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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...


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...


Streamed Services: Staying socially connected during COVID-19

Streamed Services: Staying socially connected during COVID-19

12/19/2020

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 ...


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 ...


A Letter from Bishop Laurie about World Communion Sunday

A Letter from Bishop Laurie about World Communion Sunday

10/1/2020

Dear Friends, This coming Sunday, October 4, is World Communion Sunday. It has always been one of the most special days of the year for me. Sharing in the sacrament of holy communion with Christian believers around the world is a visible reminder that we all one human family in Christ Jesus and are called to make a difference wherever we are. ...


Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-Entry Update - October 2020

Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-Entry Update - October 2020

9/30/2020

The Crisis Operations Team provides this third iteration of the Conference Re-Entry Plan to deliver updated resources, guidance, and support for clergy and lay leadership of the Iowa Conference (IAUMC) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This tool provides best practices we have identified from webinars, interviews, and publications presented by CDC,[1]...


New Hope UMC thankful for pastor and congregation during pandemic

New Hope UMC thankful for pastor and congregation during pandemic

9/23/2020

Submitted by Nancy Monthei, Office Administrator of Des Moines New Hope United Methodist Church New Hope UMC in Des Moines didn’t let the pandemic slow down its outreach to the community or connection with its congregation. The church continued to monetarily support the Urbandale Food Pantry and the Johnston Partnership in its community. New Hope...


Derecho doesn't delay confirmation at Lovely Lane UMC

Derecho doesn't delay confirmation at Lovely Lane UMC

9/16/2020

This is the sixth in a series of Faith In Action reports on how churches, ministries, and people from the Iowa United Methodist Church are making a difference and changing lives following the derecho disaster in August 2020.  A typical year of confirmation turned upside down for Lovely Lane United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids after quarantine ...


Answered prayers lead New Hartford UMC to create a

Answered prayers lead New Hartford UMC to create a "Viral" Bible school

9/9/2020

Submitted by Sandy Becker, New Hartford United Methodist Church Lay Leader and Christian Education Coordinator The New Hartford United Methodist Church is a typical rural small church in Iowa. In 2019, New Hartford's population dropped 5.4% from 2010, which has continued since the 1980s. Nevertheless, members of the New Hartford UMC are making ...


SYA Alumni release Youth Leaders Training

SYA Alumni release Youth Leaders Training

9/9/2020

A message from the Simpson Youth Academy Hello friends - As your communities embark upon uncharted territory, doing ministry with youth in the context of COVID-19, SYA wants to support you in your efforts. We are therefore pleased to share with you a FREE 30-MINUTE VIDEO recording of four of our gifted SYA alumni and staff reflecting upon faith ...


Monroe UM Church donates 1000 face masks

Monroe UM Church donates 1000 face masks

9/8/2020

Submitted by Van Dickens, Monroe United Methodist Church “We are a friendly, faithful, loving family dedicated to sharing God’s love with our neighbor.” The Nurture and Outreach Committee of the Monroe United Methodist Church began Operation Face Mask on April 13 with the goal of providing free face masks to the community. We began by offering ...


A note from Bishop Laurie Haller - September 2020

A note from Bishop Laurie Haller - September 2020

9/4/2020

Transcription: To the saints in Iowa, Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is the beginning of September, and the summer season is coming to a close. My prayer is that you have found creative ways to renew and refresh your spirit in the midst of a world that is in a very different place this year, with a ...


Church Reentry Frequently Asked Questions

Church Reentry Frequently Asked Questions

9/4/2020

1. What about clergy with pre-existing conditions? Will we be required to go back to public ministry? Please have a conversation with your District Superintendent and your SPRC. We do not want any clergy or laity who are high risk to be made even more vulnerable. Laity who are comfortable returning to public worship can lead the service. Lay ...


With a little nudge from God, Monique Shore turns her children's message into a book

With a little nudge from God, Monique Shore turns her children's message into a book

9/4/2020

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Grinnell United Methodist Church's Lay Leader, Monique Shore, would share her children’s message in person to the youth during church. When it was her turn last May during their new online worship, she created a video and a children’s story that addresses the emotional struggles everyone is experiencing because of the ...


West Des Moines UMC rings the bell to remember lives lost to COVID-19

West Des Moines UMC rings the bell to remember lives lost to COVID-19

9/1/2020

On August 23, 2020, West Des Moines United Methodist Church rang its bell 1,030 times to remember Iowans who have died during the Coronavirus Pandemic. We pray for God to heal our broken world.   Read the Des Moines Register Iowa Columnist Courtney Crowder's coverage of the event. See a gallery of images on Flickr.


Back to School Partnerships

Back to School Partnerships

8/14/2020

Sharon Dentlinger, Superintendent of the Interstate 35 Community School District; Julie Robinson, Principal in the Iowa City Community School District; and Carl Turner, retired Superintendent of the Storm Lake Community School District were the featured presenters at the August 6, 2020, Good Idea Webinar on Back to School Partnerships.   Rev. Ron ...


The 2020 Mission Ingathering continues with alterations

The 2020 Mission Ingathering continues with alterations

8/14/2020

The Mission Ingathering Committee has determined that this year’s events will be held at all five traditional sites. However, Ingathering will look very different this year because of risks related to the COVID-19 virus.  As usual, each site will collect greatly needed kits and monetary donations from churches and individuals. All other ...


The storms of life

The storms of life

8/14/2020

By Kae Tritle, RN Well-being Coordinator   In the past few months and particularly this past week, we have been pounded by several storms; literally, emotionally, physically, relationally, and spiritually. Our lives and our emotions have been pummeled with several issues; mostly related to the impact of the COVID-19 virus including jobs, health, ...


Iowa City First UMC partners with local school to provide care packages

Iowa City First UMC partners with local school to provide care packages

8/9/2020

First UMC in Iowa City responded to the COVID-19 situation by forming a partnership with their neighborhood. Working with Horace Mann School Principal, Julie Robertson, the church provided rent assistance, food gift cards, and quarantine care packages to families in the neighborhood connected to the school.  “I spoke about this project in our ...


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