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The Budget Team held the second of its series of listening sessions on Sunday, January 13. Approximately 45 persons attended the gathering, which was designed to receive suggestions and reactions to a series of proposals impacting the 2019 and 2020 financial plans of the Iowa Annual Conference. In addition, well over 100 people watched the conversation held at North Liberty First United Methodist Church
The Budget Team spoke about its goal of creating a spending plan that "connects our [Iowa Conference] resources, our people, lay and clergy to be in ministry with our communities and our world." The Team was asked by the Bishop's Operational Team (BOT) to realign the 2020 budget so that it fits the Iowa Conference Strategic Priorities, adopted by the 2013 Annual Conference Session, and reduce 2019 apportioned budget by at least one million dollars.
Rev. Bill Poland, chair of the Budget Team, expressed his desire to have all options on the table before a decision is made by the Cabinet and Bishop’s Operational Teams. He added that Budget Team will not make a final decision regarding its recommendations.
"We've tried to look at the scope of our budget but other people may have other ideas or see other possibilities we haven't seen," he said.
"The reason we're doing the listening sessions is that we want to hear those ideas. We understand that there is pain, and we're ready to listen to the pain and wish that could be different, but what we really need for the good of the conference is if other folks strategically see some other possibilities that we haven't seen to speak out."
As for a long-term outcome, Poland, who also serves as the C
conference's Director of New Communities of Faith, is hopeful that healthy relationships between churches and ministries will be part of the greater solution.
"The only way we can be a healthy conference is if we have healthy churches and that really is the strength or the weakness of our conference," he said. "That's why, as you look at where we focused our response in the budget, it has been around how we lift our churches. How do we connect them together and with other ministries so that they can be more effective so that they can be more healthy so that they can reach out to more people? Because if we're not doing that then nothing's going to make a difference."
Two more opportunities for feedback were on Sunday, Jan. 20 from 2-3:30 p.m. at the Carroll First United Methodist Church, and on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. at Ames First United Methodist Church.