News


Bishop rules gay clergy candidate can stay on ordination track

12/12/2013
By Heather Hahn and Sam Hodges* San Antonio Area Bishop James E. Dorff on Dec. 12 reversed the removal of a lesbian clergy candidate, Mary Ann Barclay, from the ordination track. Dorff said in his ruling that Barclay “remains a candidate for ministry and is due full examination, including an interview, by the Board of Ordained Ministry.”  In October, the Judicial Council — the denomination’s top court — decided that the bishop must rule within 60 days “on the merits” of a process-related ...

Thanksgiving Ingathering nets record support

12/12/2013
Click here to listen to Dan Houston, Brenda Mayer, Jan Fritcher, Sally Wilkie, and Sandy Arnold as they reflect back on Ingathering 2013 and look ahead to next year's event in a conversation with Dr. Art McClanahan The 34th annual Thanksgiving Ingathering took place November 2, 2013. The Ingathering supports missions in and through the United Methodist Conference and it is a way for Iowa United Methodists to address hunger problems locally and around the world. This year’s Ingathering ...

Tell United Methodist Communications About Your Church Community Outreach.

12/11/2013
United Methodist Communications is sponsoring a brief survey of local church outreach ministries. The survey, which will take from 7 to 10 minutes to complete, will also include questions related to Rethink Church. Even if your church is not a part of that program, they ask you to participate so we can get a broader picture of the community outreach efforts undertaken by local churches. The results of the survey will be shared with the Connectional Table so that other parts of the church can ...

World Methodist leader gives sermon at Mandela service

12/11/2013
By Linda Bloom* Great leaders like Nelson Mandela do not die but “live on in the hearts and minds of people,” a South African Methodist pastor reminded the world during the Dec. 10 memorial service at the same Soweto stadium where Mandela spoke to 80,000 after his release from prison in 1990.  “(God) gave us one who boldly proclaimed that a different world is possible,” said the Rev. Ivan Abrahams, now the top executive of the World Methodist Council, based in Lake Junaluska, N.C. He will ...

Iowa Methodists Show Generosity With #Giving Tuesday

12/10/2013
Members of the Iowa Conference of the Methodist Church were not outdone in participation in the General Board of Global Ministries 2013 #Giving Tuesday. In Iowa, 54,169 gifts totaling $18,782,297.62 had been calculated for the General Board of Global Ministries’ #Giving Tuesday as of earlier this week. Gifts ranged from $10 into the thousands of dollars. Individuals and churches displayed generosity via dozens of charitable outreach organizations on December 3. A final accounting of the ...

Nelson Mandela and Methodism

12/10/2013
umc.org  Throughout his life, Nelson Mandela had many connections to Methodism. A graduate of a Methodist boarding school, the anti-apartheid champion was mentored by Methodist preachers and educators and formed a bond with a Methodist chaplain while in prison. As president of South Africa, he worked with church leaders in shaping a new nation and eventually married Graça Machel, a United Methodist. The World Methodist Council recognized Mandela as a “symbol of freedom, justice and peace” ...

Ministerial Education Fund eases journey

12/10/2013
umcgiving.org Nico Romeijn-Stout has never lacked for role models in his path to attending Boston University School of Theology. Both his parents are ordained United Methodist elders in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, as were his grandfather, great-grandfather and great-uncle. Boston University School of Theology is one of the 13 colleges and seminaries supported by The Ministerial Education Fund. “I have also come to know many other professionals in ministry — clergy and lay — who ...

Web design trends for 2014

12/10/2013
By Gavin Richardson - umcom.org   Are you designing a new website for your church? Does your outdated website need a new look? Consider these web-design trends for 2014.  Mobile responsive An extension of design trends from 2012 and 2013 is to build your websites to be mobile responsive. From 25 to 35 percent of many websites’ total traffic will come through mobile devices. The number of mobile device users is growing. Having a website designed to adapt to each device is critical. Before ...

IRS mileage rates for 2014

12/6/2013
The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2014 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be: • 56 cents per mile for business miles driven • 23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organization ...

Lost - And Found!

12/6/2013
Luke 15:1-10   When I served as a pastor in upstate New York, I became acquainted with an eccentric colleague named Peter.  In retirement, Peter was stated pulpit supply for a miniscule Reformed Church in the next county.  He wasn’t fond of haircuts---and often swept his shock of greying hair under a tweed beret.  I never saw him dressed in anything but knee length knickers, a white shirt, and suspenders.  And he was quite a storyteller.  Once at lectionary study, he told us that he had in ...

Bishop Trimble's statement on the death of Nelson Mandela

12/5/2013
from Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble "I am weeping while sitting in Barnes & Noble bookstore as I received word of the death of Nelson Mandela. A light unto the nations he lived and died as an advocate for the beloved community. A new South Africa was a downpayment on a more just humane world."

Christmas in Nigeria

12/5/2013
No Christmas tree, no bright lights, no decorations, no fudge, no nativity scene, no gifts, no Christmas carols. In rural Nigeria Christmas may bring little or no joy to all to the lives of many families. It will be just like any other day when the family heads off to the farm to hoe. This year with the heavy rains many villages were flooded, huts destroyed, crops ruined so there is little to celebrate, especially for those who are not Christians.   In the city people will have the day off and ...

December School Teachers for Nigeria

12/5/2013
Thanks to all of you who donated online on Tuesday, Dec. 3 which is called “Giving Tuesday.” Over 6.5 million dollars were donated to Advance Specials by 11,000 donors from 34 countries in a 24 hour period! The financial results will be available Dec. 16.  Great job and “na gode” for your participation!  Here are the Christmas vacation plans for our Nigerian students studying in Iowa  Davidson Adams returns to Nigeria on 12/19 – 1/16 to be with his family and care for family business. His ...

Women now 1 of 4 UMC clergy in U.S.

12/5/2013
By Susan Keaton - umcconnections.org Despite a slight decline in the number of United Methodist clergy in the U.S., the percentage of women is growing.   As of 2011, the most recent figures available, women were 25 percent of U.S. UMC clergy. Some of the local percentages were much higher — in 10 of the 56 annual conferences studied, women were at least a third of all clergy, according to an analysis by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. A complete report, including ...

Letter from the Philippines: Communications vital to survival and recovery

12/5/2013
April Grace G. Mercado is a United Methodist Communications field representative in the Philippines. She is part of a team that has been on the ground in the storm-ravaged islands assessing how to help reconnect the nation’s communications. She sent this update Dec. 3 to help fellow United Methodists understand the enormity of the task ahead and how vital its success is to the future for the Philippines. TACLOBAN, Philippines (UMNS) We arrived in Tacloban on Nov. 19, more than 10 days after ...

Historic UMC #GivingTuesday is Record-Breaking Day for Mission

12/4/2013
United Methodist Communications - umcpresscenter.org  Thanks to the generosity of United Methodists around the world, more than 880 projects and missionaries will receive a financial boost to help them meet their mission goals. The denomination's General Board of Global Ministries <http://www.umcmission.org>  announced that the first-ever UMC #GivingTuesday generated a record $6.5 million online on December 3. Nearly 11,000 donors in 34 countries gave more than 16,300 gifts through The Advance...

Seminary and College Scholarships Available

12/3/2013
The Iowa United Methodist Foundation is reminding everyone of the availability of scholarships for seminary students who are from Iowa and attending an approved United Methodist Seminary.   The Foundation would like to share as well the availability of scholarships for students from Iowa who are planning to attend a university, college or vocational institution. Please visit www.iumf.org and click "Scholarships" for more information and application forms on either type of scholarship. ...

"I Wish I Had ..."

12/2/2013
At this time of year the Christmas catalogues arrive in the mail or with the newspaper that capture the attention of both young and old. Kids say, “I wish I had….(name of toy, book, electronic gadget, etc.) and most likely attentive parents are noting this wish list. Below is a current wish list for the Iowa Nigeria Partnership: Supplies for a school child or an adult taking literacy class $2 A Hausa Bible for a literacy graduate $8 A one month stipend for a UMC teacher $20 Purchase of ...

Finance agency responds to clergy housing decision

11/26/2013
On Nov.  21, 2013, a federal district court judge in Madison, Wis.,  held that a portion of Section 107 of the tax code is unconstitutional.  Section 107 is the provision dealing with tax-favored housing benefits for clergy.  Specifically, the court held that Section 107(2), which permits clergy to receive a tax-free cash “housing allowance,” is unconstitutional because it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (“Congress shall make no law respecting ...

Former Iowa Bishop Wayne Clymer dies

11/26/2013
  Bishop Wayne K. Clymer, former Resident Bishop of the Iowa Area, died on Monday, November 25, 2013.  He led the Iowa Conference from 1980 to 1984.   Bishop Clymer was born in Napoleon, Ohio, the son of the Rev. George A. and Grace Sallie Hulvey Clymer. His father was a member of the Ohio Annual Conference of the Evangelical Church, having served several churches in that State.   He earned his A.B. degree from Asbury College (1939), and the M.A., degree in Philosophy from Columbia ...

Maple Grove UMC steps up to assist family in need

11/26/2013
  The Maple Grove United Methodist Church in Waukee has stepped up to assist a family in need and drawn together the larger community through a gesture of hope in the face of tragedy.    “We had to do more, we just had to do more,” said Jim Riordan, a Maple Grove member and one of the organizers of the recent event, a Day for Mike.    Mike is Mike Wasike, a Des Moines husband and father originally from Kenya who stopped on his way home from work one day last February to offer help to three...

Conference treasurer position open; Maggie Biggs to be Interim

11/25/2013
“The current Conference treasurer, Todd Weber, will be leaving the Conference,” said Human Resources Director Jodi Mardesen. “His last day with the Conference will be on Friday, November 29.” “We have begun the search for a new Conference treasurer,” she said. “There is a job posting currently on the website under the Human Resources page under Career Opportunities.” If someone is interested in the position they can find directions for submitting their application at the bottom at the bottom ...

Open Enrollment in progress; runs through December 6.

11/25/2013
Click here to listen to Joni Mardesen talk about Open Enrollment "Open enrollment is now available online to all clergy and even to those lay staff at the local churches that are currently participating in benefits." said Joni Mardesen, Human Resources director for the Conference. If someone has not received their sign-on information they need to contact the HR office so they can receive their instructions and sign-on for the first time, she said. "It's a very nice process, it's very smooth,...

United Methodists receive freedom medal

11/21/2013
By Linda Bloom WASHINGTON (UMNS)  Richard Lugar and the late Daniel Inouye — lifelong United Methodists —have been recognized as the type of public servants who have “strengthened our nation.” The two United Methodists, who both had lengthy careers as U.S. senators, were among the 16 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom lauded by President Barack Obama in a Nov. 20 ceremony at the White House. Obama noted that this year’s presentation marked 50 years since President John F. ...

Midwest Tornadoes - Latest Update

11/21/2013
  On, Sunday, November 17, 2013 more that 45 (and perhaps as many as 60) Tornados raced thru Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin.  Hardest hit is the State of Illinois and the town of Washington (10,000 pop.)  Many other communities and rural areas have significant damage. At least 5 deaths and as many as 300 people are injured along with hundreds of homes destroyed. Thousands are without power. John and I have been in contact with the Disaster Response Coordinators from ...

UMCOR Responds to Midwest Tornadoes

11/20/2013
By Melissa Hinnen - November 19, 2013 The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is working with affected conferences to assist with immediate relief needs after tornadoes left widespread damage on Sunday, November 17. Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee were all affected by severe weather, but the most widespread damage occurred in the town of Washington, 140 miles southwest of Chicago, where a powerful EF-4 tornado destroyed or damaged an ...

Disruption prompts church leaders to address sexuality issues

11/20/2013
By Rich Peck and Tim Tanton NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Connectional Table suspended business Nov. 19 for conversation around inclusiveness after a disruption by Love Prevails, a group advocating inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people in the life of The United Methodist Church. The disruption began in the morning session, as Love Prevails member Julie Todd, a New England Annual (regional) Conference pastor, walked among the meeting tables, singing the names of ...

Over 1,300 clergy sign letter calling for "genuine immigration solutions"

11/20/2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In less than a week, more than 1,300 United Methodist clergy have signed a letter to Congress that calls for “genuine solutions” for the U.S.’s broken immigration system. Among endorsers of the letter are 40 United Methodist bishops. Endorsers came from 49 states. The letter, which was sent to members of the House of Representatives today emphasizes that many United Methodist churches minister with and among immigrant communities. “Thus, we witness firsthand ...

Schaefer suspended 30 days for performing same-gender wedding

11/20/2013
By Kathy L. Gilbert SPRING CITY, Penn. (UMNS) — The Rev. Frank Schaefer has been given a 30-day suspension by the jury in his church trial and told that if he can’t uphold the Book of Discipline in its entirety he must surrender his credentials. Schaefer was found guilty Nov. 18 of violating the church’s law against pastors performing same-gender unions and of disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church. He acknowledged having performed the same-sex wedding of his ...

Penalty phase begins in Pennsylvania clergy trial

11/19/2013
By Kathy L. Gilbert  SPRING CITY, Pa. (UMNS)—The Rev. Frank Schaefer faces another long day Nov. 19 as a jury of ordained United Methodists decide on his penalty after finding him guilty of breaking church law by officiating at the same-sex marriage of his son in 2007. The penalty could range from losing his ordination credentials to being suspended for a time determined by the jury. Both Schaefer and Jon Boger, the church member who brought charges against him, were sometimes emotional as ...

Young adults reach out to Philippines survivors

11/19/2013
By Gladys Mangiduyos Bearing relief supplies and hope, seven United Methodist young adults in the Philippines traveled 255 kilometers over the weekend to reach Typhoon Haiyan survivors in Leyte. Abelardo Alviola, president of Visayas Phils Annual (regional) Conference United Methodist Youth Fellowship, led the team, which rode by bus from Negros Oriental to Cebu and then by boat to Leyte Saturday, a 12-hour journey. After that 12-hour journey, they trekked on foot to Ormoc. Alviola left the...

Minneapolis chosen as site for General Conference 2020

11/18/2013
United Methodist News Service - November 15, 2013 LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) – The Commission on the General Conference announced today that Minneapolis will be the site of the 2020 General Conference, tentatively scheduled for May 5-15, 2020. Minneapolis is part of the Minnesota Annual (regional) Conference, which has more than 70,000 members and 353 congregations, and along with the Dakotas Conference, constitutes the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church. The ...

"Pentecost Gathering" celebrates diversity

11/18/2013
Click here to listen to Rev. Doug Cunningham's Bible study Click here to listen to Bishop Trimble's greeting Click here to listen to Rev. Ruben Mendoza's sermon, with interpretation by Rev. Barb Dinnen Click here to see photo gallery 2 Click here to see for photo gallery 1 Click here to listen to Rev. Doug Cunningham reflect on ministry in a diverse context By Lisa Bourne* More than 100 people from emerging immigrant faith communities and their partner churches along with other ...

UM pastor in Tacloban recalls typhoon ordeal

11/18/2013
United Methodist News Service November 15, 2013  By Gladys Mangiduyos* At a certain point after Typhoon Haiyan nearly destroyed the Philippines city of Tacloban, the Rev. Iris Picardeal-Perana was wondering if anyone cared. Picardeal-Perana, a United Methodist pastor who was thought to be missing for a brief time, recalled her ordeal via text message. Having been isolated in Tacloban City for five days after the Nov. 8 typhoon, she said she broke into tears when she felt nobody cared. “I...

Pastoral letter from Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble

11/17/2013
Grace and peace to all children of God and the people called United Methodist in the Iowa Annual Conference.   Prior to the gathering of the Council of United Methodist Bishops at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina I was asked to respond to retired Bishop Melvin Talbert’s decision to preside at a same-gender Celebration of Marriage for two men in Birmingham, Alabama in October.  The two men had been previously legally married in another state and requested a celebration of their marriage in a ...

The latest on the Sunday storms in Illinois

11/17/2013
Paul Black, Communications Director for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, reports on the storms that struck in Illinois on Sunday, November 17, 2013.  "In addition to prayer," he said, "I am sure there will be a need for hygiene kits and cleaning buckets during the cleanup. We should know about need for trained early responders after Monday's trip" he added, noting that Bishop Jonathan Keaton and visit the affected areas. As the strong system rolled throughout Illinois Great Rivers ...

2016 General Conference to have 124 fewer delegates

11/15/2013
Lake Junaluska, N.C.: The secretary of the General Conference, Rev. L. Fitzgerald Reist, released today a list of numbers of delegates by annual conferences. Secretaries of each annual conference were previously notified how many delegates their own conference would have. (See the breakdown at umc.org/gc2016delegatecount.) The number of delegates per annual conference is calculated based on the requirement for one lay and one clergy delegate for each annual conference, with additional ...

Bishops celebrate milestone in fight to end malaria

11/15/2013
By Heather Hahn* LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) — Pittsburgh Area Bishop Thomas E. Bickerton told the Council of Bishops today that the Imagine No Malaria campaign is nearing $60 million in its goal to eradicate the disease in Africa. “It is all good news,” said Bickerton, who leads the Western Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference. The United Methodist Church hopes to raise $75 million for the effort by 2015. “We have the end of this campaign in our sights and we believe we have the ...

Bishops visit Cherokee as part of repentance

11/15/2013
By Annette Spence* 3:00 P.M. ET Nov. 14, 2013 | CHEROKEE, N.C. (UMNS) The Rev. Glen Chebon Kernell, executive secretary for the Native American and Indigenous Ministries at the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, speaks to visiting members of the Council of Bishops at Cherokee United Methodist Church. At left is Bishop Larry Goodpaster. UMNS photos by Annette Spence. View in Photo Gallery For the United Methodist bishops and spouses visiting Cherokee Nation on Nov. 13, an ...

Call for "no more trials" part of bishops" deliberations

11/15/2013
By Heather Hahn* LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) — A United Methodist polity expert’s call to halt church trials related to the denomination’s stance on homosexuality is sparking conversation both in the blogosphere and within the Council of Bishops. The Rev. Thomas E. Frank The Rev. Thomas E. Frank, a historian of Methodism andprofessor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., issued an open letter Nov. 13 to the Council of Bishops saying for the sake of church unity, trials need ...

Communications agency responds to typhoon

11/14/2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)—As part of a multifaceted response to Typhoon Haiyan, United Methodist Communications is placing a full-page ad in USA Today next week pointing readers to a United Methodist website for donations and updates. In addition, because of its work in ICT4D (information and communications technology for development), the agency has been contacted by other organizations interested in partnering to set up communications services and staffing in the Philippines. The communications...

Bishops share thoughts on women"s role in UMC

11/14/2013
umcconnections.org - By Susan Keaton - November 13, 2013 Some United Methodist bishops have joined the conversation as the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women continues to assess how the church is meeting its mandate for full inclusion of women in all areas of church life. The agency hosted the latest in its series of listening sessions at the Council of Bishops this week, and about 20 women and men attended.  The hosts were GCSRW board president Debra Wallace-Padgett, bishop ...

In U.S., Filipinos ready to aid typhoon survivors

11/14/2013
By United Methodist News Service - November 13, 2013 By Linda Bloom*                           Aquilino (Pong) Javier Jr. remembers living through many natural calamities while growing up in the Philippines. But the stark television images of people who had lost family and homes to Typhoon Haiyan , including “the parent who was cradling a dead child in his arms not knowing where to turn to for help,”  made the 68-year-old Chicago area resident “jump out of the couch, as many ...

Time for genuine immigration reform is now

11/13/2013
Clergy can send a strong message  By Bill Mefford - General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church All eyes are on the U.S. House of Representatives: What will they do to bring real solutions to the U.S.'s broken immigration system? This is a perfect time for United Methodist clergy to lead us by telling members of the House the time for political paralysis is over. The time for real solutions is now! The voices of clergy can be heard above the noise of D.C. interest ...

Bishops called to embrace "team spirit"

11/12/2013
By Heather Hahn* 5:30 P.M. ET Nov. 11, 2013 | LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) a class="lightbox" href="http://www.umc.org/atf/cf/{DB6A45E4-C446-4248-82C8-E131B6424741}/umns13-306-1-lightbox.jpg" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(85, 117, 161);" title=" Bishop Rosemarie Wenner. A web-only photo courtesy of the Council of Bishops. ">img alt=" Bishop Rosemarie Wenner. A web-only photo courtesy of the Council of Bishops. " border="0" src="http://www.umc.org/atf/cf/{DB6A45E4-C446-4248-82C8-E131...

UMCOR Mobilizes Disaster Response in Philippines

11/12/2013
November 10, 2013—In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is actively mobilizing resources to respond to this latest and largest in a series of disasters to hit the Philippines over the past twelve months. Although an accurate casualty toll is yet to be determined, it is clear that the destruction and disruption of lives due to Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, is massive. Haiyan crashed into the Philippines on Friday, November 8. UMCOR ...

Update on Philippine Typhoon Relief

11/12/2013
From: Catie and John Newman IAUMC Disaster Response Coordinators  Dear Friends, The reports from the Philippines are staggering. The damage and loss of life from Typhoon Haiyan are insurmountable and many Iowans have family and friends there. Aid is arriving, although reports of difficulties in distribution have been reported. Several of you have asked how we, here in Iowa, can help.   •         First and most importantly PRAY. Pray for those affected by the storm, for those responding, ...

Grants for local churches and annual conferences

11/11/2013
Grant applications are being accepted for funding of up to $10,000 for the strengthening and development of the racial-ethnic local church. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries provides the grants to assist local congregations and annual conferences for projects and programs in four specific areas: congregational development, health ministry, leadership development and ministry with the poor. For applications and more information, contact Sonia Brum at sbrum@umcmission.org. The ...

More than 50 United Methodist clergy show support of marriage of gay couple

11/11/2013
By Kathy L. Gilbert* PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) — Inside the walls of a 150-year-old United Methodist church something new happened Nov. 9 when two gay men were surrounded by more than 40 faith leaders who blessed their marriage and recited in unison, “Those whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder.” Richard Taylor (left, center) and William Gatewood sing a hymn with clergy and faith leaders after their wedding at Arch Street United Methodist Church. At left rear is the Rev. Robin ...

UMCOR relief money on way to Philippines

11/11/2013
    U.S. Marines arrive in the Philippines as part of promised U.S. military assistance for relief efforts after Super Typhoon Haiyan. Nongovernmental relief agencies also are mobilizing to respond to the disaster. A web-only photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps. By Linda Bloom* Three days after Super Typhoon Haiyan flattened part of the Philippines, relief was beginning to trickle in to survivors. United Methodists are among those starting to provide emergency supplies while ...

Join the relief effort for storm-ravaged Philippines

11/9/2013
Typhoon Haiyan, possibly the strongest storm ever to make landfall, battered the Philippines Friday, Nov. 8. With sustained winds of 195 mph, the category 5 storm cut a swath of devastation across the northern tip of Cebu and tore through the three large island provinces of Samar, Leyte and Bohol. The United Methodist Committee on Relief is working with partners in the Philippines to provide assistance immediately. Please be in prayer for our brothers and sisters in the Philippines and share ...

Council of Bishops Meet at Lake Junaluska

11/8/2013
From The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church - November 6, 2013 Nashville, Tenn.: United Methodist bishops from around the globe will gather in North Carolina at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center for the Council of Bishops meeting, November 10-15, 2013. “The clear priority for the Council of Bishops is to increase vitality in our congregations in all the regions where we are present,” said Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council. “We will engage in ...

Church to extend healing ministries with Native American and other Indigenous peoples

11/8/2013
  The United Methodist Church is taking steps to extend to regional units and local congregations a ministry of repentance and reconciliation with Native American and other indigenous people as part of an effort to build a church of integrity and inclusiveness for all people and all of God’s creation.   The work continues years of effort by the denomination to overcome centuries of mistreatment of native people in the United States and elsewhere. The church’s 2012 General Conference, its ...

Bishop calls Scouting important during awards gathering

11/7/2013
Click here to see a photo gallery from the Bishop's Scouting dinner Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble called Scouting something that "is important and a ministry that will last" during a dinner and awards program.  Two years in the making, the Bishop's dinner was held at the new Fred Maytag II Scout Center in Des Moines. In his remarks Bishop Trimble noted, "For more than 100 years scouting has helped to prepare future leaders of this country, combining education and physical activities with ...

Awards honor United Methodist communicators

11/6/2013
CHICAGO (UMNS) — The United Methodist Association of Communicators named the Rev. Arthur McClanahan as “Communicator of the Year” and inducted the Rev. Boyce A. Bowdon into its Hall of Fame. The two longtime United Methodist communicators were among more than 60 honored Oct. 26 during the organization’s annual meeting. The professional association for those working and volunteering in United Methodist communications presented 10 best in class awards.  McClanahan has served as the director of ...

Clinton salutes long-running mission work in New York

11/6/2013
by United Methodist News Service A daring group of 19th century Methodist women who ventured into the most notorious slum in New York to change the lives of children set an example that all United Methodists can follow, says Hillary Rodham Clinton. The founders of what is now the United Methodist City Society were responding to injustice, but “also motivated by a vision of what could be,” she pointed out. Clinton was the keynote speaker Nov. 3 for the City Society’s celebration of “175 Years...

Bishop invites congregations to take step of faith Christmas Eve

11/5/2013
  Dear Pastor and Local Church Leaders,   Bishop John Yambasu testifies about how the United Methodist Church was asked by village leaders to build new churches in a predominantly Muslim area of Sierra Leone. Six new communities of faith have started, because we stepped out in faith to distribute nets to every family in Sierra Leone. He said,"the Good News is that while we aimed at healing souls, the miracle was taking place – God was at work using the ministry to win souls at the same time....

Building mission outreach and discipleship through Facebook

11/5/2013
Click here to listen to the conversation with Rev. Jay Voorhees   Community connections, through Facebook, can grow the mission outreach and discipleship of a faith community.  What took place at Old Hickory United Methodist Church is evidence of creative opportunities made possible by a social media connection.   Old Hickory is a section of metropolitan Nashville named in honor of President Andrew Jackson.  It’s “a very Facebook dependent community,” said Rev. Jay Voorhees, the ...

WCC assembly hopes to break barriers in divided Korea

11/1/2013
by United Methodist News Service - October 31, 2013  By Gladys Mangiduyos* Thousands of people — representing about 560 million Christians in 110 countries — are attending the first assembly of the World Council of Churches to be held in northeast Asia. The 10th WCC Assembly’s opening prayer Oct.30 included vibrant music from the 500-voice choir and an inspiring message of blessing from His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians. He emphasized that the ...

Local church racial/ethnic ministries grants available

11/1/2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – Applications for grants up to $10,000 to help local United Methodist churches build ministries that strengthen and support racial and ethnic church concerns are due on Jan. 15. Racial Ethnic Local Church Concerns - The RELCC makes grants to ministries that strengthen and support racial ethnic local church concerns. GBOD 2013-2016 RELCC Grant Criteria 1. The ministry/project must be a project of a local United Methodist church or of the United Methodist connectional...

Johnston River of Life celebrates first Sunday worship service

11/1/2013
Click here to see images from the first Sunday River of Life service Johnston River of Life United Methodist faith community held its first Sunday service on October 6. The new faith community currently meets for worship at Beaver Creek Elementary School in Johnston. The inaugural Sunday service gave Pastor Craig Ferguson reason to describe River of Life's mission as, “being Christ in community.” “This is our first Sunday service and it just felt very energetic,” said Pastor Craig Ferguson....

A Future with Hope

10/31/2013
the following is an update from Bishop John Schol of the Greater New Jersey Conference, one year after the destruction of Hurricane Sandy... In the midst of this despair, we have offered hope, A Future with Hope. When people hurt, United Methodists help. I take this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers, donors, churches and staff who have provided healing and hope for thousands of people. Together, we set a five-year God-sized vision that included: 1.    Repairing 300-500 homes of low...

With needs on rise, religious leaders warn against food stamp cuts

10/31/2013
By Linda Bloom* If Congress drastically cuts the federal food stamp program, religious institutions will not be able to fill the gap for hungry families. That was the message delivered by religious leaders from southeastern states who participated in an Oct. 30 media briefing. The leaders expressed their concerns the same day as the first public meeting of the Congressional farm bill conference committee in Washington. The U.S. House version of the farm bill would cut the USDA’s Supplemental...

Kevin LaGree to Serve as Acting President

10/30/2013
The Board of Trustees has named Dr. R. Kevin LaGree (MDiv '80) Acting President for Saint Paul School of Theology. This comes following the announcement from Saint Paul President Myron F. McCoy in August of his intention to leave Saint Paul during the summer of 2014 in order to embark on the next chapter of his ministry. Saint Paul Board Chair Twila Glenn said, "We are pleased to be able to grant Dr. McCoy a much-deserved and long-overdue leave as he prepares for the next season of his ...

School for Lay Ministry Classes

10/29/2013
The School for Lay Ministry is excited to offer 3 more advanced classes at Cornell College.  Classes are open to all clergy, laity or anyone – from anywhere – who may be interested so please feel free to get the word out.  We hope many can take advantage of these opportunities.  A registration form is posted on the SLM Website for those interested in attending any of the classes.    Classes will be held in the Thomas Commons Building, 810 Commons Circle SW. You can check Cornell’s website at ...

Changes at the Conference Center, Part II

10/29/2013
The 2013 Session of the Iowa Annual Conference mandated workforce reductions at the Conference Center and charged the Administrative Cabinet (Bishop Trimble, Bill Poland, Karen Dungan, Todd Weber, Art McClanahan and Joni Mardesen) with determining where reductions needed to be made and making changes in conference staffing to effect those changes. As decisions were being made about reductions in work force, the Administrative Cabinet reviewed the work of the entire staff at the Conference ...

Women at the Well/ICIW Clothing Closet to Shut Down

10/29/2013
For many years the churches of Iowa have helped to support women leaving the Mitchellville prison by giving to the Clothing Closet that has been a joint project of Women at the Well and the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women.  Your generosity has given clothes, underwear, toiletries—and dignity—to these women who are often going out with only their prison scrubs.  Unfortunately, the Clothing Closet is being shut down indefinitely, effective by mid-November.   This change was dictated by ...

Iowa Conference Communications Director is Communicator of the Year

10/28/2013
Click here to see photos from the UMAC Awards Gala Click here to listen to the Communicator of the Year award presentation and Dr. McClanahan's acceptance remarks Click here to see a video of the Communicator of the Year award presentation and Dr. McClanahan's acceptance remarks The Director of Communications for the Iowa Annual Conference has been named Communicator of the Year by the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC). Rev. Dr. Arthur McClanahan received the award Oct. ...

Colleen McRoberts to Be Leadership Development Minister for Social Justice and Mission

10/25/2013
On October 28, 2013, Colleen McRoberts begins work with the Iowa Annual Conference as the Leadership Development Minister for Social Justice and Mission.    She will be working half-time: visiting places in the conference where ministries are connecting congregations to their communities and discipling them to Jesus Christ by engaging in missional activity and justice advocacy, networking the people and ministries she visits with one another, consulting with the Conference Board of Church and ...

Ingathering 2013 Update

10/25/2013
Thanksgiving Ingathering season is upon us. The 34th annual event supports missions in and through the Iowa United Methodist Conference. This year’s event will take place November 2. “The sites are, of course, putting the word out around the conference to their churches and through the District offices, and just trying to encourage people,” said Thanksgiving Ingathering coordinator Dan Houston. The Thanksgiving Ingathering is one way for Iowa United Methodists to address hunger problems ...

Practices of the ancients aid modern prayers

10/24/2013
'Teach Us to Pray' Series From interpretermagazine.org and the United Methodist News Service By Emily Snell A resurgence of ancient prayer practices has United Methodists and others across the United States experiencing traditional spiritual exercises in new ways. These practices include acts such as contemplative prayer through silence, creativity or nature and use of spiritual tools like prayer beads and icons. The Rev. Daniel Wolpert, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Crookston, ...

7 Practices Of The Best Church Volunteers

10/23/2013
Published on christianpost.com - October 21, 2013 By Brian K. Dodd* I don't know where I would be without a man named Lenis Black.  With the trajectory I was on, I certainly would not be the person I am today.  Who is Lenis Black you ask?  Lenis was a volunteer at Acworth United Methodist Church.  He was my first Sunday School teacher when I began attending church in 1980. I was talking today about the practices of the best church volunteers.  The conversation caused me to go back 33 years ...

Bishop urges prayer, action after school shooting

10/23/2013
WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (UMNS) “Once again, a gun has ended up in a school with deadly consequences,” writes Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. of the California-Nevada Annual (regional) Conference. Brown was referring to the shooting Oct. 22 at a Sparks, Nev., middle school that resulted in the death of a teacher and injuries to students as well as the death of the shooter, also a student. “Join me in prayer for Pastor Gary Pope-Sears and the faithful people of Sparks United Methodist Church, and ...

Raise Funds For Imagine No Malaria

10/23/2013
Imagine No Malaria and the Iowa Conference are combining creativity and passion to help save lives. Prints based on a painting by Camanche artist, Veronica Deevers, are being sold to benefit Imagine No Malaria and help provide life-saving resources in the fight against malaria in Africa. A tragic reality is that every sixty seconds, a child under the age of five dies from this disease. An estimated 655,000 people die from malaria every single year. All proceeds from the sale of prints will ...

Conference Treasurer Accepts New Position

10/22/2013
Todd Weber, Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services, will become the Chief Financial Officer for TD&T Financial Group, by the end of November, 2013.  TD&T Financial Group  is a full service tax, accounting and business consulting firm with ten offices located throughout Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. In sharing this news with Conference staff, Todd said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed the Iowa Annual Conference and am thankful to have been given the opportunity to act in ...

Mission centered ministry workshop with Dr. Doug Anderson

10/22/2013
There is still time to register for the "Mission Centered Ministry" Workshop with Doug Anderson. The seminars will be held in 4 locations across the state. The locations are: Storm Lake on November 4, Kimball Avenue, Waterloo on November 5, Mount Pleasant on November 6 and Greenfield on November 7.   Dr. Doug Anderson is Transitional Lead Pastor of Sonrise UMC in Fort Wayne, IN and also Associate Director for Congregational Development for the Indiana Annual Conference..  He was a district ...

Faithful Filibuster for most vulnerable Americans ends with prayer, psalms of praise

10/21/2013
Clergy, Religious Leaders Celebrate End of Shutdown, Look Ahead to Protect Most Vulnerable Americans in Future Budget Negotiations WASHINGTON – October 17, 2013 - From United Methodist News Service and www.circleofprotection.us* Following last night’s late votes by the Senate and House, the “Faithful Filibuster” concluded this morning with prayer and psalms of praise. “The shutdown has had a widespread impact on many people, especially the poor, who suffered for lack of basic services during...

S.D. church makes "fastest-growing" list

10/21/2013
By Sam Hodges* Oct. 18, 2013 | SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (UMNS) Oh for the problem of where to fit in a fifth Sunday worship service. Such happy headaches face Embrace Church in Sioux Falls, S.D., and its 31-year-old pastor, the Rev. Adam Weber. Embrace is the sole United Methodist church on Outreach magazine’s recently released list of the top 50 fastest-growing U.S. churches in 2013. Though the denomination is absent from the name, Weber emphasized that the church’s identity is decidedly United ...

Hedrick-Martinsburg UMC tithing bequests to community ministries

10/18/2013
The members of the Hedrick-Martinsburg United Methodist Church are tithing the bequests they receive to ministry in their communities. Their trustees took this leap of faith, giving thanks to God for those things received through the grace and generosity of others. When the church receives a bequest, one tenth of that money will be devoted to a mission project in the Hedrick, Martinsburg, and Farson area to immediately benefit an individual or group.   This past September, the congregation ...

"Faithful Filibuster"

10/17/2013
October 13, 2013 WASHINGTON, D.C —  umc-gbcs.org Religious leaders have been standing across from the U.S. Capitol this week in front of the United Methodist Building to read the more than 2,000 verses of Holy Scripture charging humanity to care for hungry and poor. This “Faithful Filibuster” began Oct. 9. Sponsors said it will continue at the beginning of each day’s session of Congress. The “Faithful Filibuster” aims to remind congressional leaders of the biblical mandate to protect the ...

New book presents Charles Wesley letters

10/17/2013
A UMNS Interview By Sam Hodges* Oct. 15, 2013 In transcribing Charles Wesley’s letters, Gareth Lloyd not only had to learn an 18th century form of shorthand, he also had to crack the code of Wesley’s idiosyncratic abbreviations. A decade of editing labor by Lloyd and Kenneth G.C. Newport has yielded a new book called “The Letters of Charles Wesley, with Introduction and Notes: Volume 1 (1728-1756).” The British scholars are working on the second and concluding volume. The project pulls ...

5 ways churches can use Pinterest

10/15/2013
By Natalie Bannon - umcom.org By now, you’ve probably heard of Pinterest. The social network that allows you to collect an organize the things you love in a visual manner has more than 50 million users—and that number continues to grow. Not bad for a network that’s only three years old. With that growth comes new ideas and ways to use it beyond just pinning do-it-yourself craft ideas. It’s gaining interest among churches and for good reason. Here are five ways you can use Pinterest to engage ...

DC Church opens doors to furloughed workers

10/14/2013
By Erik Alsgaard* In the heart of Washington, D.C., the impact of the current government shutdown is having an effect on people, both good and bad. On a recent rainy night, the Rev. Dr. Donna Claycomb Sokol greeted people at her church, Mt. Vernon Place UMC, just blocks from the White House. People were coming in for soup. “The intent was to open the doors and invite any furloughed employee, or anyone impacted by the current government shutdown, to come in and be greeted by hospitality and a...

Divinity School looks to battle depression

10/10/2013
By Carleigh Stiehm | October 3, 2013 A study conducted by the Clergy Health Initiative found that pastors are at a much higher risk for depression than the general population. In a survey that reached over 95 percent of United Methodist clergy members in North Carolina, 11.1 percent of pastors displayed signs of depression, compared to 5.5 percent of the general population nationally. In light of these findings, the Duke Divinity School is focusing on equipping its graduates for the unique ...

In Nigeria"where there is no doctor"

10/10/2013
  In Nigeria there is little available health care available to villagers who live in rural areas.  No medical care means poor health, which can lead to death. Health care professionals are invited to join a medical work team to Nigeria in mid June as part of our Iowa Nigeria Partnership.  Working with the Rural Health Program of the United Methodist Church of  Nigeria medical people will assist with the free cataract surgeries, the dental clinic, see patients in the outlying clinics, ...

Tornado update

10/10/2013
As you may have seen in the news several strong storms including at least eight confirmed tornados hit Northwest Iowa Friday evening, October 4, 2013 Ed Frank the Northwest District DRC is working on damage assessment and will advise of what is needed as soon as he can. At This time, this is what I know: A tornado was sighted on I-29 that hit farm land, several buildings, several homes and a dairy near Sloan, Iowa, It moved onto to hit Bronson, Iowa with property damage reported including ...

15 New Missionaries to be Commissioned this Week

10/9/2013
“United Methodist missionaries live a bold humility, crossing into new cultures. This vulnerability forces reliance on the Holy Spirit.” – Thomas Kemper 15 new missionaries from 6 countries including the Philippines, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Brazil are spending three weeks preparing for service. General Secretary Thomas Kemper (pictured in the center) who is a former missionary, met with them offering encouragement as they “participate in God’s mission.” Please be in prayer ...

Conference Center staff walks for health

10/9/2013
Members of the Iowa Annual Conference Center staff participated in the Healthiest State Initiative on Wednesday, October 9, 2013.  For the third consecutive year have walked in the Center’s area at noon with the expressed goal of helping to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation by 2016. According to www.iowahealthieststate.com “Iowa is #9 in the nation when it comes to being physically, emotionally and mentally healthy. This is a great improvement from the #16 position we previously ...

United Methodist Communications to host first ICT4D conference

10/9/2013
Learn how to strengthen the global community through technology and stronger communications Seventy-five percent of the world has access to mobile phones according to a report from the World Bank and infoDev. No longer considered a luxury, these communication devices are saving and enhancing lives globally. The Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) team from United Methodist Communications invites local churches to attend a two and a half day conference September...

United Methodist Women Statement on the Government Shutdown

10/9/2013
  "In my opinion, a natural disaster is a tragedy—letting a child suffer from food insecurity is morally scandalous."—Mike Landis, executive director of The Neighborhood Center in Camden, N.J. October 6, 2013 We are at once heartbroken and filled with holy outrage over the incredible irresponsibility of the U.S. Congress that, in its refusal to pass a budget, has followed the drastic cuts it made earlier this year to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs for low-income families ...

Moratorium, study urged on online Communion

10/8/2013
By Heather Hahn* The recommendation — made just days before World Communion Sunday— came after more than 10 hours of discussion over Sept. 30–Oct. 1 among an unofficial group of United Methodist theologians, bishops, church agency executives and pastors. The participants at the Nashville, Tenn., meeting ranged from those who opposed the very idea of online communion to a pastor who already had offered the sacrament through his web ministry.A group of 27 United Methodist leaders is urging the ...

Bishop Trimble reports on international delegation witness near UN

10/2/2013
Bishop's blog from New York…   He shall judge between the nations,     and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares,     and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation,     neither shall they learn war any more. Isaiah 2:4 My first full day included meetings, worship and witness with People's Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights and the 4th International consultation of Churches Witnessing with ...

India floods response

10/2/2013
Trekker water purification units like this one installed by GlobalMedic provide safe drinking water during times of disaster.<http://www.umcor.org/images/UserUploadedImages/184/trekker247.jpg>   In Bihar, India, thousands of people are still suffering after monsoon rains brought deadly flooding to the northern and eastern regions of the state. More than 200 people died and more than six million were displaced from their homes. A total of 108,870 homes were damaged or destroyed by the floods, ...

Church vitality: Turning mission into members

10/1/2013
By Heather Hahn* 7:00 A.M. ET September 21, 2013 | LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) ) Ten years ago, the ministry of Oak Forest United Methodist Church appeared to be flatlining. Its neighborhood was declining, and so was its membership. A core of mostly elderly worshippers was all that kept the lights on. But now, by improving the physical and spiritual health of its struggling neighbors, the urban congregation is pulsing with new life. Here is a short list of the outreach ministries Oak ...

Faith leaders fear for poor in U.S. shutdown

10/1/2013
By Linda Bloom* A group of U.S. faith leaders warned today that the impending shutdown of the U.S. government has “enormous implications,” both at home and abroad, for the poor and those trying to fill in the gaps to support them. Or, as the Rev. John McCullough, a United Methodist pastor and president of Church World Service, a humanitarian agency, bluntly put it, the “inability” of the U.S. House of Representatives to compromise on a federal budget “is literally taking food away from the ...

Bishop Trimble part of UM delegation to take part in weeklong focus on global migration

9/28/2013
by United Methodist News Service Beginning Sept. 28, about 50 United Methodists will represent the denomination in New York during eight days of activities calling attention to the issue of global migration. The events, associated with the People’s Action on Global Migration, Development and Human Rights, coincide with the High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development scheduled Oct.3-4 at the U.N. General Assembly. United Methodist Women is part of the New York City host ...

Nate Mason to be LDM for Young Adult and Generational Ministries

9/28/2013
On September 30th, Nathaniel (Nate) Mason begins work with the Iowa Annual Conference as the Leadership Development Minster for Young Adult and Generational Ministries.  He will be working half-time: visiting places in the conference where ministries are connecting to young people and discipling them to Jesus Christ and networking the people and ministries he visits with one another, consulting with the Conference Council on Youth Ministries and the Youth Strike for Christ, and participating as...

Safety Watch e-Newsletter

9/27/2013
In an effort to assist local churches care for their property, the Board of Trustees of the Iowa Annual Conference has worked to design and offer The Iowa Annual Conference Insurance Program for local church consideration. Included in this service is access to a free Safety Watch e-Newsletter provided by GuideOne Insurance. This semi-monthly newsletter provides valuable risk management tips and suggestions regarding local church operations and can be accessed online at https://www.guideone.com/...

Why Young People Are Going to Church and What Changes It Should Bring

9/26/2013
A lot has been written about young adults drifting away from church. The Rev. Ben Gosden, associate pastor of Mulberry Street United Methodist Church, examines Barna Group research that shows why millennials stay connected to church...the commentary appears in Christian Century's CC Blogs... A lot has been written about why young people are not going to church. Whether it’s the nagging feelings of irrelevancy, the judgmental tone heard from church pulpits and Sunday School rooms, or the ...

Instituto Latino Gives Lay Leadership Training a Latino Flavor

9/25/2013
At the 2013 annual conference one of the strategic priorities adopted was equipping lay leadership to disciple others and transform the world.   The Hispanic/Latino Ministries Standing Committee has just completed their 2013 program dedicated to this priority. We are blessed to have a vibrant ministry to Latino communities in several towns in Iowa.   This ministry has been growing and includes Muscatine, Council Bluffs, Oakland, Perry, Des Moines, Corwith, Iowa City and North Liberty.    As ...

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