Iowa Conference Advance Specials

A Conference Advance Special is a project located within the Iowa Annual Conference and is directly related to the Conference Board of Global Ministries. Projects to be considered must reflect the mission and ministry of the Iowa Annual Conference. Conference Board of Global Ministries priorities are working with children and youth, and influencing them through assistance to men, women and families; encouraging hands-on mission; and reaching the “least of these” in the Iowa Conference. New projects are considered in March and October. 

For more information or to apply for Iowa Conference Advance Special status, please contact: 

Elizabeth Odor, Iowa Conference Mission Education Committee Chpn 

903 W 12th St, Spencer, IA 51301-3151 

712-262-5970 or email 

Iowa Conference Advance Specials

A Conference Advance Special is a project located within the Iowa Annual Conference and is directly related to the Conference Board of Global Ministries. Projects to be considered must reflect the mission and ministry of the Iowa Annual Conference. Conference Board of Global Ministries priorities are working with children and youth, and influencing them through assistance to men, women and families; encouraging hands-on mission; and reaching the “least of these” in the Iowa Conference. New projects are considered in March and October. 

For more information or to apply for Iowa Conference Advance Special status, please contact: 

Elizabeth Odor, Iowa Conference Mission Education Committee Chair

903 W 12th St, Spencer, IA 51301-3151 

712-363-6048 or email


A.W.E. is a multi-faceted program whose mission is to empower African refugee women to make their way in a new culture while contributing to the well-being of their families and living a healthy lifestyle. A.W.E. teaches skills by providing physical, emotional and spiritual freedom from oppression; and increasing mental health and stability through counseling and therapy to lessen the effects of the unspeakable traumas they have endured.

The A.W.E. shop is a micro-business started in 2014 to help African women find employment and learn job skills like sewing, making fabric bags and aprons and jewelry. These women want to work but often find it hard to get employment due to transportation and child care issues along with limited English skills. The A.W.E. shop eliminates these obstacles and also provides a safe place for them to gather while they are adjusting to their new way of life.

We import our fabric and the beads we use for our jewelry and prayer beads are handmade in Africa. Using these materials allows the women to show pride in and share a bit of their culture with us. 

A.W.E. has a benevolence fund that we use to help Africans both here and abroad with unmet needs. Some of these needs have been funeral costs, utility bills, medical expenses, school costs for children in Africa, etc.

A.W.E. also supports and takes part in citizenship classes through the African Ministry of St. Mark’s UMC. Through 2019 we have helped almost 200 Africans to become citizens of The United States. We also have successful English classes several times a week. Assistance is also provided for government paperwork such as green card applications, citizenship applications, travel documents, reunification of families, etc. All of these services are provided at no cost.

For more information contact Helen Armstrong, Director of African Ministries at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids at (319) 573-4170.  A.W.E. has a Facebook page under African Women Empowered. Website:


Bidwell Builds Hope!  Bidwell Riverside envisions a future where no one lives in poverty and everyone has the opportunity for a positive future.  Bidwell Riverside builds hope and opportunity by providing food, clothing, and child education to people in need.  It operates the largest food pantry in central Iowa, serving over 16,000 individuals in 2018 with food, clothing, household, and personal care products.

The Child Development Center provides childcare and Universal Pre-Kindergarten to sixty-two 2-5 year olds five days a week. Children are served a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snack to contribute to healthy development.  Partnering with United Way of Central Iowa allows for onsite resources such as eye exams and hearing screening.

Volunteers are an important part of our mission from organizing clothes in the clothing pantry, to guiding clients in the food pantry, to helping with the Holiday Toy Pantry, to working in the yard or community garden.

Bidwell Riverside is a covenant partner with United Methodist Women and has been engaged in ministry since 1893.

Address: 1203 Hartford Ave, Des Moines, IA 50315

Phone:  515-244-9748

Missy Reams, Volunteer & Community Outreach Manager





Children and Family Urban Movement (CFUM) creates a community to support the potential of children, youth, and families through educational success, healthy living, and community engagement. Programs include the Breakfast Club (daily before school program for grades K-5); the Supper Club (a community meal served five nights a week for children and adults); The Haven (daily after school program for grades K-5); Awesome Days (ten weeks of all-day programming during school breaks in the fall, spring, and summer); community events including an annual Back-to-School Health Fair, semi-annual neighborhood talent shows, Thanksgiving eve dinner.


Director: Tony Timm

Phone: (515) 282-3242


EYE OF THE NEEDLE, WATERLOO #237 NEW Iowa Advance Special in 2017



The mission of Hawthorn Hill is to establish and operate housing programs for homeless families with children that help them obtain permanent housing and to provide services to help families achieve economic self-sufficiency. Hawthorn Hill operates two programs for families experiencing homelessness: New Directions Shelter (an emergency shelter for families with children) and The Home Connection (long-term supportive housing for families with children). Hawthorn Hill annually provides emergency shelter and housing for over 150 homeless families. Last year, Hawthorn Hill served 537 individuals experiencing homelessness, 344 of which were children.

Volunteers can provide healthy, child-friendly meals for families staying at New Directions, as well as help with cleaning and painting when new families move in to the Home Connection.  Volunteers are also needed to provide children’s activities in the shelter.

Address: 3001 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312  

Phone: 515-244-9748



Hillcrest Family Services Mission Statement states “As a leading human services provider for children, adults, and families in need, we deliver innovative, collaborative, and resourceful care. Serving over 34,000 people each year in 66 Iowa counties and 27 states, Hillcrest Family Services seeks to ensure that children, adult, and families are safe, secure and well.

Hillcrest works collaboratively with local communities to provide a broad range of quality and innovative services, including adolescent residential treatment, adult residential care facility and group homes for those with chronic mental illness, tobacco use prevention, mentoring, emergency youth shelter, family centered services, family/individual outpatient counseling, professional health clinic, community mental health centers, Hillcrest Supported Living, in-home supervision, Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation, k-12 special education, mental health program for the homeless, unplanned pregnancy counseling, vocational training, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), and adoption/options counseling. 

Hillcrest has permanent locations in the following communities in Iowa; Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Dubuque, Iowa City, Maquoketa, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa, Wapello, Washington as well in Platteville, Wisconsin. Hillcrest has been formally linked to the Methodist Church since 1914, the Presbyterian Church USA since 1968, and the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church since 2011.




Gifts can be given to these Nigerian Projects which continue an Iowa connection

1. Village Wells #230, is NOW the only IOWA ADVANCE NUMBER still in use. Any #230 funds given will invested with IUMFoundation for drilling 7-10 wells in each area of the Nigerian Conference per year in 2018-2021 and also wells maintenance. Wells Coordinator, Iowan Linda Rowe,, will work with the Clean Water Board of Nigeria UMC  with their specific plan goals and our In Mission Together relationship.

2. Send funds directly to Iowa UM Churches including Grandview, Dubuque & Damka; Eldora & Salaminkala; Davis County Churches (Bloomfield) & Panya; First, Cedar Falls and BTSeminary. These are already In Mission Together relationships begun during the 25+ years of the Iowa-Nigeria Partnership which ended in 2016. 

Other Nigerian GBGM projects with an Iowa connection include 

3. Banyam Theological Seminary (BTS) GBGM-Advance #10318B which provides scholarships for living & educational expenses for students of the only UMC seminary where pastors & teachers are trained for the church that is growing 15% yearly. Funds can be given directly to First, Cedar Falls for work with BTS too. 

4. North Conference Ron Wilmot Comprehensive Junior Seminary Secondary School, Jalingo, NG, GBGM Advance #3022273 - There is a huge need to provide quality education for advance learning and self-sustainability for the youth in Pero. It continues to be in need of school items and funds to build a security wall for safety against the BokoHaram terrorists in the area. 

In 2002, Iowan Ron Wilmot made his first trip to Nigeria as a UMC Volunteer in Mission which led to six years of construction projects and the introduction of solar power. To improve water quality, Ron was actively involved in the installation of water wells with solar pumps. Ron brought solar refrigerators from Iowa to medical clinics so that vaccines and other medications could be available. 

Ron was always looking to make life better for others. He located and delivered Artemisia plant seeds for treatment of malaria for Nigerians to have a cheap, accessible treatment for this devastating disease. Ron Wilmot, Akron, IA, died unexpectedly June 2008, in Jalingo, Nigeria, while on a volunteer mission trip.

5. Undesignated gifts to Nigeria which are inadvertently sent to the Iowa Conference will automatically be gifted to the North Conference Ron Wilmot School, #3022273



Epworth’s Kidz Haven mission in collaboration with Harding Middle School staff discreetly helps the students of economically challenged families by providing clothing and personal self-care items through a Comfort Closet.

 During the summer we also sponsor students to attend summer music camps and have helped subsidize financial expenses for Harding Middle School’s summer program which is designed to engage kids in many activities other than watching television and playing with electronic devices/games.

Harding Middle School is in the lowest performing ten percent of America’s middle schools.Kidz Haven mission believes that our contributions can strengthen school reform efforts, boost academic achievement, and increase student engagement in our neighborhood middle school which is facing some of the toughest educational challenges in our country.

Kidz Haven was founded in January 2011 with a mission that is in constant change as Harding Middle School and our world situation changes. With the exception of very few sporadic donations Kidz Haven funding and success is totally dependent upon approval of an annual Matthew 25 grant.


Epworth United Methodist Church Phone Number: (515) 243-3817

Contact: Lori Morgan or Pam Deeds



Linn County Correctional Chaplaincy Ministry (dba Fresh Start Jail Ministry) provides services to the “least of these” in the Linn County Jail, along with a unique ministry to the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center serving those ages 12-18 years of age. Our theme is “Lighting a Candle of Hope and Spiritual Freedom” for those who find themselves in some way involved with the correctional system. We have two part-time Chaplains with special gifts for the corrections ministry, and a Volunteer Coordinator working with over 100 volunteers. We minister to the inmates, family members and corrections staff. Weekly worship services in an ecumenical setting, Bible studies, opportunity for personal conferences with both the inmates and the juveniles detained, are provided. Our ministry also includes programs for Prayer Partners, the RISE Program that assists recently released individuals with basic human needs and job search, the Adult Mentoring Program that provides long term direction and support, and GED preparation support and direction. We are in need of prayer support for everyone in our Ministry and the people we serve, in addition to continual financial and volunteer support. Our website can provide additional information about our important Mission.


Matthew 25 empowers people to transform core urban neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids. We build strong neighborhoods by focusing on fresh, healthy food; affordable, sustainable housing and education. Projects include the state's first urban farm, school gardens, youth job training, a tool library, Groundswell "pay-it-forward" Cafe and a variety of housing programs. Transform, our annual volunteer housing rehabilitation blitz, brings more than three hundred volunteers together the final full week of June. 

Contact Info:

Matthew 25
201 3rd Ave SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404


South Central, Southeast, Southwest Districts 








ThreeHouse: a Wesley Foundation International Student Outreach Project # 362

The International Outreach Ministry includes these ways of connecting with and supporting International Students at UNI:  weekly worship, conversation; Emergency Assistance Fund, Food Bank, Furniture Loan Program, English tutoring, Cultural Sharing, Safe Space meeting site.  A large percentage of the UNI International enrollment at UNI has been connected to our outreach at some point during  their UNI enrollment. As needs and opportunities emerge, we respond to new initiatives regularly.

Contact Person:  Rev. Dave Glenn-Burns

Contact information:  
2422 College St.
Cedar Falls, IA 50613