News


Laity Day 2018 a success

Laity Day 2018 a success

4/19/2018
Members of the Board of Laity give a reader's theater-style presentation during Laity Day 2018. United Methodists from across the state braved inclement weather for a day of learning, friendship, and to meet Bishop Laurie Haller during Laity Day at Aldersgate U.M. Church in Urbandale on April 14, 2018.   Michael Egbert and James Fisher made the drive from Lamoni, where they are both active in their church. Michael has attended Laity Day before and invited James to drive up with him this year. ...

2018 Pre-Conference Sessions

2018 Pre-Conference Sessions

4/18/2018
The Pre-Conference sessions will be held in the next few weeks. The purpose of these is to present information about subjects that are important to the life of the Iowa Annual Conference prior to when the Conference meets in June. These sessions give everyone a chance to learn more, ask questions, and have conversations with members of local churches and contact persons. It also allows time for prayer and reflection to discern the direction God may be leading us as local churches in the ...

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 ...

"Being Christ In Community" – church charters in Johnston

4/16/2018
Worshippers at Johnston River of Life on Easter Sunday 2018. Easter Sunday at Johnston River of Life was a celebration in more ways than one this year. This new church plant has taken the next step in the life of a church by choosing to charter with the Iowa United Methodist Conference.   “We had the intent to charter a United Methodist church in Johnston by staying in connection with Des Moines New Hope. When we began building relationships in the community, it became the best choice to ...

God is calling you

God is calling you

4/12/2018
Are you between the ages of 20 and 30, and feel a passion to engage your faith as you develop as a leader?  The Global Mission Fellows Program may be for you!  The GMF Program is a full-time paid 2-year graduate level fellowship for young adults that interested in the intersection of faith and the world.  Though our application closed in January we still have some availability in our US track.  See what the qualifications are below. Must have valid Work Authorization in the US through August ...

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 ...

IA Conf. communicators receive awards

IA Conf. communicators receive awards

3/20/2018
The Communications Ministry Team of the Iowa Conference was recognized for its work during the awards gala of the 2018 gathering of the United Methodist Association of Communicators.  The event, held in Philadelphia, brought together denominational communicators from across the country as well as Nigerian Episcopal Area communicator, Rev. Ande Emmanuel.  (Ande was ordained as an Elder in the UMC during an Iowa Annual Conference session.)   Associate Director of Communications, Liz Winders, ...

Johnson, Plambeck named directors

Johnson, Plambeck named directors

3/20/2018
In a move to align resources and talent in the Iowa Annual Conference, Bishop Laurie Haller has appointed Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson as the Director of Congregational Excellence, and Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck as the Director for Clergy and Leadership Excellence.   Johnson, the South Central District Field Outreach Minister since 2013, has effectively served congregations in Iowa through the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI).   “I can’t wait to work collaborative with the other directors, the cabinet, ...

curious.church

curious.church

3/19/2018
This year, from October 9-12 Iowa will serve as host to the National Christians Engaged in Faith Formation Conference called ‘curious.church’ (www.curious.church). The Conference will offer a diverse lineup of educational opportunities with workshops, keynotes and worship all highlighted. The conference will also feature authors and speakers Brian McLaren, John Roberto and Mary Scifres as well as United Methodist Bishops Laurie Haller from Iowa, Cynthia Fierro Harvey from Louisiana and Tracy ...

Destruction allows new growth

Destruction allows new growth

3/19/2018
By: Morgan Frideres, Spring 2018 Intern, Simpson College A tornado destroyed part of the sanctuary at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Muscatine in March 2017, causing $1 million of damages to the building and destroying the 5200 pipe Casavant organ.   This didn’t destroy the congregation’s spirit, though. Although it was inconvenient, Board of Trustees chair Greg Wall said they took advantage of the situation.   “We seized the opportunity with the church being in disarray and we made a ...

Justice For Our Neighbors quarterly newsletter

Justice For Our Neighbors quarterly newsletter

3/15/2018
Click to read the March 2018 JFON newsletter.

Polk City U.M. Church embarks on mission trip to Puerto Rico

Polk City U.M. Church embarks on mission trip to Puerto Rico

3/6/2018
In response to the devastation that was caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, 15 Iowans are preparing to leave Thursday for Puerto Rico to help a United Methodist church rebuild.   The volunteers include high-schoolers through retirees, and not just United Methodists.   “We were able to get a good group of people from many denominations from all across the state of Iowa,” said the group’s leader, Reverend Hugh Stone. “We have a student at Simpson College, some retired doctors, a retired nurse, ...

AC2018 - Creating Difference Makers in New Communities of Faith

AC2018 - Creating Difference Makers in New Communities of Faith

3/3/2018
Creating Difference Makers in New Communities of Faith is the theme for the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference session where lay and clergy will gather for the three-day event will be held at the Iowa Events Center/Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. The 175th annual yearly meeting will feature powerful preaching, inspiring singing, informative teaching sessions, vital reporting, and the reconnection of fellow United Methodists from across the state.   Following Lay and Clergy sessions that will be held on ...

The little church that CAN

The little church that CAN

3/3/2018
By: Morgan Frideres, Spring 2018 Intern, Simpson College Prole, IA – Linn Grove United Methodist Church in Prole, Iowa is home to a congregation of around only 40 regular worshipers, but they’ve proven their slogan as the “little church that CAN.” Their small congregation raised $5,580 for Heifer International to purchase animals for families in poverty.   Heifer International’s expression is “Passing on the Gift,” according to their website. The purchase of animals brings sustainable ...

Active aggressor training and resources

Active aggressor training and resources

3/2/2018
There is no way that we can be prepared for everything that “could” happen but we can discuss and be ready for many things. In 2017, a total of 108 fatalities happened in places of worship in the United States. So far in 2018, we have 18 confirmed occurrences of guns in school with two of these resulting in fatalities. There is no “one” training or plan that will work for every church or community. Catie Newman, IAUMC Disaster Response Coordinator has compiled some resources to start the ...

DMPCC offers opportunities for clergy and laity

DMPCC offers opportunities for clergy and laity

3/2/2018
The Daring Way.™ Show Up. Be Seen. Live Brave.™  The Daring Way™ is a one-day workshop based on the work of Dr. Brené Brown. Participants can take this opportunity to learn how to show up, be seen and live brave in the challenging arenas of life. In this workshop we will learn about how to understand shame and move through shame towards wholeheartedness. Through experiential learning, we will explore key components of Dr. Brené Brown's research regarding shame, vulnerability and wholehearted ...

Bishops receive 2

Bishops receive 2 "sketches" for Way Forward

2/28/2018
  DALLAS -  What is the Christ’s way forward for doing mission and ministry in the worldwide United Methodist Church? That is the question bishops pondered during their February meeting in Dallas this week as they received an updated report from the Commission on a Way Forward. In the report given to the Council this week, the Commission shared with the bishops two sketches that carry forward many of the values and principles of the three sketches that were presented to the bishops at their ...

Conference Alignment: Next Steps

Conference Alignment: Next Steps

2/26/2018
The Iowa Conference has been on a journey towards greater health for the past several years. From the adoption of our strategic priorities in 2014 to the approval of the Conference mission and vision in 2016, operational teams across the state have worked diligently to align our systems and structure to create and support vital communities of faith and transformational leaders. The healthy process implemented through these operational teams has equipped our leaders and our local churches to ...

Gallo Seagren appointed to SE District for seventh year

Gallo Seagren appointed to SE District for seventh year

2/20/2018
Bishop Laurie Haller has announced that she will be appointing the Rev. Dr. Lilian Gallo Seagren to serve to serve as Superintendent of the Southeast District for the for another year, beginning July 1, 2018. This will be Superintendent Gallo Seagren’s seventh year leading the District. Since transferring to the Iowa Conference from Northeast Philippines in 1999, Dr. Gallo Seagren has served communities of faith in Hamburg; Guthrie Center-Bowman Chapel; and Waterloo, Kimball Avenue, prior to ...

JFON Staff Attorney or Fully Accredited Representative

JFON Staff Attorney or Fully Accredited Representative

2/20/2018
Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors (Iowa JFON) is a non-profit organization and a mission of the United Methodist Church. Our mission is to welcome immigrants and refugees of all faiths into our churches and communities by providing free, high-quality immigration legal services, education, and advocacy. Iowa JFON seeks a highly motivated, self-directed professional to join their team as a Staff Attorney or Fully Accredited Representative. Iowa JFON provides legal clinics in 7 different locations ...

Bishop's Statement about Florida tragedy

Bishop's Statement about Florida tragedy

2/15/2018
On the afternoon of Ash Wednesday, seventeen students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida were killed by alleged gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who used a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle. This was the eighth school shooting in the US in 2018, and we are only 47 days into the year.   Our American love affair with guns and the challenge of passing gun legislation is well portrayed by the sign on the United Methodist Building in Washington D.C., which is the ...

Lenten Message from the Council of Bishops

Lenten Message from the Council of Bishops

2/14/2018
Dear Friends, On behalf of the entire Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, I greet you as we enter the Lenten Season – a season of reflection and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ triumphant resurrection on Easter. The pattern of our Lenten journey was set by Jesus during his 40 days of solitude, fasting, prayer and testing in the Judean desert. This was an essential period of preparation for Jesus’ public ministry. But, the goal of our Lenten journey was revealed by Jesus...

Scholarships offered for 2018 UMEIT:USA and NWCU events

Scholarships offered for 2018 UMEIT:USA and NWCU events

2/7/2018
WASHINGTON -The Council of Bishops is offering scholarships for young adults (age 21-35) to attend the 2018 United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training (UMEIT:USA) and the National Workshop on Christian Unity (NWCU) this Spring.   UMEIT:USA is the annual training in the United States for United Methodists engaged in ecumenical and inter-religious ministry through the church. The NWCU is an opportunity for Christians who care about ecumenical and inter-religious ministry to learn and ...

Tiny church—big impact

Tiny church—big impact

2/7/2018
A small church continues to have a big impact in Bolan, Iowa and surrounding communities because of the motivation and drive of a congregation that is half made up of folks over eighty-years-old.  On Sunday, October 15, 2017, a “Special Recognition” Day was held during the Bolan Trinity United Methodist Churches morning worship service to honor those members who are in their eighties and nineties. Those in their eighties are: Duane and Betty Anderson; Jacie Erdmann; Roger and June Erdmann; ...

2018 Marks the beginning of a Jubilee for United Methodists.

2018 Marks the beginning of a Jubilee for United Methodists.

1/30/2018
By: Rev. Fred Day, General Secretary General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) Fifty years ago, Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) Bishop Rueben H. Mueller and Methodist Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke joined hands over a table laden with symbols—the Bible, hymnals, books of Discipline and a 307-page "Plan of Union." 1,300 delegates and 10,000 visitors met in Dallas, Texas on April 23, 1968 proclaiming the formation of the newly-constituted United Methodist Church. 10.3 million Methodists and ...

Commission moderators emphasize mission as key to way forward

Commission moderators emphasize mission as key to way forward

1/30/2018
The moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward are urging United Methodists to engage in reflections on where they see mission at the heart of the denomination as well as seeing mission as significant for resolving conflict. Below is the statement from Bishops David Yemba, Sandra Steiner Ball, and Ken Carter: Mission and the Way Forward in the Season after the Epiphany At the conclusion of the recent meeting of the Commission on a Way Forward, the members were asked to share three words that...

Puerto Rico Mission Trip

Puerto Rico Mission Trip

1/27/2018
Volunteers are needed to participate in a Mission Trip to Puerto Rico from March 9 - 17, 2018—$1600/person In response to the devastation that was caused when back to back hurricanes slammed Puerto Rico, a mission trip has been organized by Rev. Hugh Stone from March 9 - 17 that will help repair a church just outside of San Juan.  Travel, lodging and meals are all included. The volunteers will be staying in a Methodist church in San Juan.  Please contact Rev. Stone at (641) 414-4876 or ...

The New Tax Law and Church Budgets

The New Tax Law and Church Budgets

1/23/2018
How will the new tax law (TCJA – Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) affect church budgets? First, what probably WON’T change.   Gifts to the church from people’s wills and estates probably won’t change.  Most people include a gift to the church in their will because they love the mission and ministry that is happening, and they want to leave a legacy that will survive their time on earth. Now is a great time to start or rejuvenate your church’s Endowment, and be able to receive bequests. Second, what ...

Rev. Paul Wilcox to become Northeast Superintendent

Rev. Paul Wilcox to become Northeast Superintendent

1/22/2018
  Bishop Laurie Haller has announced that Rev. Paul Wilcox will become the Superintendent of the Northeast District. He succeeds Rev. Jackie Bradford, who has served the district since 2011.  “The Iowa Annual Conference has eight districts, each led by a Superintendent who works with me to appoint the very best clergy to our congregations,” said Bishop Laurie Haller. The superintendents are the chief missional strategists for the districts, developing programs of mission and ...

UMW priorities a focus at the 2018 Legislative Advocacy Day

UMW priorities a focus at the 2018 Legislative Advocacy Day

1/19/2018
Close to thirty people gathered at Wesley United Methodist Church on E. 12th Street in Des Moines on Thursday morning January 17th to participate in the 2018 Legislative Advocacy Day which was hosted by the Iowa United Methodist Women.   Marty Ryan, a lobbyist for the Justice Reform Consortium, a prison advocacy group lead the orientation before the group of Methodist’s headed to the Iowa State Capitol.   During session, the Legislative Team, who are all volunteers, met with legislators and ...

Advocacy Day Jan 18

Advocacy Day Jan 18

1/17/2018
Thursday, January 18, 2018 8:30 am - 3:15 pm Wesley United Methodist Church 800 E. 12th St, Des Moines Advocacy Day Includes: Visit to the Iowa State Capitol Building Gourmet Soup and Salad Buffet with Homemade Pie Conversations with State Legislators from 11:30 - 1:00 at Wesley UMC Presentations on UMC Priority Issues #1 Maternal/Child Health and #2 Criminalization of Communities of Color This is event is open to United Methodist Women, Officers and Social Action Coordinators; United Methodist...

2018 Camp registration is now open

2018 Camp registration is now open

1/12/2018
Camp registration for the 2018 season is officially open! Come join us at Lake Okoboji, Pictured Rocks, or Wesley Woods Camp and Retreat Centers for an Adventure of a Lifetime! Registration information can be found at www.iaumc.org/camps, or by calling the camp registrar at 1-800-765-1651.   Camp Ambassador Packets will be mailed to churches soon, so watch your mailboxes! These guides help you promote camps at your church with a start-to-finish program including recommended Bible verses and ...

‘It’s been my privilege to serve four bishops’

‘It’s been my privilege to serve four bishops’

1/10/2018
On New Year’s Day, Rev. J. Robert Burkhart began as interim Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, a position that he will hold until September 1st, when Rev. Harlan Gillespie steps in. The role is nothing new to Rev. Burkhart—in fact this is his third “go around” in it. “The role has really changed over the years and probably grown a lot,” he says. “But it’s been my privilege to serve with four bishops.” Not only has the job title experienced slight variations over the years, but the ...

Walk to Emmaus builds faithful leaders

Walk to Emmaus builds faithful leaders

1/10/2018
The Walk to Emmaus is a lay-driven weekend experience that’s about spiritual renewal and formation, and Jeff Anderson and Dick Pipho are two of its biggest proponents within the Iowa Conference. “It’s an opportunity to meet Christ in a new way, as revealed through other voyagers,” says Dick, who explains that participants “spend three days with pilgrims who come through the walk, a series of talks, and group activities and so on.” But first, it may help to recall what the Walk to Emmaus derives...

Carlson to become NW Superintendent

Carlson to become NW Superintendent

1/8/2018
Bishop Laurie Haller has announced her intention to name Rev. Ronald L. Carlson to the Appointive Cabinet, beginning July 1, 2018.   “The Iowa Annual Conference has eight districts, each led by a Superintendent who works with me to appoint the very best clergy to our congregations,” said Bishop Laurie.  “The superintendents are the chief missional strategists for the districts, developing programs of mission and ministry that extend the witness of Christ into the world.  In addition, the ...

School for Ministry ends

School for Ministry ends

1/5/2018
The School for Ministry, the multi-day experience of worship, enrichment and resourcing, and renewal, has come to an end.  The commission voted, on November 16, 2017, to officially end its existence. For many years the school for ministry has been the continuing education choice for many United Methodist clergy in the state of Iowa. Over the years it has had an array of highly qualified faculty members, was held top-notch facilities and offered the best value possible for clergy of the Iowa ...

2017 Ingathering presents mission opportunity

2017 Ingathering presents mission opportunity

1/2/2018
Just a month after another successful Thanksgiving Ingathering for Iowa United Methodists, the Ingathering’s state coordinator, Mary Davis, sat down along with treasurer Marilyn Jensen and Greenfield site co-chair Jim Tussey to talk about the event. Marilyn reported that donations this year amounted to “about $985,000 dollars’ worth of both cash and in-kind gifts. Which, the in-kind is kits that are donated. So just short of a million dollars’ worth of giving for Thanksgiving Ingathering. And ...

Coaches ‘very encouraged, hopeful’

Coaches ‘very encouraged, hopeful’

1/2/2018
For two years, the Iowa Conference has been taking part in the Healthy Conference Initiative process with the coaching guidance of Greg Survant and Christin Nevins from Spiritual Leadership Incorporated (SLI). It is now a critical juncture in the process, as the coaches lessen their roles and the teams that they have been working with are charged with stepping up to the plate. “Iowa was very astute in recognizing that the problems facing the conference and all the churches is what’s known as an...

DMARC food pantry network – Iowa Annual Conference volunteers

DMARC food pantry network – Iowa Annual Conference volunteers

1/2/2018
The issue of hunger continues to touch Des Moines-area residents across all demographics, as demonstrated by statistics from the Des Moines Area Religious Council’s (DMARC) Food Pantry Network. In Fiscal Year 2016-2017, the DMARC Food Pantry Network assisted more than 48,000 unique individuals and nearly 20,000 unique households, as well as distributed more than 1.8 million food items. November is always the DMARC Food Pantry’s highest volume month, said Luke Elzinga, DMARC’s communications ...

Meet JFON's new director, Sol Varisco-Santini

Meet JFON's new director, Sol Varisco-Santini

1/2/2018
A ministry of the Iowa Annual Conference, Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) has been in operation for more than 18 years now. Now, for the first time ever, the organization has hired a paid executive director. “When I saw the position was available, I was very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful team,” says Sol Varisco-Santini, who is now leading a small but dedicated group of immigrant lawyers, paralegals, and an intake specialist. Iowa JFON’s first executive director ...

Your Foundation is growing!

Your Foundation is growing!

1/2/2018
The Iowa United Methodist Foundation is growing again this year. Not only your investments and funds at the Foundation, but also with new faces around the office. Kevin Gowdy retired as Director Emeritus at the end of 2017, after several decades at the helm. He will be working on his Gowdy Christmas Tree farm in Melbourne, and enjoying his children’s high school years. He will work with his wife Laurie, a Financial Advisor with Thrivent Financial Services in Marshalltown and Baxter. He has had ...

Happy Holidays for JFON

Happy Holidays for JFON

12/27/2017
Click to read our quarterly newsletter.

High School student starts a choir

High School student starts a choir

12/27/2017
Katie Palmer is a difference maker at the West Chester United Methodist Church. When she was a sophomore in high school, she had the idea to start a children’s chime choir. She presented a proposal to the Administrative Council of the church, complete with PowerPoint slides, to ask them to buy the chimes. She sent letters to all the parents in the community who had children in kindergarten through the fifth grade to invite them to participate in the chime choir. Only two of the first dozen kids ...

Mabaan Children's Christmas Program

12/18/2017
Mabaan Children's Christmas Program Like any Sunday School Christmas program, the South Sudanese Congregation children were front and center to present their program for their parents and special guest, Bishop Laurie Haller on Sunday, December 17. The kids from ages 3 y/o to 10 y/o were from the Mabaan peoples group. The usual speaking parts of welcome, explanation about the Advent candle and songs filled the fellowship hall at First United Methodist Church in downtown Des Moines. The smaller ...

With Singleness of Heart and Action

With Singleness of Heart and Action

12/14/2017
FROM NATIONAL JUSTICE FOR OUR NEIGHBORS With Singleness of Heart and Action Iowa JFON’s first executive director continues the fight for justice In May 2008, Sol Varisco was working with Catholic Charities of Iowa. An Argentine immigrant teacher who had studied at Iowa State University, Sol was in charge of coordinating a state-wide emergency response for an immigration raid they all suspected would soon be coming. “The Bush administration had already approved a lot of money for raids,” she ...

World Methodist Council statement on Jerusalem

World Methodist Council statement on Jerusalem

12/7/2017
Statement on President Trump's Recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of Israel The World Methodist Council (WMC) and its member churches acknowledge the foundational role that the Holy City of Jerusalem has played in the history of the Christian Faith. The WMC, in partnership with two of its member churches, maintains a presence in the city through The Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem, which serves to increase awareness and involvement of the Methodist-Wesleyan community in current issues ...

Social Holiness

Social Holiness

12/5/2017
Social Holiness What We Believe series “Social holiness is the practice of obeying Jesus’ commandments to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind,” writes Dr. Steve Manskar.  It also includes “loving your neighbor as yourself, and loving one another one another (fellow members of your local congregation) as Christ loves.” Citing a passage in 1 John, Manskar adds, “When Wesley says that holiness is social he means that the depth of your love for God is revealed by the way you love whom God ...

Come and See Holy Land Tour

Come and See Holy Land Tour

12/1/2017
Palestinian Christians are asking us to come and see. That is what we will do. April 16-27, 2018 First United Methodist Church in Des Moines is hosting a trip to Israel/Palestine. We will “come and see” the cities of Nazareth, Tiberius, Ibillin, Haifa, Capernaum, Cana, Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Jericho. We will visit many holy sites. But just as importantly we will also listen. We will hear from: Archbishop Elias Chacour as he talks about the plight of Christians in the Holy Land...

United Methodist stance on taxes

United Methodist stance on taxes

11/29/2017
Like much of the current debate in Washington, The United Methodist Church is calling for changes in the tax code.  A resolution, adopted by the 2016 General Conference states, “[we] need to reform these tax structures.” Understanding “the vital role of governments” that provide order and structure and provide services that only a collective can offer, Resolution 4063 affirms that taxes “are necessary to provide adequate revenue that supports our shared commitment to a just society, including ...

Distinctive Wesleyan Emphases

Distinctive Wesleyan Emphases

11/17/2017
What Makes United Methodists Unique - “Distinctive Wesleyan Emphases” What We Believe series “The underlying energy of the Wesleyan theological heritage stems from an emphasis upon practical divinity, the implementation of genuine Christianity in the lives of believers.” (The Book of Discipline, 2016, p. 51) While the early roots of the Methodist experience emerge from John Wesley’s experience in the Church of England, he never thought his responsibility was to “reformulate doctrine.” (p. 51) ...

Final sea container on its way to Nigeria

Final sea container on its way to Nigeria

11/16/2017
The last sea container headed to Nigeria from the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church was loaded and sent on its way. Fourteen volunteers transferred boxes from a tractor-trailer to the container on Friday, November 10, 2017.   Jeremy Poland along with the driver, Eric, wait to load the last few boxes. The sea container was filled to the top with kits delivered to the 2016 Thanksgiving Ingathering sites across the state—the last year the Iowa Nigeria Partnership accepted school, ...

Clergywomen's Convocation

Clergywomen's Convocation

11/15/2017
From November 12-14, more than 60 clergywomen from across the Iowa Annual Conference gathered at First United Methodist Church in Ames for the Iowa Clergywomen’s Convocation. “It’s the time for us to get together, to worship together, to hear some of the great preachers that we have in Iowa, have some fun breakout sessions,” said one of the event’s organizers, Rev. Dr. Sarah Rohret as it was getting ready to kick off. “It’s just a time to gather together and hang out and have fun.” When she ...

Sol Varisco appointed Executive Director of Justice For Our Neighbors

Sol Varisco appointed Executive Director of Justice For Our Neighbors

11/15/2017
Maria Sol Varisco-Santini was appointed to become Iowa JFON’s next Executive Director. She took the reins on Monday November 13, 2017. The Committee is thrilled that Sol has accepted this position. Committee Chair Frank Camp said, “After interviewing several candidates in our search for a new ED over 12 months, we believe Sol has the experience, passion and initiative that we were looking for and have needed for so long.” She brings experience from another not-for-profit organization providing...

Four approaches to Discipleship Pathways

Four approaches to Discipleship Pathways

11/14/2017
By: Jaymee Glenn-Burns There is an influx of roundabouts in my town requiring many of us to learn some new driving skills. Iowa United Methodists are learning some new skills around designing discipleship pathways for their churches. There are many ways to begin. Here are four possibilities. Begin with a template. One of the most straightforward models comes from Jorge Acevedo in his book, Vital: Churches Changing Communities and the World. He identifies four key steps in growing disciples of ...

Discipleship practices

Discipleship practices

11/13/2017
By: Phil Carver The Northeast District sponsored a training event last month at First United Methodist Church in Jesup. Jackie Bradford, the superintendent, announced that Dr. Lilian Gallo Seagren and Dr. Gideon Gallo, a sister and brother team, would be coming to the district on Saturday, October 14 to “help us explore the Gospels to discover what we can learn about making disciples.” The Iowa Conference has embraced a Wildly Important Goal (WIG) to see that “All United Methodist churches in ...

Parish nurses receive Trinity Hospital's FOCUS award

Parish nurses receive Trinity Hospital's FOCUS award

11/13/2017
The October Trinity Hospital Foundation newsletter featured two parish nurses, Brenda Sherrick and Carol Jackson.  These two parish nurses were the first-ever recipients of Trinity Hospital's FOCUS award.  Brenda is technically a Trinity employee working at Asbury; Asbury pays her salary to Trinity. Carol is considered a "volunteer" for the Trinity Parish Nurse program, as she is a direct employee of Asbury. Both Carol and Brenda are long time members of Asbury United Methodist Church in ...

'The mission work is wonderful'

'The mission work is wonderful'

11/7/2017
On the morning of Saturday, November 4, at the Webster City site for the 38th annual Thanksgiving Ingathering, over 40 young people were bustling about, accepting donations and packing them up. Something similar was happening at four other churches in the Iowa Annual Conference at the same time, as people drove in with donations of school kits, health kits, sewing kits, and layette kits for those in need. “They pull right up and there’s like 10 tables lined up on the sidewalk, and they drop off...

Exploring deeper questions of faith

Exploring deeper questions of faith

11/7/2017
The Simpson Youth Academy, which includes a 10-day residence on the Simpson College campus each summer, offers a unique opportunity for high school juniors and seniors in the Iowa Annual Conference. “We’re creating a community of adult mentors and high school students that are together exploring deeper questions about their faith, about social justice and service, and about vocation,” explains Rev. Eric Rucker, the program’s director. Founded by the Lilly Endowment and Simpson College, the Youth...

Meeting Needs; Meeting the Community

Meeting Needs; Meeting the Community

11/7/2017
By: Amy Johnson New Virginia United Methodist Church has found a new way to meet new needs in its community. As the resources in Warren County become more and more centralized in Indianola, it became clear through interviews with the schools and community leaders that local resources are scarce. This led to several ministries in the past, such as the Winter Coat drive and support to keep the local food pantry open. As of September, though, it has led to an even wider ministry in Southwest ...

Thanksgiving Ingathering 'foments hope'

Thanksgiving Ingathering 'foments hope'

11/7/2017
The first Thanksgiving Ingathering in the Iowa Conference happened 38 years ago. The original organizer of the event, Bill Appelgate, began dreaming of bringing ingathering to Iowa after learning about the concept from a friend in Missouri. A Dream Come True Dorothy Appelgate “He didn’t only dream about it, he did something about it,” says 97-year old Dorothy Appelgate of her late husband, recounting the committees and church talks and planning that went into winning support for the idea. “...

Bishop offers prayer for Texas tragedy

Bishop offers prayer for Texas tragedy

11/6/2017
Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the deaths yesterday of 26 children, women, and men at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Twenty others were wounded, many critically, in the largest mass shooting in Texas history. Children lost parents, multiple members of extended families were killed, and the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor died at the hands of shooter Devin Patrick Kelley. Four percent of the town’s population was killed in the shooting. In the midst of this senseless and ...

Curious. Church

Curious. Church

11/6/2017
Registration is now open for the 2018 National CEF Conference that will be held October 9-12, 2018 at the Downtown Marriott in Des Moines. Reduced registration rate now until January! This conference is for clergy and laity especially those involved in disciple-making ministries like Christian education and spiritual nurturing, as well as those fostering leadership ministries in their local churches. This is designed for not only salaried but volunteers as well! Featuring Brian McLaren and John ...

JOY Camp

JOY Camp

11/6/2017
Mobile United Methodist Missionaries (MUMM) finished its summer season with JOY Camp at Wesley Woods during the last week of July. JOY stands for “Jesus, Others & You.” In her blog, Allison Engel, the Senior Summer Assistant for MUMM, tells about a tradition at the camp that keeps the schedule a mystery each day. Campers are puzzled to learn that everything starts at 7:47! Alison was feeling rather glum in the middle of the week until she found a camper who was searching through his Bible to ...

CORR creates conversation

CORR creates conversation

11/3/2017
On November 17, the Iowa Conference Commission on Religion and Race invites all ethnic clergy and laity, and all members of the church (especially members of their congregation’s Staff-Parish Relations Committee), to the Iowa Conference Center for a special workshop on cross-cultural and cross-racial appointments. “Iowa is a welcoming conference, and we are so blessed that we have a lot of ethnic pastors appointed right now within the whole conference,” says Rev. Dan Fernandez, chairperson of ...

Excited for his new role

Excited for his new role

11/2/2017
Rev. Harlan Gillespie, Superintendent for the North Central District, who also serves as Dean of the Appointive Cabinet, will be taking on a very important new role starting July 1: Assistant to the Bishop for Administration. For the new position, he and his wife will be leaving their home in the North Central District, where they’ve enjoyed living for the last four years, and relocating to Des Moines. Click to listen to the interview with Rev. Harlan Gillespie. “When I think about it, my ...

Learning how to be healthy in ministry

Learning how to be healthy in ministry

11/2/2017
“When we look at healthy boundaries, we’re looking at how can we respect and honor those differences and be aware of how we relate to each other in ways that feel good and safe for everyone involved,” says Rev. Andrea Severson. She, along with Rev. Amy Spangler-Dunning and Rev. Diane McClanahan, all from the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, is leading a series of 16 workshops on healthy boundaries this fall and continuing into early 2018 across eight districts in the Iowa Annual ...

New director shares God's love through camping

New director shares God's love through camping

11/2/2017
Chip Hutler is the new site director for Wesley Woods Camp and Retreat Center, located in Indianola, Iowa. He’s been in the ‘camp business’ for nearly 30 years, working at camps and YMCAs from Wisconsin to Arizona. Strangely enough, though, he didn’t grow up as a camper – in fact, he found himself rather unexpectedly falling into his career. Click to watch the interview with the new Wesley Woods site director, Chip Hutler. “I blame my wife,” Chip laughs. “My wife and I met in college in an ...

Nurturing fruitful pastoral leadership

Nurturing fruitful pastoral leadership

11/2/2017
“It’s an alternative to the educational program offered by our seminaries,” explains Dr. Dennis Tevis, the director for the Upper Midwest Extension Course of Study. “It’s a 20-course program that covers things that pastors need to know in serving congregations, from congregational care, to preaching, to Old and New Testaments, to historical theology and contemporary theology.” Part of the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, the Upper Midwest school serves part-time ...

NW District changes how they handle charge conferences

NW District changes how they handle charge conferences

11/2/2017
By Phil Carver This fall the Northwest District churches are handling their annual charge conferences in a new way. Their district superintendent, Tom Carver, says that “charge conferences are one of the ways we support the mission and vision of the local church.” However, the business of the charge conference can be handled rather briefly during the course of congregation’s regular church council meeting. Elders in the area, therefore, have been asked to preside over these events, which frees ...

What We Believe - The United Methodist perspective

What We Believe - The United Methodist perspective

11/2/2017
What We Believe - The United Methodist perspective on “Global Climate Stewardship” This month we begin a new feature entitled, “What We Believe.”  The new series will highlight some the things that we, as United Methodists, hold in common. The United Methodist Church has adopted a set of Social Principles, perspectives about God’s human creation and the world in which we live.   The Social Principles address such diverse topics as: the natural world (plants, animal life, science and technology, ...

Retirees ‘celebrate the present,’ receive updates

Retirees ‘celebrate the present,’ receive updates

10/31/2017
Retired Iowa Conference clergy and spouses came to New Hope United Methodist Church for their fall gathering on October 31.  The more than 70 worshipped, heard from Bishop Laurie Haller, received a pension update, and, of course, caught up over morning coffee and the mid-day lunch. Rev. Bill Poland Rev. Bill Poland, the current assistant to the bishop for administration, welcomed the group and, along with his spouse, Judy, on the keyboard, led the opening worship.  In the shadow of All ...

Spiritual Care Trainings create listeners for everyone

Spiritual Care Trainings create listeners for everyone

10/31/2017
There are many devoted disaster response teams in the Iowa United Methodist community, but a new style of post-crisis care is emerging in the conference.   “Our whole motivation in disaster ministries is to be a caring, Christian presence in the midst of disaster,” said Rev. Catie Newman, the Iowa Disaster Response Coordinator. “Now, we'll have a Spiritual Care Team.”   The first of many Spiritual Care trainings was held at the Conference Office on Oct. 23. The training started from the ground ...

Disaster Ministries update

Disaster Ministries update

10/30/2017
The aftermath of Hurricanes, Harvey, Irma, Maria and the wildfires in the West have devastated enormous parts of the United States. The real work of recovery is just beginning and help in the form of volunteers will be needed for years.   Many of you have asked:  How can we help?  Can we go?   When can we go?  What do they need?  Here are a few of those answers. On Friday, October 20, 2017, UMCOR held a conference call with the Conference Disaster Coordinators with updates regarding our ...

Judicial Council upholds Bishop’s ruling

Judicial Council upholds Bishop’s ruling

10/30/2017
The Judicial Council, United Methodism’s “supreme court,” upheld Bishop Laurie Haller’s ruling on a “decision of law” raised during the 2017 annual conference session.  The decision announced on October 26, 2017, came during the Council’s fall meeting.  The question was raised “regarding the complaint procedure involving a clergy member who was reported to have publicly declared to be ‘a self-avowed practicing homosexual’,” according to the opening of Decision 1351. In brief, the Judicial ...

Migration from Mexico

Migration from Mexico

10/30/2017
Over the past 15 years the net migration from Mexico to the US has been falling. Slower population growth, better schools, and the improving economy have combined to  encourage Mexicans to stay at home. Now immigrants more often come from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Some subgroups such as women and children traveling alone, and LGBTQ persons are fleeing persecution at home. Mexico has stepped up its border patrol, especially at their southern border. As the journey becomes riskier more...

63 years of Christmas sharing

63 years of Christmas sharing

10/25/2017
Bidwell Riverside Center has started to solicit help in making their 63rd year of sharing the most impactful yet. We’re seeking toys for all ages to make this year a success and bring joy to even more children.  Learn more about the Bidwell Riverside Center Toy Drive Most needed items include: Toys, stocking stuffers, books, hats & gloves, stuffed animals, $10 and $20 gift cards to Walmart, Target, and other grocery stores. Donated items can be dropped off in our administrative office located ...

Team focuses on building relationships

Team focuses on building relationships

10/23/2017
The 10-member Faithful Stewardship Team, which meets monthly and has gathered together four times so far, is fully into the process known as ‘loving, learning, and leading’. The team’s convener, Rev. Ron Carlson, says, “Our coaches, Betty Stone and Karen Kirkpatrick, have been leading us and guiding us as we’ve learned about each other and tried to get a feel for what was going on – a lot of the preparatory work, developing our team, understanding who we are and what assumptions we operate with....

Nonprofit seeks to reduce food insecurity

Nonprofit seeks to reduce food insecurity

10/19/2017
There are 99,000 Polk County residents who are food insecure1. Of those people, 72,000 have enough to eat thanks to supportive services such as Bidwell Riverside Center’s food pantry.  Bidwell Riverside Center works to reduce food insecurity every day. The pantry at Bidwell served more than 15,000 people in 2016. That’s 20% of the Polk County residents who were food insecure but still managed to have enough to eat. Last year, Bidwell distributed approximately 122,000 clothing items, 37,000 ...

Website homepage to feature new look

Website homepage to feature new look

10/18/2017
Beginning Friday, October 20, the homepage of the Iowa Conference website will feature a new look.  With clearer access to interior sections the refreshed presentation will include links to separate sections for the vision, mission, and wildly important goal, features, current news, and a comprehensive index at the bottom of the page that includes a “subscribe” button to Conference publications. “It’s important for the website to support the Conference vision, mission and wildly important goal,...

Iowa Conference Conversations podcast

Iowa Conference Conversations podcast

10/17/2017
Iowa Conference Conversations podcast is now available on both iTunes and Google Play music.  “Thanks to the extraordinary work of Wil Ranney, ‘Conversations’ will be more widely available and something you can subscribe to,” said Dr. Arthur McClanahan, the Conference’s Director of Communications. Some 63 “Conversations” are posted, as of October 17, 2018.  The episodes range from brief three-minute dialogues to ten-minute interviews, to a few extended conversations and presentations.  Most ...

Iowans generous in disaster response

Iowans generous in disaster response

10/17/2017
Iowa United Methodist communities of faith were very generous in their giving to disaster response in September.  Giving from 155 congregations amounted to $59,386.41, of which $3,952.93 was designated for an international response and $55,433.48 for domestic disaster response. In this difficult 2017 storm season, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been particularly attentive to the devastation in Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.  The United Methodist News ...

Advent through Christmas—Coming Home Worship Series

Advent through Christmas—Coming Home Worship Series

10/16/2017
In the United States, Christmastime and thoughts of home just go together. “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” and “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” are two of the most popular holiday songs, year after year. Christmas movies and television shows regularly feature stories of people going to their family home or extended family home over the holidays. Among the rituals we create for this darkest time of the year in the Northern hemisphere, perhaps the majority of them are associated with ...

PET renamed Mobility Worldwide

PET renamed Mobility Worldwide

10/16/2017
Pastor Audrey Young shares how the Personal Energy Transportation (PET) got its start in Iowa and how they are made, delivered and received.

Prayer and Mission

Prayer and Mission

10/16/2017
Ryan Christenson, Northwest District Field Outreach Minister shares ideas for churches to expand their prayer life and mission.

Begins tenure on July 1, 2018

Begins tenure on July 1, 2018

10/13/2017
Bishop Laurie Haller announced today that Rev. Harlan Gillespie will be the new Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, effective July 1, 2018.  Gillespie, Superintendent for the North Central District, also currently serves as Dean of the Appointive Cabinet. “The Assistant to the Bishop works with the Bishop in administering the life of the annual conference,” said Bishop Laurie. This includes representing the Bishop on conference administrative committees and at conference events, ...

Re: Letter from United Methodist Insurance

Re: Letter from United Methodist Insurance

10/10/2017
TO ALL IOWA UNITED METHODIST CHURCHES - October 2017 RE: United Methodist Church Minimum Insurance Requirements The Iowa Conference has become aware that United Methodist Insurance is sending each church a letter attempting to enroll you in their insurance program. The mailing indicates that there are new “minimum insurance requirements” that each church must comply with. Please click here to read a letter from Conference Treasurer Maggie Biggs for more information.

November JFON newsletter to churches

November JFON newsletter to churches

10/9/2017
Click here to read JFON's November newsletter.

Wesley in Muscatine recovers and grows together after tornado

Wesley in Muscatine recovers and grows together after tornado

10/7/2017
By Katie Roquet Worshiping and ministering while there is a construction zone filling your main sanctuary is certainly a challenge. Here at Wesley United Methodist Church in Muscatine, we were hit by an EF2 tornado on March 6th, 2017. The damage it left behind was significant, destroying our beautiful Casavant pipe organ, damaging much of our chancel area, leaving a gaping hole in the roof, and causing minor damage in many other areas of our main church building and our Family Life Center. ...

An important message from Bishop Laurie

An important message from Bishop Laurie

10/6/2017
The entire country woke up on Monday morning to the shocking news that a lone gunman unleashed hundreds of rounds from high-velocity semi-automatic weapons from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel onto a crowd of 22,000 people at an outdoor music festival. It was the deadliest mass shooting modern US history. 58 people were killed and hundreds more were injured. Among the victims was Carly Kreibaum of Sutherland, Iowa, who had a husband and two children. Authorities are just beginning to piece ...

Clean-up buckets on the way to help

Clean-up buckets on the way to help

10/6/2017
On Monday, October 2, Addison Gaskin and Barbara Hartsock, two drivers for the family-run Weinrich Trucking business, stood in the parking lot of Altoona United Methodist Church, waiting to have their rig filled with nearly 400 clean-up buckets, plus boxes full of hygiene kits, that volunteers had assembled to help hurricane victims.  (Later in the day, more than 300 additional clean-up buckets were collected from First United Methodist Church in Marion.)  “It’s 53 foot long, and it’s about 8, ...

Discipleship Pathways presentations offer challenges, hope

Discipleship Pathways presentations offer challenges, hope

10/3/2017
In the opening days of October, Ken Willard led “Discipleship Pathways” presentations in the Southwest, North Central, Northwest and South Central districts. Designed in part to further the conference’s “Wildly Important Goal” to see every community of faith develop a discipleship pathway by 2020, Willard’s workshops attracted hundreds of clergy and lay people eager to learn the process for developing a discipleship pathway. Making the Connections For those who don’t quite know what to make of...

Upper Midwest Extension Course of Study nurtures fruitful pastoral leadership

Upper Midwest Extension Course of Study nurtures fruitful pastoral leadership

10/3/2017
“It’s an alternative to the educational program offered by our seminaries,” explains Dr. Dennis Tevis, the director for the Upper Midwest Extension Course of Study. “It’s a 20-course program that covers things that pastors need to know in serving congregations, from congregational care to preaching to Old and New Testaments, to historical theology and contemporary theology.” Part of the Garett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, the Upper Midwest school serves part-time ...

Waterloo Kimball receives award

Waterloo Kimball receives award

10/2/2017
Waterloo Kimball UMC has received The State of Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award for their Partner in Education program with Orange Elementary School where they had 16 reading buddies during the 2016-17 school year who read over 400 hours. They also have volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, Eye of the Needle and the local hospitals. Congratulations Waterlook Kimball, that's how you show the world that the United Methodist Church is filled with Difference Makers!

Cleaning kits are on the way

Cleaning kits are on the way

9/29/2017
“The final trucks that we’ve arranged so far, on Monday, will be picking up just under 2,000 buckets across Iowa and delivering them to Midwest Missions,” reports Rev. Catie Newman, who is the disaster response coordinator for the Iowa Conference. “We’ve tried to get all the buckets into three locations so we just have three pick-ups for them that day.” Those kits will soon be helping people in the many areas ravaged by hurricane begin the overwhelming task of cleaning up, but of course there is...

Reaching out to storm survivors in Puerto Rico

Reaching out to storm survivors in Puerto Rico

9/29/2017
Photo credit: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Celebrating traditions at Santiago UMC

Celebrating traditions at Santiago UMC

9/28/2017
While the farmers are harvesting crops in the fields around it, the children are gathered inside the small country church assembling over two dozen school kits for Ingathering and rehearsing a song for the church's 125th Anniversary celebration Sunday, October 1. Santiago UMC has invited the public to an open house from 1 to 4 PM with historic displays, homemade desserts, and ice cream. A free-will offering will be received for an upper level handicapped accessible project. At 2 PM former ...

Conversations about mental health

Conversations about mental health

9/26/2017
By Monique Shore Mental health issues touch the lives of many in our pews and in our communities. And yet, even in what should be the safety of our family of faith, it can be difficult for individuals to share these burdens. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Iowa consistently ranks at the bottom of all states for mental health programs and services.  Inadequate mental health services are a contributing factor to nearly every issue our society struggles with - health care, ...

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