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AC2017 Peacemaking Circle Training

AC2017 Peacemaking Circle Training

6/12/2017
Annual Conference Session attendees had the opportunity to take part in Peacemaking Circle Training on the Annual Conference Session’s final morning. The Peacemaking training has been conducted in three Conference sites involving six Districts over the last several months with more sessions planned. The training is facilitated by attorney and justice advocate Fred Van Liew, a consultant for the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center (DMPC).  Van Liew introduced the process at the Monday ...

AC2017 Healthy Conference Vision Report

AC2017 Healthy Conference Vision Report

6/11/2017
Rev. Barrie Tritle presented on the Healthy Conference Initiative on Sunday afternoon at the Iowa Annual Conference Session, offering a brief history of the initiative and an update on its progress towards alignment of the Conference around its Vison, Mission, and Strategic Priorities.  The hope is for the work of this team to assist the Conference to thrive, he said.   The Healthy Conference Initiative (HCI) Team, or Bishop’s Operational Team, was formed in 2015. Spiritual Leadership ...

AC2017 Laity Address

AC2017 Laity Address

6/11/2017
The Laity Address for the 2017 Annual Conference Session opened with the hymn O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing.   Conference Lay Leader Margaret Borgen told 2017 Annual Conference Session attendees in her address that John Wesley’s writing on being altogether Christian has relevance to the Conference Session goal of being difference makers.   “The Almost Christian sermon is a very long sermon in which Wesley ultimately asks rhetorically “What it is to be 'altogether a Christian?'” Borgen said. ...

AC2017 Legislative Action

AC2017 Legislative Action

6/11/2017
The following legislative action took place Sunday at the Annual Conference Session. The action items can be accessed in the 2017 Pre-Conference Manual, with Section III amendments linked on the Conference homepage. Further additional items and corrections are available HERE. Information on the Rules of Order changes is available HERE.   The 2018 Working Budget was approved in a 782-168 vote   Section I: Constitutional Amendments Constitutional Amendments were voted upon at the Annual ...

AC2017 Service of Ordering of Ministry - “Will You Bear the Cross or Just Wear It?

AC2017 Service of Ordering of Ministry - “Will You Bear the Cross or Just Wear It?"

6/11/2017
View images from the Service of Ordering of Ministry Bishop Laurie Haller preached for the Ordering of Ministry service on Sunday morning during the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference Session, asking the faithful present, “Will you bear the cross or just wear it? The service saw 16 United Methodist individuals commissioned, ordained or recognized. The ecumenical representative for the Service was Rev. Bill Spangler-Dunning, Regional Minister and President Christian Church in the Upper Midwest. Rev. ...

AC2017 Service of Remembering

AC2017 Service of Remembering

6/11/2017
View images from the Service of Remembering. The Memorial Celebration for the 2017 Annual Conference Session honored 49 departed souls. The Annual Conference Session theme of “Creating Difference Makers” related directly to that afternoon’s celebration, Rev. Brian Milford told the gathering in his sermon for the service. “Celebrating the lives of those who now rest from their labors,” he said. “We do so acknowledging the differences they made in our lives. We celebrate the lasting fruit they ...

AC2017 Board of Pensions Annual Meeting

AC2017 Board of Pensions Annual Meeting

6/10/2017
Board of Pensions Chair Beverlee Bell told Annual Conference Session attendees at the Board’s meeting during the Conference that Pensions assets were higher than labilities. This news met with applause from those at the Conference Session.   As of January, they were 122.7%, she said, though the Board would like that to be at 130%.   “But we understand the financial climate we are in,” said Bell. “And we can grow it through good investments.”   Bell explained that the Pre-82 Pension Plan rate ...

AC2017 Celebration of Ministry — Graduates & Award Recipients

AC2017 Celebration of Ministry — Graduates & Award Recipients

6/10/2017
View an album of images from the awards banquet At the Celebration of Ministry awards banquet, 39 people from the School for Lay Ministry were awarded for their 2017 graduation. From Cornell College where Lynn Calvert is the dean, the graduates were: Margaret Adams, Uyntha Duncan, Patty Ferrel, Steven Grace, Jessica Lake, Eileen McPherson, Sue Ney, Jolyn Richards, Kristine Rodney, Steve Schmudde Harry Stimson, Deb Streff, and Christine Werling-Witkoske. From Morningside College, the graduates ...

AC2017 EmpowHer gives women entrepreneurs a leg-up

AC2017 EmpowHer gives women entrepreneurs a leg-up

6/10/2017
On day one of the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference, attendees had the choice of attending nine workshops following the afternoon session. Attendees were given a glimpse into the United Methodist Organization EmpowHer.   EmpowHer was started in association with the Iowa Nigeria Partnership (INP). EmpowHer follows a microfinance model, where entrepreneurs, specifically women, are given small loans to start a business.   Microfinance has around for centuries, the modern model of microfinance is ...

AC2017 Laity Session

AC2017 Laity Session

6/10/2017
View an album of images from the 2017 Laity Session on Flickr Bishop Laurie Haller opened the Laity Session on the first day of the 2017 Annual Conference Session, telling the laity, “We are partners together.” The bishop addressed lay persons of the Iowa Annual Conference before leaving to attend the Clergy Session, saying first she’s always it was important for the Episcopal leader to be part of the Laity Session. The bishop cited President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 Four Freedoms speech ...

AC2017 Nine Breakout Teaching Workshops

AC2017 Nine Breakout Teaching Workshops

6/10/2017
Nine workshops and teaching sessions were presented on Saturday afternoon.   Approximately 900 took advantage of the offerings that included Faith-based Community Ministry; School for Lay Ministry; EmpowHer; Navigating Your Benefits; Tiny House Homeless Project; Women at the Well Community Reentry Program; Mental Health Support and Advocacy; Immigration and Refugee Services and Making a Difference Through Prayer.   Faith-based Community Ministry, part of Cass Community Social Services, provides ...

AC2017 Plenary Teaching Session with Faith Fowler

AC2017 Plenary Teaching Session with Faith Fowler

6/10/2017
Rev. Faith Fowler offered the Plenary Teaching Session address Saturday at the Iowa Annual Conference Session, weaving humor, grit and moving, real-world excerpts from her ministry. Rev. Fowler has been the Senior Pastor of Cass Community United Methodist Church and Executive Director of Cass Community Social Services (CCSS) since 1994. The Detroit nonprofit agency addresses poverty with food, health care, housing and employment programs.   She has also served in several community-focused Board...

AC2017 Presentation of Working Budget &Treasurer’s Report

AC2017 Presentation of Working Budget &Treasurer’s Report

6/10/2017
Maggie Biggs presented the Treasurer’s Report and 2018 working budget on Saturday at the Annual Conference Session. Biggs was officially approved as Conference Treasurer by a voice vote in advance of her the presentation.   She detailed for Session attendees the Iowa Annual Conference and budget process, statistical data, the 2018 working budget, apportionment receipts for 2016 and how Conference monies are spent.   Biggs began with the analogy of the Iowa Annual Conference as an automobile with...

AC2017 Retirement Celebration - Bishop Kiesey

AC2017 Retirement Celebration - Bishop Kiesey

6/10/2017
Click here to view an album of images from the Retirement Celebration “What a joy it is to be here tonight,” Bishop Kiesey told the Iowa Annual Conference Session. She said that being there at the Conference Session felt like coming home. A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Bishop Kiesey served in several Iowa churches after her ordination. She was elected to the episcopacy in 2004 by the North Central Jurisdictional Conference and appointed to the Dakotas Area. After eight years there, Bishop Kiesey...

Are You a Difference Maker? - AC2017 Episcopal Address

Are You a Difference Maker? - AC2017 Episcopal Address

6/10/2017
Watch the video of the Episcopal Address. Watch the video played during the Episcopal Address. Bishop Laurie Haller offered the episcopal address Saturday at the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference session, her first since being named bishop of the Iowa Annual Conference. Bishop Laurie spoke to the Conference on the session’s opening day about how abiding in Christ’s love empowers us to bear fruit so that we become difference-makers. Her address opened with the Scripture verse John 15:1-17, which ...

Just Resolution is announced

Just Resolution is announced

6/5/2017
A Just Resolution has been achieved to the complaint filed by the Appointive Cabinet against Rev. Anna Blaedel.  All involved have agreed to issue a “statement of invitation to the clergy and laity of the Iowa Annual Conference, as well as the broader United Methodist Church,” expressing the “desire to be of one heart…[to] strive to live lives marked by faithfulness and integrity, and to seek to build a more just and loving church and world.”   Rev. Blaedel was cited for conducting a same-gender...

JFON's June newsletter

6/2/2017
Click here to read the JFON's June newsletter to churches.

AC 2017 – Creating Difference-Makers

AC 2017 – Creating Difference-Makers

6/1/2017
Meeting under the banner of “Creating Difference Makers,” lay and clergy will gather for the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference session.  The three-day event will be held at the Iowa Events Center/Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.  The 174th yearly meeting will feature powerful preaching, inspiring singing, informative teaching sessions, vital reporting, and the reconnection of fellow United Methodists from across the State.   Bishop Laurie Haller will call the members of the annual conference to order on ...

Client stories from Justice For Our Neighbors

Client stories from Justice For Our Neighbors

5/31/2017
These stories are written by JFON staff. All names have been changed to protect confidentiality. Jose Jose came to us after he was diagnosed with cancer. He was unable to pay his private attorney because he was undergoing chemotherapy and unable to work. Due to a misunderstanding with his previous attorney, he had allowed his work authorization to lapse and is at risk of losing his health insurance. Because Jose’s case is time-sensitive, and the great risk to Jose’s health, JFON has taken a ...

Kids helping kids

Kids helping kids

5/25/2017
The United Methodist Church of LeMars in Northwest Iowa has a special kids group. The Kids 4 Christ program is made up of children ages 3 to those in 5th grade. The group recently raised $1,050 to donate to other children through the Children’s Miracle Network. “We don’t want to limit our ministry only within our building,” said Rev. Okitakoyi Lundula. “We make it so we are there for the community and beyond the local church.” Kids 4 Christ meets every Wednesday with 45 children attending ...

Iowans for United Methodist Kairos Response

Iowans for United Methodist Kairos Response

5/24/2017
Our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land are pleading for our help and asking the Church to take effective action to end the Israeli occupation and bring about a just peace in the Holy Land. The national United Methodists for Kairos Response group formed in response to this urgent call from Palestinian Christians. First UMC is currently forming a more local (statewide) UMKR group. If you are interested in seeking justice for Palestinians and would like to join this group, please ...

Christ UMC provides 'Huts for Haiti'

Christ UMC provides 'Huts for Haiti'

5/23/2017
By Brian K. Oliver* What do 100 servings of lasagna, an Iowa made grain bin, and a play about a missing Boston cream pie have to do with helping people in Haiti with safe housing?  Everything, if you are at Christ United Methodist Church’s dinner theater to raise funds for the South Tama County Huts for Haiti project. The Huts for Haiti project began with Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Tama and other area churches, including Living Faith UMC in Tama and Christ UMC in Toledo, were soon ...

Invitation to ‘something bigger than ourselves’

Invitation to ‘something bigger than ourselves’

5/23/2017
“We, who are called United Methodists, come together as partners with God and each other claiming a shared mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ.”  That belief, shared by the Appointive Cabinet of the Iowa Conference, invites the 767 communities of faith into local, regional, and global shared ministry, that empowers local churches to be “part of something bigger than themselves.”   As an example, the Cabinet notes, “no matter how large, [no one congregation] can build health clinics that ...

Get Ready for the Best Week Ever

Get Ready for the Best Week Ever

5/9/2017
By Roxanne Strike Camping season will be here before you know it and for camp goers, it’s going to be the Best Week Ever, said Bryan Johnson, Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation.   “No matter which camp you up for it’s the best week ever,” said Johnson. “There is literally something for everybody.”   Click here for information about the Iowa Conference camps The Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church supports three campgrounds: Camp Wesley Woods in ...

2017 Laity Day with Bishop Laurie

2017 Laity Day with Bishop Laurie

5/4/2017
The 2017 Laity Day with the Bishop provided an opportunity for members of Iowa’s nearly 770 communities of faith to discover new ways to make a difference…in their own lives and in the experiences of others.   Held at First United Methodist Church in Indianola, this year’s event was Bishop Laurie’s first since coming to Iowa in September 2016.  She was joined on the program by Ann Naffier and Brynne Howard from JFON and Jill Eichner Brow and Colleen Petaros, representing the School for Lay ...

AC2017 Mission Project tackles hunger

AC2017 Mission Project tackles hunger

5/4/2017
Childhood hunger doesn’t just happen in large cities like New York or Los Angeles or in developing countries. It happens in towns of all sizes and in all states. That is the issue Rev. Catie Newman and Rev. Jena Manchester want to highlight with this year’s Annual Conference Bishop’s Special Mission Project.   “We’ve chosen to support ministries that help feed children in our communities,” said Newman. “It is becoming increasingly more important for churches and community members to step up and ...

In remembrance of the tragedy of the Seoul Ferry

In remembrance of the tragedy of the Seoul Ferry

5/4/2017
Chan Gok Kim, who serves as a pastor at the Korean United Methodist Church in Iowa City sent this story in about the memorial of the tragedy of the Seoul ferry. Please read his words of hope for the nine lost souls including, Da-yoo Huh an 11th grade high school girl. Read here.

Changes at Wesley Woods

Changes at Wesley Woods

5/3/2017
The Iowa Annual Conference Camping and Retreat Ministry is seeking an experienced professional to lead and manage Wesley Woods United Methodist Camp and Retreat Center in Indianola, IA. Former Site Director Deke Rider and Equestrian Coordinator Suzanne Rider have recently resigned to pursue other opportunities. “Deke and Su have impacted thousands of lives during their time at Wesley Woods and we are thankful for their ministry” says Bryan Johnson, LDM for Camping and Christian Formation. “We ...

Ministry groups gather in common purpose

Ministry groups gather in common purpose

5/3/2017
Members of many ministry groups gathered at the Conference Center to affirm their common purpose and commitment to the emerging mission and vision of the Iowa Annual Conference.  The joint session of the operational teams, help on April 24, 2017, provided an opportunity to review the basis of their work together and to experience consensus about the mission and vision of the Conference.   The teams all relate to the L3 – loving, learning, leading – perspective that has been brought to the ...

Mission accomplished

Mission accomplished

4/24/2017
By: Lynn Calvert, Iowa Conference UMW President It all started with an idea….a dream really. How to get women and youth of all ages to participate in an ACTION project, to understand that United Methodist Women are relevant at all ages, to learn from each other and appreciate all of God’s gifts to each of us.  To demonstrate Faith, Hope and Love in Action!! The plan became clear to offer an Intergenerational Mission Trip in 2017 for individuals in 6th grade and older.  On March 11, 2017, a ...

Large-Scale Overhaul of Rules of Order Proposed for Annual Conference

Large-Scale Overhaul of Rules of Order Proposed for Annual Conference

4/19/2017
By Robert Lyons* A proposal at this summer’s annual conference would separate the Rules of Order into three documents and shorten it all from its current 144 pages to just 25 pages.   The proposal is the product of countless hours of work done by the Iowa Conference’s Rules of Order Committee over the past year. Committee members were joined by representatives of Spiritual Leadership, Inc. (Click here for more information about SLI) who encouraged the large-scale overhaul.   Click here to view...

Bishop Laurie runs the Boston Marathon

Bishop Laurie runs the Boston Marathon

4/17/2017
“I am a child of God and God made me to run.  I was born to run,” said Bishop Laurie Haller, one of the entrants in the 2017 Boston Marathon.  “By running in the Boston Marathon,” she added, “and in everything I do, my only goal is to praise God and give thanks.”   Bishop Laurie ran, for the tenth time, in the Patriot’s Day race.  “I’m going to be running with my youngest daughter, which is a first for her.  It will be a great weekend for me.”   Click here to see Bishop Laurie cross the finish ...

Group focuses on future of the church

Group focuses on future of the church

4/17/2017
The future of The United Methodist Church may well be in the hands of a team of thirty-two lay and clergy from across the connection.  The group, described as “representative of our theological diversity” by Bishop Bruce Ough, president of the Council of Bishops, includes 8 bishops, 11 laity, 11 elders and 2 deacons.   The Commission on a Way Forward “was proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference to do a complete examination and possible revision of every ...

School for Lay Ministry serves the local church

School for Lay Ministry serves the local church

4/13/2017
Have you ever felt a call to do something more for your local church congregation? Then, according to John Rothlisberger, the School for Lay Ministry (SLM) might be up your alley. “The most important piece (of SLM) is the goal that we would strengthen the understanding and skills of the laity within the church,” he said. “The need is great, and it’s more than just filling the pulpit on a Sunday morning.” Rothlisberger is the dean of the SLM at Simpson College. SLM training is a three-year ...

SE Iowa Church offers glimpse of Jesus’ last days

SE Iowa Church offers glimpse of Jesus’ last days

4/13/2017
To be able to walk where Jesus walked during these final days of Holy Week would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. One church in the Southeast District is offering the next best thing: an interactive walk through the scenes of Jesus’ last days before the Crucifixion.   On Good Friday, April 14, from 8 am to 8 pm, the Donnellson United Methodist Church will host its Walking the Last Days of Jesus event in its sanctuary.   “I wanted to give the churches that I serve the experience of walking ...

Native American Sunday

Native American Sunday

4/11/2017
Native American Ministries Sunday is April 30, 2017.  This offering is taken the third Sunday of Easter and funds urban ministries with Native Americans, scholarships for Native Americans attending United Methodist seminaries and annual conference Native American ministries.  One half of the special offering received in April by United Methodist Churches across the nation is sent to General Board of Global Ministries for distribution. The other half remains within the Iowa Conference and ...

Great Commission Fund monies available for VIM

Great Commission Fund monies available for VIM

4/10/2017
The Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:19 which gives the “GO” directive to humankind. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19  The Great Commission Fund was established in 1978 under the Board of Global Ministries of the Iowa Annual Conference. Monies are available for the following ministries/mission: Volunteer in Mission (in U.S. and overseas) Innovative ministry Ethnic minority ministry District, Conference and UMW mission outeach Short term missioners  The ...

Board of Ministry 'has an important thing to do'

Board of Ministry 'has an important thing to do'

4/9/2017
The Board of Ordained Ministry has a “responsibility for every moment when someone senses a call from God,” says Rev. Deborah Stowers, the Board’s chairperson, “until the time when their ministry is recognized, after their death, at the Memorial Service.”   “A group of wonderful people,” she observes, “who have been elected by the Iowa Annual Conference upon the nomination of the resident bishop,” the Board is involved in recruiting, setting education requirements, dealing with matters of ...

AC 2017 - Creating Difference Makers

AC 2017 - Creating Difference Makers

4/8/2017
Meeting under the banner of “Creating Difference Makers,” lay and clergy will gather for the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference session.  The three-day event will be held at the Iowa Events Center/Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.  The 174th yearly meeting will feature powerful preaching, inspiring singing, informative teaching sessions, vital reporting, and the reconnection of fellow United Methodists from across the State.   Bishop Laurie Haller will call the members of the annual conference to order on ...

Women at the Well celebrates 10th anniversary

Women at the Well celebrates 10th anniversary

4/5/2017
A large crowd of United Methodists gathered in Ames this past weekend to celebrate 10 years of vital ministry helping forgotten, abused and underprivileged women, Women at the Well. Women at the Well (WATW) is a church congregation within the walls of the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, east of Des Moines.   Click here to see an album of images from the anniversary worship celebration Women at the Well was first envisioned by Bishop Gregory Palmer after holding ...

Bishop invites pastors:

Bishop invites pastors: "take risks.”

4/4/2017
“Be willing to take some risks,” said Bishop Laurie Haller and “reach out to a hurting world with the love of Christ.” Her challenge was to pastors of some of Iowa’s largest churches, who gathered on March 30 at Altoona United Methodist Church. At the same time, she invited the nearly 40 clergy present to “protect your spirits, cultivate relationships with others, and understand the joys and trials of being in pastoral ministry.”   To view images from the day, please visit our Flickr gallery. ...

'Be involved in Christian service'

'Be involved in Christian service'

4/1/2017
“We’ve got to be about inviting people to be disciples of Jesus Christ,” said Joe Kelley, keynote speaker for the annual gathering of Iowa Conference United Methodist Men.  Kelley, a prayer advocate and men’s ministry specialist, spoke on Saturday, April 1, at Altoona United Methodist Church.   Click here to see an album of photos from the UMM meeting Norm Veldhuizen, current Iowa UMMen president, opened the day with devotions and, with Joe Riddle, singing some “old favorite” hymns.  Veldhuizen...

Teams work to better conference

Teams work to better conference

3/28/2017
By Robert Lyons* God has many tools at his disposal from inspirational pastors to dedicated congregants, but in the Iowa Conference, his tools are that of two very important committees.   These two committees are the Bishop’s Operational Team and the Bishop’s Appointive Cabinet and members of both serve at the behest of Bishop Laurie. The Operational Team, which was the brainchild of the Iowa Conference’s Design Task Force, is the youngest of the committees having only started in September of ...

Iowa Conf communicators garner awards

Iowa Conf communicators garner awards

3/24/2017
Iowa Conference communicators garner awards   The Communications Ministry Team of the Iowa Conference received  several awards at the 2017 gathering of the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC).  Nods were given to electronic media and The Reporter during the event, held in New Orleans March 22-24.   Best in Class for digital publications was presented to Liz Winders and Dr. Art McClanahan for The Reporter.  It also received a first place certificate for the Division A, Category B...

Spring weather brings Spring storms: Tips to stay safe

Spring weather brings Spring storms: Tips to stay safe

3/21/2017
As United Methodists in Iowa are praying and mourning over the storm damage in Muscatine and Seymour on Monday, March 6, the Iowa Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Rev. Catie Newman said now is the time to start thinking about spring weather.   “Spring is coming and with spring, comes spring storms,” she said. “It’s a good reminder and a good time to start thinking about preparedness.”   Iowa has already had its first major round of spring storms in Eastern Iowa. Three tornadoes were ...

From backpacks to sleeping mats

From backpacks to sleeping mats

3/17/2017
by Roxanne Strike   Sometimes a little creativity can go a long way. The members of Calmar United Methodist Church, near Decorah in northeast Iowa, with the help of other church groups have banded together for the past several years to help their community. But when one community outreach program ended, they group thought of a new way to help those in need.   “(After the program ended) this left 20 to 25 people, who had formed an alliance of volunteerism, without a cause to gather,” said Pastor ...

Seymour UMC reaches out after tornado

Seymour UMC reaches out after tornado

3/14/2017
By Arthur McClanahan Seymour United Methodist Church is making a big difference in the southern Iowa community.  “They’ve been a part of the school system, sending volunteers in to read,” said Jamie Houser, the principal of the Seymour Community school.  “We’ve had a really good partnership with the United Methodist Church for several years.  It’s nice to have people in your community that work together to make sure that our kids are learning and having good experiences.” Click here to see an ...

Small church, big impact

Small church, big impact

3/14/2017
by Roxanne Strike Sometimes, it’s easy to feel forgotten. Small, rural churches in Iowa can sometimes feel like they’re on the brink of closure, forgotten by their communities. In the US, some communities even feel forgotten, stuck in time as the world flies past them. That feeling is sometimes what brings communities together.   Webster United Methodist Church in Eastern Iowa employs a less-than-full-time pastor. The rural church, though small, continues to be mighty and fights on for its ...

‘It’s about making a difference’

‘It’s about making a difference’

3/9/2017
by Arthur McClanahan   March 6 was an active weather night across Iowa.  A round of heavy thunderstorms and lightning rolled west to east across the state along with gusts of damaging wind.  Funnel clouds were observed well off the interstate.  Hail struck homes and cars.   Click here to see photos from the Wesley UMC sanctuary Shortly after 10 pm things changed drastically in Muscatine.  A tornado touched down, demolishing businesses, taking the roof off an apartment house, and lifting and ...

SLI continues to grow

SLI continues to grow

3/9/2017
As the Iowa Conference continues to work through the coaching tips of Spiritual Leadership Inc. (SLI), participants in the program are getting out to the districts to begin grassroots organizing.   “We have been learning about our ministries and where mission and ministry need to get realigned,” said Rev. Lanette Plambeck, Broadway UMC in Council Bluffs. “We have been learning, leading and loving together.”   Plambeck is part of the Bishop’s Operational Team. The Bishop’s Operational Team ...

Tornadoes damage Muscatine, Seymour

Tornadoes damage Muscatine, Seymour

3/7/2017
To the saints in the Iowa Annual Conference As you know, severe weather crossed the Midwest last night. As we are receiving storm reports, we want you to know that Wesley UMC in Muscatine suffered severe damage last night. The sanctuary roof was taken by the wind, and there is water everywhere in the building. A great sorrow is the fact that the largest and oldest organ in the United Methodist Church in Iowa is gone, submerged in water. The family life center across the street also has a hole on...

Celebrating 10 years with Women at the Well

Celebrating 10 years with Women at the Well

3/6/2017
Women at the Well became an official congregation on February 8, 2007, so they're celebrating TEN years of vital ministry with some special events on April 1-2, 2017 at Collegiate United Methodist Church & Wesley Foundation, 2622 Lincoln Way in Ames, Iowa. Please check out the options and join in as you’re able! Saturday, April 1, 2017: 10:00 – 3:00 p.m. The Crisis of Mass Incarceration Right Next Door:  Becoming Stations of Hope  A Right Next Door Workshop America now incarcerates more of its ...

Little Free Pantry brought to Iowa City

Little Free Pantry brought to Iowa City

3/6/2017
People around the state have seen the Little Free Libraries at homes and public spaces, allowing the free exchange of books. Recently, a young member of Iowa City’s First United Methodist Church is bringing another “Little Free” concept to the town: the Little Free Pantry.   Jack Ballard is currently a senior at Iowa City High School and a member of Boy Scouts. He took on the Little Free Pantry project to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts.   “The Little Free Pantry was my ...

Creston UMC grows congregation, ministries

Creston UMC grows congregation, ministries

3/3/2017
by Roxanne Strike Creston is a rural town located in the South Central District of the Iowa Conference. In churches of all denominations, rural churches can have trouble with growth, but the Creston First United Methodist Church experienced the opposite. In just a year, the church has had 4 baptisms, 17 new members, created new instrumental groups, hired a new choir director and nursery director and raised money for veterans.   “It’s hard to put into words the energy and passion people have,” ...

Here we come, Jalapa

Here we come, Jalapa

3/2/2017
By Beverly Nolte   Click here to see more images from the trip! Fourteen Iowans flew south of the border to the land of coffee, corn and tobacco—Nicaragua. From Bloomfield to Lake Park, Gray to Wilton, this United Methodist Volunteer in Mission team was laden with sewing machines, a variety of vegetable seeds, school supplies, a large replica of Noah's Ark, as well as work tools...all part of the luggage. Tucked in between Panama and Honduras, Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in ...

#AshesforAll—Ash Wednesday on the street

#AshesforAll—Ash Wednesday on the street

3/1/2017
On March 1, 2017, two Des Moines clergy were stationed at the corner of MLK Parkway and Cottage Grove offering ashes to celebrate Ash Wednesday to drivers stopped at the busy intersection. With great big smiles and a dish of ashes, Rev. Jennifer Hibben from thrive United Methodist Church and Rev. Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz from Trinity Las Americas United Methodist Church walked between cars during the morning commute.   “Ashes: We R More Alike Than Different. #Ashesforall” read the cardboard sign ...

Storms touch down in Iowa, Midwest

Storms touch down in Iowa, Midwest

3/1/2017
Violent storms tore across the Midwest Tuesday, February 28, 2017.  During the afternoon and early evening storms, hail and tornados hit Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana Here in Iowa, Tornados were sighted near Wollcot, Princeton Dubuque and  McCausland.  A Tornado touched down near Clinton.  Oskaloosa area had heavy rain, winds, and hail twice yesterday.  And we have reports of Large Hail in Iowa City At this time we have no reports of damage or injuries from these storms. Please pray...

Taking Ash Wednesday to the streets

Taking Ash Wednesday to the streets

2/23/2017
Churches Find Ways to Bring Ash Wednesday Out from Behind the Church Doors -    On March 1, 2017, area churches, will station themselves across the city to celebrate Ash Wednesday by sharing ashes in unlikely places. People will be stationed everywhere from interstate off ramps, parking garages, coffee shops, hospitals, homeless shelters, buses and skywalks. Glitter ashes will also be available outside the Blazing Saddle. This experience provides the opportunity for people to experience Ash ...

Safe at Home Program

Safe at Home Program

2/20/2017
The Office of the Iowa Secretary of State, Paul D. Pate, has made the following information available to different church denominations across Iowa.  Safe at Home is an address confidentiality program for survivors of domestic violence and other violent crimes. It provides a designated address, mail forwarding and confidential absentee voting for participants. The program allows the participants to live an active life without having their actual address listed on public records. All Safe at ...

Unique location opens unique ministries

Unique location opens unique ministries

2/17/2017
Mary Cox, a volunteer from Marquisville United Methodist Church reads with Brooklyn Day, a Cornell Elementary School student in the Saydel School system.

Celebrating 10 years of Women at the Well

Celebrating 10 years of Women at the Well

2/16/2017
Every Thursday evening, a group of women gathers to raise their voices up in praise to the Lord at one of the more than 700 United Methodist churches in Iowa. The church is found in the most unlikely of places, though. It is located within the walls of the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW), Mitchellville, the only women’s prison in the state. Not only is the church thriving, but the women celebrated 10 years of Women at the Well recently.   The incarcerated women, district ...

'IRMS connects churches with resources'

'IRMS connects churches with resources'

2/15/2017
IRMS Marks 31 years of service   Iowa Religious Media Services, an ecumenical resource cooperative, marked 31 yeas of service to communities of faith across Iowa during its annual meeting.  “Connecting the Dots” was the theme of the event held at the Iowa Conference Center on February 15.   Click to see an album of images from the IRMS gathering Bishop Laurie Haller was among the denominational leaders who signed the covenant of support for IRMS, which provides a “comprehensive, ecumenical ...

Change a Child's Story in Five Minutes (or Less)

Change a Child's Story in Five Minutes (or Less)

2/15/2017
Is your congregation looking for a way to generate some interest in Change a Child’s Story?  Panora UMC received a $500 donation from the Panora Lion’s Club to purchase children’s books. Pastor Bev Marshall-Goodell decided not to spend any of the Lion’s Club donation until the congregation contributed at least another $500. On Sunday, January 22, Pastor Bev reminded the congregation that Jesus was a reader when she preached on the story of Jesus reading from the scroll Isaiah (Luke 4:14-21).  ...

River of Life—five years in

River of Life—five years in

2/9/2017
Five years ago, Pastor Craig Ferguson was commissioned with starting a new church in Johnston. Through New Hope United Methodist Church, Johnston River of Life was formed. As Ferguson and members of the faith community look back on the past five years, one thing is abundantly clear: Johnston River of Life is truly living out its mission of “Christ in Community.” “It’s been five years, and we have had a lot to celebrate,” said Ferguson. “The ways we’ve integrated in the community has been really...

Hopkins Grove UMC has history of perseverance

Hopkins Grove UMC has history of perseverance

2/8/2017
Hopkins Grove United Methodist Church is a small Iowa church, tucked away in rural Madrid. It sits off the beaten path, but drive by it and there’s no mistaking those bright red doors and small rural cemetery. Despite its rural location, Hopkins Grove has a long history of helping its community and perseverance through times of hardship and plenty.   “It’s got a rich history with it's ups and downs,” said Pastor Craig Ferguson. “The church has given all sorts of things that are community ...

The World is Our Parish: Helping Others Through Service

The World is Our Parish: Helping Others Through Service

2/6/2017
The Iowa Conference Nominations Committee is encouraging local districts to begin submitting names for conference committee nominations. According to Nominations Co-Chair Erica   “We take nominations all year, but it’s best to do it late winter, early spring,” said Erica Stueve, co-chair of the Nominations Committee.   Stueve serves with co-chair Rev. Fred Lewis, Nominations Committee executive secretary Barb Oakland and representatives from each of the Iowa Conference Districts. The Nominations...

Change a Child's Story Reports from churches

Change a Child's Story Reports from churches

2/3/2017
Delhi United Methodist Church The "Change A Child's Story" literacy project had a good year. It has been well received by the community. We began the project back in November 2015 when we accepted the United Methodist Conference's challenge to "give books and give time" to children to promote literacy, specifically to underprivileged children. Our vision with our literacy project was to get books into the hands of children in our community as well as spend time reading to them. Our program is ...

Legislative Advocacy Day Feb. 7

Legislative Advocacy Day Feb. 7

2/3/2017
Legislative advocacy has long been a part of the heritage of United Methodists in Iowa. One Tuesday, Feb. 7, that tradition will continue with a Legislative Advocacy Day at Wesley United Methodist Church, 800 E. 12th St., Des Moines. “We will be meeting the whole day, and we hope many people will join us as we begin to look at key issues as Iowans and United Methodists,” said Rev. Brian Carter, team leader of the Legislative Advocacy Team. The Advocacy Day event will take place from 9 am to ...

Lyons lives out service above self

Lyons lives out service above self

2/2/2017
The Iowa Annual Conference would like to welcome Simpson College student Robert Lyons to the Communications Team as its new intern. Lyons is currently in his second semester of his senior year at the college where he is double majoring in political science and public relations.   Lyons has a long history of activism at both Simpson and during his time as a high school student in Denison, particularly with Rotary International. While in high school, he started an Interact Club. Interact Club is ...

Wilton UMC continues mission in the new year

Wilton UMC continues mission in the new year

2/2/2017
The Wilton United Methodist Church has continued its mission-minded living into 2017. At the end of Advent season, the church raised more than $7,000 to donate to purchasing water pumps and pump maintenance training. This year, 24 people affiliated with the church volunteered at Sager Brown UMCOR Depot in Baldwin, La., leaving Iowa Jan. 21 and returning Jan. 28. “We have a very committed, mission-oriented church,” Lanette Morgan, team leader for the mission trip, said about the large group. “We...

Be a Diakonos or a Youth Delegate at AC2017

Be a Diakonos or a Youth Delegate at AC2017

2/1/2017
Greetings Iowa United Methodist Youth and the people who love and support them!  Have you ever wanted to be a part of something bigger than the local church? Have you ever wanted to serve your church brothers and sisters in Christ? We have two opportunities for you!  The first is called the Diakonos (Greek for servant) Leadership Development program! This is a time for 32 youth from around the state to help with the Iowa Annual Conference. You will be running messages, helping with worshiping, ...

Thank you from the Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities

Thank you from the Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities

2/1/2017
by Pastor Leila Blackburn, Consultant to the Commission   The Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities would like to thank the churches that work to make their facilities and programs accessible to persons with disabilities. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the churches that provide what is needed so those with special needs can join in church activities. The Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities also thanks the many churches ...

'Everyone has a story'- I'm here to tell it

'Everyone has a story'- I'm here to tell it

1/31/2017
The Iowa Conference is home to 780 congregations, 170,000 members, and countless stories of all types of ministry. Roxanne Strike is here to tell those stories.   Roxanne joined the Iowa Conference’s Communications Team as the features writer and social media strategist late in 2016 and has been an invaluable team member ever since. While she’s relatively new to the Iowa Conference’s Communications Team, she’s anything but new to the United Methodist Church.   Click here to listen to the ...

Mission minded church continues fundraising tradition

Mission minded church continues fundraising tradition

1/30/2017
The United Methodist Church in Wilton, a small town 13 miles north of Muscatine, has a longstanding tradition of fundraising and mission work. The members of the Wilton church have raised money for mission trips and mission work for several decades. This past Advent season, the members once again kept the tradition going.   “The United Methodist Church of Wilton is very passionate about mission work and also very generous in their financial giving,” said Pastor Mike Agnew. “They have been a ...

Transforming the leadership of the Conference

Transforming the leadership of the Conference

1/30/2017
by Robert Lyons Beginning a little over a year ago, the Iowa Conference entered into a transformative and collaborative partnership with Spiritual Leadership Inc. (SLI).   SLI is a coaching organization dedicated to educating, developing, and empowering religious leaders. One of the organization’s founders, Greg Survant, works directly with the Iowa Conference. According to Survant, the organization grew to fit a natural, unfulfilled need in the ministry.   “Some 16 years ago, a couple of us ...

Combined Confirmation Class Stronger Together

Combined Confirmation Class Stronger Together

1/25/2017
As Christians across the globe close out the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, three confirmation groups in north Iowa put unity into practice. Don Preston, pastor of Bolan, Trinity and Manly, Bethel churches, Rhoda Preston, pastor of St. Ansgar and Little Cedar churches, and Rob Lanphere of Lake Mills, Ansbury and Northwood churches combined their smaller confirmation classes once a month into larger ecumenical class.   Each group is its own stand alone group - Rob’s group has four students, ...

Women at the Well connect with law enforcement

Women at the Well connect with law enforcement

1/24/2017
by Roxanne Strike This past Christmas, Pastor Lee Schott saw the most unlikely of friends: incarcerated women and law enforcement.   Schott has been the pastor the Women at the Well for the past five and a half years. Women at the Well is the only church in the Iowa women’s prison in Mitchellville, east of Des Moines. Every Christmas, the incarcerated women make and send Christmas cards to different groups and organizations. The last few years, the cards were sent to domestic violence shelters....

"It's always been family"

1/23/2017
by Robert Lyons* On Jan. 6, Cynthia Davis walked through the office doors of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church for the final time as an employee.   Almost 37 years prior, in January of 1980, Davis first began working with the Iowa Conference. Her employment was, for the most part, uninterrupted (except for a five-year “sabbatical” in the early 90s), which led to a fruitful 31 years with the Iowa Conference.   Over the course of 31 years as a receptionist, Davis worked at three...

Bradford appointed to NE District for 7th year

Bradford appointed to NE District for 7th year

1/19/2017
The Northeast District of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church will see a familiar face in its district office this year. District Superintendent Jackie Bradford was recently reappointed to her position for a seventh year.   “It’s quite an honor to be able to continue for a seventh year,” said Bradford. “There is a continuity to my leadership will provide, so there will be a smoother transition (for the next superintendent).”   Typically, district superintendents serve for six ...

Still serving at 100 years old!

Still serving at 100 years old!

1/18/2017
by Roxanne Strike Alice Walters has seen more than most in her life. That is especially true of her church in Jefferson, a small town 45 minutes east of Ames. She’s seen members come and go, building renovations and technology bring the church into the 21st century. For her, church is her Jefferson family and she wants to support that family as it supports her.   Walters, even at 100 years old, volunteers at FUMC every morning Monday through Friday.   “Alice is wonderful because she comes ...

A Prayer for Dr. King Day from Bishop Laurie

A Prayer for Dr. King Day from Bishop Laurie

1/15/2017
Most gracious and compassionate God, on this day we remember your beloved servant, Martin Luther King Jr. At the heart of Dr. King’s life was his hope that our world would become the Beloved Community, which for him was nothing more than your reign on this earth where all people share equally in its welfare.   As early as 1956, your beloved servant Martin spoke of the Beloved Community as the end goal of nonviolent boycotts. Following the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court decision ...

RACE: The POWER of an Illusion

RACE: The POWER of an Illusion

1/5/2017
RACE:  The POWER of an ILLUSION RACIAL EQUITY AWARENESS LEARNING EXCHANGES       WHY Jesus calls us to love God and love neighbor. Racial justice is an ongoing focus of United Methodist Women mission work. We are called to live out the Charter for Racial Justice in our communities. Racial disproportionality and disparity occur in Iowa. WHAT       RACE: The POWER of an ILLUSION (RPI) is a one-day guided educational experience that brings people from various backgrounds together to begin “...

A Hope for Peace

A Hope for Peace

12/22/2016
By Dr. Arthur McClanahan Christmas is an extraordinary time.  A tide of emotions sweeps over us.  The pace all around us is frenetic.  The sights and sounds and smells have a way of transporting us into a time warp, maybe even like the famous “ghost of Christmas past.” It’s a landmark moment…every year!   It would be easy to get caught in the place of “tisk-tisking” the early big box store displays of giant inflatable Santas, snowmen, Christmas Disney characters on planes with real moving ...

Calvary UMC living Nativity reflects true meaning of Christmas

Calvary UMC living Nativity reflects true meaning of Christmas

12/22/2016
By Roxanne Strike Since St. Francis of Assisi first displayed a Nativity scene, or crèche, in 1223, these depictions of the Christmas story have been a popular part of the Advent season across the world. United Methodist churches in Iowa have gladly been a part of that tradition for years, often making it an annual tradition.   Calvary United Methodist Church in Ames has hosted it annual living Nativity scene for more than a decade, said church member Dennis Toft, who has been involved with the...

What Christmas means to me

What Christmas means to me

12/22/2016
By Bishop Laurie Haller   A few years ago, when I was preaching at four Christmas Eve worship services, I finally gave voice to the dis-ease I feel every December. When we sang It Came Upon the Midnight Clear right before the sermon, the tears started to flow. “And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low; who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow; look now! For glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing. O rest beside the weary road, and hear the ...

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed.”

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed.”

12/19/2016
“The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice.  The Lord is  a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”  —Psalm 9: 7-9             The words of Psalms are often inspirational. This is a passage that inspires the work of Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), a ministry of the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. This Psalm reminds us that justice is a ...

Rev. Bradford reappointed NE Superintendent

Rev. Bradford reappointed NE Superintendent

12/19/2016
"I would like you to know that I will be reappointing Jackie Bradford for a seventh year to the Northeast District. Jackie’s broad experience and outstanding leadership skills as current dean of the appointive cabinet have proven to be invaluable as I have begun my ministry as Iowa’s new episcopal leader."  "In addition, the district superintendents have been working for a year with our coaches at SLI (Spiritual Leadership, Inc.) to more effectively align our district resources and staff with ...

Spreading Hope and Encouragement

Spreading Hope and Encouragement

12/18/2016
Protesters who have been standing strong against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota for months were rewarded with good news on Sunday, December 4, when it was announced that the Army Corps of Engineers would re-route the pipeline so that it doesn’t pass under Lake Oahe. Many people across the country have been standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe during this long fight (which isn’t likely to be over, with a new administration coming in soon), and indeed on that same day in Des ...

"How God's kingdom is supposed to be"

12/16/2016
By Arthur McClanahan "I've been waiting for this day ever since the first day I walked into this church," said Wendy Vazquez, a member of the new Trinity Las Americas United Methodist Church. "I was dreaming of this day ever since then, and I'm so thrilled that it got here!" The historic Trinity United Methodist Church and Las Americas Comunidad de Fe formally voted to become one during a worship service on Sunday, December 11, 2016. Bishop Laurie Haller, Central District Superintendent Rev. ...

Embracing differences and asking

Embracing differences and asking "why" to revitalize the church

12/15/2016
At the recent Route 122 held at the Iowa Conference headquarters in Des Moines, participants learned from each others’ experiences about revitalizing churches to continue the mission of the United Methodist Church. One way to do this is to ask local churches, “Why does it exist as a church, to begin with?”   That is the question Rev. Beth Crissman, district superintendent of the Western North Carolina Conference, and the Rev. Dr. Nancy B.Rankin, superintendent of the Northern Piedmont District ...

Iowa Conference Finance Team welcomes Tim Horsch

Iowa Conference Finance Team welcomes Tim Horsch

12/15/2016
The Iowa Annual Conference welcomed a new member to its Finance staff recently. Tim Horsch began work at the headquarters in Des Moines on Wednesday, Dec. 7, as assistant treasurer/controller. “Tim brings a wide range of experience and skills in the accounting and administrative arena that I believe will be beneficial to not only our department but to the whole Iowa Annual Conference,” said Margaret Biggs, treasurer/director of Administrative Services. Horsch will be involved with any ...

Ingathering: Connecting at home and overseas

Ingathering: Connecting at home and overseas

12/14/2016
Click here to listen to the audio podcast of the conversation with five members of the Ingathering Team who spoke with Dr. Art McClanahan about the 2016 mission experience. This year’s 37th Annual Thanksgiving Ingathering took place, Saturday, Nov. 5, helping raise over $980,000 in in-kind and other gifts. The Ingathering continues to bring people together across Iowa Conference districts, state and national lines.   “Sometimes you don’t feel connected until you go to these kinds of events and ...

Route to Transformation

Route to Transformation

12/14/2016
Route 122 offers from-the-field experiences By Roxanne Strike Click here to listen to the audio podcast of the conversation with Rev. Dr. Jay Johnson and Dr. Art McClanahan. The Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson, Field Outreach Minister for the South Central District of the Iowa Conference, knows the best experts are usually those who are in the field every day. That is the key difference between Route 122 and other conferences held by the United Methodist Church. “This particular conference is different ...

Social media tips for the new year and beyond

Social media tips for the new year and beyond

12/13/2016
The year is coming to a close and people around the world are thinking about their 2017 resolutions. Churches can also make a new year’s resolutions, whether it’s new community outreach opportunities, growing a congregation or meeting apportionments. Whatever your church’s decision, social media can help enhance these activities.   Social media helps connect people, businesses, and organizations quickly and informally. News can immediately be released, groups with similar interests can reach out...

Loving, Learning, Leading with SLI

Loving, Learning, Leading with SLI

12/9/2016
Loving, Learning, Leading with SLI By Roxanne Strike*   Conference leaders are starting to see the impact from their Spiritual Leadership Incorporated (SLI) coaching as they come closer to the one-year anniversary of SLI’s implementation in the Iowa Conference.   “It has been a fruitful experience in the sense we have been given the opportunity to be a community,” said the Rev. Dr. Lilian Gallo Seagren, district superintendent for the Southeast District. “A community that is loving together, ...

Commission on a Way Forward begins work

Commission on a Way Forward begins work

12/7/2016
Dear Friends in Christ, It is Advent, the season of expectation, preparation, and new birth. This Advent season seems more poignant this year than in years past in the midst of beginning the work with the Commission on a Way Forward. The church is in a high state of expectation, similar to the time of John the Baptist when expectant people flocked to the Jordan for John’s message of repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sin (Matthew 3). Expectant people experienced in the strange and ...

#HerTruth

#HerTruth

11/30/2016
The North Alabama Commission on the Status and Role of Women developed a video called #HerTruth where clergywomen's stories of the struggles they've faced in ministry are read by clergymen. The North Alabama COSROW encourages congregations to watch the video together using the provided discussion guide for fruitful conversations. Clergywomen are encouraged to share their stories on social media using the hashtag #HerTruth.  Watch the video and find the discussion guides here. 

Steeplecom connects churches and wireless carriers

Steeplecom connects churches and wireless carriers

11/30/2016
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) of The United Methodist Church continues to offer opportunities to enhance ministries of The United Methodist Church. GCFA connects with and vets reputable organizations, businesses, and corporations that not only provide discounts and cost savings, but that also generate non-traditional sources of revenues to positively impact the ministry of our local churches and affiliated United Methodist organizations. In November, GCFA entered into ...

CORR's Banquet with the Bishop

CORR's Banquet with the Bishop

11/29/2016
“We’re so blessed, this group, the Commission on Religion and Race, to have our bishop with us tonight,” said Pastor Dan Fernandez recently at CORR’s “Banquet with the Bishop” event, where the group got to spend some time with the new bishop of the Iowa Conference, Bishop Laurie Haller. Pastor Fernandez was impressed by what she had to say about the need for the church to be inclusive of all people, and he is looking forward to working “hand-in-hand” with her in ministry. This is especially ...

JFON's December Newsletter

11/28/2016
Click here to read Justice for Our Neighbor's December newsletter.

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