News


Warmed by the Carribean Sun and Loved by the Dangrigans

2/18/2014
            It was a sense of relief for twenty Iowan United Methodist Volunteers in Mission to board a Delta flight to Atlanta and on to Belize after a winter of snow, sleet, ice and below zero weather. From fourteen United Methodist Churches across Iowa, volunteers were loaded with painting equipment, Vacation Bible School materials, sewing and canning supplies, snacks and good humor. The final destination was Dangriga, a small community on the Caribbean Sea, about 3 hours bus ride ...

Rev. Harlan Gillespie to become new North Central Superintendent

2/16/2014
Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble announced Sunday that the Rev. Harlan Gillespie will become the new Superintendent for the North Central District of the Iowa Annual Conference.  He will begin his ministry on the District on July 1, 2014.   “I have worked with Rev Harlan Gillespie and respect his passion for the church, his attention to detail and his love of worship,” Bishop Trimble said.  “As a delegate to the World Methodist Conference held in South Africa, and as one who loves Wesleyan ...

Communicating Faith in the 21st Century

2/15/2014
For too long, the voice of people of faith has been hidden, drowned out or altogether silent in the public media. This course is designed to help you reclaim your own voice in order to speak faith to a world desperately in need of the good news of God's love by using the communications tools of the 21st century.  Download the course overview and syllabus (PDF, 138.KB). Course Details: • Cost: $29.99 • 2014 Course Dates ◦ March 12 - April 23, 2014 - Click here to register for this course....

Faith leaders to risk arrest at White House on President"s Day

2/14/2014
United Methodist bishops among those issuing call to reverse immigration policies before reaching 2 million deportations.   umc-gbcs.org WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two bishops are among several United Methodists, including top executives of United Methodist Women, who will risk arrest at a pray-in on President’s Day, Feb. 17, in front of the White House. The United Methodists are among faith leaders, undocumented immigrants and labor leaders who will gather in Lafayette Park at 1 p.m. to pray as ...

Iowa United Methodist Men Annual Meeting

2/14/2014
Saturday, April 5, St Marks UMC, Iowa City. Keynote Speaker is Bob Hoover, Pastor Lee Schott and Pastor Arnette Pint will speak about their experiences at Women at the Well. Reports and presentations will include Youth Ministries, Self Help International, Hunger Relief, Upper Room Prayer Ministry, Legacy Program, EMS Program, Heifer International and P.E.T.   Click HERE for a brochure.

Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence established

2/14/2014
The General Commission on United Methodist Men recently established The Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence.  “I was incredibly excited to hear that you had formed the Susanna Wesley Award to recognize the achievement of women,” said Dawn Wiggins Hare, top staff executive of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. “United Methodist Men rock.” Who will be the first woman to receive this award? It could be the wife of one of your members. It could be your pastor or the wife of ...

2 clergy face 24-hour suspension for gay weddings

2/13/2014
By Heather Hahn - UMNS Two United Methodist pastors in the Pacific Northwest Annual (regional) Conference under complaint for officiating at same-sex unions in violation of church law will face not a trial but a 24-hour suspension without pay. That was the conclusion of the Rev. David Orendorff, appointed by Greater Northwest Area Bishop Grant Hagiya as the counsel for the church in the case — roughly the equivalent of a prosecutor. Hagiya told United Methodist News Service he has accepted ...

What does it mean to be a Methodist in Slovakia?

2/13/2014
umc-europe.org Thanks to donations from all over Europe the Fund for Mission in Europe was able to help strengthening the identity and the witness of the United Methodist Church in Slovakia. Methodist presence in Slovakia dates back to 1924, when Czech-speaking missionaries start-ed to primarily work among Czechs living there. However, it went through turbulent times of the European 20th century. In the times of the Nazi supported clerical fascist Slovak State (1939-1945), the Methodist ...

African American scholar and author to present two free lectures at Iowa Wesleyan College

2/12/2014
Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems has been chosen as Iowa Wesleyan’s 2014 Annual Manning Speaker. She will present a lecture titled So, You Want to Be a Prophet: Jeremiah on Thursday, February 27, at 11 a.m. and a lecture at 7 p.m. titled So, You Want to Be a Prophet: 1st and 2nd Kings. Both lectures will be held in the Chapel Auditorium on the Iowa Wesleyan campus in Mount Pleasant. They are free and open to the public. Dr. Weems has taught at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, where she was the ...

The new Interpreter is hitting mailboxes and in-boxes now! Subscribe now

2/11/2014
Take a peek at the recreated, revamped and refocused Interpreter. Preview the January/February issue “We are United Methodist.” Hot topic articles include “Afflicted, but not crushed,” – how reading the Bible helps a young woman manage mental illness; “No Scout Left Behind” – how young people who may feel unwelcome find acceptance in church scouting ministries; and “Rebuilding communications and lives in the Philippines” – about United Methodists who are providing relief and help after Typhoon ...

Scars and hope emerging from Schaefer trial, struggle to resolve United Methodist same-sex wedding laws

2/10/2014
United Methodist News Service EDITOR’S NOTE: The Rev. Frank Schaefer, then pastor of Zion Iona United Methodist Church was found guilty of violating the United Methodist Book of Discipline in a church trial and lost his ministerial credentials. Those involved — from the Schaefer family to church members supporting and opposing his actions to Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson — talk with Kathy Gilbert of United Methodist News Service about the pain and about hope for what may happen next ...

Publishing House names two new executives

2/7/2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) ___ The United Methodist Publishing House has announced two new senior executives will begin work in July. The Rev. Justin Coleman, most recently lead pastor of the Gethsemane Campus of St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Houston, will be the Publishing House's chief ministry officer. The Rev. Brian K. Milford of the Iowa Annual (regional) Conference has been elected chief content officer and book editor.

Henry-Crowe to be installed as General Secretary Feb. 27

2/7/2014
February 06, 2014 - umc-gbcs.org CHEVY CHASE, Md. — The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe will formally be installed as General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) during a worship service Thursday, Feb. 27. The installation service will take place at 7 p.m. at Chevy Chase United Methodist Church here.  The installation of Henry-Crowe as chief executive of GBCS, one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church, will occur during ...

Black History Month

2/7/2014
February is Black History Month. African Americans have played important roles in the development of the United States; the recognition of their roles in growth and development from a historical perspective is an important step in celebrating the contributions of individuals and the collective changes the African American community has brought about. Celebrate Black History Month: Ideas for Worship Celebrate Black History Month in your worship services by exploring the rich diversity of ...

LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT

2/7/2014
The Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church ADVOCACY TEAM PLEASE TAKE ACTION AND CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS ON THIS BILL Senate Study Bill 3044 (SSB3044)  Allow 12-year-olds to be trained in use of pistols.  This bill would allow children beginning at the age of 12 to possess a pistol or revolver with the supervision of their parent (or other adult over 21 who is approved by the parent). Possession could be for instructional purposes at a practice range or it could be anywhere ...

Connecting Black History Month to the church

2/7/2014
JACKSON, Miss. (UMNS) ___ Mississippi Area Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. urges United Methodist churches "not to simply celebrate Black History Month in isolation from our relationship with the Risen Christ." He suggests ways to make this month count in the life of the church.  Bishop Swanson's commentary is below: Black History Month--The Church's Response The month of February in the United States has been designated as Black History Month. In some of the churches within the United ...

Eyes Wide Open! Conference is February 22

2/7/2014
An informative conference on Human Trafficking in Iowa is Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, 9-11:30 a.m. at Westkirk Presbyterian Church, 2700 Colby Woods Dr., Urbandale.   Minors are being trafficked in Iowa's rural towns and metro areas every day of the week. The average age of entry into sex trafficking victimization is between 11 and 14 years of age.   Speakers are Benny Yu, El Pozo de Vide in Mexico; Teresa Downing-Matibag, Network Against Human Trafficking; Iowa Representative Tom Shaw; and ...

Scouting Ministries Sunday is Feb. 9

2/7/2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) ___ United Methodists will celebrate Scouting this Sunday, Feb. 9, and United Methodist Men offer resources for churches eager to support Boy Scouts of America, Girls Scouts of the USA, Big Brothers Big Sisters and other youth-service groups.  United Methodist Men resources Scouting Ministries Sunday 2014 Scouting Ministry Sunday patch now available  

UMDF offers easy access to finance options

2/6/2014
NEW YORK (UMNS) ___ For more than 50 years, the United Methodist Development Fund has helped United Methodists create new spaces for worship in existing and new places. Now, a new website will give local churches, districts, annual conferences and other United Methodist entities easy access to information about the fund's competitive loans and investment opportunities.  The United Methodist Development Fund helps United Methodists create new spaces for worship in existing and new places, one ...

Builder's Call Sunday

2/5/2014
Lay Leaders and Pastors:  One of the most effective ways we can support the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in and through our churches is with the Iowa United Methodist Builders. Twice a year, in the spring and fall, two selected churches receive financial support from Builders and supporting congregations all across Iowa for the building of new facilities, additions to existing facilities, major remodeling, new parsonages or land purchases. ...

Some United Methodists speak out against the denomination's same-sex marriage ban

2/5/2014
A group of Oklahoma United Methodist clergy and lay people who disagree with the denomination's ban on same-sex marriage are expressing their dissent through recent advertisements in newspapers around the state. By Carla Hinton - newsok.com Some Oklahoma United Methodist clergy and lay people are expressing their opposition to their denomination's same-sex marriage ban through advertisements in newspapers around the state. The Rev. Trina Bose North and the Rev. Deborah Ingraham said their ...

Iowa Senate panel OKs $2 million in additional low-income heating aid

2/4/2014
Written by William Petroski -  Des Moines Register    An Iowa Senate subcommittee approved a $2 million additional state appropriation Monday for the states Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which has seen heavy demand because of a cold winter and soaring propane prices. The measure now goes to the Iowa Senate Appropriations Committee.   Sens. Liz Mathis, D-Cedar Rapids, and Amanda Ragan, D-Mason City, both backed the Senate Study Bill 3137, which is sought by a host of groups, ...

Camp Hope 2014

2/4/2014
CAMP HOPE is a great experience for young people (ages 8-12) who’ve had a family member incarcerated either currently or in the past.  It’s a time for sharing and reflection in Christ and also a place for fun and relaxation.     WESLEY WOODS (near Indianola, Iowa) and PICTURED ROCKS (near Monticello, Iowa) are two very beautiful camps, with many exciting recreational options—like swimming, archery, canoeing, high and low ropes, and many more fun and cool activities.  But most importantly, it ...

Iowa Camp Challenge 2014

2/4/2014
  Again this year, the Iowa UMC Camp and Retreat Team challenge you to send more youth for our Summer Camping Season!   Two Churches in each district will be given a free, fun-filled afternoon at one of our camps this next fall or spring.   One of the recipients will be the church that has the largest percentage growth of campers from last camp season.  The second recipient will be the church who sends the biggest increase in camper numbers from the previous year.   As always we would ...

National UMC CEF Conference 2014 early bird deadline approaches

2/4/2014
The National UMC Christian Educator’s Fellowship Conference, “May the Circle Be Unbroken” will be held in Nashville, TN, Oct 17- 20. The early bird deadline of Feb 28 is fast approaching where attendees can save $100 over regular registration cost. Also, if you become a member of the National UMC Christian Educator’s Fellowship you can save an additional $100 off your registration fee. This is a great educational opportunity for anyone in ministry that has some of the best speakers and ...

Register now for Iowa School for Ministry

2/4/2014
Event to be held April 22-25   Get ready for a completely different School for Ministry experience.   This is truly the School for ministry re-imagined.     Imagine this: an opportunity to fully combine continuing education with relaxation and renewal.  Imagine a beautiful lakeside location (Honey Creek Resort State Park in Moravia on Lake Rathbun) with a more relaxed schedule for the school that allows for time to do things like walk, boat, bike, fish, go to the spa, or just visit with ...

Donor gives $1.1 million to Imagine No Malaria

2/3/2014
By Larry R. Hygh Jr.*   LOS ALTOS, Calif. (UMNS) — Not everyone can give $1.1 million, but everyone can think of a way to “give just a tiny bit more,” says Barbara Ferguson, whose donation is the largest ever given from an individual donor to Imagine No Malaria.   “I think it’s important that we all give back in some small way to make this world a better place for folks to live,” says Ferguson, a laywoman from Los Altos United Methodist Church in California’s Bay Area.   Her donation to ...

February 2014 School Teachers for Nigeria

2/3/2014
February 2014 School Teachers for Nigeria   Progress Report on Banyam Theological Seminary Home Renovation:  On 1/16 Titus Bewula along with 2 seminary students pulled the roof off of Nuhu Haruna’s home on the seminary campus.  Materials had been purchased to replace the termite ridden rafters, the roof with new zinc, and the ceiling.  Next will be to replace doors and windows before the house is completed.     This is the first house of 5 homes that need serious renovation. Left over ...

Builder's Call Sunday

2/3/2014
Lay Leaders and Pastors:    One of the most effective ways we can support the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in and through our churches is with the Iowa United Methodist Builders. Twice a year, in the spring and fall, two selected churches receive financial support from Builders and supporting congregations all across Iowa for the building of new facilities, additions to existing facilities, major remodeling, new parsonages or land purchases. ...

Church grants help once troubled vet help others

1/31/2014
By Beth DiCocco - unymc.org   When singer-songwriter Jason Moon performs at Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church in Schenectady in February, he will be bringing full circle a journey that started when that congregation reached out to him years ago.   Moon is an Iraq veteran who returned home in 2004 carrying the burden of PSTD, post-traumatic stress disorder. Four years later, in March 2008, he attempted suicide. But in September of that year, he got the help that would eventually allow ...

Looking for a Lenten Study?

1/31/2014
Green Church: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice! by Rebekah Simon-Peter is perfect for a 6 week study.  Written by a UMC Elder and former environmental scientist, this book has the Biblical foundation for creation care as well as practical steps every church can take to make a difference.   The Board of Church & Society has purchased a copy of the book for each District office so that pastors can look through it.  Grants are available to help churches purchase books.    Contact Rev.sarah ...

UMCOR's Return to Leyte

1/31/2014
By Rev. David D. Cosmiano, District Superintendent, United Methodist Church, Eastern Visayas District, Philippines. On December 5-6, 2013, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) returned to Leyte Province in the Philippines to distribute relief goods among survivors of Typhoon Yolanda, or Haiyan, as the storm is known outside of our country. UMCOR is an agency of the global United Methodist Church and is in charge of relief operations whenever there is a natural or a human-caused ...

Milford named Chief Content Officer and Book Editor

1/30/2014
The Reverend Brian K. Milford has been elected as the Chief Content Officer & Book Editor of The United Methodist Church.  He will begin his new responsibilities on July 1, 2014. Neil Alexander, President and Publisher of the United Methodist Publishing House, announced the election by the Board’s Executive Committee saying, “A treasured part of United Methodist heritage is the importance of quality literature – from scholarly to broadly popular.  From the wide-ranging reading and prolific ...

New group aims to find way to "live in a divided church"

1/28/2014
http://umcconnections.org/2014/01/28/new-group-aims-find-way-live-divided-church/By Heather Hahn - United Methodist News Service A new United Methodist group in the United States is forming with the aim to advance “the Kingdom of Christ,” despite the denomination’s growing divisions over same-sex unions and gay ordination. In practice, founders of the new Wesleyan Covenant Network say, they are committed to mutual accountability, evangelism and upholding the United Methodist doctrine, ...

Bishop Matthews asks for prayers, action after D.C.-area mall shooting

1/28/2014
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — “A deep sense of tragedy hangs in the air,” Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference wrote as he called Jan. 25 for prayers in the wake of the shooting at the Mall in Columbia, a few miles from the Conference Mission Center. The shooter and two victims were reported killed. “As I write, details of the shooting are still being released,” the bishop said. “…In addition to praying for the shooter, those killed and injured and all of their...

United Methodist expert on baptism, sacraments dies

1/27/2014
United Methodist News Service The Rev. Gayle C. Felton, 71, a clergy member of the North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference known for her published works on baptism and the sacraments, died Jan. 25.   Felton was the primary author of the 2004 denominational statement on Holy Communion, This Holy Mystery, and wrote By Water and the Spirit, a study guide for the 1996 denominational statement on baptism.   Read more.  

Judicial Council releases April docket

1/24/2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Judicial Council has released the docket for its April 23-26 meeting in Little Rock, Ark. In the five-item docket, the council will review bishops’ decisions of law on issues including a marriage equality resolution and a lesbian clergy candidate, along with a request for a “declaratory decision” about providing same-gender spouse benefits from the denomination’s finance agency.   View docket    

Advocacy Day 2014 focuses on "Immigration, Human Trafficking, and Iowa Legislation"

1/24/2014
Click here to see a photo gallery of Advocacy Day The 2014 United Methodist Women/Iowa United Methodist Advocacy Day focused on the intersection of immigration issue, human trafficking, and Iowa Legislation.  Presentations from keynote topical speakers and coaching for contacting legislators guided the nearly 50 persons present, at Wesley UMC, prior to the group moving to the Capitol building. Consistent with the adopted priorities which call for “communities of faithful people…[to] live out ...

Bishop says include unborn in "radically inclusive church" mission

1/24/2014
  United Methodist News Service -Wayne Rhodes     WASHINGTON —Bishop Ken Carter Jr. told the 26th annual Lifewatch Sanctity of Life Service that the mission of a radically inclusive church must include the unborn in its inclusiveness.   The bishop went on to issue a call for United Methodists to seek a coherent social teaching, a consistent ethic of hospitality and a compassionate witness to and for life.   Carter, the episcopal leader of Florida Annual (regional) Conference, spoke a the...

Cultural trends you may have missed

1/24/2014
By Gavin Richardson umcom.org You may have noticed the recent rise of videos and images in communications. However, you might have missed some larger cultural trends.   1. The rise of the media device.   Tablet and smartphone devices continue to become more the norm than the exception. In 2013, more than a third of all American adults (18 and older) owned a tablet device with those numbers growing closer to one-half in the 34-44 age demographic. More than 60 percent of Americans use ...

New Dean of "Discipler" position offered through Iowa UMC CEF

1/24/2014
  The state officers of the UMC Christian Educator’s Fellowship (CEF) have just opened up applications for our state Dean of ‘Discipler’ Training program.  If you have any interest in the position please feel free to contact one of the contact persons.     Here is the information regarding the position:   2014-2015 Dean of Discipler Training Position Description   Overview: Coordinate on-line Discipler Training utilizing the General Board of Discipleship training across the Iowa Annual ...

Church and Society opposes new sanctions for Iran

1/16/2014
The United Methodist Board of Church and Society is among more than 60 organizations that signed a letter to U.S. Senators urging them not to support new sanctions that could “critically endanger” possibility of a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff with Iran.   See the letter HERE.

Latin American & Caribbean Methodist Women Leadership Conference

1/16/2014
General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Lima, Peru, Wednesday, January 22 to Saturday, January 25 The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry announces on behalf of the Latin America & Caribbean Methodist Women Leadership Conference Design Team the very first Latin America Methodist women leadership conference.  The theme of the event is “Afirmación de la Dignidad de las Mujeres en América Latina y El Caribe y el Rol de las Mujeres en la Iglesia” ("Affirmation of the dignity ...

King day celebration in Wisconsin to feature sermon by Bishop Trimble

1/15/2014
Click here to watch the live-stream A Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration hosted by Bishop Jung for the Wisconsin Conference will be held on Monday, January 20, at 7 pm at Albright UMC, 5555 W. Capitol Dr., Milwaukee WI 53216. Bishop Julius Trimble will be preaching at the event, which will focus on a worship service celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and what we are doing to live out his vision.   A combined choir from Milwaukee area United Methodist Churches will rehearse at 6:15 pm, ...

Preaching professor turns "player coach"

1/15/2014
United Methodist News Service - By Sam Hodges PLANO, Texas  (UMNS) — At Christ United Methodist Church, clergy have their own personal trainer. Alyce McKenzie doesn’t correct the pastors on crunches or make them move aerobically. She works with them on focusing a sermon, finding fresh metaphors and taking risks to connect better with people in the pews. “In this visual age,” she notes wryly, “all people want is the reality of careful preparation and the appearance of total spontaneity.” ...

Resources Available for Week of Christian Unity

1/14/2014
The Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships (OCUIR) of the Council of Bishops is encouraging United Methodists around the world to participate in the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 18-25, 2014. "We participate in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to remind ourselves that we belong to Christ, and that we are one family in Christ," said Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, ecumenical officer for the council. *Has Christ Been Divided?* is the theme for this year's ...

Free GCSRW webinar series begins Feb. 4

1/14/2014
umcconnections.org - By Susan Keaton A series of webinars aimed at helping develop principled leaders in The United Methodist Church is being offered this year by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. “These webinars all offer skills for Christian leadership at the local, regional and connectional level,” said Audrey J. Krumbach, the agency’s director of gender justice and education. The first online seminar, offered at 7:30 p.m. (EST) Feb. 4, is a primer on Robert’s Rules ...

Moving forward and looking back - in summary

1/14/2014
*Rev. Larry Hollon is a lifelong storyteller with experience in radio, TV, print and video. He is the general secretary of United Methodist Communications, and also serves as publisher of United Methodist News Service.  By Rev. Larry Hollon In the past four posts, I’ve pointed to how information communication technology and communications strategy have been employed to encourage transparency as we discuss how new media influence us and the practices of the church. We’ve seen how the power of...

Commentary: Discipleship requires evangelism

1/14/2014
Questions to consider Here are some ways to practice sharing the story and seeking opportunities to share the Good News within the life of your congregation. • Practice paying attention to God’s work in the world. Set aside time in your worship service, Bible study or Sunday school for people to share their God sightings. If you regularly share joys and concerns, it might be helpful to reframe that time by asking, “Where did you see God this week?” or “Where did God allow you to be in ...

Iowa UMC camps and retreats - Come be in ministry with us this summer!

1/14/2014
                                                                                                                                                  If you’ve never had the opportunity to come and be part of our summer ministry team, 2014 is the year to start. All three of our camps are wonderful places to work and to learn about camp and retreat ministry. If you’re an older high school student or in college, or just out of college and want to try something new, get in touch with us, ...

Survey: Reported Christian "martyr" deaths doubled in 2013

1/14/2014
Reuters - cbsnew.com LONDON -- Reported cases of Christians killed for their faith around the world doubled in 2013 from the year before, with Syria accounting for more than the whole global total in 2012, according to an annual survey. Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, said on Wednesday it had documented 2,123 "martyr" killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. There were 1,213 such deaths in Syria alone last year, it said. "This is a very ...

Bishop Tuell, church law expert, dies at 90

1/13/2014
United Methodist News Service - By Heather Hahn Retired Bishop Jack M. Tuell, a widely respected expert of United Methodist church law, died Friday, Jan. 10. He was 90.  “He will be considered one of the two or three giants of our council (of bishops) in the latter part of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century,” said retired Bishop William B. Oden, a longtime friend, who now resides in Santa Fe, N.M. Greater Northwest Area Bishop Grant Hagiya added, “Bishops like him only ...

Holston missionaries postpone return to South Sudan, pray for peace (Jan. 9)

1/13/2014
"They support what we're doing and they realize we have not abandoned them. Holston has not abandoned them." -- Libby Dearing By Annette Spence - Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church ALCOA, Tenn. -- Missionaries Fred and Libby Dearing have postponed their return to South Sudan after deciding they could do more to help their ministry partners while in the U.S.  than in Africa. “Even if we dearly wish we were there, it’s not about us,” the Rev. Dearing said on Jan. 9, while ...

Moving Forward and Looking Back - Connecting

1/13/2014
Faith Media + Culture - Perspectives from Larry Hollon www.larryhollon.com/blog   In this fourth post in the series, I reflect on how communications technologies make it possible to connect with people half a world away, and why that’s important. Connecting continents New mobile technologies make it possible to connect with others in ways that were not previously possible. In The United Methodist Church, in which I am ordained, we often speak of ourselves as a connection. The term is not ...

Women by the Numbers - Is sexual misconduct still an issue?

1/13/2014
The Book of Resolutions of The UMC states, “ Sexual abuse is a form of sexual misconduct and occurs when a person within a ministerial role of leadership (lay or clergy, pastor, educator, counselor, youth leader, or other position of leadership) engages in sexual contact or sexualized behavior with a congregant, client, employee, student, staff member, coworker, or volunteer.” General Commission on the Status and Role of Women – www.gcsrw.org By Erin Kane - Director of Research and ...

In Memoriam -- Roy Lifsey

1/10/2014
From the General Commission on United Methodist Men MACON, Ga.––Thomas Roy Lifsey, 82, one of the early champions of UM Men, died Jan. 6, 2014, following an extended illness.  Born Oct. 11, 1931, to the late James Fred Lifsey and the late Mildred Self Lifsey, Roy was a U. S. Coast Guard veteran, and a retired Civil Service employee of Warner Robins Air Force Base. After the Board of Discipleship created a section on UM Men, Roy recruited Jim Snead, director of the South Georgia Conference ...

Church Planters' Bootcamp

1/10/2014
April 2-7, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Northbrook, IL   The Office of Congregational Development and Redevelopment of the Northern Illinois Conference invites you to its Church Planters’ Bootcamp with Jim Griffith. Learn how to avoid the most common mistakes of new faith communities, how to raise money, how to build a team, and how to connect to the community. Jim Griffith is the founder of Griffith Coaching Network and has been a planter in five new churches. Since 1996, he has trained 9,000 ...

Human Relations Sunday is January 19

1/10/2014
                  Church Takes One Special Sunday Offering “Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can,” wrote Methodism founder John Wesley in “The Use of Money”.  Wesley’s instructions were meant to encourage the first Methodists, many of whom were poor, to maximize their potential and find create ways to give more. Recently, one church took this idea to heart by changing the way it collects for Special Sundays. Grace United Methodist Church is a 300-member church in ...

Theressa Hoover "larger than life"gentle as a dove"

1/10/2014
                  By Linda Bloom - United Methodist news Service Theressa Hoover was the first and she made sure she was not the last.  The first African-American woman to become a top staff executive for The United Methodist Church was a mentor to many young women, promoted the leadership of laywomen and engineered a secure future for the women’s organization of the denomination during a period of tumultuous change. Hoover led the Women’s Division of the United Methodist Board of...

Going the Second Mile - Imagine No Malaria Iowa Update

1/9/2014
By Rev. Katie Dawson 1.7 million dollars. That is what we have raised, as of the end of 2013, for Imagine No Malaria as the Iowa Annual Conference.  It is an amazing accomplishment and I am so proud of every one of you who has helped make this extraordinary effort a success so far. With six months remaining of our official campaign here in Iowa, I want to encourage each one of you to keep pressing on towards our goal of raising more than two million dollars to help bring the good news of ...

Denison, Dodgeball, and Youth Engagement

1/9/2014
By Rev. Katie Dawson There is excitement in Denison to help eradicate malaria in Africa.  Last year the church goal was $4000, the largest ministry goal in the history of this congregation.  Everyone became involved. One our our members, the principal of the middle school, used her community project of a dodge ball tournament to raise money for Imagine No Malaria as and an example of helping others to the students.  In March, teams from fourth grade through adults participated in the days ...

Moving Forward and Looking Back - Communication is Aid

1/9/2014
By Rev. Larry Hollon On the threshold of a new year, information and communication technology plays a more critical role in shaping life than we have experienced before. This is especially true in nations with emerging economies, many of which have leap-frogged over hard-wired communications infrastructure and moved into  wireless infrastructure. When Typhoon Yolanda, as it was known in the Philippines, devastated the central Philippines, one of the first calls for assistance from the ...

Respite to aid homeless after hospitalization

1/9/2014
  Center aims to provide a safe haven for recovery From the Asheville Citizen Times - By Barbara Blake Most people who are hospitalized or undergo surgery are discharged into the arms of family and taken home to rest and recuperate. People who don’t have homes are typically discharged onto the streets. That often means return visits to emergency rooms or hospital re-admissions, because a medically fragile patient who is homeless is unlikely  to fully recover from acute illness while camping...

A look at the path of Methodism

1/9/2014
History of Our Church On April 23, 1968, The United Methodist Church was created when Bishop Reuben H. Mueller, representing The Evangelical United Brethren Church, and Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke of The Methodist Church joined hands at the constituting General Conference in Dallas, Texas. With the words, "Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church," the new denomination was given birth by two churches that had distinguished histories and ...

Mobilizing in Ministry with the Poor

1/9/2014
                          by United Methodist News Service - Anne Marie Gerhardt The church reaches out to the poor in many ways, but some United Methodist leaders are re-examining how the church ministers with the poor and if it can do better. To look for strategic answers, nearly 40 clergy, laity, agency and nonprofit leaders gathered Dec. 10-11, 2013, in Chicago at the second of two Ministry with the Poor roundtables. Two United Methodist agencies —  the Board of Global ...

Church reaches out to persons, families with special needs

1/8/2014
By Amy Forbus, Editor - arumc.org - United Methodists of Arkansas Like many congregations, First United Methodist Church Jonesboro has long provided Christian education opportunities for all ages on Sunday mornings.    But since October, its children’s ministry has offered something many churches do not: a therapeutic Sunday school classroom setting that provides learning and activities designed for persons with special needs. Known as Abilitrees, the ministry relates to the church’s ...

Church vitality: Professions of faith rise

1/7/2014
By United Methodist News Service - Heather Hahn   Here is some encouraging news to start the year. For the first time in 11 years, United Methodist annual (regional) conferences in the United States reported an increase in total professions of faith in 2012. Preliminary figures for professions of faith show a gain from 123,986 in 2011 to 124,635 in 2012 — less than 1 percent but still an upward trajectory. Many of the leaders at this fall’s Council of Bishops meeting in Lake Junaluska, ...

United Methodists offer hope in South Sudan turmoil

1/7/2014
By United Methodist News Service - Linda Bloom  As continuing violence has increased tensions across South Sudan, United Methodist congregations there are providing both haven and hope. An email from Sebit Issaac, the assistant district superintendent for Yei, to the denomination’s Holston Annual (regional) Conference in the United States, noted that five people had been baptized on New Year’s Day. Issaac’s email said the church has remained strong during three weeks of violence in other ...

Fire destroys Nebraska church

1/7/2014
SYRACUSE, Neb. (UMNS)   “God is bigger than a fire. Bigger than the weather. And bigger than a building. We are a blessed people.” Those were the words the Syracuse United Methodist Church posted to its Facebook page after a fire discovered the evening of Jan. 5 destroyed the 102-year-old church building. The Nebraska City News Press reported wind gusts up to 32 miles an hour when the fire started. See Facebook posts Read Omaha.com story

Relief Supplies: More Needed Than Ever

1/7/2014
From the UMCOR 2013 Report   In 2013, UMCOR Sager Brown and UMCOR West experienced critical shortages of relief-supply kits given the increased need for the supplies in the United States and around the world. “We have shipped out more kits than ever,” said Material Resources Director Kathy Kraiza. During 2013, a total of 536,946 kits went to 12 countries and to 12 states in the U.S. This is an increase of 12.5 percent as compared to 2012. Just in the month of December, five shipping ...

Sampling attitudes on the state of the church

1/6/2014
DES MOINES, Wash. (UMNS)  Patrick Scriven, director of communications and young people’s ministries in the Pacific Northwest Annual (regional) Conference, is asking United Methodists how they feel about the state of the church. The results of the online measurement will not be a scientific sampling but a reflection of those who choose to respond.  To participate click HERE.

Searching for Easter in the midst of Christmas

1/6/2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — (Nashville Episcopal Area) Bishop Bill McAlilly's nephew, a police officer, was killed in the line of duty in Tupelo, Miss., on Dec. 23. On Dec. 31, McAlilly shared on his blog the message he delivered at Kevin Gale Stauffer Jr.’s Service of Death and Resurrection: Many of you have reached out to our family in the midst of death of my nephew, my sister’s son, Gale Stauffer, who died December 23. He was tragically killed in the line of duty, serving the City of Tupelo ...

What was the Star of Bethlehem?

1/6/2014
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (UMNS) — On Jan. 6, Protestants and Roman Catholics around the globe celebrate the magi’s visit to the young Jesus and the revelation of Christ to the world. InterpreterOnline shares a United Methodist astronomer’s take on the celestial body that guided the wise men.  By Heather Hahn "...And look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where (Jesus) was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy." (Matthew 2: 9-10, ...

January 2014 School Teachers for Nigeria

1/2/2014
By Beverly Nolte – Iowa Nigeria Partnership coordinator *On Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3, $9,095.50 was donated on-line for Banyam Theological Seminary. That was an exceptional day in that 11,000 people from 34 countries contributed $6.5 million dollars in support of Advance Special projects in a 24-hour period. Wow! Wonderful news! God is good! This money will provide scholarships for seminary students as they complete their theological studies.  *Davidson Adams was delayed a day in his return ...

Open Kitchen, Sibley UMC

12/30/2013
From Thank You Notes - Stories of United Methodist Giving in Iowa - December 30, 2013 The Sibley United Methodist Church has created a bridge to their community with their Open Kitchen. On the second Saturday of each month a free noon meal is provided at the church. The meal is made from scratch and includes a main dish, vegetables, and dessert. The congregation goes out of its way to make their guests feel at home. Many participants are elderly and living alone with limited income. The meal ...

Youth Strike For Christ 2014

12/30/2013
      Where ever we are in life and faith, Jesus invites us to follow. Youth Strike For Christ is a spiritual growth retreat for 7th - 12th grade youth, taking place this year Jan 31- Feb 2. The weekend provides opportunities to enjoy awesome music and meet great friends while participating in hands-on mission and Bible study based around the year's theme: Hello My Name is.  The weekend includes keynote speakers, Christian rock concerts, small group sessions and other unique ministries....

Bishop Trimble, Imagine No Malaria-Iowa take part in Simon Estes concert to fight malaria

12/27/2013
World renowned opera singer Simon Estes performed alongside a 1200-member choir comprised of students from across Iowa and the Des Moines Symphony Youth Orchestra at Hilton Coliseum in Ames for his Iowa Students Care Christmas concert on December 15. Iowa Students Care is a program of the Simon Estes Foundation that involves Iowa students to help in the fight against malaria in Africa. Proceeds from the December 15 concert will go to buy nets for children in Africa through the Nothing But ...

2013: Notable passings in Methodism

12/26/2013
By United Methodist News Service In 2013, church members marked the passing of a number of United Methodist and Methodist leaders who made significant contributions in their Christian walk. Those to whom we said goodbye include a global ecumenical leader, a social justice advocate, a lay leader active at all levels of the church, a civil rights activist and a pioneering British prime minister who never forgot her Methodist roots. Here are nine remembrances.   The Rev. Emilio Castro  The ...

Global Mission Leader Calls for Peace in South Sudan

12/26/2013
By Melissa Hinnen “Please join me in praying for our brothers and sisters in South Sudan, our world’s newest nation,” Thomas Kemper, who leads the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, said today in response to the political violence that erupted in South Sudan. “It is imperative that all who have voice and power in the country make every effort to find a peaceful resolution and to avoid a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis,” Kemper said. According to Reuters, ...

Advent Meditation: O come, Emmanuel

12/23/2013
Advent, which means “coming” or “arrival,” is a time of preparation for the birth of Christ, and a celebration of God’s unconditional love. This meditation features the photographs of Mike Dubose, Kathleen Barry and others, over the hymn tune, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” dating from the 12th century. The human condition can, at times, be one of struggle, yet through faith, the spirit rises above even tragedy, and hope and love prevail. Click HERE for the video.

Schaefer, family, join Foundry UMC in Washington

12/23/2013
  By Erik Alsgaard* WASHINGTON (UMNS ) — Frank Schaefer, the United Methodist clergyman who was defrocked Dec. 19, is now a member of Foundry United Methodist Church and mulling over an offer to move west. Schaefer, his wife, Brigitte, and two of his four children – sons Kevin and Jordan – were received into membership by the Washington congregation, with dozens of people surrounding the family on the platform during the installation. “Frank needed to be in a United Methodist church this ...

Pennsylvania pastor to fight for clergy credentials

12/20/2013
By Kathy L. Gilbert* The Rev. Frank Schaefer says he is not ready to give up on The United Methodist Church and will immediately seek an appeal of a decision to take away his ministerial credentials. The United Methodist Eastern Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference’s board of ordained ministry made the decision Dec. 19, to follow through with a church trial’s penalty to ask Schaefer to surrender his credentials if he cannot uphold the denomination’s lawbook “in its entirety.” Even this ...

What was the star of Bethlehem?

12/20/2013
A UMNS Feature By Heather Hahn* “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the reign of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.'” (Matthew 2:1-2, Common English Bible) Just about every year at Christmastime, Nick Strobel can count on getting questions about the star that guided the magi. Strobel is the planetarium director and a physical science...

ABC to air United Methodist Christmas Eve special

12/19/2013
  ABC-TV affiliates nationwide will have the opportunity to broadcast a one-hour United Methodist Christmas Eve special. “Rethink Christmas: Unwrap the Gift” invites viewers to take an hour from the hustle and bustle of the holidays to pause and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by unwrapping the gift of Christ. The special is part of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission’s ABC series “Visions and Values.” The hour-long broadcast, which was produced by United Methodist Communications ...

364 United Methodist congregations pray for Newtown

12/19/2013
December 17, 2013 -- umc-gbcs.org On Sunday, Dec. 16, 364 United Methodist congregations read the names during worship of the more than two dozen victims of the Newtown, Conn., gun violence that occurred a year ago. The congregations prayed for the victims, mostly six- and seven-year-old children, and their families devastated by one of the worst gun-violence occurrences in U.S. history. The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) prepared a bulletin insert to assist congregations in ...

Church honors homeless woman who died on its grounds

12/19/2013
By Sam Hodges* The week before Christmas carried special emotion for Spring Woods United Methodist Church in Houston, as it remembered a homeless woman found dead on the church’s grounds after a cold night. The church held a memorial service for Sherry Ivy on Dec. 18. About 100 people gathered, including church members and homeless friends of hers. Ivy, 50, was a fan of traditional country music, and volunteer musicians played hymns in that style. The service included tributes to Ivy from ...

Bishop Trimble responds to decision to remove pastor's credentials

12/19/2013
  Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble called for “a more excellent way” and for “conversation” in the matter of same-gender weddings and the stance of The United Methodist Church.     In particular, he was responding to the action of the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry which voted on Thursday, December 19, 2013 to surrender Rev. Frank Schaefer’s credentials.  Schaefer had been found guilty, by a trial court of fellow ordained clergy, on November 19, of violating ...

Sharing pain, hope, in typhoon's wake

12/19/2013
By April Grace Mercado Amid the destruction of Typhoon Yolanda and the heartbreaking stories of suffering and hardship, I’ve seen the human spirit spring forth, ready to provide aid and relief in all forms. I was part of a four-person United Methodist Communications team sent to the disaster area, along with hundreds of relief workers, after the Nov. 8 typhoon. My team focused on providing communications relief to the Visayas region, particularly in hard-hit Tacloban and neighboring towns. ...

2013: Continuing to meet challenge of violence

12/18/2013
By Kathy L. Gilbert* Some of the hardest memories from 2013 are those associated with violence. Churches, religious and secular organizations remembered the mass murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn., on the one-year anniversary of the shooting on Dec. 14. Two 7-year-olds from Newtown United Methodist Church were among the dead, killed by a 20-year-old shooter. The National Council of Churches prayer vigil against gun violence Dec. 12 at the ...

New Administrative Assistant for Episcopal Office

12/18/2013
Sara Carlson has joined the Iowa Annual Conference as an Administrative Assistant in the Bishop’s office.  The Episcopal administrative support position has been redefined as part of the recent realignment of Conference Center staff.  Carlson began in her new role in November, and she supports both Assistant to the Bishop for Administration Rev. Bill Poland and the Communications office. “This seems like a perfect job situation for me,” Carlson said. A native of West Des Moines, Carlson ...

Updated history of Methodism available

12/17/2013
MADISON, N.J. (UMNS) — Need a last-minute gift idea for a church history buff? The third edition of the “Historical Dictionary of Methodism” is out. Earlier editions appeared in 1996 and 2005. The book costs $110 in hardback. The new edition, edited by Charles Yrigoyen Jr. and Susan E. Warrick, both former employees of United Methodist Commission on Archives and History, contains more than 500 cross-referenced entries and more than 100 new articles.  Methodism is growing, both in numbers and ...

Colorado United Methodists won't let fear rule

12/17/2013
                            By Sam Hodges Through singing and preaching, praying and counseling — as well as sharing hugs and shedding tears — United Methodists in the Denver area responded to Friday’s school shooting at Arapahoe High School. “I had grown men crying on my shoulder, saying that their sons and daughters were students at Arapahoe,” said the Rev. Ryan Canaday, associate pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch. “We had one family where the ...

2013: Year of United Methodist growth, progress

12/16/2013
By Sam Hodges Getting a handle on the organizational health of a large, worldwide denomination is not easy. But key developments in 2013 indicate vigorous responses to the challenges facing The United Methodist Church. What’s more, the end of the year saw the General Council on Finance and Administration report that worldwide professing membership in The United Methodist Church reached a record high of 12.5 million at the end of 2012. “The results for 2012 largely fit within the pattern we ...

Pennsylvania pastor says he will not surrender clergy credentials

12/16/2013
By Kathy L. Gilbert PHILADELPHIA (UMNS)—At a news conference at Arch Street United Methodist Church Dec. 16, the Rev. Frank Schaefer said he will not surrender his clergy credentials and intends to continue to be an outspoken advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Schaefer is at the end of his 30-day suspension from ministry after a church trial Nov. 18-19 found him guilty of violating his vows as an ordained United Methodist elder when he officiated at his son’s same-sex...

Year of trial, grace for Newtown faith community

12/16/2013
By G. Jeffrey MacDonald Christmas has returned to the heartsick village of Sandy Hook, where a school massacre one year ago overwhelmed the holiday season. Children are now performing the pageant that was canceled last year at Newtown United Methodist Church. Congregants are once again singing joyful carols outside the homes of shut-ins. But traditions have changed to reflect a community that is at once healing and still traumatized.  The pageant hour has moved from morning to night, so as ...

Rethink Church releases new mobile app

12/16/2013
Nashville, Tenn.: United Methodist Communications invites you to not only Rethink Church, but to also Rethink Christmas. A new mobile app, designed to inspire you to let go of the hustle and bustle of the season to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas, is now available free for Apple and Android devices. The Rethink Christmas app includes a game and daily Scriptural inspiration for Advent. It also provides links to various Rethink Church social media channels, where users are invited to ...

Century-old pastor still draws a crowd

12/13/2013
            BEAVER DAM, Wis. (UMNS) —  The Rev. Marvin Schilling is 102, but he still has plenty of ministry to share with the Wisconsin Annual (regional) Conference, the conference reports. Schilling served many roles between 1940 and his retirement in 1978, including chaplain, assistant to the bishop, district superintendent for two different districts, and pastor to five churches. Today, he is still involved at Trinity United Methodist Church in Beaver Dam. “He is at worship at 8 ...

Newtown families urge kindness as shooting anniversary nears

12/13/2013
By Richard Weizel - Reuters.com                           Relatives of the victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut give a statement regarding the formation of the website mysandyhookfamily.org just before the one year anniversary of the disaster in Sandy Hook, Connecticut December 9, 2013.  Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson The families of many of those who died last year in a shooting rampage at an elementary school in Newtown, ...

Request for Ambassador Award Nominations

12/12/2013
The Ambassador Award from the Iowa Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) is presented each year during Annual Conference to an Iowa United Methodist who exemplifies the goals and values that shape the Commission.  The Award recognizes individuals who are committed to the full inclusion of women, especially those who are on the margins of the church and society, and work as advocate, catalyst and monitor on their behalf. Those who have received the Ambassador Award ...

Learning from Googlers

12/12/2013
umcom.org Google is one of the most successful and innovative companies in history. Currently, Google has 53,000 employees and is worth around $330 billion. The company is working on self-driving cars and its own social network and is offering free Internet through blimps over developing countries. What insights could a company like that offer the average church that has one to three staff members, a budget definitely not in the billions and a focus on reconciling people with God? A whole ...

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