the outside world and maybe even exiled from freedoms we used to enjoy. As more and more people are receiving their vaccine each...


Streamed Services: Staying socially connected during COVID-19

Streamed Services: Staying socially connected during COVID-19

4/8/2021

The Iowa Conference Communications Office is assembling a list of ways you can continue socially engage in worship while practicing physical distancing. We will update this story with new streamed services as they become available. To submit a service time, please fill out this form with your church name, service time and a link to where the ...


COVID-19 Reentry Team update: Holy Week

COVID-19 Reentry Team update: Holy Week

3/31/2021

COVID-19 Update - Holy Week As you prepare your local church for worship (virtual and in-person) and traditional gatherings this Holy Week, we encourage you to follow guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their recommendation is for vaccinated and non-vaccinated people alike. All are encouraged to avoid medium and large...


Abiding in Exile - ReMemberIng 04/01/2021

Abiding in Exile - ReMemberIng 04/01/2021

3/30/2021

By Rev. Lee Roorda Schott Over the weekend, in the tedium of working on taxes, I had gone online for details from my bank records from last year. I scrolled through the months and came to last March and was astonished at the tears that came out of nowhere. It wasn’t about the numbers! It was grief I didn’t expect to be waiting for me in that ...


Iowa Conference Center visitor and COVID-19 guidelines

Iowa Conference Center visitor and COVID-19 guidelines

3/30/2021

The Iowa Conference Leadership Team continues to meet, carefully consider and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects the conference building's usage in Des Moines.  Staff and visitors need to continue to maintain COVID-19 masking, distancing, and hygiene protocols. Building usage for gatherings in the building will continue to have ...


Abiding in Exile - Returning from exile with faithfulness 03/25/2021

Abiding in Exile - Returning from exile with faithfulness 03/25/2021

3/25/2021

By Eric Rucker “Then King Solomon conscripted slave labor (to build the Temple).” (1 Kings 9:21)   I’m noticing myself starting to relax, to take an exhale. There is an easing of tension in my body as I anticipate our society begin to leave exile. I know that the pandemic is not “over,” but with the vaccines released, and some of our most ...


Abiding in Exile - Knowledge is Fuel 03/18/2021

Abiding in Exile - Knowledge is Fuel 03/18/2021

3/18/2021

By Priscilla Joel It’s kind of wild how much we learn in such a short period of time. A “short period” could mean ten minutes, or it could mean ten years. My mom recently found some old pictures of me at space camp from when I was about ten years old. I am standing in the elementary school lawn, beaming, while holding up the model rocket I had just...


A year of transition

A year of transition

3/12/2021

Submitted by: Kae Tritle, RN Wellness Coordinator   This has been a marathon year of coping with the effects of Covid-19. Unfortunately, we are not through. Like all marathons, the last third of the race feels the longest.  The same is true now for the pandemic.     While it seems that we have been in a holding pattern, waiting for life to resume, ...


The Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-entry team recommends a cautionary return as you reconvene or expand in-person gatherings

The Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-entry team recommends a cautionary return as you reconvene or expand in-person gatherings

3/5/2021

As of March 4, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 598 new positive COVID-19 tests and 35 additional deaths. The state reports 742,386 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Iowa, with 196,084 individuals completing their vaccine series. Additionally, vaccines Iowa’s virus positivity rates continue to hover around 4%. The 14-day...


From the Office of Bishop Laurie: Further Postponement of General Conference

From the Office of Bishop Laurie: Further Postponement of General Conference

2/26/2021

To the Laity and Clergy of the Iowa Annual Conference:       Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was announced yesterday that the Commission on the General Conference has made the difficult decision to further postpone the 2020 General Conference because of safety issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and ...


Abiding in Exile - Suffering 02/25/2021

Abiding in Exile - Suffering 02/25/2021

2/25/2021

By: Eric Rucker Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering…and after three days rise again. He said this all quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.” – Mark 8:31-32   I’m an amateur gardener. A few years back my wife and I started a compost pile in our backyard. We intended to grow the ...


Abiding in Exile - A Doubting-Thomas Sympathizer 02/18/2021

Abiding in Exile - A Doubting-Thomas Sympathizer 02/18/2021

2/16/2021

By: Priscilla Joel I can often be a bit of a skeptic at times. I like things I can see, touch, and prove—be it an equation from propulsions class or the weather. I have a habit of wearing many layers of warm clothing well into the spring season, even when the weather forecast claims that the temperature is, in fact, warmer. But the prediction isn’t...


The Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-entry team reminds churches to be vigilant and remain in the Yellow Light phase of the Covid-19 Reentry Plan

The Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-entry team reminds churches to be vigilant and remain in the Yellow Light phase of the Covid-19 Reentry Plan

2/8/2021

On Friday, February 5, 2021, Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new Public Health Disaster proclamation, effective February 7, 2021, that relaxes the state’s limited mask requirements, social distancing requirements, and limits on gatherings. The proclamation strongly encourages Iowans, businesses, and organizations to take reasonable public ...


Conversations on Local Church and Conference Finances for your congregation

Conversations on Local Church and Conference Finances for your congregation

2/5/2021

Four Conversations on Local Church and Conference Finances were held via livestream the last two weekends. About 365 people tuned in total on Vimeo and Facebook Live and questions were answered after the presentation. As a follow up, a Q&A list has been created and the full presentation is available for download to share with your local churches. ...


Abiding in Exile - Adapting to New Circumstances 02/04/2021

Abiding in Exile - Adapting to New Circumstances 02/04/2021

2/4/2021

by Rev. Nan Smith February 4, 2021 Scripture “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”   ~Psalm 27: 14 (NRSV)   When I worked as a naturalist, I attended a wonderful conference for interpretive naturalists in Tucson, Arizona. Now as a group, naturalists tend to lean towards the “wild” side of life, so it ...


Abiding in Exile - Differentiated 01/28/2021

Abiding in Exile - Differentiated 01/28/2021

1/28/2021

By: Eric Rucker “When the new Temple was laid… some wept with a loud voice… though many shouted for joy.” (Ezra 3:11) I’ve spent the last two weeks creating a flow chart for my ministry for the spring and summer. It is comprised of three contingency plans (in-person, hybrid, and virtual ministry) that could be executed by my team, based on how the ...


Abiding in Exile - Expectations 01/21/2021

Abiding in Exile - Expectations 01/21/2021

1/21/2021

By: Priscilla Joel When I was a kid, there were many things that I thought would be a very big deal when I became an adult. Activities and actions that I thought I would have to deal with on a regular basis. Here are a few of those things: Quicksand Tongue twisters Pirates Identifying types of rocks Haunted houses I am not exactly sure where all ...


Cedar Falls First UMC virtual training conference on January 31—

Cedar Falls First UMC virtual training conference on January 31—"Leading Through a Pandemic and Beyond"

1/20/2021

Virtually none of us in local church leadership imagined being movie producers or tele-evangelists when we were called into ministry.  Yet during the pandemic, we have had to reimagine how we do everything in relation to ministry.  At Cedar Falls First United Methodist Church, we have found some innovative ways to engage in mission and ministry ...


Abiding in Exile - We Contain Multitudes 01/14/2021

Abiding in Exile - We Contain Multitudes 01/14/2021

1/14/2021

By Lee Roorda Schott I just noticed that I haven’t been napping on Sunday afternoons.  This is surprising because I’ve always been a dedicated observer of S.A.I.N.T.: Sunday Afternoon Is Nap Time. I’d get home from worship and whatever else was part of the morning, and I’d be out. But I’m not, now. Now I find myself changing my clothes and then ...


Epiphany Address: Watching Over One Another in Love

Epiphany Address: Watching Over One Another in Love

1/8/2021

Epiphany Address Transcript: WATCHING OVER ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE   January 4, 2021, Bishop Laurie Haller Epiphany Address  Iowa Annual Conference Bishop Laurie Haller:   Good evening, friends. Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am deeply grateful that you have chosen to participate in this time of reflection and ...


Abiding in Exile - Tempered 01/07/2021

Abiding in Exile - Tempered 01/07/2021

1/5/2021

By Nan Smith “Isaiah 43:2 (CEB) 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;     when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched and flame won’t burn you.   When the shot was fired, the wolf pups scattered in all directions and the mother wolf fell to the ground. For Aldo Leopold,...


Abiding in Exile - The Ritual of Grief 12/31/2020

Abiding in Exile - The Ritual of Grief 12/31/2020

12/29/2020

By Eric Rucker “How can we sing the songs of the Lord in a foreign land?” – Psalm 137    “My tears have become my food, day and night!” – Psalm 42   I haven't been doing well.    And I don't mean that in the causal sense, like I experienced five minutes of indigestion or an hour of moodiness. I mean it's been several weeks of heaviness in my heart....


Destroyed Nativity reminds Woodbine UMC of the 'simplicity of Christmas'

Destroyed Nativity reminds Woodbine UMC of the 'simplicity of Christmas'

12/29/2020

Pastor Regina Harrison was finishing up a long day in the Woodbine First United Methodist Church office when she heard the winter wind howling and sleet hitting the church’s windows. She decided it was time to pack up her things and head home. Little did she know, there was more work to be done that night.   “I grew up in the south and have been ...


Abiding in Exile - What Do We Do with Hope? 12/24/2020

Abiding in Exile - What Do We Do with Hope? 12/24/2020

12/23/2020

By Priscilla Joel December 24, 2020 We all finally received some encouraging news a couple of weeks ago. A COVID-19 vaccine had approved by the FDA. Finally, a glimmer of hope after a long, seemingly endless stretch of darkness. This does not necessarily mean our fears and anxieties disappear, nor does it mean we should stop practicing vigilance to...


Abiding in Exile - The Timely Discipline of Showing Up 12/17/2020

Abiding in Exile - The Timely Discipline of Showing Up 12/17/2020

12/17/2020

By Lee Roorda Schott   December 17, 2020 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you ...


Celebrate Advent and Christmas with Bishop Laurie Haller

Celebrate Advent and Christmas with Bishop Laurie Haller

12/15/2020

Bishop Laurie Haller invites you to join her on a journey to renew our collective practices of prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness as we begin a new Christian year.    In the message for the First Sunday of Advent, Bishop Laurie remarks, “What is it that holds us together as people called United Methodists? It is a set of spiritual ...


Abiding in Exile - Ashes 12/10/2020

Abiding in Exile - Ashes 12/10/2020

12/9/2020

By Nan Smith December 10, 2020 Scripture: Isaiah 61: 1-3a “1The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,    because the Lord has anointed me; God has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,    to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,    and release to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,    and the ...


A letter of encouragement from the Covid-19 Re-Entry & Response Team

A letter of encouragement from the Covid-19 Re-Entry & Response Team

12/3/2020

In a letter to the people of Philippi, the Apostle Paul writes:   “Be glad in the Lord always…Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians ...


A Blue Christmas Worship Service for churches to use during the Christmas season

A Blue Christmas Worship Service for churches to use during the Christmas season

12/1/2020

As a gift to our pastors and churches during the Christmas season, we are creating a Blue Christmas Worship Service for use in your online church messages, to share with members, or on your social media channels.   We know that not everyone is experiencing joy and excitement during the Christmas season. Dealing with the isolation of a global ...


Abiding in Exile - Running with Horses 12/3/2020

Abiding in Exile - Running with Horses 12/3/2020

11/30/2020

By Eric Rucker December 3, 2020 “Jeremiah, if you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you, how will you run with horses?” (Jeremiah 12:5)   As the catastrophe of the Babylonian exile approached, Jeremiah lamented to God – about the people’s self-centeredness, about Israel’s disregard for vulnerable people and the land. Jeremiah was ...


Christmas Eve candle light service alternative for all

Christmas Eve candle light service alternative for all

11/30/2020

The West Des Moines UMC's worship committee is inviting you to participate in an at-home candlelight service on Christmas Eve. In addition to their online worship services planned for the evening of Christmas Eve, at 9:00 pm they are asking people to light a candle and step out their front doors, and wish their neighbors Merry Christmas.  They ...


A message of thanks from Bishop Laurie

A message of thanks from Bishop Laurie

11/25/2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, Thanksgiving is a very meaningful holiday for me because I was born on Thanksgiving Day. Perhaps this is why I’ve always considered gratitude to be part of my DNA. I am so grateful that my parents shared the love of Jesus with me from a very early age and am thankful to God for the opportunities I have had to ...


Abiding in Exile - An Unprecedented Way of Life 11/26/2020

Abiding in Exile - An Unprecedented Way of Life 11/26/2020

11/24/2020

By Priscilla Joel November 26, 2020 When you think of the word “Wilderness,” what comes to mind? I tend to associate the word with my personal adventures outside. Someplace secluded, uninhabited and vast. Someplace that makes my boots muddy and my brow glisten with sweat. That type of wilderness I enjoy. It feels good to escape from the confines of...


You can now order an Iowa Conference

You can now order an Iowa Conference "Do No Harm" mask

11/24/2020

If you would like to order an Iowa Conference "Do No Harm" mask, we have set up a group order through Custom Ink. The order form will be open for 15 days or until December 8. You can order, pay, and ship directly to your address. To keep costs low, we have designed these on navy blue fabric with white imprinting. Place your orders here. When using ...


A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie regarding her Worship Directive

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie regarding her Worship Directive

11/20/2020

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As we approach Christ the King Sunday, I am reflecting on how this marks the end of the Christian year. Alongside the Thanksgiving holiday, this last Sunday of the liturgical year encourages us to pause and be thankful for the blessings we have ...


Abiding in Exile - A pocket full of hope 11/19/2020

Abiding in Exile - A pocket full of hope 11/19/2020

11/20/2020

By Nan Smith November 19, 2020 Scripture: Romans 15: 13  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,     so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”   Reflection: It was my first year, in my first appointment, when I visited a married couple: retired farmers still living on their farmstead.  The day was ...


Denison First UMC plays an integral part in providing for the food insecure during the pandemic and beyond

Denison First UMC plays an integral part in providing for the food insecure during the pandemic and beyond

11/20/2020

Denison First United Methodist Church provided much-needed organization, hundreds of volunteers, physical and monetary donations to the Crawford Cares drive-up food distribution program when a massive increase in need became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Crawford Cares is a Facebook-based organization that acts as a message board to ...


Important new pandemic guidance from Bishop Laurie and the Iowa Conference Appointive Cabinet

Important new pandemic guidance from Bishop Laurie and the Iowa Conference Appointive Cabinet

11/18/2020

November 18, 2020 For immediate release   Important new pandemic guidance from Bishop Laurie and the Iowa Conference Appointive Cabinet   In light of worsening Covid-19 positivity rates, the crisis faced by our healthcare systems, and out of an abundance of caution and love for our neighbor, Bishop Laurie Haller and the Appointive Cabinet is ...


November 10, 2020 COVID-19 Update to the IAUMC

November 10, 2020 COVID-19 Update to the IAUMC

11/11/2020

In support of Governor Kim Reynolds’ Public Health Proclamation on November 10, 2020, the input that we are getting from health professionals, and the awareness that our Iowa hospitals are reaching or are at capacity to accept new patients, the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church has made the prayerful and careful decision to mandate ...


Abiding in Exile - Unspeakable History 11/12/2020

Abiding in Exile - Unspeakable History 11/12/2020

11/10/2020

By Lee Roorda Schott November 12, 2020 In September, as we approached the six-month mark since the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. I was certain my Facebook news feed would be full of people’s reflections on all that had happened during that time. It had been half a year. So many things disrupted—still—and a challenging flu season ...


November addendum to the 3-2-1 Reentry Plan

November addendum to the 3-2-1 Reentry Plan

11/6/2020

The Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church offers this November addendum to the3-2-1 Reentry Plan. This addendum was developed in consultation with the Extended Cabinet of the Iowa United Methodist Conference and in review of reports by leading epidemiologists in Iowa, analysis of updates from medical researchers and public health ...


Abiding in Exile - God Has left the Temple 11/6/2020

Abiding in Exile - God Has left the Temple 11/6/2020

11/6/2020

By Eric Rucker November 6, 2020 Ezekiel 10:18: “Then the glory of the LORD went out from the threshold of the Temple.”    This is perhaps the most shocking statement in all of the Hebrew Scriptures. The prophet Ezekiel is telling the exiled Israelites: God has left the Temple! The Temple in Jerusalem was synonymous with God’s presence. Basically, “...


Graettinger UMC boosts giving with a

Graettinger UMC boosts giving with a "Show me the Plate" curbside offering service

10/22/2020

Members of Graettinger United Methodist Church in Northwest Iowa have lived up to the town's motto of "small town, big heart" during the coronavirus pandemic. When Treasurer Denise Tindall came up with an idea to boost the church's weekly giving by going door to door with a "show me the plate" curbside offering, faithful members found it their ...


Abiding in Exile - More Than I Can Handle 10/22/2020

Abiding in Exile - More Than I Can Handle 10/22/2020

10/20/2020

by Priscilla Joel October 22, 2020 You might have heard the phrase, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I certainly have. I’ve read it in devotionals, seen it on posters, and heard it from my friends. But since the COVID-19 pandemic uprooted our lives, I’m not so sure if any of us believe that phrase anymore. Sometimes, it is nice ...


Abiding in Exile - Accept the Anxiety of Feeling In Suspense 10/15/2020

Abiding in Exile - Accept the Anxiety of Feeling In Suspense 10/15/2020

10/15/2020

by Eric Rucker October 15, 2020 Last week I found myself driving straight into oncoming traffic, having turned the wrong way down a one-way street. Don’t worry, I’m ok, just embarrassed. There is no geographical explanation for this error. I’ve driven that neighborhood on my way to work hundreds of times. But it’s like my auto-pilot function ...


Let us introduce you to Rust College

Let us introduce you to Rust College

10/15/2020

Rust College is the oldest of 11 HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) related to the United Methodist Church. The Iowa Annual Conference has had a special relationship of encouragement and support with Rust College for many years and would like to introduce or reintroduce the Iowa United Methodist family to why Rust is so unique.   ...


Faith and Democracy statement calling on all people of the UMC to support voter registration and encourage voting

Faith and Democracy statement calling on all people of the UMC to support voter registration and encourage voting

10/12/2020

For Immediate Release Monday, October 12, 2020   WASHINGTON, D.C. – United Methodist bishops based in the United States today issued a statement on Faith and Democracy, calling on the people of The United Methodist Church to support voter registration and encourage people to vote in the November 3 elections.   Council of Bishops President Bishop ...


An introduction to Abiding in Exile

An introduction to Abiding in Exile

10/9/2020

Introducing The Exile Project If you are feeling distant from the people and places you have loved, you aren’t alone. If you wonder when things will ever get back to something like “normal,” you’re in good company. If this year has taken you to one emotional extreme after another—with the pandemic, our nation’s racial reckoning, our Midwest ...


An introduction to Abiding in Exile

An introduction to Abiding in Exile

10/9/2020

Introducing The Exile Project If you are feeling distant from the people and places you have loved, you aren’t alone. If you wonder when things will ever get back to something like “normal,” you’re in good company. If this year has taken you to one emotional extreme after another—with the pandemic, our nation’s racial reckoning, our Midwest ...


Abiding in Exile - The “Pandemic Era

Abiding in Exile - The “Pandemic Era" 10/8/2020

10/8/2020

by Rev. Lee Roorda Schott October 8, 2020 Read: Jeremiah 29.4-14 I had been referring to the pandemic like it wasn’t going to last long. I’d say, “We just have to persevere through this strange time of Coronavirus.” I’d close an e-mail with words like, “I hope you’re managing OK through this COVID-19 season.” I didn’t let myself think of all this ...


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