News


Advent Devotion December 12

12/12/2018
UNMET EXPECTATIONS John’s disciples informed him about all these things. John called two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord. They were to ask him, “Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?” When they reached Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you. He asks, ‘Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?’” Right then, Jesus healed many of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he gave sight to a number of blind people. ...

Advent Devotion December 11

12/11/2018
THE LAND OF THE SUN "On that day, there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear loyalty to the Lord of heavenly forces. One of them will be called 'the city of the sun.'” — Isaiah 19:18 This past Summer my wife and I had an opportunity to visit Reykjavik, Iceland. Iceland has become a popular tourist destination, and for good reason! It’s beautiful and diverse with languages and cultures from all over the world represented. When we toured the glacier,...

Budget Team hears suggestions

Budget Team hears suggestions

12/11/2018
Iowa Conference boards and agencies had the opportunity to come and offer suggestions to the Budget Review Team on the newly released recommendations to cut approximately $1.3 million from the 2020 budget. About 16 members from various boards and agencies came to the Conference Office for the discussion." "We've been entrusted by Jesus with a mission to make disciples throughout the world," said Rev. Bill Poland, chairperson of the Budget Team, "so that we - us, in our congregations, and around...

Advent Devotion December 10

12/10/2018
SHARING GOD'S LOVE As we draw closer to Christmas one would think we would start to slow down and reflect on what Jesus’s birth really means to this broken and hurting world. The opposite is actually what happens – we add more and more to our schedule – shopping, programs, family gatherings, parties and the hustle and bustle of the season and often the real reason for the season almost gets lost in the wrappings and glitter.   As Christians we know that if it wasn’t for Easter there would be no ...

Free Holiday Meals

Free Holiday Meals

12/10/2018
Here is a list of churches and community centers offering free meals during the holidays. The list is organized by district (section of Iowa) then date. Thanks to everyone who has shared this information with us! If you would like to add a meal to the list, please fill out this form. God bless you! - Iowa Conference Communications Ministry Team To find a meal near you, click the district below: Northwest Southwest North Central Central South Central Northeast East Central Southeast Northwest ...

Advent Devotion December 9

12/9/2018
GETTING OUR HOUSE IN ORDER "Look, I am sending my messenger who will clear the path before me; suddenly the Lord whom you are seeking will come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you take delight is coming, says the Lord of heavenly forces. Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can withstand his appearance? He is like the refiner’s fire or the cleaner’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver. He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. ...

Advent Devotion December 8

12/8/2018
LIGHT “Because of our God’s deep compassion,     the dawn from heaven will break upon us, to give light to those who are sitting in darkness     and in the shadow of death,         to guide us on the path of peace.” — Luke 1:78-79 CEB The above passage comes at the conclusion of Zechariah’s prophecy at the circumcision and naming of his son, John. He is filled with the Holy Spirit and able to speak again after nine months of silence. After a long night of darkness, the dawn is about to break.  ...

Advent Devotion December 7

12/7/2018
CHRISTMAS PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE Luke 1:68-79; Malachi 3:13-18; Philippians 1:18b-2 My earliest memories of Christmas are visions of my family, friends, and Christmas gatherings. The Christmas Eve program at church – candlelight, favorite hymns, and the little brown paper sack filled with peanuts in the shell and candy canes. I can see – and smell – my mom baking Christmas cookies, decorating the house, and carefully hanging the treasured decorations on the tree that my dad had cut at the ...

'Fusion Tonight' features Conference Leaders

'Fusion Tonight' features Conference Leaders

12/6/2018
Fusion Tonight brings late-night television to the pews as Jon Cooper hosts worship every Wednesday night at Cedar Falls First United Methodist Church. Recently, several pastors were invited to speak during a series called "My Last Sermon", including Rev. Bill Poland, director of new communities of faith, and Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, director of clergy and leadership excellence. Pastor Nate Nims and Rev. David Glenn-Burns also were featured. "There must be something to this 'love' thing," ...

Advent Devotion December 6

12/6/2018
BELIEVING IN THE LORD Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,     because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us     in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies     and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors     and to remember his holy covenant,     the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,     and to enable ...

Response to Budget Team Proposal

Response to Budget Team Proposal

12/6/2018
Ryan Risdal Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministries Chairperson Iowa Conference, United Methodist Church   Dear Friends:   As Chair of the Iowa Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministries I am truly saddened to have received the finding proposal to dramatically defund the BHECM in 2020. This proposal will severely impact the BHECM and the important ministries we support across Iowa. This is a tough situation. The BHECM has been preparing for financial uncertainty but this...

Advent Devotion December 5

12/5/2018
SIGNS "As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the ...

Advent Devotion December 4

12/4/2018
WHO AM I? "Then King David went and sat in the Lord’s presence. He asked: Who am I, Lord God, and of what significance is my family that you have brought me this far?" — 2 Samuel 7:18 Have you ever hit a point in your life where you’ve said, “I don’t deserve this.”? I’ve had this happen many times. Whether it’s help from my family, a job offer, praise from my boss, or a kind act from a stranger, I have thought many times that I am not deserving because I’m not important. I’m not anybody. Earlier...

Advent Devotion December 3

12/3/2018
DAWN & SUNRISE Don’t let it escape your notice, dear friends, that with the Lord a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord isn’t slow to keep his promise, as some think of slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives. —2 Peter 3:8-9 (CEB) In his book, Christmas, Karl Barth wrote this reflection, “Unfulfilled and fulfilled promise are related to each other, as are dawn and sunrise. ...

Changes in policy for immigrants/refugees

12/3/2018
One of the strengths of our democracy is to have the right to challenge policy that Governments have put in place when a new administration takes office.  Jeff Sessions, previously the US Attorney General, did that upon taking office. President Obama and previous presidents had made policy regarding treatment of immigrants, border issues, and number of refugees admitted each year.  But upon President Trump’s taking office, his new Attorney-General, Jeff Sessions, had the right to amend policy to...

Okoboji Camp: Update from the Director

Okoboji Camp: Update from the Director

12/3/2018
Camp Reaches Many Lives Derek Bergman, Okoboji U.M. Camp Site Director This past summer we had 665 campers register and attend one of our summer camping events. What a blessing it is to meet each and every one of our campers. Even though it is hard for us to measure, we know camp has a lasting impact that continues to strengthen our campers even after they return home. We pray all year that our campers have taken what they learned at camp and applied the lessons to their everyday life. Just ...

Advent Devotion December 2

12/2/2018
COME ALIVE...ALL OVER AGAIN! “Take care that your hearts aren’t dulled by…the anxieties of day-to-day life” Luke 21:34, CEB Worrywart. “Somebody who worries entirely too much” (Urban Dictionary). “A person who worries excessively especially about unimportant matters” (Wiktionary).  Worrywart. Something not to be!  I don’t know about you, but when I’m worrying about things what’s going on, the moment blows right on by, unnoticed. Stuff I have no control over looms large, blocking the view of ...

Budget Team update from Bill Poland

Budget Team update from Bill Poland

11/30/2018
In the most recent episode of Iowa Conference Conversations, Rev. Bill Poland describes the work of the Budget Review team and its proposals. The Budget Team has been tasked to recommend a 2020 budget that is missionally-directed by the three Strategic Priorities adopted by the Annual Conference (2013). The Team has also been tasked to propose expense reductions by $1 million.

Migrant Caravan

Migrant Caravan

11/19/2018
What started as a group of 160 people from the Honduran crime-ridden city of San Pedro Sula has swelled to more than 7000 in Mexico City.  They are fleeing persecution, poverty, and violence in their home countries, primarily Honduras although people from Guatemala and El Salvador are also part of the group. Spreading word through social media, their numbers grew. They have banded together seeking safety in numbers. Migrants traveling alone face many dangers, including people traffickers, drug ...

Remembering Meredith Stubbe

Remembering Meredith Stubbe

11/15/2018
Our dear sister in Christ Meredith Ann Stubbe passed away Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.   Meredith began working for the Iowa Annual Conference in October 2017. She was a welcoming presence at the front desk for the last year, where she would brighten the day of anyone who walked in the door.   “She quickly became a beloved member of our staff and was a pleasure to work with,” said Margaret Biggs, Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services. “Not only was she smart and quick to ...

Holiday Hours

Holiday Hours

11/14/2018
The Conference Center in Des Moines will be closed to the public beginning Wednesday, November 21 at 2:30 p.m. and will reopen Monday, November 26. It will also be closed Monday, December 24 through Tuesday, January 1, and will resume regular business hours for our Conference members and guests beginning Wednesday, January 2.   

District Fundraising Challenge

District Fundraising Challenge

11/12/2018
DISTRICTS CHALLENGED TO RAISE FUNDS FOR KITCHEN AT THE UBUNTU RETREAT CENTRE AT AFRICA UNIVERSITY  Several weeks ago, a group of eleven clergy and laity from Iowa visited Africa University in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe. Africa University (AU) was founded in 1992 as a United Methodist-related university and draws students from countries all over the African continent. Several of our Iowa clergy are graduates of AU. We stayed at the Ubuntu Retreat Centre, which was completed several years ago and was ...

Honoring our Veterans

Honoring our Veterans

11/11/2018
Today, Sunday, November 11, is Veterans Day, although the holiday will be officially observed on Monday, November 12. Today also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, when fighting ceased on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the day we call Armistice Day.  On this day, we honor and give thanks for all those who served in the armed forces of the United States. My 91-year-old father, Gerry Hartzel, enlisted in the Merchant Marines at the end of ...

Ingathering continues tradition of compassion and connection

Ingathering continues tradition of compassion and connection

11/3/2018
Ingathering continues tradition of compassion and connection By Arthur McClanahan   Thanksgiving Ingathering 2018 continued the tradition of making a difference both locally and globally.  Marking its 39th year, the five-site experience enabled Iowa’s United Methodist faith communities to “share from our abundance…acting justly and reflecting our desire to serve God.” Click here to watch a video report (2:44) Combining the enthusiasm and energy of youth with a faith-nurtured understanding that ...

'Be instruments of Peace' - Bishop Laurie

'Be instruments of Peace' - Bishop Laurie

10/28/2018
In response to the tragedy at the Tree of Life Or L'Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh that left 11 dead and six others wounded, Bishop Laurie Haller called upon Iowa United Methodists to "name evil."  At the same time, she issued the invitation to "work for good in the world." In a prayer, posted on her Facebook page, Bishop Laurie expressed the hope that "each one of us [can] become an instrument" of God's peace and hope. Merciful God, we confess that fear and anger have overwhelmed us. We ...

Bishop Laurie's statement on Judicial Council decision

Bishop Laurie's statement on Judicial Council decision

10/26/2018
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Many of you know that our United Methodist Judicial Council has been meeting this week to determine the constitutionality of three legislative propositions by the Commission on a Way Forward: The One Church Plan, the Traditionalist Plan, and the Connectional Conference Plan. The Special-Called General Conference in February 2019 will meet in St. Louis to consider these three plans in addition to other petitions that are "in harmony" with the call for a ...

Open Letter from IAUMC Budget Team

Open Letter from IAUMC Budget Team

10/23/2018
To: All Pastors & Local Church Leadership Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, Thank you for your leadership in the Iowa Annual Conference during this time of both transition and transformation. Recently, the Bishop’s Operational Team formed a Budget Team, of which we are a part. We write to a) inform you of our work; b) begin building lines of communication and relationship, and; c) ask for your input. First, we want to make sure you are aware of the status of the 2018 apportionment receipts. ...

A note from Rev. Ron Carlson

A note from Rev. Ron Carlson

10/5/2018
Written by Rev. Ron Carlson, Northwest District Superintendent   "I am because we are." While we are in the middle of this season of interviews and charge conferences, I am also getting ready to travel to Africa University with our Bishop. In the midst of transition and searching for a new normal, I am questioning the sanity of this adventure at this time. There is so much going on here in the district and I will be gone for about two weeks. Often, the preparations and the current reality ...

Bishop Laurie begins COWF Fall Gatherings

Bishop Laurie begins COWF Fall Gatherings

9/27/2018
More than 300 people gathered at Salem and Washington United Methodist Churches to listen and join in on the Conversation on a Way Forward on Sunday, Sept. 23.   Bishop Laurie Haller spoke about convicted humility, and about how she hopes that attitude can carry the denomination and the Iowa Conference through the upcoming decision.    “Convicted humility is an attitude that Jesus wants us to show in our lives, and not only in the way we relate to our family and friends and work colleagues,” ...

5K helps 'end the stigma' of mental health

5K helps 'end the stigma' of mental health

9/26/2018
Photos from the End the Stigma Mental Health Awareness 5K and Forum on Sept. 15, 2018 in Carlisle. When Linda Benton went to Annual Conference in 2018 as a lay delegate, she didn’t expect to walk away with a mission from God.   “I attended one of the workshops about mental health, and God put a bug in my ear,” she said. “I just thought, ‘Linda, you’ve got to do something with this.’”   She came back to her church in Carlisle intending to host a forum about the stigma surrounding ...

Coming alongside others in care

Coming alongside others in care

9/25/2018
Written by Rev. Nan Smith, Pastor at Marshalltown Hope UMC  On Thursday afternoon, July 19, when an F3 tornado roared through Marshalltown, the United Methodist Women here at Marshalltown Hope were putting the final touches on their annual fundraiser — a rummage sale set to open the next day. As our church had suffered no damage because of the storm, the women went ahead and opened the doors on Friday. However, as the reports began to roll in that morning about the extent of the tornado damage,...

Delegates build relationships, consider what is good for the whole church

Delegates build relationships, consider what is good for the whole church

9/24/2018
By Rick Wolcott*   Members of each of the delegations to the Special Session of General Conference from across the North Central Jurisdiction (NCJ) gathered at Wespath Benefits and Investments in Glenview, Illinois September 21-22. The time of shared learning, small group discussion, worship, and fellowship was sponsored by the NCJ College of Bishops and the NCJ Mission Council. “The goal really was conversations and the building of relationships,” said Bishop David Bard, president of the NCJ ...

School for Lay Ministry advanced classes

School for Lay Ministry advanced classes

9/5/2018
The School for Lay Ministry Commission Advanced Classes begins October 13 at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. Each of the classes are available to all clergy, laity or those interested. Don’t wait to take advantage of these special learning opportunities. Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 “Missionary Conferences” with Rev. Jon Disburg, from Ottumwa First     Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 “Oh no, I forgot to order the Special Sunday envelopes!” with Rev. Denny Coon, from Union Park-Des Moines  Have you ever...

School for Lay Ministry classes for 2018-19

School for Lay Ministry classes for 2018-19

9/5/2018
School for Lay Ministry Classes Beginning Soon—Don’t Miss Out on an Exciting Journey in Your Spiritual Growth Check out The School for Lay Ministry brochure Gain knowledge and insight and become a tremendous asset to your pastor and your church through classes with the School for Lay Ministry. These inexpensive weekend long classes will help will grow beyond your expectations.  “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  ...

July JFON Newsletter

July JFON Newsletter

7/17/2018
Iowa JFON Newsletter July 2018 "Keeping Families Together"

Carma Mohler Grant open

Carma Mohler Grant open

7/3/2018
“…for I was hungry and you gave me food…” – Matthew 25:35 Carma Mohler Grant is NOW open!   Carma Mohler was passionate about helping and feeding those in need. She decided to establish this fund to make an impact on hunger issues presented every day. The Iowa United Methodist Foundation is seeking applicants from United Methodist-affiliated groups or non-profit organizations based in Iowa that are creating projects to relieve hunger. Such projects could be community gardening, food or cooking ...

Navigating through charitable giving

Navigating through charitable giving

6/21/2018
With all the social causes, particularly immigration related issues, in the news lately, there are many charities vying for your attention and support.   How can you know if these groups are real, and if they are effective in their mission? The best website to check is www.charitynavigator.org – and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) has the highest 4 star rating. If you or your congregation are interested in setting up a directed fund for social causes, or any other ministry, ...

'Zero tolerance' Bible quote criticized

'Zero tolerance' Bible quote criticized

6/18/2018
By Sam Hodges June 15, 2018 | UMNS U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ quoting of a New Testament verse to justify a new zero tolerance policy on illegal immigration has brought a fresh round of criticism from religious leaders, including fellow United Methodists. Sessions used a June 14 address in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to defend the Trump administration’s tougher approach on immigration as being in the national interest and children’s safety. He specifically noted the criticism he’d received ...

Bishop's statement on family separation

Bishop's statement on family separation

6/15/2018
Dear Friends, Last week, the United Methodist Council of Bishops joined other faith organizations in issuing a statement asking the United States government to end its policy of separating immigrant families. The statement includes these words, “Recently, the U.S. Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our ...

Report to the UM News Service—AC2018

Report to the UM News Service—AC2018

6/15/2018
2018 Annual Conference Report Worksheet   Name of conference: 2018 Iowa Annual Conference — Creating Difference Makers in New Communities of Faith   Location of conference gathering: Iowa Events Center, Hy-Vee Hall, Des Moines, IA   Dates of conference gathering: June 8-11, 2017   Officiating bishop: Bishop Laurie Haller   Guest speakers and memorable points or quotes by speakers: Bishop Laurie Haller opened the 2018 Annual Conference Session with an Episcopal Address that challenged the ...

Sermon scripts from AC2018

Sermon scripts from AC2018

6/12/2018
Episcopal Address Bishop Laurie Haller, Iowa Area The United Methodist Church Everything to Hope, Little to Fear Ordering Service Bishop Laurie Haller, Iowa Area The United Methodist Church Your Gloria Lives in You Retirement Service Rev. LaTonya Calderon It's Just Another Transition Memorial Service Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Dakotas-Minnesota Area The United Methodist Church Keep a Grip on Hope

Budget Approval—AC2018

Budget Approval—AC2018

6/11/2018
Attendees of the Iowa Annual Conference Session passed the Proposed 2019 Iowa Annual Conference Budget in an 827-39 vote Monday. The 2019 budget has a decrease of $505,925, for a total of $14,288,286.  Conference Treasurer Maggie Biggs had updated the Annual Conference Session on Budget specifics Saturday. In the area of statistics for vital congregations, she'd reported that average worship attendance has continued to drop, though slowing somewhat in its decline. Evangelism has had a ...

Conversation on a Way Forward—AC2018

Conversation on a Way Forward—AC2018

6/11/2018
A frank discussion on the United Methodist Church’s current struggle over human sexuality took place Sunday afternoon on the dais at the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference Session. “A Conversation on the Way Forward” drew some of the emotion surrounding the issue to the surface, as a sampling of the Iowa Conference’s General Conference delegates shared their thoughts, positions, and also some fears over the outcome of the decision to be taken up at the Special Session of the General Conference in ...

Conversations of a Way Forward open mic—AC2018

Conversations of a Way Forward open mic—AC2018

6/11/2018
The Monday gathering of the Annual Conference Session added an hour-long, open-mic Conversation on the Way Forward to give Conference attendees the opportunity for 90-seconds at the microphone to speak. Bishop Laurie announced at the beginning of the hour that its purpose was to expand upon the dialogue from the prior day's discussion, which was a panel discussion among several General Conference delegates. The bishop expressed the importance of Conference members also having a voice in the ...

Fixing of Appointments—AC2018

Fixing of Appointments—AC2018

6/11/2018
Ministry and mission and transitions in ministry were celebrated Monday at the Iowa Annual Conference Session with the Fixing of Appointments for the 2018-2019 Conference year.  Rev. Harlan Gillespie offered a message for the service drawing from his experience with "A" Mentor's Wise Words." Everyone has a mentor, he said, and early in his ministry, he encountered one who conveyed to him that what the people in the church need is a pastor, someone who would teach them to love God and people. ...

Iowa United Methodist Foundation report—AC2018

Iowa United Methodist Foundation report—AC2018

6/11/2018
The Iowa United Methodist Foundation conducted its annual meeting Monday at the 2018 Annual Conference Session.   Executive Director Rev. Katharine Yarnell detailed how approximately $250,000 in interest payments had been saved in the last year for participants in the HELP (Higher Education Loan Program for pastor’s seminary debt) program.   The next application deadline is September 1, and applications can be found at www.iumf.org.      Building Fund Trust Certificates were showing at: 1 year –...

Laity Address—AC2018

Laity Address—AC2018

6/11/2018
The world needs the United Methodist Church, Conference Lay Leader Margaret Borgen told Conference members gathered for Sunday’s Laity Session. And she asked those in attendance to consider that it still might be possible for the UMC to give the world a single, united witness.   The thought of people falling away from the church brings her sadness, she said, as does the thought of the church splitting over the homosexual issue, but God is not done with the UMC.   Watch the Lay Leader's Address ...

Monday legislation recap—AC2018

Monday legislation recap—AC2018

6/11/2018
The Iowa Annual Conference Session approved the proposed 2019 Iowa Annual Conference Budget with an 827-39 vote Monday. The 2018 ANNUAL CONFERENCE BALLOT for Conference Nominations was approved Monday with a majority vote. A reconciling motion was made to allow the Journal Staff to make editorial changes to the record of business after the adjournment of Annual Conference. The motion passed with a simple majority.  Resolutions for Closing of Local Churches were passed Monday.  The Churches ...

One Matters Discipleship Award—AC2018

One Matters Discipleship Award—AC2018

6/11/2018
The two recipients of the 2018 One Matters award at the Iowa Annual Conference Session were Manchester United Methodist Church and Bloomfield United Methodist Church. Recipients receive a $1K ministry grant. Manchester United Methodist Church successes: The attendance at the Manchester United Methodist Church continues to grow.  Our pastoral messages strive to make the scriptures relevant and have reignited a spirit of joy in our midst.  We are practicing radical hospitality and have seen new...

Special offerings—AC2018

Special offerings—AC2018

6/11/2018
These are still ‘tentative’ numbers pending cleared checks, etc.:   Retirement Service (Sat Afternoon): Nigerian Students - $6,612.50 New Faith Communities (Sat PM): $7,134.18 Mental Health (Sun AM): $8,539.84 Bishop’s Fit Walk (Sun AM): $575.00 Diakonos (Mon AM): $9,197.67 * The Diakonos will contribute 15% of the offering to the Hunter Williams memorial. * This was the highest Diakonos offering to date. Thank you everyone!

Keep a Grip on Hope—Memorial service AC2018

Keep a Grip on Hope—Memorial service AC2018

6/10/2018
If we remember amid life’s laments that God's steadfast love and mercies never end, we can still have hope.  This was the message brought by Bishop Bruce Ough to the Memorial Service at the 2018 Annual Conference Session. The lamentations will come in this life, Ough said, but if we remember God’s promise and persevere in sharing Him with the world, we won’t lose hope.    Watch the Memorial Service | Watch Bishop Bruce Ough's sermon Seventeen clergy members and 21 clergy spouses were ...

Alignment Team report—AC2018

Alignment Team report—AC2018

6/10/2018
Rev. Dr. Barrie Tritle updated the 2018 Annual Conference Session Saturday on the Aligning Resources Team's work for the Healthy Conference Initiative (HCI) component of the Conference's Strategic Priorities. The Iowa Conference has been on a journey towards greater health for the past several years, he explained.  "From the adoption of our strategic priorities to the approval of the mission, vision and Conference goal," Tritle said, "Operational Teams across the state have worked diligently ...

Black College Fund report—AC2018

Black College Fund report—AC2018

6/10/2018
Rev. David Glenn-Burns introduced Brittani Levine from Claflin College in South Carolina, saying the recipients of the Black College Funds are the young leaders and voices of our future. Levine gave the Black College Fund report on Sunday afternoon of the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference session.  "I bring you greetings on behalf of Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson, Assistant General Secretary for The Black College Fund and Ethnic Concerns," Levine began. "Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. ...

Board of Pensions report—AC2018

Board of Pensions report—AC2018

6/10/2018
The 2018 Iowa Annual Conference Session Board of Pensions report was given by Dave Peterson, vice-chair of the Board of Pensions and pastor at Clear Lake UMC, Clear Lake, Iowa.   “Assets in our Pension Funds are higher than our liabilities,” Peterson said. “As of January 1, 2017, our liabilities are funded at 105%.”   When the churches pay 15% of the pastor’s salary for those serving half-time and more, it is going to the current expenses, which are on-going pension liability, life insurance, ...

Cokesbury report—AC2018

Cokesbury report—AC2018

6/10/2018
Lindsay Drake, board member of The United Methodist Publishing House gave the report from Cokesbury. Brian Milford, President/CEO of the UM Publishing House, Robert Dean, Cokesbury Conference Resource Consultant for the Iowa UMC and Romper the River Otter puppet joined Drake in her presentation.   “Cokesbury can serve you in several ways: online at Cokesbury.com, by phone, or with a visit from one our Community Resource Consultants,” said Drake. “We invite you to stop by the Ministry Resource ...

Filling the truck, giving hope

Filling the truck, giving hope

6/10/2018
By Morgan Frideres Midwest Mission is seeing the largest year of donations from Annual Conference attendees in the past three years, according to Stan Lowrey, a volunteer coordinator. The truck, parked in the North lot of the Iowa Event Center, is packed full with donations from across the state.   Lowrey and his wife, Jennie, have been associated with Midwest Mission since 2005, and this is the couple’s third year at Iowa’s Annual Conference.    Fill the Midwest Missions Truck from Iowa ...

God is the Potter who molds us—Ordering service AC2018

God is the Potter who molds us—Ordering service AC2018

6/10/2018
God is the potter who continually molds us to reflect his grace, love, and hope, Bishop Laurie Haller told those gathered for Sunday's Ordering of Ministry service.   And it is in being His creation that we can find purpose and the beauty of our individual “Gloria.”   The Iowa Annual Conference ordained five elders at the 2018 Annual Conference Session, also commissioning six for the work of an elder, and recognizing six others as Course of Study graduates.    See more images from the Ordering ...

Iowa Annual Conference Licensing School graduates—AC2018

Iowa Annual Conference Licensing School graduates—AC2018

6/10/2018
Arnette Pint, Dean of the Iowa Annual Conference Licensing School, was excited to celebrate this year’s graduates Sunday evening at AC2018. The school met from May 12 – 18, 2018 at the Shalom Center in Dubuque, Iowa.  Twenty-nine students attended and graduated, 18 of whom answered the call from the Iowa Annual Conference. They also challenged students from CAL-PAC, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota Annual Conferences.  Successfully completing from the Iowa Annual Conference were:   ...

Iowa UM Camps report—AC2018

Iowa UM Camps report—AC2018

6/10/2018
Bryan Johnson shared with Annual Conference Session attendees Saturday morning about what it means to have an "Adventure of a Lifetime" with the Iowa United Methodist Camp Program.  Drawing from this year's camping theme, Johnson illustrated the fruit born by United Methodist camps, also sharing potential significant changes in the camp program's future. Johnson began with a photo of him as an adolescent around the time he first attended an Iowa United Methodist Camp, saying God became real to...

New Faith Communities report—AC2018

New Faith Communities report—AC2018

6/10/2018
  Rev. Bill Poland reported on New Faith Communities for the Annual Conference Session on Saturday. Poland spoke in his new role as Director of New Communities of Faith, part of the Healthy Conference Initiative (HCI) piece of the Conference's Strategic Priorities.    Poland is working with Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson as the new Director of Congregational Excellence, and Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, the new Director of Clergy & Leadership Excellence.   “We’re working to build a team that will continue ...

Rev. Jerry Oakland 'energized' by Annual Conference

Rev. Jerry Oakland 'energized' by Annual Conference

6/10/2018
The following is a transcript of a conversation between Rev. Jerry Oakland, Transitional Director of Connectional Ministries, and Rev. Dr. Art McClanahan, Director of Communications. Art and Jerry talk about the first half of Saturday at Annual Conference 2018, and what conference means to Jerry. The full conversation can be viewed in the video below. Art: Reverend Jerry Oakland is the Transitional Director of Connectional Ministries. Jerry, we're just now in the first half of the first day of ...

Sunday legislation—AC2018

Sunday legislation—AC2018

6/10/2018
Two editorial amendments to ACTION ITEM #601 pertaining to the Board of Pensions Health Insurance Plan were approved, the amendments for points of clarity. An amendment to ACTION ITEM #601 was passed in a vote of 844-16. ACTION ITEM #601 was approved as amended by an 841-15 vote.         ACTION ITEM #115 was approved in an 870-19 vote. ACTION ITEM #131 was passed in an 858-36 vote ACTION ITEM #405 was approved in a 770-122 vote. An amendment to ACTION ITEM #412 was passed in an 817-52 vote. ...

Treasurer's report—AC2018

Treasurer's report—AC2018

6/10/2018
There are many things happening in the Iowa Annual Conference, Conference Treasurer Maggie Biggs said in her address before the 2018 Annual Conference Session, "some of them very hopeful, some of them causing anxiety." "But I remind myself that God is working in all our lives to help make our local churches, our conference, and our world a better place for all," she added. Biggs said it doesn't seem possible that she was standing before the Annual Conference Session describing the financial ...

A holy conferencing, not a kind of arguing conferencing

A holy conferencing, not a kind of arguing conferencing

6/9/2018
Kinnick Driscoll gave the benediction at the close of the AC2018 Episcopal Address. Kinnick—Kid Pastor at Broadway United Methodist Church in Council Bluffs—told Bishop Laurie, "I will pray my very best prayer!" "Dear God, thank you for leading us down the road here. Thank you for our worship day and night. Thank you for making this a holy conferencing, not a kind of arguing conferencing. Help us to recognize you more and to show courage when making decisions about the church. Thank you for ...

A new perspective—Workshops AC2018

A new perspective—Workshops AC2018

6/9/2018
Participants broke out into smaller groups for workshops to further explore different topics including mental health, discipleship, Justice For Our Neighbors, benefits and mission education.  Two different workshops discussed mental health—a topic becoming increasingly important.  One workshop gathered people in small circles to have conversations that prepared participants to lead similar conversations in their local churches.  The other workshop held a panel with mental health clinicians ...

A new way to do missions—Mission Education AC2018

A new way to do missions—Mission Education AC2018

6/9/2018
The team for “In Mission Together,” the Iowa Annual Conference’s new mission model, presented the upcoming changes Saturday morning at the 2018 Annual Conference Session. A group led by Judy Marnin, Iowa's In Mission Together Advocate, explained via a skit and testimonies how the “In Mission Together” model differs from the previous Rainbow Covenant—most notably a new one-page form. A common theme conveyed through humor throughout the presentation was the task of completing Rainbow Covenant ...

Council on Finance and Administration report—AC2018

Council on Finance and Administration report—AC2018

6/9/2018
The concept of Covenant can’t be done half-way, Rev. Jon Disburg, said the during the Saturday installment of the 2018 Annual Conference Session, and it extends to the Conference Budget and apportionments.   The president of the Council on Finance and Administration (CF&A) and pastor for Ottumwa First United Methodist Church explained that unpaid apportionments are a reality, and because the notion of covenant is integral to the mission of the United Methodist Church, the CFA takes this into ...

Everything to hope, little to fear—Episcopal Address AC2018

Everything to hope, little to fear—Episcopal Address AC2018

6/9/2018
  Kinnick Driscoll from Broadway UMC did the benediction for the Opening Worship and Episcopal Address at AC2018. Read his prayer here. Truly one of God's difference-makers in the making! Watch Bishop Laurie's Episcopal Address Bishop Laurie Haller opened the 2018 Annual Conference Session with an Episcopal Address that challenged the Conference to wade into uncharted territory with hope instead of fear and to also find a way to remain united in the midst diversity in the church.   See an ...

Failing Boldly—Teaching session AC2018

Failing Boldly—Teaching session AC2018

6/9/2018
Church work is hard, Rev. Christian Coon told members of the Iowa Annual Conference Saturday afternoon at the Annual Conference Session. And sometimes via failure when trying new things in church ministry, we can still be an instrument of the Lord  Coon is the co-founder of Urban Village Church in Chicago and author of Failing Boldly: How Falling Down in Ministry Can Be the Start of Rising Up. He told attendees of the plenary teaching session that ministry successes might not always be obvious ...

Saturday Legislation at AC2018

Saturday Legislation at AC2018

6/9/2018
Members in attendance of the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference Session voted to schedule the two subsequent Annual Conference Sessions; June 8-June 11, 2019, and June 6-June 8, 2020. A vote was taken Saturday morning to suspend the rules for voting on a corrected ballot concerning a Constitutional Amendment from the 2016 General Conference. The results of the vote were not shared with the Annual Conference Session, as these are being tabulated nationwide, and thus will be sent in to the General ...

The Recognition of Retirement Service—AC2018

The Recognition of Retirement Service—AC2018

6/9/2018
Retirement is just another transition, Rev. LaTonya Calderon told 2018 retirees at this year’s Annual Conference Session. At first, Calderon had planned to use a theme for her Recognition of Retirement address posing the question to retires of “Where are you going?” But she said after thinking more about it, it was more fitting to convey that this is just one more transition in the life of a pastor.   Watch the Retirement Service | Watch Rev. LaTonya Calderon's sermon |  The pastor for ...

Young adults called to ministry

Young adults called to ministry

6/9/2018
By: Morgan Frideres   It’s hard enough being a college student. Many young adults are also exploring their call to ministry in the United Methodist Church—and they need your support.  Lewis Cox, an upcoming junior at Simpson, didn’t realize his call right away.  “I always thought that had to be a burning bush moment or God speaking through a thunderstorm, but that’s just not my story,” Cox said.      Instead, he saw a progressive call, noticing how his gifts, passions and talents best serve...

Laity Session kicks off AC2018

Laity Session kicks off AC2018

6/8/2018
The Laity Session kicked off the opening night of 2018 Iowa Annual Conference Friday, promoting inspiration and friendship among lay conference attendees.   “It is so good to be together as the Laity of the United Methodist Church in Iowa,” Iowa Annual Conference Lay Leader Margaret Borgen told the laity at the Conference.    Those gathered first sang, “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place” led by Phil Carver, SE District Field Outreach Minister, followed by Borgen’s introduction of ...

'Loving God and loving each other'; Conversation with Rev. Dr. Harlan Gillespie

'Loving God and loving each other'; Conversation with Rev. Dr. Harlan Gillespie

6/7/2018
In the latest edition of the Conference Conversations Podcast, Rev. Dr. Art McClanahan sat down with Rev. Dr. Harlan Gillespie. Gillespie is the Dean of the Bishop's Appointive Cabinet and outgoing North Central District Superintendent. He will be beginning his work as Assistant to the Bishop in the fall.   To listen to the full conversation between Harlan and Art, click here. Art: Rev. Dr. Harlan Gillespie is the dean of the Bishop's Appointive Cabinet and is concluding his tenure as the ...

Guidelines for Petitions submitted to the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference Session

Guidelines for Petitions submitted to the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference Session

6/7/2018
Guidelines for Petitions submitted to the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference Session Related to the Proposals of the Council of Bishops Regarding a “Way Forward” For The United Methodist Church   Persons or groups seeking Iowa Annual Conference endorsement of petitions to the 2019 General Conference must submit the petition in electronic form to the Iowa Annual Conference Secretary by 1:30 p.m., Saturday, June 9, 2018. Petitions may only originate with or be sponsored by individuals who are members of,...

Can't attend AC2018? Watch it Live instead!

Can't attend AC2018? Watch it Live instead!

6/6/2018
The live-stream of the annual conference session will appear on the home page of the website (www.iaumc.org) on Friday at noon and will continue to be available there for the run of the Conference.  The live-stream will be up for all the hours that the Conference is gathered in plenary session as well as for the laity session on Friday evening (beginning at 7 pm). The clergy session will not be streamed. When the session breaks for the workshops on Saturday afternoon (at 4 pm) the stream will ...

Iowa Events Center works to create convenient access to AC2018

Iowa Events Center works to create convenient access to AC2018

6/6/2018
Access to Northeast door will be available during AC2018 Although the Iowa Events Center has closed the sidewalk between the North parking lot and the Northeast door due to construction and repair on the building, access through the Northeast door will be available. For convenient access to the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference, the Iowa Events Center will close the traffic lane on 3rd Street closest to the East side of the building to allow pedestrians and golf carts to use this lane to enter through...

Laity Session at AC2018—inspiration and friendship

Laity Session at AC2018—inspiration and friendship

6/6/2018
Laity Session will be Friday, June 8 beginning at 7:00 p.m. This will be a time to meet friends old and new, be inspired, learn, sing and pray together.  The evening will begin with a special presentation from Bishop Laurie. Look forward to hearing her words of inspiration and grace, meeting the Board of Laity, and congratulating the new certified Lay Speakers and School for Lay Ministry graduates.  New this year, will be a once in a lifetime chance to hear the Board of Laity perform their ...

Treasurer Maggie Biggs looking forward to Annual Conference

Treasurer Maggie Biggs looking forward to Annual Conference

6/6/2018
The following is a transcript of the Iowa Conference Conversations Podcast featuring Maggie Biggs, Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services, and Communications Director Rev. Dr. Art McClanahan. Art:  Maggie Biggs is the Iowa Annual Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services. Maggie this third Annual  Conference coming up to present the treasurer's report and the statistics to the yearly gathering. It's two days ahead of time now. How are you looking forward...

Bishop Laurie on preparing for Annual Conference

Bishop Laurie on preparing for Annual Conference

6/5/2018
Communications Director Rev. Arthur McClanahan sat down with Bishop Laurie Haller during her preparations for Annual Conference. The following is a transcript of their conversation together. If you wish to join Bishop Laurie in her spiritual preparations before the conference begins, you may use the scriptures for the Retirement Service, Memorial Service, and Ordering Service. They are: Numbers 8:23-26; John 9:1-7; Psalm 23; Lamentations 3:19-24; John 6:32-40; and Isaiah 64:1-9. Art: Bishop ...

Tornado season is upon us

Tornado season is upon us

6/5/2018
Tornado season is typically June through October for the Midwest states but tornados can, and have, struck in Iowa in every month of the year. Storms in Iowa can develop suddenly and move with great speed.     Hurricane season has also arrived and it usually lasts from June through November. We have already had our first named storm—Alberto, a sub-tropical storm—that brought heavy rain to the Gulf Coast, the Florida Keys, Alabama and Mississippi. Rain and wind from Alberto reached all the way to...

Annual Conference 2018 begins Friday night

Annual Conference 2018 begins Friday night

6/4/2018
The 2018 Iowa Annual Conference Session begins Friday night. Gathering under the banner of “Creating Difference Makers – In New Communities of Faith,” the 175th Iowa Annual Conference feature a teaching session by Rev. Christian Coon, Lead Pastor of the Urban Village United Methodist Church in Chicago, worship sermons by Rev. LaTonya Calderon (Retirement Service), Bishop Bruce Ough (Memorial Service), and Iowa’s Resident Bishop, Bishop Laurie Haller (Ordering of Ministry). Complete information ...

Rev. Bob Burkhart reflects on the Annual Conference

Rev. Bob Burkhart reflects on the Annual Conference

6/4/2018
Why do we have annual conference? I spoke with Rev. Bob Burkhart, Interim Assistant to the Bishop for Administration to ask him that very question, along with what can we expect and what it means to him. Here’s our conversation… -Dr. Arthur McClanahan   Art: The 2018 Annual Conference begins this Friday. What is an annual conference? Bob: Annual Conference is a long tradition, going back to Rev. John Wesley, (the founder of the Methodist experience). In Wesley’s time it was clergy coming ...

Retiree Reflections

Retiree Reflections

5/29/2018
  Some of the 2018 retiring clergy reflect on their time in ministry. A Retirement Celebration will be held during Annual Conference on Saturday, June 9 at 1:30 p.m. in the Iowa Events Center. The service will be led by Rev. LaTonya Calderon with an offering giving to Nigerian Students studying at Iowa colleges.     Barbara Krueger "My road to becoming a pastor began by serving as secretary for my local church. My pastor recommended my services to the District Superintendent, which led to ...

Statement from Bishop Laurie about the Called 2019 General Conference and the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference

Statement from Bishop Laurie about the Called 2019 General Conference and the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference

5/29/2018
May 29, 2018 Dear Friends, You may have heard that our United Methodist Judicial Council met last week. Their purpose was to consider a request from the Council of Bishops for a declaratory decision on whether petitions inconsistent with the Bishops’ own report could be considered at the Special General Conference, set for Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis. (Click here to read the Bishops’ proposal.)              The following is the summary of Decision 1360 of the Judicial Council: “The purpose...

New Way to be current at AC2018

New Way to be current at AC2018

5/25/2018
The Communications Office is excited to announce a new feature to make this year's annual conference easier to navigate: the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference Sched App. The Sched App (short for schedule) contains everything you need to know about AC2018, from workshops and meal break events to worship times and offerings. You can even create your own agenda to quickly look up the things that are most important to you. Sched also has links to important documents like the Pre-Conference Manual, ...

Building Relationships to End Poverty

Building Relationships to End Poverty

5/24/2018
Food pantries, free clinics, and education opportunities are just a few of the things the congregation of Greenfield United Methodist Church has its hands in after a Rural Poverty Workshop held in November 2017 at the church. It has joined forces with other churches, the school, and local Crisis Intervention and Community Action services to begin relationship building with those struggling in the community.   “Many people in our community have been transformed in their thinking toward those who ...

Concerning Middle-East Violence

Concerning Middle-East Violence

5/18/2018
(This letter is from Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society) This week, we grieve the fear, horror, terror, violence, bloodshed, and death of children, youth, women, and men in Gaza. Israeli forces killed 59 Palestinians, most by gunfire, and injured more than 2,700 on Monday, Gaza Health Ministry said. (US News) I have led many groups of Christian, Muslim and Jewish students, faculty members and staff to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. We ...

Iowa JFON Luncheon during AC2018

Iowa JFON Luncheon during AC2018

5/18/2018
Enjoy great ethnic food from members of Trinity Las Americas. Get to know our Iowa JFON's staff and board members. Saturday, June 9, 2018, Noon - 1:30 p.m. Learn more about Iowa JFON and our current projects.

Pastoral Letter about Santa Fe shooting

Pastoral Letter about Santa Fe shooting

5/18/2018
Once again, our hearts are broken by the violence at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, this morning, where ten people were killed and another ten were wounded. In the midst of unspeakable horror, we lament along with the psalmist.   I cry out to you from the depths, Lord my Lord, listen to my voice!     Let your ears pay close attention to my request for mercy! If you kept track of sins, Lord,     my Lord, who would stand a chance? But forgiveness is with you;     that’s why you are honored. I ...

What We Believe: Immigration

What We Believe: Immigration

5/11/2018
What We Believe: United Methodist Perspectives on Immigration in the United States Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2) “Welcoming the Migrant to the US” is a hallmark of United Methodist communities of faith, according to the 2016 Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church. “Throughout Scripture,” document 3281 notes, “the people of God are called to love sojourners in our midst, treating them ...

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie

5/5/2018
A PASTORAL LETTER FROM BISHOP LAURIE   May 5, 2018   Dear Laity and Clergy in the Iowa Annual Conference,   Grace and peace! I am writing to you with an update from the Council of Bishops around the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. I am deeply grateful for your interest in and prayers for the Commission and for your presence at seven district gatherings around the state in March and April. As many of you know, the 2016 General Conference voted to form a special Commission to help us ...

Building Beloved Clergy Community

Building Beloved Clergy Community

5/3/2018
A beloved community was in full bloom at the spring Order of Elders, Order of Deacons, Fellowship of Local Pastors & Associate Members Gathering on April 26, 2018. Clergy gathered at Ames First United Methodist Church to address the common anxiety in the Iowa Conference around the upcoming General Conference sessions.   “Today is an opportunity to be together, take a deep breath, and address our common anxiety about where our church is right now,” said Rev. Scott Lothe, an Orders planning ...

Disaster Response — prepare yourself and help you neighbor

Disaster Response — prepare yourself and help you neighbor

5/1/2018
Hurricanes. Flooding. Active aggressors. God watches over us, but disaster happens, and we need to be prepared and ready to help those around us. Here’s the latest on United Methodists helping in times of disaster, and what to do when disaster strikes.   UMC Helping in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico   United Methodists’ recovery efforts are ongoing in two Texas conferences (Texas Conference and Rio Texas Conference), Florida and Puerto Rico. It will take an estimated 10 to 12 years until ...

Calling all singers!

Calling all singers!

4/17/2018
CONFERENCE CHOIR Calling all singers! The Memorial Service (scheduled for Sunday, June 10 at 4:00) will host a Conference Choir!  All singers are invited and encouraged to participate—regardless of whether you are a member of Annual Conference. You will be responsible for securing your own octavos and practicing ahead of the conference rehearsals.  The choir will offer two anthems:  Shepherd Me, O God - Haugen (Gia Publications #G-295) and Hymn of Promise - Sleeth/arr. Ferguson (Hope ...

Camp Hope 2018

Camp Hope 2018

4/10/2018
Camp Hope, a camp for children and youth with family members who are or have been incarcerated, is happening again this summer at Wesley Woods Camp and Pictured Rocks Camp. This three-day camp focuses on having fun in a safe space where campers can just be kids, and also learn about Christ's love for them. The Camp Hope team knows the difference that this program makes in the lives of its campers, so a Camp Hope experience is completely covered through scholarships. The Board of Church and ...

Native American Sunday

Native American Sunday

4/3/2018
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, Native American Ministries Sunday serves to remind United Methodists of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society. The special offering supports Native American outreach within annual conferences and across the United States and provides seminary scholarships for Native Americans. When you give generously on Native American Ministries Sunday, you equip seminary students who will honor ...

Disciples See God. Everywhere.

Disciples See God. Everywhere.

3/29/2018
Iowa United Methodists: if you need more ideas for designing your Discipleship Process, contact a Field Outreach Minister. From: Bread and Wisdom seeking the Way of Jesus By: Jaymee Glenn-Burns, NE District Field Outreach Minister Seeking better ways to make disciples, I find myself asking, “What does a disciple look like?” “How do I know a disciple when I see one?” Of course, there are many answers to these questions. One answer is that disciples see God everywhere, in the good times and the ...

"God bless this holy place and all who enter here"

3/23/2018
Psalm 127:1 Unless it is the Lord who builds the house, the builder’s work is pointless. Unless it is the Lord who protects the city, the guard on duty is pointless.   “You are the ones who are building the house, you are the ones who are protecting those who are defenseless, and God blesses you for your ministry here,” read Bishop Laurie Haller at the blessing celebrating the new office of Iowa Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) on March 15, 2018.   “We think that all means all, and that all ...

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