News


Mentor a young person in their faith!

Mentor a young person in their faith!

1/16/2018
God speaks to every person, but oftentimes young people don’t know how to listen for God’s voice. You can help—become a mentor to a young person in your community!  The Timothy Circle has created an online training workshop to give adults the tools and resources to be successful mentors. The 4-week online training costs just $45 and connects participants to a community of fellow mentors as well as a database of volunteer, work, and educational opportunities to help young people grow in their ...

Peace with Justice Scholarship Essay Contest 2018

Peace with Justice Scholarship Essay Contest 2018

1/16/2018
Iowa Annual Conference Board of Church and Society Peace with Justice Scholarship Essay Contest 2018   THE CONTEST: The Peace with Justice Scholarship Essay Contest is open to students who are high school juniors or seniors during the current school year and who live in Iowa or attend an Iowa high school. The applicant need not be a member of a United Methodist Church nor any other religious organization.   The essay contest will be publicized through the Iowa Conference Communications Ministry ...

Thank you for your support of the 2017 Ingathering

Thank you for your support of the 2017 Ingathering

1/16/2018
To the United Methodists of Iowa,  We did not quite make our million dollar target in 2017. We still had a wonderful Ingathering day with everyone participating. A big thank you to those who helped in the kitting areas and worked at the various activities at each site. The two UMCOR trucks brought 64,000 lbs. of kits to Baldwin, LA.  We are proud that 2018 will be our 39th year of following God’s expectations.  We are still amazed how well the five sites (Cedar Falls, Cherokee, Greenfield, Mt ...

Kress to become North Central District Superintendent

Kress to become North Central District Superintendent

1/15/2018
Bishop Laurie Haller has announced that Rev. Carol Kress will become the Superintendent of the North Central District on July 1, 2018.  Rev. Kress succeeds Rev. Harlan Gillespie who will assume new responsibilities as the Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, also on July 1.  Ordained as Elder and elected into full membership in the Iowa Conference in 1991, Rev. Kress is pastor of Gladbrook United Methodist. Previously she has served the Nishna Valley Parish, Emerson-Hastings-Wesley ...

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 ...

Scholarships offered for 2018 UMEIT:USA and NWCU events

Scholarships offered for 2018 UMEIT:USA and NWCU events

1/12/2018
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 ...

Day One - Holy Land Tour with Bishop Laurie

Day One - Holy Land Tour with Bishop Laurie

1/11/2018
Close to 100 people are traveling with Bishop Laurie Haller and her husband Rev. Gary Haller on an Educational Opportunities pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The adventure began January 9, 2018.  They arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv at about 11 am local time January 10 (which is 8 hours ahead of Iowa's Central time.) The first stop of the day was the Roman aqueduct in Caesarea. The group then toured the amphitheater in Caesarea. Bishop Laurie led a Bible in the amphitheater about Peter...

‘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 ...

Asbury UMC Bettendorf recognized by Bettendorf Community School District

Asbury UMC Bettendorf recognized by Bettendorf Community School District

1/10/2018
By Pastor Heather Dorr Asbury was one of ten business and community partners recognized by Bettendorf Community School District on Monday, January 8, 2018. At a presentation during the school district Board Meeting, Asbury was awarded for being a Business/Community Partner. Asbury was nominated by Jefferson Elementary School, one of nine schools in the district. Asbury has consistently provided Backpacks with Snacks to underprivileged students and their families once a month for ten years. ...

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 ...

Advocacy Day Jan 18

Advocacy Day Jan 18

1/2/2018
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...

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 ...

HCI Next Retreat

HCI Next Retreat

12/11/2017
The theme for the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference is “Creating Difference Makers: inspiring and equipping grace-filled followers of Jesus Christ to make a difference wherever they are.”   Creating, inspiring, equipping and celebrating United Methodist Difference Makers in the state of Iowa goes hand in hand with our Conference’s Wildly Important Goal (WIG): which is for each United Methodist Church in the IAUMC to have a Discipleship Pathway in place by 2020. The role of the church is to make ...

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, ...

Poland looks to build community

Poland looks to build community

9/26/2017
Starting in January, Rev. Bill Poland, currently serving as the Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, will become the Director of New Faith Communities. He’s excited about the opportunity and looks forward to engaging with people throughout the Iowa Annual Conference as he works to help “build systems for building new faith communities.” New Position This is actually a brand new position that grew out of a study of the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) where it was determined that there ...

Wesley Woods Promises “Amazing Experiences” for Youth and Adults

Wesley Woods Promises “Amazing Experiences” for Youth and Adults

9/25/2017
Coming off of a life-changing 62nd summer of ministry, Wesley Woods United Methodist Camp and Retreat Center is growing in new and exciting ways to meet the ministry needs of the Iowa United Methodist Church. To help usher in growth and new experiences, Wesley Woods is excited to welcome new Site Director Chip Hutler to Iowa. “We are thrilled to have Chip here in Iowa,” says Bryan Johnson, LDM for Camping and Christian Formation. “We think you are going to love getting to know him and will ...

Helping Disaster Survivors

Helping Disaster Survivors

9/20/2017
A Conversation with Disaster Response Coordinator, Rev. Catie Newman The sheer number of natural disasters in recent weeks has been overwhelming. Hurricanes have wreaked havoc in the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and now Puerto Rico, while wildfires have raged out west. “Everybody really wants to do something to help when we see those pictures of folks surrounded by devastation,” says Rev. Catie Newman, the disaster response coordinator for the Iowa Annual Conference. “And ...

Big changes at UMCOR and for next year's Ingathering

Big changes at UMCOR and for next year's Ingathering

9/19/2017
By Audrey Young, Iowa’s General Secretary for the Iowa Board of Global Ministries It may be a good idea to bring all leftover bulk items for kits to our 2017 Ingathering, rather than holding anything over for 2018, as is the custom of some local churches. “We have been assured UMCOR will accept all of our kits from our 2017 Thanksgiving Ingathering this year. The book for next year, 2018, will reflect the changes,” stated Dan Houston, Iowa Ingathering Chairperson. The first big changes already...

Dir. of New Faith Communities named

Dir. of New Faith Communities named

9/18/2017
Rev. Bill Poland to become Director of New Faith Communities  Bishop Laurie Haller announced today that she will name the Rev. William W. Poland to the newly-created position of Director of New Faith Communities.  He will begin his new responsibilities on January 1, 2018. “Our first strategic priority in the Iowa Annual Conference,” said Bishop Laurie, is “‘creating world-transforming communities of faith.’ Because we believe that Jesus’ mandate to his followers to ‘go and make disciples’ ...

Earn 1 CEU by attending the 2017 Orders Retreat

Earn 1 CEU by attending the 2017 Orders Retreat

9/14/2017
Earn 1 CEU by attending the 2017 Order of Elders, Order of Deacons, Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members Retreat! Peacemaking Circles with Fred Van Liew & Bishop Laurie Haller Preaching Click here to register. The 2017 Order of Elders, Order of Deacons, Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members Retreat will be held Tuesday, October 3rd at 10 a.m. - Wednesday, October 4th at 3 p.m.at Collegiate United Methodist Church/Wesley Foundation in Ames, IA. Peacemaking Circles offer a...

Urgent need for Clean-Up Buckets and Hygiene Kits

Urgent need for Clean-Up Buckets and Hygiene Kits

9/14/2017
Clean-Up Buckets and Hygiene Kits are Urgently Needed For Disaster response in Florida, Texas, Montana, Idaho, India and Mexico Kits and Buckets can be dropped off at the locations listed and will be shipped to the nearest UMCOR Depot  At this time we are ONLY accepting Clean-up Buckets and Hygiene Kits for shipping. Financial gifts/offerings must be sent directly to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee On Relief) go to UMCOR.org or to the Iowa Annual Conference, Special Advance #901670. To see the...

Local church data from statistical reports

Local church data from statistical reports

9/13/2017
The General Council on Finance and Administration has a web site—www.umdata.org—that has been collecting data on local churches through their Healthy Church Initiative.  This is a different Healthy Church Initiative program from the one we are using in our annual conference; the GCFA program focused on preparing local church reports based on the Statistical Reports (membership, worship attendance, etc.) that all congregations submit at the end of the year.   The attached document gives ...

Hurricane Irma notice from Bishop Laurie

Hurricane Irma notice from Bishop Laurie

9/6/2017
Dear Friends, As you know, Hurricane Irma is heading toward the Caribbean right now. So soon after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana, Irma may prove to be equally as strong. I am sharing a letter from Bishop Héctor F. Ortiz Vidal of Puerto Rico. Please pray for all those in harm's way. Blessings, Bishop Laurie   Grace and peace to you and the General Ministries family. Puerto Rico will be confronting Hurricane Irma in the next hours. This hurricane has been classified ...

Bishop calls for DACA compassion

Bishop calls for DACA compassion

9/4/2017
Please join me in praying for President Trump, who will be making a decision, perhaps tomorrow, around continuing DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA is an immigration policy, founded in 2012, that allows certain children and youth who entered the US as minors to receive a two-year time of deferred action on deportation and a work permit. There are currently about 800,000 children and youth, nicknamed “Dreamers,” who are protected under this program. If the program ends, their ...

Hurricane Harvey Response Update

Hurricane Harvey Response Update

9/2/2017
Answers to Most often asked Questions and Kit Shipping Information With so much press and different reports from the aftermath and response efforts in Texas and Louisiana figuring out how we can help can be confusing. Here is the most up-to-date information that we have from UMCOR, and our plans here in Iowa. SHIPPING PLANS: We have already sent 1000 Clean-up buckets to Texas thru the UMCOR system.  Our next shipment will go out on Monday, September 18, 2015.  Your kits will need to be ...

Engaging the Wildly Important Goal

Engaging the Wildly Important Goal

9/1/2017
Every church in the Iowa Annual Conference will develop a process for intentionally forming disciples of Jesus Christ by the year 2020. That Wildly Important Goal is the ambitious direction overwhelmingly and enthusiastically set for every one of Iowa’s 767 United Methodist congregations by the lay and clergy members of the 2017 annual conference session. “No matter the size,” notes Rev. Ryan Christenson, Field Outreach Minister for the Northwest District, each church can provide a healthy ...

Cedar Rapids Trinity joining with St. James United Methodist Church

Cedar Rapids Trinity joining with St. James United Methodist Church

8/31/2017
The Cedar Rapids congregations of St. James United Methodist Church and Trinity United Methodist Church have been on a shared journey over the past two years. In May 2015, they voted to become a Cooperative Parish; then on June 3, 2017 they voted to become to a merged congregation named Trinity-St. James United Methodist Church; and then in July 16, 2017 they voted to put the Trinity building up for sale and combine all ministries and worship at the St. James building.   Yet this shared ...

Rev. Faith Fowler's Tiny House project featured on PBS series

Rev. Faith Fowler's Tiny House project featured on PBS series

8/29/2017
Rev. Faith Fowler (who lead the 2017 Annual Conference Plenary Teaching Session) Executive Director of Cass Community Social Services Tiny House project is featured on PBS Newshour's special series on poverty and opportunity called "Chasing the Dream."  Watch report

The Four Areas of Focus

The Four Areas of Focus

8/28/2017
The Four Areas of Focus express the vision and yearnings of the people of The United Methodist Church. Narrowing our focus to these four areas allows churches to use their resources effectively as they live out God’s vision for the church. Engaging in Ministry with the Poor Christ calls us to be in ministry with the poor and marginalized. Our emphasis is on “with” – standing with those who are regarded as “the least of these,” listening to them, understanding their needs and aspirations, and ...

Update from Disaster Response

Update from Disaster Response

8/28/2017
A  Note From Disaster Response Hurricane Harvey The stories from Texas are heartbreaking.  The rain continues to fall and the situation gets worse by the minute. As we watch our Sisters and Brothers in this time of disaster, many of us want to “do something to help”. The Texas United Methodist  Disaster Response Network is already at work sheltering and meeting the needs of many people.   UMCOR is in the process of shipping Clean-Up Buckets and Health Kits,  Supplies, Tool Trailers, and Shower ...

Bishop Laurie on Hurricane Harvey

Bishop Laurie on Hurricane Harvey

8/27/2017
A PASTORAL MESSAGE FROM BISHOP LAURIE Our collective hearts are heavy as we watch the news about the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas and parts of Louisiana. There are two things we can do: pray and act. I invite you to use this prayer that Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Annual Conference has shared. Oh God, we need your help. We need the rain to end, the floodwaters to recede, the damaging winds to stop. We need fortitude to cope with this disaster. We need love to share with ...

UMC Bishops stand against racism

UMC Bishops stand against racism

8/17/2017
Council of Bishops President Bishop Bruce R. Ough has challenged United Methodists and all peoples of faith to be bold in the witness against racism and white supremacy, which he described as repugnant and against the Christian faith. In a statement to the more than 12 million members of The United Methodist Church, Bishop Ough expressed dismay and grief over the clashes between white supremacy advocates and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. “I am shocked by the blatant resurgence...

Embrace love: Charlottesville

Embrace love: Charlottesville

8/16/2017
In our baptismal vows, United Methodists “accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”

World Communion Sunday

World Communion Sunday

8/16/2017
Soon, we will come together as Christians in celebration of World Communion Sunday.  On this Special Sunday of The United Methodist Church, not only do we celebrate our unity in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, but we also come together as United Methodists to lift up underserved students with a special offering.  Our gifts help provide scholarships for racial and ethnic minority students, removing the financial obstacles for young men and women for whom education is difficult, if not ...

JFON National Board of Trustees member gives thanks

8/15/2017
The work of Justice for Our Neighbors is a fascinating effort on the part of many diverse groups throughout the country.  A challenging job is made harder in a climate of fear and suspicion such as we see surrounding us in these times.  Even those that truly qualify for legal status and assistance approach completing the required tasks with caution from apprehension about what might change tomorrow.  Such is the world JFON serves.  The honor of serving on the National Board of Trustees has ...

School for Lay Ministry classes begin soon

School for Lay Ministry classes begin soon

8/15/2017
Jesus tells us in Matthew 20:28 “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.”  Several years ago dedicated people with great vision initiated the School for Lay Ministry in the Iowa Annual Conference. Since that beginning in Indianola at Simpson College, the school has expanded adding campuses at Morningside in Sioux City and at Cornell in Mount Vernon. In 2014, a Spanish language class was added at Simpson.  The purpose of the ...

Imagine No Malaria comprehensive report

Imagine No Malaria comprehensive report

8/4/2017
Rev. Gary R. Henderson, Executive Director Imagine No Malaria MY SISTERS AND BROTHERS: Words are inadequate symbols to express the depth of my gratitude and joy as I think about what God has done and is continuing to do through each of us because of Imagine No Malaria. You dared to believe in a God-sized dream and we are witnesses to its fulfillment.  Because of your faith and hard work, together, we have accomplished the miraculous. In the following pages, you will read about our shared ...

August 2017 JFON newsletter to churches

8/2/2017
Click here to read the August newsletter to churches.

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