News


2019 Iowa Legislative Advocacy Report

2019 Iowa Legislative Advocacy Report

6/5/2019
Prepared by:  Robert Mulqueen, 2019 consultant Rev. Brian Carter, Legislative Team Leader June 2019   Since 2014, the Iowa Conference has had its presence at the Statehouse by means of volunteer advocates and professional consultants. The Advocacy staff has been led by Reverend Brian Carter and this year included Rita Carter, Sheila Corsbie, Reverend Gary Nims, and Reverend William Steward. A month into the 2019 legislative session, Bill Steward passed away. He was a passionate advocate and he ...

Glenwood pulls together to help

Glenwood pulls together to help

5/24/2019
Disaster Response in Glenwood and Pacific Junction from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Updated May 24, 2019 "This to me has been what it means to be the church and to be part of the connection," said Pastor Kimberly Bowles. "The calls from clergy across the conference saying, 'What do you need? What can we do? How can we help?" It's everything that I believe the church should be. To see your neighbor in need and say, 'What can I do?.'" Pastor Kimberly Bowles isn’t surprised at the way the ...

Weather Update from Disaster Ministries

Weather Update from Disaster Ministries

5/24/2019
Dear Friends in the Iowa Annual Conference, Over the last few days, the much of the Midwest and Iowa have been pummeled with severe storms, including a tornado on Tuesday early in the morning that resulted in a fatality near Adair, Iowa. Please keep the families and community affected in your prayers. Disaster can and does strike anywhere in a heartbeat. As Christians, we can rest in the knowledge that we are held close in the Savior's arms in trying and frightening times. Weather forecasters ...

A New Way to Support Camping

A New Way to Support Camping

5/15/2019
A New Way to Support Camping Iowa United Methodist Camps are excited to launch the Kindling Club, a new way to ensure the sustainability of camping across the state for the next generation of youth and adults. Okoboji, Pictured Rocks and Wesley Woods United Methodist Camps have impacted hundreds of thousands of lives over the past 100+ years. Many people, myself included, look at their time at camp as the single most formational faith experience of their lives. If you weren’t already aware,...

FAQs about Pictured Rocks Camp

FAQs about Pictured Rocks Camp

5/15/2019
The status of Pictured Rocks United Methodist Camp has been a topic of conversation at the Pre-District Conferences around the state. To help provide clarity on the current status, answers to the following Frequently Asked Questions are provided below. Q: What is the status of Pictured Rocks United Methodist Camp? A: The Board of Camps has voted to recommend a sale of Pictured Rocks United Methodist Camp to Camp Courageous. The Board of Camps cannot execute a sale as it is the property of the ...

Want to be a GC2020 marshal or page?

Want to be a GC2020 marshal or page?

5/15/2019
Beginning today, United Methodists may apply online to serve as volunteer marshals or pages during The United Methodist Church’s 2020 General Conference. The denomination’s top legislative assembly will meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis. Approximately 175 volunteers are needed to serve as marshals and pages during General Conference. Marshals are responsible for assisting visitors and special guests in the visitor and reserved seating galleries, checking credentials to make sure that only ...

Iowa achieves 100% giving to Africa University in 2018

Iowa achieves 100% giving to Africa University in 2018

5/9/2019
The Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church has successfully achieved 100% of its Africa University apportionments in 2018. In an email to the conference, James Salley, Associate Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Advancement in the Africa University Development Office, thanked Iowans for their invaluable support of the university. "Africa University students are called and committed to serve God in communities across the continent and in mission settings around the world," he said. "...

News from the Council of Bishops

News from the Council of Bishops

5/9/2019
May 9, 2019 Dear Friends in the Iowa Annual Conference, The Council of Bishops completed their spring meeting this morning, and I would like to share with you two documents. The first is a press release that summarizes the content of our discussions. The second document, “A Common Word from the Council of Bishops,” shares the collective heart of the Council as well as a pastoral and prophetic word. May God’s grace fill you with hope and joy as you continue to share the love of Jesus and make a ...

Court OKs part of Traditional Plan, exit plan

Court OKs part of Traditional Plan, exit plan

4/26/2019
Adapted from a story written by United Methodist News Reporter Linda Bloom. File photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS. The United Methodist Church’s top court has found that while some provisions of the newly adopted Traditional Plan remain unconstitutional, the rest of the plan is valid as church law. That was the Judicial Council’s ruling on a requested review of the Traditional Plan, which was approved during a special denomination-wide legislative session in February to strengthen enforcement of ...

Hamburg Flood: Residents find strength through church, community

Hamburg Flood: Residents find strength through church, community

4/12/2019
Virginia Lynn, 93, has lived in Hamburg, Iowa, her entire life and not once experienced the floodwaters that have hit the town. Until now.   Lynn moved to the Park Washington Plaza apartments in July from the home she raised her family in after her husband passed away last January.   “I kept telling everybody I was so blessed because after I lost my husband my kids took me to visit, I sold my house and then I moved,” she said. “It’s just mind-boggling to me. I have literally lost everything. It’...

Laity Day offers insights, opportunities

Laity Day offers insights, opportunities

4/10/2019
With worship, conversation, insights, and shared opportunities, the 2019 edition of Laity Day with the Bishop, brought together more than one hundred people in attendance and others via livestream.  It was an opportunity to hear a message from Bishop Laurie Haller, appreciate some open question and answer time with her, listen to some delegates to the 2019 special called General Conference, be informed by leaders from the Legislative Advocacy Team and School for Lay Ministry, and focus on ...

Orders & Fellowship respond to key questions

Orders & Fellowship respond to key questions

4/9/2019
“How are you doing in your care for your colleagues who are hurting?” “Are you gentle with those who are struggling?” These and more were among the key questions asked of the Iowa Conference’s clergy during the spring 2019 gathering of the Order of Elders, Order of Deacons, and Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members.   From an opening message from Bishop Laurie Haller to several opportunities for small-group conversation to the closing Holy Communion, the filled sanctuary at First ...

'Hornick Strong', Iowa town begins flood recovery

'Hornick Strong', Iowa town begins flood recovery

4/1/2019
“The water came from the north,” said Pastor Catie Newman. “The fire department tried to build a berm on Thursday night, and at about nine ‘o clock in the evening the levee broke and they could see the water come into town and come over the berm.”   After being given only 10 minutes to evacuate the town, she, her husband John, and the rest of the residents of Hornick, Iowa, were left to wonder what would happen after the last-ditch effort by the fire department was destroyed by water.   Newman ...

First glimpse of recovery in Hamburg, Iowa

First glimpse of recovery in Hamburg, Iowa

4/1/2019
The record floodwaters of 2019 are finally beginning to recede in the Southwest Iowa town of Hamburg.    Reverend Luke Fillmore, who is appointed to Hamburg United Methodist Church and Shenandoah United Methodist Church, reported in a phone conversation that people should be able to get in and start working on their homes and businesses within the next few days.   “The flag pole is kind of a landmark in the town, it's about the halfway point in the middle of the town,” he said. “Typically, the ...

Health-Full Minute

Health-Full Minute

4/1/2019
UMC in a Time of Transition As I experienced February’s Special General Conference, it became clear that our denomination is divided regarding full inclusion of LBGQI+ persons. As I read people’s responses and reflected upon what happened at General Conference, it seems to me that our UMC denomination is in the midst of a major change/transition process.    A transition is defined as “a passage from one place or stage to another.”  In other words; we are moving from what has been towards what ...

Video tour of flooding in Hamburg, Iowa

Video tour of flooding in Hamburg, Iowa

4/1/2019
Pastor Luke Fillmore gave the Iowa Communications Team a brief tour of the devastating flooding in Hamburg, Iowa. Fillmore is appointed in Hamburg and also the nearby town of Shenandoah and has been balancing two congregations and building new relationships.   “There's a lot of trust I've already built, and there's a lot of trust being built, but it's taken a lot of humility to step back and say ‘I can only do what's been put in front of me and God has only given me so much to do,’” Fillmore ...

Annual mission trip to Honduras builds close bonds

Annual mission trip to Honduras builds close bonds

3/29/2019
Each year in January, Clayton Eakins of Bloomfield, Iowa, organizes a Volunteers in Mission trip out of Davis County, to Honduras.    This is the fifth time he has brought a group to these areas, and this year he was joined by Steve Davidson, Penny Warren, Pastor Donna Olinger and Linda Rowe. They worked primarily in the El Negrito and Subirana areas.   Eakins likes to go back to the same place as they keep adding on to their projects and especially because of the deeper relationships formed ...

Iowa Conference creating bi-district offices

Iowa Conference creating bi-district offices

3/29/2019
As a result of the Budget Team’s recommendations, the Iowa Conference will be creating bi-district offices and reducing the number of District Administrative Assistants. Iowa will continue to maintain eight districts with eight District Superintendents. The locations of the bi-district offices will be announced at a later date. "What is already happening is that we have been creative in realigning our resources in order to empower and develop more leaders. As a District Superintendent, I have ...

Lay, clergy call for ‘reconciliation and justice’

Lay, clergy call for ‘reconciliation and justice’

3/20/2019
Over 1100 Iowa United Methodist lay and clergy have signed a statement committing “ourselves and our churches to the necessary and ongoing work of reconciliation and justice.”  The statement is a “witness to the grace of God that is available to all persons.”   Crafted in “this moment [of] repentance,” according to Rev. Anna Blaedel, a co-author of the statement, the 89 original signers believe that “there is so much work to do to learn and unlearn…if we have a faithful future together.”   The ...

Prayers for victims of NZ tragedy and midwestern flooding

Prayers for victims of NZ tragedy and midwestern flooding

3/18/2019
Dear Friends, Over the past several days, two significant events have impacted the lives of people in New Zealand and right here in Iowa. On Friday, at least fifty people were killed at two mosques in Christchurch, and more than fifty others were injured. It was the most horrific mass killing in the modern history of New Zealand, which is one of the safest and most highly developed countries in the world. The alleged perpetrator, an apparent white right-wing extremist from Australia, was taken ...

Budget Team recommendations approved

Budget Team recommendations approved

3/15/2019
The Budget Team has completed its work. According to the Rev. Bill Poland, Budget Team Chair and Director of New Communities of Faith, several recommendations have been reviewed and approved by the Bishop’s Operational Team, the Cabinet Operational Team, the Conference Connectional Ministries Council and the Council on Finance and Administration. Poland notes that one of the questions that the Budget Team continued to ask all the way through its meetings was how to become a better-connected ...

Clergy housing allowance constitutional

Clergy housing allowance constitutional

3/15/2019
March 15, 2019 – In a ruling with major implications for clergy across the United States, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its decision holding that the clergy housing allowance exclusion in federal tax law is constitutional. This appeals court decision reverses the lower court’s decision in which the housing allowance exclusion was ruled unconstitutional. It is unknown at this time whether the case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and if so, whether the Supreme Court will ...

GC voting irregularities investigated

GC voting irregularities investigated

3/15/2019
In a story reported by UM News on March 14[1], a review is underway to determine if ineligible votes were cast at the 2019  Special Called General Conference.   According to Rev. Gary Graves, secretary of the General Conference, it appears possible that “a very limited number”1 of ineligible votes were cast at the worldwide gathering, held in St. Louis in February.   Click here to read the United Methodist News report  Click here to read the story posted in the New York Times Click here to read...

Pray…and be prepared to help

Pray…and be prepared to help

3/15/2019
“Pray, pray, pray,” asks Rev, Catie Newman, disaster response coordinator for the Iowa Annual Conference, in this time of widespread flooding across the State.    In the aftermath of winter snows, rising temperatures, and recent heavy rains, significant parts of Iowa are inundated by flood waters.  In fact, Newman, who is also the pastor of the Hornick and Salix United Methodist churches, had just 10 minutes to evacuate her home, something she said was “a little unsettling…I’ve talked about ...

Appointive Cabinet statement regarding the Special Called General Conference

Appointive Cabinet statement regarding the Special Called General Conference

3/14/2019
Dear sisters and brothers of the Iowa United Methodist community, The Appointive Cabinet of the Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church has issued a statement in response to the Special Called General Conference of the denomination.   In it they share their concerns and share their “commitment to lead the Iowa Annual Conference, even as “we recognize our own diversity when it comes to theological and biblical interpretation.”  They express the hope that, “as we all navigate these ...

Hundreds gather for post-GC conversation

Hundreds gather for post-GC conversation

3/13/2019
Iowa United Methodists began a conversation about the 2019 special called General Conference and its impact on their faith communities with a gathering on Sunday, March 10.  The first of three such sessions offered an opportunity to hear from Bishop Laurie Haller, learn about the worldwide gathering’s primary decisions, engage in some Q&A dialogue, and share in Communion and offered healing prayers.   “Because we are all made in God’s image,” Bishop Laurie said, “God will work in our lives.”  In...

Disaster Ministries: Update on Southern Storms

Disaster Ministries: Update on Southern Storms

3/6/2019
This weekend, severe storms made their way through Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. We have received reports of a tornado and other weather-related damage. As our partners continue to assess, we ask that you please do not self-deploy but wait for information from the conferences. We will continue to update you here and at UMCOR.org/response. For now, we invite you to pray with us for those affected, for hope and healing, and for the wonderful UMCOR network. Pastor Catie...

Free social media graphics library

Free social media graphics library

2/27/2019
Need a last-minute image for a Facebook post? Lack the time, tools or know-how to create your own?  Good news, United Methodist Communications has done the work for you! Browse through this collection of free seasonal and thematic graphics below.  They've gathered a collection of graphics for the most important seasons of the church.  Use these memes on Facebook and other social media outlets to promote your Holy Week and Easter services.    Download image (The image will be opened in a new ...

Iowa Wild Hockey Faith and Family Night

Iowa Wild Hockey Faith and Family Night

2/19/2019
Bring your congregation or youth group to Faith and Family Night with the Iowa Wild! Deadline for registration is March 1. For more information, email Kyle Weeden at kyle.weeden@iowawild.com or call 515-564-8728. Register online: https://fevo.me/methodistiowawild Download flyer and registration form: Faith Family Night - Iowa Wild.pdf    

Communicators at forefront of GC2019

Communicators at forefront of GC2019

2/18/2019
By Sam Hodges, UMNS, with additions from Iowa Conference Communications. Photos by Kathleen Barry, UMNS. Communication is a varied and vital part of any General Conference, and that’s emphatically true for the special called session of General Conference set for February 23-26 in St. Louis. The Daily Christian Advocate. Livestreaming. News reports, press conferences, podcasts, and language interpretation. These and other communication methods will help tell the story, and in some cases allow ...

Health-Full Minute

Health-Full Minute

2/18/2019
On the eve of the Special General Conference, many of us are feeling anxiety and stress at a variety of levels; lay, clergy, congregations, persons, and our Connection itself. We know that some type of change is going to happen. We are not sure how this change is going to affect us; personally and connectionally. In the midst of this uncertain time, we as the Body of Christ and as persons are suffering within our relational, emotional, spiritual, and physical dimensions. How can we healthfully ...

One Minute with the Delegates: Rev. Brian Milford

One Minute with the Delegates: Rev. Brian Milford

2/15/2019
Editor's note: In the days leading up to the Special Called General Conference, we'll take a minute and catch up with a few of our delegates before they head to St. Louis February 23-26, 2019. This is final interview. Click here to view the rest. "I'm praying that we can provide room for diverse opinions on matters of conscience," said Rev. Brian Milford of the upcoming 2019 Special Called General Conference. Milford shares three hopes for the time delegates from around the world gather together...

Write a Daily Devotion for Lent

Write a Daily Devotion for Lent

2/15/2019
To the Clergy of The Iowa Annual Conference, The 40-day season of Lent will be beginning soon and Bishop Laurie invites clergy of The Iowa Annual Conference to prayerfully consider writing a short devotional to help members and friends of the Conference journey through this season of spiritual refocusing and renewal.  Every morning during Lent, these short devotionals are delivered via email to every person who has subscribed to help facilitate their journey during the 40 days. You are invited ...

A model for alternatives to stemming migration

2/14/2019
By: Karlene Neal Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church Advocate for Immigrants and Refugees On Feb. 3, Nayib Bukele was elected the new president for El Salvador. Citizens of El Salvador demanded a policy of clean governance, which was Bukele’s main promise. He has invited the UN to set up an anti-corruption committee in El Salvador, similar to those which have been set up in Guatemala and Honduras which have had some success. Curbing corruption will free up tax revenue which ...

One Minute with the Delegates: Rev. Diane Wasson Eberhart

One Minute with the Delegates: Rev. Diane Wasson Eberhart

2/14/2019
Editor's note: This is the fourth video of five in a series where we have been taking a moment to catch up with a few of our General Conference delegates prior to the February 23-26, 2019 Speical Session being held in St. Louis, Missouri. The rest of the videos can be viewed here. "It's a lot of responsibility," said Rev. Diane Wasson Eberhart about being a delegate to the 2019 Speical Called General Conference. "I feel it's important to do a lot of preparation in prayer and reading, and be open...

Remembering William Edward Lux

Remembering William Edward Lux

2/14/2019
We have recently been informed of the passing of William (Bill) Edward Lux. Funeral services were held Monday, February 11, 2019, at The United Methodist Church in Manchester, Iowa. Bill was a member of the Hopkinton United Methodist Church and the Manchester United Methodist Church. He served on the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and traveled throughout Africa providing mission oversight. He also served on UMCOR, traveling to the Philippines. Bill served on the Iowa Ecumenical ...

Bishop Laurie's prayer for GC2019

Bishop Laurie's prayer for GC2019

2/13/2019
Editor's note: This is the third and final video interview with Bishop Laurie Haller in the days leading up to the Special Called General Conference February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. In this video, Bishop Laurie offers a prayer for Iowa United Methodists and for the upcoming conference.   Bishop Laurie Haller prays for Iowa UM's and the General Conference from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.  

A bishop's role at GC2019

A bishop's role at GC2019

2/12/2019
Editor's note: This is the second of three video interviews with Bishop Laurie Haller leading up to the Special Called General Conference February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. In this video, Bishop Laurie discusses what the role of the bishops is during the conference.    A Bishop's Role at the General Conference from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.  

Praying together for the Special Called General Conference

Praying together for the Special Called General Conference

2/11/2019
Grace and peace, In a little over a week, United Methodists from around the world will gather together for the 2019 Special Called General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. I invite you and your congregation to join me in praying the unison prayer I've written below during worship on Sunday, February 17, 2019. We will pray together for our delegation, the General Conference, and The United Methodist Church. Please feel free reprint the prayer I've written below in your bulletin, share on social...

One Minute with the Delegates: Phil Carver

One Minute with the Delegates: Phil Carver

2/11/2019
Editor's note: In the days leading up to the Special Called General Conference, we'll take a minute and catch up with a few of our delegates before they head to St. Louis February 23-26, 2019. This is the thrid of five interviews. Phil Carver, a delegate from Iowa heading to the 2019 Special General Conference, talks about his spiritual and mental preparation. "I'm accustomed to taking spiritual walks each day," he said. "It's another time for me to reflect on the legislation that's before us, ...

One Minute with the delegates: Rev. Lilian Gallo Seagren

One Minute with the delegates: Rev. Lilian Gallo Seagren

2/8/2019
Editor's note: This is the second of five interviews with Iowa Conference delegates prior to the Special Called General Conference. Rev. Lilian Gallo Seagren discusses her prayers for the upcoming Special Called General Conference. "We pray that we will be gifted with peace, patience and hope so that we may be the best church and witness of Christ's body to the whole world," she said. One Minute with the Delegates - Rev. Lilian Gallo Seagren from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.    

A moment with Bishop Laurie before GC2019

A moment with Bishop Laurie before GC2019

2/7/2019
Editor's note: This is the first of three videos interviews with Bishop Laurie Haller leading up to the Special Called General Conference February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. In the first interview, Bishop Laurie talks about how she's feeling in the weeks leading up to the conference. This will be her first General Conference as a bishop of the United Methodist Church.   Bishop Laurie Haller looks ahead to the 2019 General Conference from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.  

Packing meals for the hungry

Packing meals for the hungry

2/7/2019
A team of nine Conference Center staff members spent a morning volunteering at Meals From the Heartland and packaged 4,104 meals on Jan. 29. "Our mission is to empower people to save the starving, so it's those people who come in and give up their time to package meals, just like you did today that make this organization go," said Susan Bunz, Executive Director of Meals From the Heartland. "Last year we engaged over 75,000 volunteers, we would never be able to do what we do without the people ...

One minute with the delegates: Rev. Tom Shinkle

One minute with the delegates: Rev. Tom Shinkle

2/6/2019
Editor's note: In the days leading up to the Special Called General Conference, we'll take a minute and catch up with a few of our delegates before they head to St. Louis February 23-26, 2019. This is the first of five interviews. Our first minute is spent with Reverend Tom Shinkle. He talks about what it means to him to represent the Iowa Conference and the people in his church. "In the end, we know this is God's church with a capital 'C' so we know God will prevail," he said.  

Recap of Fall COWF Gatherings

Recap of Fall COWF Gatherings

2/5/2019
Our Purpose is Love Bishop Laurie Haller would like to thank the nearly 1,600 people who joined her at one of the eight Fall Gatherings across the Conference to discuss the proposals made by the Commission on a Way Forward and the upcoming Special General Conference in St. Louis Feb. 23-26, 2019. During each of the gatherings, Bishop Laurie spoke about the Mission, Vision, Scope, and Theological framework of the Commission on a Way Forward and presented information about the three major plans. ...

Big changes for 2019 Ingathering

Big changes for 2019 Ingathering

2/1/2019
The 40th Annual Mission Ingathering will be held on Saturday, November 2, 2019. Reverend Eric Schubert, Greenfield UMC Pastor, spoke at the December task force meeting about what Ingathering says versus what it does. As a result, there is now a new vision: To show God's love in a practical way so people can meet Jesus Christ; a new mission: Mission Ingathering is a way for Iowa United Methodists to address humanitarian problems locally and around the world, including hunger, poverty, and ...

2019 Advocacy Day with Bishop Laurie Haller

2019 Advocacy Day with Bishop Laurie Haller

1/29/2019
Legislative advocacy has long been a part of the heritage of United Methodists in Iowa and continued in 2019 on Monday, January 28th at Wesley United Methodist Church, 800 E. 12th St., Des Moines. Advocacy Day took place from 9 am to 3:30 pm. Rev. Gary Nims greeted everyone and Bishop Laurie Haller lead the devotions. See more images from Advocacy Day Topics in discussion were Mental Health advocacy and funding for both adults and children. Stories of Iowan's affected by mental health issues ...

Cold weather safety update, Disaster Ministries

Cold weather safety update, Disaster Ministries

1/29/2019
Cold Weather Tips Record-breaking cold weather is expected all across Iowa Tuesday, January 29, 2019, thru Thursday, January 31, 2019. National Weather Service Forecast   For Your Vehicle Keep your vehicle full of gas. If you get stranded/break-down, stay with your vehicle. It will shield you from the wind. Have some emergency supplies in your vehicle: - Blanket or sleeping bag - Water - Snacks - Water - Hats, gloves, mittens  In Your Home or Church Open the cabinet doors under sinks to allow...

College of Bishops: 'The mission continues'

College of Bishops: 'The mission continues'

1/29/2019
Dear Friends,             At a meeting of the North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops last week, we spent time in prayer for the 2019 General Conference in St. Louis from February 23-26. Knowing that whatever decisions are made will impact United Methodists around the world, we want to offer the attached letter as encouragement and gift to the clergy and laity in our local churches.             Every day United Methodists are changing the world. Every day people hear the gospel for the ...

Announcing new Associate Directors of Congregational Excellence

Announcing new Associate Directors of Congregational Excellence

1/23/2019
Christenson, Drake to be Associates for Congregational Excellence   Bishop Laurie Haller has announced that Rev. Ryan Christenson and Rev. Melissa Drake will be the two new Associate Directors for Congregational Excellence.   Describing the role, Bishop Laurie Haller said, “the Associate Directors for Congregational Excellence are of critical importance for our conference because they will be working directly with local congregations around vital ministry. These churches, in return, will be ...

Lubkeman to be Cabinet Exec Secretary

Lubkeman to be Cabinet Exec Secretary

1/23/2019
Wendy Lubkeman will become the Executive Secretary to the Cabinet.   In that role, she will provide a wide range of administrative support for the Appointive Cabinet.  “The Executive Secretary will meet with the Cabinet, take minutes, track the appointment process, manage the moving process, and coordinate the district administrative assistants,” said Dr. Harlan Gillespie, Assistant to the Bishop.  “Wendy will also closely collaborate with the Episcopal Office, Communications, and Administrative...

Budget Team continues listening sessions

Budget Team continues listening sessions

1/16/2019
The Budget Team held the second of its series of listening sessions on Sunday, January 13. Approximately 45 persons attended the gathering, which was designed to receive suggestions and reactions to a series of proposals impacting the 2019 and 2020 financial plans of the Iowa Annual Conference. In addition, well over 100 people watched the conversation held at North Liberty First United Methodist Church The Budget Team spoke about its goal of creating a spending plan that "connects our [Iowa ...

Two Conferences Offered by ShareChurch Conferences at Church of the Resurrection April 4-5

1/14/2019
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection is excited to announce registration is now open for two conferences hosted by ShareChurch Conferences on April 4 – 5, 2019. Participants may select to attend either The Art of Radical Hospitality Conference or the Empowered: A Model of Care Conference. The conferences are hosted concurrently at Church of the Resurrection’s Leawood, KS Campus and feature combined opening and closing sessions, with distinctive sessions in between. Churches are ...

November JFON Newsletter

November JFON Newsletter

1/7/2019
Iowa JFON Newsletter November 2018, "Give Light, Give Love, Give Life". 

Budget Team hears suggestions

Budget Team hears suggestions

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

Response to Budget Team Proposal

Response to Budget Team Proposal

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

Changes in policy for immigrants/refugees

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

Budget Team update from Bill Poland

Budget Team update from Bill Poland

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

Migrant Caravan

Migrant Caravan

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

Remembering Meredith Stubbe

Remembering Meredith Stubbe

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

District Fundraising Challenge

District Fundraising Challenge

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

Ingathering continues tradition of compassion and connection

Ingathering continues tradition of compassion and connection

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

'Be instruments of Peace' - Bishop Laurie

'Be instruments of Peace' - Bishop Laurie

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

Bishop Laurie's statement on Judicial Council decision

Bishop Laurie's statement on Judicial Council decision

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

Open Letter from IAUMC Budget Team

Open Letter from IAUMC Budget Team

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

A note from Rev. Ron Carlson

A note from Rev. Ron Carlson

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

Bishop Laurie begins COWF Fall Gatherings

Bishop Laurie begins COWF Fall Gatherings

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

5K helps 'end the stigma' of mental health

5K helps 'end the stigma' of mental health

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

Coming alongside others in care

Coming alongside others in care

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

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

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

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

July JFON Newsletter

July JFON Newsletter

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

Carma Mohler Grant open

Carma Mohler Grant open

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

Navigating through charitable giving

Navigating through charitable giving

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

'Zero tolerance' Bible quote criticized

'Zero tolerance' Bible quote criticized

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

Bishop's statement on family separation

Bishop's statement on family separation

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

Report to the UM News Service—AC2018

Report to the UM News Service—AC2018

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

Sermon scripts from AC2018

Sermon scripts from AC2018

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

Budget Approval—AC2018

Budget Approval—AC2018

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

Conversation on a Way Forward—AC2018

Conversation on a Way Forward—AC2018

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

Conversations of a Way Forward open mic—AC2018

Conversations of a Way Forward open mic—AC2018

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

Fixing of Appointments—AC2018

Fixing of Appointments—AC2018

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

Iowa United Methodist Foundation report—AC2018

Iowa United Methodist Foundation report—AC2018

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

Laity Address—AC2018

Laity Address—AC2018

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

Monday legislation recap—AC2018

Monday legislation recap—AC2018

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

One Matters Discipleship Award—AC2018

One Matters Discipleship Award—AC2018

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

Special offerings—AC2018

Special offerings—AC2018

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

Keep a Grip on Hope—Memorial service AC2018

Keep a Grip on Hope—Memorial service AC2018

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

Alignment Team report—AC2018

Alignment Team report—AC2018

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

Black College Fund report—AC2018

Black College Fund report—AC2018

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

Board of Pensions report—AC2018

Board of Pensions report—AC2018

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

Cokesbury report—AC2018

Cokesbury report—AC2018

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

Filling the truck, giving hope

Filling the truck, giving hope

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

God is the Potter who molds us—Ordering service AC2018

God is the Potter who molds us—Ordering service AC2018

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

Iowa Annual Conference Licensing School graduates—AC2018

Iowa Annual Conference Licensing School graduates—AC2018

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

Iowa UM Camps report—AC2018

Iowa UM Camps report—AC2018

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

New Faith Communities report—AC2018

New Faith Communities report—AC2018

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

Rev. Jerry Oakland 'energized' by Annual Conference

Rev. Jerry Oakland 'energized' by Annual Conference

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

Sunday legislation—AC2018

Sunday legislation—AC2018

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

Treasurer's report—AC2018

Treasurer's report—AC2018

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

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