News


JFON congratulates employees for BIA accreditations

11/21/2016
   Justice for Our Neighbors, a standing committee of the Iowa Annual Conference’s Board of Global Ministries, congratulates Laura Mendoza and Grisell Herrera, JFON employees, for obtaining their accreditation in August, 2016, with the Board of Immigration Appeals.  Because Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors is recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals, it is allowed to supervise accredited representatives like Ms. Mendoza and Ms. Herrera. Ms. Herrera has been the Office Manager with JFON since...

To Congress: Introduce, pass the DREAM Act

To Congress: Introduce, pass the DREAM Act

11/17/2016
Brynne Howard, Des Moines, Letter to the Editor of The Des Moines Register In the four years since President Barack Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), immigration attorneys like me have helped hundreds of thousands of DREAMers throughout the country apply for the program. Every time I met with an applicant for the first time, we talked about what might happen once Obama left office. I warned that the program was temporary, that a new president could take it away and ...

UM Student Day Nov. 27

UM Student Day Nov. 27

11/17/2016
Across the country, the people of The United Methodist Church are serving the people God loves in Jesus’ name. We’re doing it at home, but so often we’d like to do more. We want to serve those in other places who are suffering. We want to offer spiritual words of hope and life. And we want to be well-equipped to do both! But the reality for most of us is that our responsibilities—home, family, work—don’t allow us to engage with every need we’d like to meet. Right now there are UMC young ...

Iowans file complaint against Bishop Trimble

Iowans file complaint against Bishop Trimble

11/16/2016
(This story was updated on November 17 with the addition of a quote from Bishop Trimble.) Seventeen lay and clergypersons from the Iowa Conference have filed a formal complaint against Bishop Julius C. Trimble citing his “disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church” and an unwillingness to do the work of ministry entailed by a bishop.”  It arises from the way an earlier complaint against Rev. Anna Blaedel was handled by the then Iowa Area episcopal leader.   In ...

Bishop's letters about U.S. Presidential election

Bishop's letters about U.S. Presidential election

11/10/2016
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, of the United Methodist Church in Germany, and Bishop Bruce Ough, of the Minnesota-Dakotas area, have each written letters about the recent U.S. presidential election.  Wenner, a former president of the Council of Bishops sent her letter to the current to Ough, the current Council president, Bishop Marcus Matthews, Executive Secretary of the Council, and the entire Council. Dear Bishop Ough, dear Bishop Matthews, dear colleague bishops:  Grace and Peace in Jesus' ...

In Mission Together: A 50/50 Partnership

In Mission Together: A 50/50 Partnership

11/10/2016
​More information about In Mission Together - click here. Listen to the conversation with Judy Marnin - click here. “In Mission Together (IMT) is being instead of doing. We create relationships. We have person-to-person interactions rather than just going and doing something like building a wall or painting a church,” says Judy Marnin. “It delves more into creating partnerships rather than finding out what people need and just giving it to them.” IMT is a global partnership network made ...

Front*piece - Give Thanks in Every Situation

11/8/2016
“Come, ye thankful people, come.” That’s what we sang as we walked from Mr. Morrissey’s 6th grade classroom to the gym at the Stratford Avenue School. We were carrying the cans of corn and peas and green beans and cranberry sauce.  The front of the gym became an irregular mound of what each of us had brought from home, from the bags from A & P and Gristede’s grocery stores, and from cupboard shelves. “Raise the song of harvest home” we most certainly did as we made our way to our designated ...

Iowans serve on General and NCJ Boards

Iowans serve on General and NCJ Boards

11/7/2016
Ten Iowa United Methodists are serving on commissions for denominational agencies and north central jurisdictional groups for 2016-2020.  Many were among the persons – lay and clergy, selected by the 2015 Annual Conference session to represent the Conference at the recent General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Denominational representation Lindsay Drake, Director of Small Group Ministries at Ankeny UMC in Ankeny, Iowa and Chairperson for the Iowa Conference Board of Discipleship in the Iowa ...

Northwest District works together at the Cherokee Ingathering

Northwest District works together at the Cherokee Ingathering

11/7/2016
Click here to see a photo album from the 2016 Thanksgiving Ingathering. Several volunteers of all ages woke early on a Saturday to help package donations brought from about 100 churches across Northwest Iowa. School Kits, Flood Buckets, Layette Kits and more were assembled and loaded onto a truck for transportation to a depot in Louisiana. “We have the Iowa Nigeria Partnership truck and UMCOR that we load, and it all goes down to a big depot in Louisiana,” said Veronica Timmerman, who has been ...

Ingathering shows how much people care

Ingathering shows how much people care

11/6/2016
Iowa United Methodists are generous. They care.   For the 37th consecutive year a heart for mission and love for others has been evident through Iowa Conference’s Thanksgiving Ingathering.  Kits designated for UMCOR and the Iowa-Nigeria Partnership, cleaning buckets, cash offerings, quilts, and “country store” items poured into the five sites - Cedar Falls, Cherokee, Greenfield, Mt. Pleasant and Webster City. Click here to see a photo album from the 2016 Thanksgiving Ingathering. Thanksgiving ...

John Rothlisberger named to National JFON Board of Directors

John Rothlisberger named to National JFON Board of Directors

10/31/2016
John Rothlisberger, Fredericksburg United Methodist Church, has been invited to serve on the board of directors of National Justice for Our Neighbors.  John is the first Iowan to serve on this board in the 17 years that the Iowa Annual Conference has been a site for Justice for Our Neighbors. Since UMCOR’s founding in 1940, refugee ministry has been at the heart of its work, guided by Christian values of hospitality to the stranger. Justice for Our Neighbors was orginally started by UMCOR, ...

Resolutions now being received

Resolutions now being received

10/31/2016
The Annual Conference Resolutions Committee is now accepting Resolutions for consideration at the 2017 Annual Conference Session.  The deadline for submission is December 1, 2016. Click here for the  Procedures for  Submitting Resolutions instructions Click here for the Resolution proposal form

‘Quite a journey from God’

‘Quite a journey from God’

10/28/2016
Calvary UMC welcomes a new era   “Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of Love” echoed through the sanctuary of Calvary United Methodist Church as the Arnolds Park congregation consecrated its new building.  The celebration for the community whose mission is “sharing God’s love with all” was the culmination a nearly eight-year journey for a community that traces its roots back to 1857.   “Today we celebrate the completion of our church building,” members of the team said, and in ...

Central District welcomes ministry team

Central District welcomes ministry team

10/24/2016
Divinity and Diversity: A Season of Change   The Central District welcomed its Ministry Team in a service of Celebration on Sunday, October 16.  Gathering under the theme “Divinity and Diversity: A Season of Change,” laity, clergy, a Conference Superintendent and Bishop led nearly one hundred people affirming the leadership and supporting a mutual ministry with Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon – Superintendent, Naomi Sea Young Wittstruck – Field Outreach Ministry, and Wendy Lubkeman – District ...

Fall 2016 Builder's Call

Fall 2016 Builder's Call

10/24/2016
Project Vision— Growing with Grace: Growing Our Faith, Growing Our Vision, Growing Our Community.

Fall retired clergy and spouses gathering

Fall retired clergy and spouses gathering

10/20/2016
Click here to watch the video of the Fall Retirees Gathering. Click here to see images from the day. "Wasting Time with Jesus" was the title of the message from Bishop Laurie Haller to the full room of retired clergy and spouses who gathered for the annual Fall Gathering at New Hope United Methodist Church in Des Moines on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.   On a picture perfect Fall morning retirees came to catch up on life, renew friendships and meet their new Episcopal leader, Bishop Laurie Haller....

UMW Annual Meeting welcomes, studies, and looks to future

UMW Annual Meeting welcomes, studies, and looks to future

10/12/2016
United Methodist Women of the Iowa Conference  had their annual meeting on Saturday, October 8, 2016.  Held at First UMC, Decorah under the banner of “A Fresh Wind Blowing – Come Soar with Us,” women from across the conference welcomed Bishop Laurie Haller, met for breakout groups, conducted the business of an annual meeting, and endorsed their leaders for the coming year.   Car parkers, hot coffee and treats, and greeters were just a part of the hospitality offered by men and women of First UMC...

Change a Child's Story October Update

Change a Child's Story October Update

10/11/2016
By now every church in the state should have received a folder full of information to get their church on board with the Poverty to Opportunity Initiative known as Change a Child’s Story. If your church has not received the mailing please contact Patty at patty.link@iaumc.org   Change a Child’s Story has been busy the last few months trying to get the word out to congregations who may not have started Change a Child’s Story in their congregation. There are so many great things happening around ...

Quick UMCOR response in Haiti

Quick UMCOR response in Haiti

10/8/2016
By Elliott Wright* Atlanta, Georgia, October 7, 2016 — The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) acted quickly in response to the destruction and death caused by Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean, notably in Haiti. The provision of emergency supplies, food, health kits, and other assistance builds on UMCOR’s sustained presence in Haiti, work that has continued since the disastrous earthquake in January 2010. More than 500 deaths in Haiti have been attributed to Hurricane Matthew, with ...

Iowa-Nigeria Partnership announcement

10/7/2016
IOWA-NIGERIA PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT   After over 25 years of partnership between Nigerian United Methodists and Iowa United Methodists, the Iowa Conference Board of Global Ministries has decided it is time to step back and evaluate the partnership.  Nigerian United Methodists are planning a Roundtable Conference in 2017 which will include Nigerian United Methodists and United Methodist conferences in the United States that have been working in Nigeria; the planned Roundtable is an opportunity ...

Gathering creates conversation

Gathering creates conversation

10/5/2016
Conversation was the order of the day at the fall gathering of the Orders of Elders Click here to see more images from the Orders of Elders and Deacons and Association of Licensed Local Pastors event. Click here to see the video of Bishop Laurie's sermon and Deacons and Association of Licensed Local Pastors. Meeting at First United Methodist Church in Ames, the clergy of the Iowa Conference focused on the denomination's effort to discover "a way forward" as it addresses the unity of the church ...

Saturday flooding response update

Saturday flooding response update

9/24/2016
This flood response update message from Keith Pitts, East Central District Disaster Response Coordinator at 7 pm, Saturday... Good evening: Today we have assisted together over thirty homes and a Trinity UMC. Thank you to all the faithful servants that came from as far as DeWitt! The flood office is set up and at 1:00pm tomorrow St Pauls will be a Red Cross shelter! Thanks to Rev Sherrie Ilg for helping make this happen. Tomorrow we will have a new list to attack: Needs: 1. Prayer, prayer, ...

What YOU can do to help

What YOU can do to help

9/24/2016
There are several things that YOU can do, RIGHT NOW to help in the flood response…Rev. Catie Newman, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, has the following suggestions: Pray Make cleaning buckets and watch an UMCOR video about creating a bucket Cleaning Buckets can be delivered to any of the three IAUMC Camps Pictured Rocks, Wesley Woods or Camp Okoboji…or Contact the District Disaster Response Coordinator in your District to find the nearest Location and arrange for Drop-off. DON’T drive ...

Volunteers in Mission (VIM) Team Leader Training

Volunteers in Mission (VIM) Team Leader Training

9/21/2016
Volunteers in Mission (VIM)  Team Leader Training will provide you (and your church) with all the information and tools that you will need to participate in or lead hands-on mission. Team Leader Training equips individuals to lead national and international teams to approved United Methodist project sites.  It touches on what constitutes an UMVIM team, team duties, team dynamics, cultural understanding, team spiritual formation, tips for travel and fundraising, timeline for organizing a team, ...

Bishop Trimble dismisses complaint

Bishop Trimble dismisses complaint

9/12/2016
A complaint, filed in June, by three Iowa Conference clergy against one of their fellow clergy was dismissed on August 30, 2016 by Bishop Julius C. Trimble.    His brief statement, conveyed to all parties involved, said, in part, “In accordance with Paragraph 363.e of 2012 Book of Discipline I have decided to dismiss the complaint against Rev. Anna Blaedel. The rationale was shared with the appointive cabinet.”   Rev. Craig Peters, Rev. Gary Hoyt, and Pastor Ben Blanchard filed a complaint with ...

Lansing area flood status update

Lansing area flood status update

9/5/2016
“We had some severe thunderstorms and the rain came down a little heavier than was anticipated,” says Rev. Kevin Smith, pastor of Lansing United Methodist Church, describing the flooding that affected a number of Iowans on August 22 & 23. “In Lansing, we had seven inches of rain overnight. We had a couple areas that had over eight inches of rain. And along the Upper Iowa River basin, flood waters came up so quickly that a lot of people weren’t able to get things moved to higher ground.” Listen ...

Helping with NE Iowa flooding

Helping with NE Iowa flooding

8/29/2016
On August 24, 2016 more than 8 inches of rain fell in Northeast Iowa. The Upper Iowa and Turkey Rivers have all flooded.  Causing evacuations of homes, businesses, schools and campgrounds.    The Governor of Iowa has made a Disaster Proclamation for 6 counties in Northeast Iowa.    The Hardest hit appears to be Winneshiek, Chickasaw, Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette and Howard counties and many, many rural acres.   On Saturday we delivered we delivered 144 Clean-Up Buckets and other supplies to ...

Dr. Gene Hoy - State Fair veterinarian

Dr. Gene Hoy - State Fair veterinarian

8/26/2016
During the 11 days of the Iowa State Fair, visitors have a chance to see cows, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, and other animals that exemplify farm life when they drop by the Knapp Animal Learning Center. And in charge of the center is Richland UMC member and veterinarian Dr. Gene Hoy, who does everything from checking the animals’ health status to overseeing live births. “We had one a couple days ago that, right in front of everybody, laid down and had her calf with 250 people watching,” reports...

African Cultural Festival

African Cultural Festival

8/25/2016
On Saturday, August 27 from 1pm to 4pm, on the spacious and welcoming grounds of Salem United Methodist Church (3715 33rd Avenue Southwest), the people of Cedar Rapids will have an opportunity to take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of multiple African cultures thanks to a partnership of local congregations and ministries, notably African Women Empowered from St. Mark’s, the Asbury International French Fellowship, and the St. Paul’s African National Ministry. Click to listen to Dr. Jill ...

Flooding in Louisiana

Flooding in Louisiana

8/25/2016
This aerial image shows flooded areas on and near the campus of Louisiana State University (LSU), Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Baton Rouge, La. (Patrick Dennis/The Advocate via AP)

'Christian Chaos' plays the Iowa State Fair

'Christian Chaos' plays the Iowa State Fair

8/24/2016
“This is our third year playing here,” says Greg Brown, founder and leader of the band Christian Chaos, following their gig at the Iowa State Fair on August 17. “We’ve put together a set list that’s really geared more towards this type of a venue than what we would do at a fundraiser or at a youth rally or something like that.” Click to listen to the Iowa Conference Conversations podcast with Greg Brown of 'Christian Chaos' The members of Christian Chaos all belong to the First United Methodist ...

Trinity Huxley 'excited' community ministry

Trinity Huxley 'excited' community ministry

8/24/2016
“They get things done. When they get the idea, they pursue it and get it taken care of,” says Pastor Rick Baarda of Trinity UMC in Huxley. He’s talking about his church’s ‘Dare To’ teams: Dare to Pray, Dare to Dream, and Dare to Act It’s an idea that his church came up with about a year and a half ago, to take the idea of a dream team to the next level – so that they could really start making those dreams come true. Daring to Make a Difference “Prayer Team really takes on the initiative of ...

Leadership Institute 2016: Early Bird Deadline and Newly Added Post Conference

8/19/2016
Leadership Institute 2016 takes place at The Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS September 29-30 (Pre-Insititute Sept 28). Early Bird Rates are available through August 31. Get your team together and register today! Newly Added Post-Institute: A special Post-Institute Session has recently been added for Pastors and Church Leaders: Friday, September 30, 2-5pm. Entitled Leading the Conversation About Race and Equality in Your Community, this special session led by F. Willis Johnson (lead ...

Conference Ctr Team helps at food pantry network

Conference Ctr Team helps at food pantry network

8/11/2016
A team of nine from the Iowa Conference Center sorted non-perishable items, checked expiration dates, and packaged items for the shelves at the Des Moines Area Religious Council Food Pantry Network warehouse this week.  The visit to DMARC’s distribution center was one of a series of mission events that Conference staff participates in each year.   Click to see the Conference Center team at work at the DMARC Food Pantry Network warehouse Some 5000 unique households, which translates to some ...

Celebrating the Trimble’s ministry

Celebrating the Trimble’s ministry

8/10/2016
Clergy and lay from across the Conference gathered at the Conference Center on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the ministry of Bishop Julius C. Trimble and First Lady Racedler Grandberry-Trimble.  The event, organized by the Episcopacy Committee and the Conference Lay Leader, created an opportunity for people to share a word of personal appreciation to the episcopal family for their eight years in Iowa and as well as offering a blessing as the Bishop and First Lady head to Indiana to lead that ...

Central District's 'Sampling Diversity'

Central District's 'Sampling Diversity'

8/10/2016
Sunday afternoon was devoted to “Sampling Diversity” on the Central District of the Iowa Conference.  Hundreds gathered at the Christian Life Center of Ankeny First UMC to sample food, view art, experience cultural dance, sing in multiple languages, talk with each other about diversity, be introduced to the new Superintendent and Field Outreach Minister, and hear the Scripture read in three languages.   Click to see photos from the event Beginning the afternoon, Rev. Paul Burrow welcomed the ...

Maggie Biggs new Conference Treasurer

Maggie Biggs new Conference Treasurer

8/10/2016
Although Maggie Biggs has been helping the Iowa Annual Conference with its finances in various ways for twenty years, on August 1 she took on her most significant role yet as the new Treasurer/Director of Administrative Services for the Conference. “It’s a privilege to serve the Conference in a new way,” says Biggs, who has an accounting degree and her CPA license. She describes herself as both excited and a little scared, given the number of responsibilities that the position entails, but ...

Permanent Partners for Nigeria

Permanent Partners for Nigeria

8/3/2016
A goal of the Iowa Nigeria Partnership is to encourage more Iowa United Methodist Congregations to become permanent partners.  A permanent partner enters into a long-term relationship with a congregation, a village or an institution in Nigeria.   Some examples of permanent partners:   Grandview UMC in Dubuque (pictured) has matched itself with the small, rural village of Damka, where they spent considerable time just getting to know each other.  The result is a new church, a well, school ...

Bishop Laurie Haller visits the Iowa Conference Center

Bishop Laurie Haller visits the Iowa Conference Center

8/1/2016
Bishop Laurie Haller and her husband, Rev. Gary Haller, meet Lisa Steel and other conference employees as they tour the Iowa Conference Center last week.

Glory Sightings

Glory Sightings

7/25/2016
By: Rev. Katharine Yarnell, Field Outreach Minister North Central District   Swaledale UMC lets their bells ring Swaledale United Methodist Church participated in the Healthy Small Church Initiative this year, and Pastor Travis Stevick invited longtime church member, Don Hanson, to preach.  To Hanson, this was a bold step out in faith, and it was immensely appreciated!  During Hanson's childhood, the Swaledale church would ring their bell to call the town to worship. Over the years, that ...

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers changes volunteers from thrive

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers changes volunteers from thrive

7/25/2016
thrive UMC board member, Kris Bush and Rev. Jennifer Hibben accept the Volunteer Impact Award from Iowa Homeless Youth Center.

New Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation

New Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation

7/21/2016
Bryan Johnson, Site Director of Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp, has accepted the position of Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation for the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  He will begin on September 12, 2016.   Bryan graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa with a degree in business and marketing.   Camping has long been an important part of his life; he has fifteen years’ experience in camping and outdoor education.    At ...

Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors announces job openings

7/18/2016
Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors is announcing job openings in our office due to the beginning of a new project based on an award from the federal government through the Iowa Attorney General's Office. This award is from the Victim Services Support Program funds. This project will focus on immigrant victims of crime and begins with the July 1 fiscal year. While JFON will continue the church-based legal clinics with a 17 year history here in Iowa, this new project will enable JFON to add several ...

Bishop Trimble assigned to Indiana

Bishop Trimble assigned to Indiana

7/17/2016
Bishop Julius C. Trimble, Iowa’s resident United Methodist bishop since 2008, will become the leader of the Indiana area in September.  The announcement was made during the Consecration Service of the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference on Saturday, July 16.    Celebrate the ministry of the Bishop and First Lady on Saturday, August 6, 2pm-6pm, at the Conference Center Bishop Trimble was elected to be a bishop of the church at the 2008 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, held that ...

Meet Bishop Laurie Haller

Meet Bishop Laurie Haller

7/16/2016
Iowa's new episcopal leader will be Bishop Laurie Haller.  She was elected on ballot 13 at the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference on Thursday, July 14.  Click here to listen to the podcast of a conversation Bishop Haller had with Dr. Art McClanahan Bishop Laurie Haller has served in the Michigan area since 1982.  She was serving as senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Birmingham in the Detroit Annual Conference when she was elected to the Episcopacy on July 14.    Prior to...

Young NCJ delegates discuss the church

Young NCJ delegates discuss the church

7/15/2016
by Chassity Neckers* It has been said that the Millennial generation is the most studied and talked about demographic group today. As a fellow Millennial there are aspects of our generation that I see reflected in myself but there are also characteristics that I would rather not associate with. The Millennial generation seeks to promote change in our world though we are also a group that is still very much in need of guidance. During the North Central Jurisdictional Conference, delegates and ...

NCJ2016 Call for Unity in Thursday Worship

NCJ2016 Call for Unity in Thursday Worship

7/14/2016
During a Thursday worship service filled with music from the NCJ praise band, Bishop Hee Soo Jung of the Wisconsin Annual Conference delivered a sermon entitled “Living Together Amidst Diversity”. Though he joked that as a Korean-American, he is “half kimchi and half Wisconsin cheese,” he drew upon personal, historical, and biblical examples and delivered a serious call: to love one another despite, or perhaps because of, our differences. Bishop Jung pointed to stories of Jesus’ birth from ...

NCJ2016 Episcopal Address by Bishop Kiesey

NCJ2016 Episcopal Address by Bishop Kiesey

7/14/2016
Episcopal Address – ‘Seeking Something Deeper’ The 2016 Episcopal Address moved from pulpit to piano as Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey addressed the chaos and fears experienced by individuals and the church in this day. During the times of disquiet permeating life, “I seek something deeper,” she said. While a lover of words, Kiesey admitted that “I need something more visceral in these uncertain times.” Because she “hears Jesus’ words in a new way” through music, the bishop offered her audience ...

NCJ2016 Update for July 14

NCJ2016 Update for July 14

7/14/2016
NCJ 2016 Summary for Thursday July 14   NCJ elects fourth bishop and says goodbye to four others Thursday at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference was a time of celebrating leadership. Prophetic voices were heard during morning worship and in the afternoon episcopal address. The fourth bishop to be elected was coming to the stage at mid-day. Then business closed in the afternoon with a fond farewell to faithful episcopal servants. Bishop Jung preaches The Opening Worship featured a sermon...

JFON's July 2016 Newsletter

JFON's July 2016 Newsletter

7/7/2016
Click here to read JFON's July 2016 newsletter

NCJ2016 convenes on July 13

NCJ2016 convenes on July 13

7/7/2016
By Arthur McClanahan   The 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church will convene on July 13 in Peoria, Illinois.  Gathering together under the theme, “Living Together…In Unity…Amid Diversity…for Ministry,” the regional assembly is guided by the scriptural words of Ephesians 4:1-16.   In his welcome letter to the delegates host Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton identified the primary reason for the 2016 edition of the once-every-four-years meeting.  “May we dedicate ...

Iowan elected at UMW Assembly

Iowan elected at UMW Assembly

7/6/2016
Just this June, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the North Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Women held their quadrennial gathering. Several women from the Iowa Conference attended, and one of them, Linda Blazek Garvin, was even elected to a position with the UMW. “The new Secretary for the North Central Jurisdiction committee is Linda Blazek Garvin from Polk City,” says Rita Vallery, President of the UMW for the Iowa Annual Conference, noting that Blazek Garvin previously served as ...

Celtic Spirituality Trekking Adventure to Dingle Peninsula, Kerry, Ireland

Celtic Spirituality Trekking Adventure to Dingle Peninsula, Kerry, Ireland

7/5/2016
Eleven pilgrims from Iowa began meeting once a month on Sunday afternoons last January to study Celtic Christianity together, following the work of John O’Donohue, who wrote the international best seller Anam Cara.  Anam Cara is an old Gaelic word meaning, “soul friend,” and was used in the Celtic spiritual tradition to refer to a person or persons who accompany one’s soul on the journey through this life as it encounters its destiny with God. This June, this group of anam cara friends set out ...

Phil Carver looks ahead to NCJ2016

Phil Carver looks ahead to NCJ2016

7/5/2016
The United Methodist Church has been doing a lot of conferencing in the last few months, and now we are at last coming to the jurisdictional conferences. The 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, which includes Iowa, will meet from July 13-16 in Peoria, Illinois. During that time, four new bishops will be elected from a slate of 17 candidates. Click here to listen to the Iowa Conference Conversation with Phil Carver and Dr. Art McClanahan “That’s a little more than we typically have, so...

AC2016: Looking Back, a Summary

AC2016: Looking Back, a Summary

6/28/2016
By Arthur McClanahan*   The 2016 session of the Iowa Annual Conference called its communities of faith to “Therefore Go and Make Disciples.”  Meeting at the Iowa Events Center (Des Moines) the 1472 members of the Annual Conference Session– clergy and lay – gathered to worship, renew commitment to mission that transforms the world, affirm the call of young people to ministry, celebrate the service of retirees, remember the dedicated lives of memorialees, appreciate the eight-year ministry of ...

Disappointment with immigration ruling

Disappointment with immigration ruling

6/28/2016
The United Methodist Church officially is in “support of just and fair immigration policies that benefit and allow the family to preserve and maintain its unity.” Methodists in support of immigration reform marched down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard outside the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. File photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

NCJ: Celebrating Ministry and Electing Bishops

NCJ: Celebrating Ministry and Electing Bishops

6/28/2016
“A Jurisdictional Conference meets every four years, not long after Annual Conference,” explains Bishop Julius Trimble. “In fact, this is the year of conferencing in United Methodism. We had a General Conference in May, and our Annual Conference in June, and in just a few weeks we’ll be gathered in Peoria, Illinois for the North Central Jurisdictional Conference.” The North Central Jurisdictional Conference will be taking place from July 13-16, at the same time that all of the jurisdictional ...

Change a Child's Story pairs up with United Way

Change a Child's Story pairs up with United Way

6/27/2016
On June 21, 2016, Change a Child’s Story Initiative paired up with United Way of Central Iowa to host a Literacy Solstice Event.  From sunrise to sunset on the longest day of the year the United Way hosted events around Central Iowa to make literacy kits for kids and to read to kids in the Boys and Girls Club.   As part of the Bishop’s initiative, United Methodists from across Iowa were asked to volunteer to read to students in poverty during the 2016-17 school year.  In Des Moines, United...

NCJ elects four Directors of UMW

NCJ elects four Directors of UMW

6/27/2016
Elections happen every four years in the church and in the nation. All United Methodists know that. There’s campaigning and balloting for Bishops, Senators, and Representatives. But there are other elections that are just as significant though not as high profile. Folks in all five jurisdictions in the U.S gathered in recent weeks to elect Directors to the National United Methodist Women. The Quadrennial Meeting for the North Central Jurisdiction took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan June 24-26,...

NW Detroit Flood “muck-out” teams needed!

NW Detroit Flood “muck-out” teams needed!

6/27/2016
 From Rev. Becky Wilson, Coordinator of The Northwest Detroit Flood Recovery Project of The United Methodist Church. Brethren Disaster Ministries is doing great work on rebuilds and is also trying to assist with muck-outs but is in need of additional volunteers for muck-out teams. Currently the muck-out teams are working on about a dozen homes with projects that range in size from big to small. A UMC team that volunteered from Columbus, OH earlier in the spring was able to complete eight ...

Vano Kiboko says ‘Je vais bien,’ I am good

Vano Kiboko says ‘Je vais bien,’ I am good

6/26/2016
by Arthur McClanahan and Brooke Pierce* “I am doing very well for now. It’s sure that I am free. I am free from the prison,” states Vano Kiboko in his native French, as his brother Rev. Kiboko I. Kiboko, Superintendent of the East Central District, translates to English. “I want to thank God and thank all the churches in the USA and all the annual conferences that have been praying for me.”  Click here to listen to the Iowa Conference Conversations episode with Vano Kiboko  Click here to see ...

‘The Spirit is calling, moving, inviting'

‘The Spirit is calling, moving, inviting'

6/22/2016
by Arthur McClanahan*   “The Spirit is calling, moving, inviting,” said Rev. Anna Blaedel during the 2016 session of the Iowa Annual Conference.  “Be the church.  Now.  Be the body of Christ,” she added.   Rising to a moment of personal privilege, surrounded by colleagues and friends offered a glimpse into her life story and journey of faith.  “I have been a United Methodist almost my entire life.”  She recalled the time when her parents came to faith when she was four and when she was baptized ...

The Church at It’s Best

The Church at It’s Best

6/21/2016
The Church at It’s Best—Reaching Out in Mission Supported by Church and Community Workers For seventeen years the Iowa Annual Conference has supported a Church and Community Worker assigned to Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors. The first person was Judy Kading, then came Allison Brown, followed by Trina Scott Zuor and now Brynne Howard. The contributions of these Church and Community Workers, who are missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries, have helped to make Justice for Our ...

‘Fill the Truck’ Makes a Big Difference

‘Fill the Truck’ Makes a Big Difference

6/16/2016
While the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference was taking place earlier this month, in the north parking lot, just across from where the attendees were meeting and enjoying fellowship, a big truck from the Midwest Mission Distribution Center was filling up with donations for disaster relief. “We come here to collect disaster response items, so we can send them back out to wherever the need is, free of charge,” explained Jennie Lowry, who was assisting with the donation intake during the conference. ...

Walnut Hills Allotment Garden is Spiritually Nourished Soil

Walnut Hills Allotment Garden is Spiritually Nourished Soil

6/16/2016
Jean and Paul Swenson work hard weeding and mowing the Walnut Hills United Methodist Church allotment garden.

Dr. Ellery Duke announces retirement

Dr. Ellery Duke announces retirement

6/14/2016
Ellery Duke, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and executive director of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, has announced his retirement effective December 2016. Duke has maintained a robust clinical caseload for nearly 40 years, and for 37 years also served as the Center’s chief executive. The Center experienced tremendous development during Duke’s tenure, growing from one therapist and a handful of clients in 1979 – to a multimillion dollar nonprofit organization with 26 counselors serving ...

Needling God Creates Visual Theology

Needling God Creates Visual Theology

6/14/2016
If you’ve ever wondered where some UMC pastors and bishops get the striking, beautiful stoles that they wear as a part of their vestments, Needling God may well be the answer. Needling God is the husband-and-wife team of Ben and Karen Carter-Allen, and they had many of their stoles and scarves on display at the Iowa Annual Conference this year. In fact, one stole was on display for everyone to see when Bishop Elaine Stanovsky of the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone Annual Conferences preached. ...

Patty LaGree, Conference Secretary

Patty LaGree, Conference Secretary

6/14/2016
 This year’s Iowa Annual Conference has concluded, and with it, Patty LaGree’s time serving as Conference Secretary. It’s a position that she first took on seven years ago after receiving a phone call. “Bishop Palmer called me one day at home and asked if I would like to be Conference Secretary. I said I would like to consider it. I needed to know what some of the duties were and the expectations. I looked into that, and decided it was something I would like to give my energy to.” Listen to the ...

The Bishop’s Presence was Powerful

The Bishop’s Presence was Powerful

6/14/2016
It’s been over five years since the towns of Nemaha and Varina were badly impacted by an April 2011 tornado. But Rev. Carl Benge remembers well how a visit from Bishop Julius Trimble during that time made a difference to those communities. “It showed them that, for one, that their bishop cared – that the people in Des Moines cared about what had happened to their town.” Rev. Benge recollects with some amusement how the visit began: “We were there at the VFW, and we had a little presentation and...

Bishop's Statement on Orlando Mass Shooting

Bishop's Statement on Orlando Mass Shooting

6/13/2016
As all of you, I was shocked and saddened to hear of the mass shooting at an Orlando nightspot in the early hours of Sunday morning.  As President Barack Obama said, “We grieve the brutal murder – horrific massacre – of dozens of innocent people.”   The attack at the Pulse Nightclub targeted members of the LGBTQI community, which heightens the tragedy all the more.  Violence, in any form, is unacceptable and when it targets people because of who they are it becomes all the more reprehensible.   ...

AC2016 Lay Leaders Address

AC2016 Lay Leaders Address

6/8/2016
A generous spirit is necessary for the church to do its work. This was the message of the Laity Address given at the 2016 Annual Conference Session. Lay Leader Margaret Borgen addressed Sunday’s Conference Session, telling the assembly that giving to the church is an elephant in the room members find it hard to talk about, but that it is basic to the church’s ability to perform ministry. “Financial stewardship is a priority for me,” she said, “and for the future of the church.” Borgen said ...

Daddy’s Home

Daddy’s Home

6/7/2016
After a decade of war, a blessed and peaceful Father’s Day  As an Iraqi civil engineer working with the U.S. forces, Omar’s life was in constant danger. He learned to take precautions: not answering phone calls from unknown numbers, frequently changing his schedule and his route to work, and even moving his family. He wasn’t the only one with a target on his back; the militias also threatened his wife, young daughters, and family members.  Read the full story on the National Justice for Our ...

AC2016 Change a Child’s Story Update

AC2016 Change a Child’s Story Update

6/6/2016
Clint Twedt-Ball, team member of the Change a Child’s Story team asked Bishop Trimble during 2016 Iowa Annual Conference, “A year ago when we talked, you said that our goal should be to get 100% of the churches on board with Change a Child’s Story. Do you still believe that we can reach that audacious goal of 100% participation?” “Yes!” Bishop Trimble replied. Twedt-Ball continued saying it should be a no-brainer for the churches of the Iowa Conference to reach 100% participation. If there is ...

AC2016 Conference Artist—Therefore Go

AC2016 Conference Artist—Therefore Go

6/6/2016
Rev. Ted Lyddon Hatten addressed the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference a final time on Monday, June 6, 2016 and said that he was preaching on the edge as this was the last time he would be with them in this way. Rev. Lyddon Hatten has retired after 22 years. "Words spoken at the end of a narrative have more weight than those from the middle," he said. Rev. Lyddon Hatten expressed is gratitude to those who have helped and worked with him along the way making a special note to thank his assistant and ...

AC2016 Teaching Sessions

6/5/2016
More than 400 people attended Teaching Sessions offered at the 2016 Annual Conference Session. Six sessions were presented Sunday evening, covering various aspects of ministry and church finances. The sessions included: Social Media and Web Ministry: “Communicating Faith in the 21st Century” Focused on going beyond simply having a church website to effectively implementing a broader online presence. Change a Child’s Story Women at the Well: “And Who is My Neighbor” Breaking down walls with ...

AC2016 First Round of Offerings

6/5/2016
The first round of offerings for the 2016 Annual Conference Session were announced Sunday morning, reflecting robust participation. The Clergy Assistance Fund collection taken at Friday night’s Clergy Session was $4109. The Opening Worship offering collected Saturday morning for the Rust College Choir totaled $5445.34. Collection for Camperships taken at Sunday’s Ordering of Ministry Service was $ 6741.55. Water for Flint garnered $1670.20 as of Sunday morning.      

AC2016 Legislative wrap-up Saturday, June 4, 2016

AC2016 Legislative wrap-up Saturday, June 4, 2016

6/4/2016
The first day of the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference Session saw swift approval of numerous legislative resolutions.   2017 Annual Conference Session dates Saturday, June 10 - Monday, June 12, 2017 were approved, along with 2018 Annual Conference Session dates of June 9-11, 2018. Conference Secretary Nitza Dovenspike was elected, succeeding Patty LaGree. Maggie Biggs interim named Interim Conference Treasurer.   The following action items were approved: Section I: Conference Ministries – Episcopal ...

AC2016 “Our God is Able” - General Conference Report

AC2016 “Our God is Able” - General Conference Report

6/4/2016
Southeast District Superintendent Rev. Lilian Gallo Seagren and Southeast District Field Outreach Minister Phil Carver gave a report on the 2016 General Conference at Saturday’s assembly of the 2016 Annual Conference Session. The Great Commission from Matthew 28:16-20, with the verse, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” was prevalent throughout the 11 days of the Conference, Rev. Seagren said. Iowa was represented by 12 lay and clergy delegates at the Portland, OR., Conference, ...

AC2016 Episcopacy Endorsements

AC2016 Episcopacy Endorsements

6/4/2016
Rev. Barrie Tritle’s Episcopal Endorsement was affirmed nearly unanimously on Saturday evening of the 2016 Annual Conference Session. The First United Methodist Church Iowa City Pastor had received the recommendation as an episcopal candidate of the Iowa Annual Conference’s Jurisdictional Delegation. Four episcopal assignments are due to come open in the North Jurisdictional Conference in the coming months. Southeast District Field Outreach Minister Rev. Phil Carver addressed Saturday’s ...

God “loves the righteous”—Psalm 146

6/3/2016
In the Disciples by The Upper Room for June 1, I came across thoughts about God’s desire for righteousness, which seem to apply to us, here and now, in the United Methodist Church, as supporters of the ministry of Justice for Our Neighbors.  “In the midst of reciting God’s acts of compassion on behalf of the oppressed and hurting, the psalmist writes this new and different line: The Lord loves the righteous.”   “And who are the righteous? We might assume they are morally perfect people. Instead ...

Bishop Trimble speaks to the Conference

Bishop Trimble speaks to the Conference

6/1/2016
Dear Friends,   It has been my pleasure and privilege to serve as your Bishop since September 1, 2008.  I thank you for your faithfulness, generosity and prayers as we together embrace our mission as United Methodists, “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”   People who gathered at the 2016 General Conference experienced vibrant worship, powerful preaching, and a renewed commitment to starting new congregations, while engaging in global missions.   I believe ...

Letter from the Council of Bishops

Letter from the Council of Bishops

5/25/2016
To the people of The United Methodist Church: The Council of Bishops brings you greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has called us to be servant leaders of the church. In 1812, Bishop Francis Asbury, Bishop William McKendree and General Conference Secretary Daniel Hitt sent the first letter to churches following General Conference. This letter seeks to revive that tradition. Many bishops will also be communicating individually in their own areas. Hundreds of lay and ...

Local Church Helps Change a Child’s Story

Local Church Helps Change a Child’s Story

5/25/2016
This week, every student at Hillis Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa will go home with five brand-new books of their very own thanks to the generosity of Immanuel United Methodist Church. Thanks to a matching grant from the Educational Development Corporation, Immanuel UMC is purchasing reading-level appropriate books for every student. The distribution of the books will be during a book fair at Hillis Elementary on May 26. In 2012, roughly 1 in 4 Iowa fourth-graders scored below ...

'A Critical Moment for the Bishops' to speak'

'A Critical Moment for the Bishops' to speak'

5/20/2016
“I think we saw this as a historic moment and a critical moment for the bishops to speak to the church and to the world and to our General Conference,” says Bishop Julius Trimble of the request that came from the plenary floor of the General Conference asking the Council of Bishops to offer a statement about leadership, unity, and the future of the church, following a great deal of debate over legislation on the issue of human sexuality. Click here to listen to the podcast with Bishop Trimble ...

GC2016: Iowan Leads Marshals and Pages

GC2016: Iowan Leads Marshals and Pages

5/19/2016
While the delegates to the General Conference do their important work, a constant presence around them are the marshals and pages who help the proceedings to run smoothly. Iowa clergyman Rev. Dan Fernandez is helping to coordinate the marshals and pages this year, and it is a big job, considering that they need to be on site anytime that the delegates are there. “These are volunteers coming from all over the United States and all over the world. They are deployed according to the day-to-day ...

JFON's June 2016 Newsletter

5/18/2016
Click here to read JFON's June Newsletter

JFON's May 2016 Newsletter

5/18/2016
Click here to read JFON's May Newsletter

GC2016: Connectional Church Raised Me

GC2016: Connectional Church Raised Me

5/17/2016
“I am in Portland because I believe God has called me for this time,” asserts Lindsay Drake, who is a second reserve lay member of the Iowa delegation to the General Conference and one of the younger people at the conference. “We may be the minority here, but we are well represented and we all have a voice. I am encouraged by the number of young people that feel called to be here.” Young, Dedicated, and Ready to Serve One of the earliest events that she attended at this General Conference was ...

GC2016: Technology Helps 'Extravagant Hospitality'

GC2016: Technology Helps 'Extravagant Hospitality'

5/7/2016
“We wanted to make sure our local host teams were able to give people the answer right off the bat when they had a question – and that also means talking to them in a different language,” says Greg Nelson, Director of Communications for the Oregon-Idaho Conference, discussing how volunteer teams at the General Conference, beginning in Portland on May 10, will be greeting and directing thousands of attendees from around the globe. “One of the things about General Conference, because it happens ...

Vano Kiboko released

Vano Kiboko released

5/7/2016
In a stunning sudden reversal, Vano Kiboko has been released from the military prison where he had been incarcerated for “inciting tribal hatred.” The arrest came after he publicly denounced the December 8, 2014 shooting of a woman engaged in a nonviolent protest. In addition, he had spoken out against proposals to change Congo’s constitution to allow President Joseph Kabila to run for a third term. The release, on Thursday, May 5, followed nearly 16 months of imprisonment.  The situation was ...

A Day Sprinkled with Love

A Day Sprinkled with Love

5/5/2016
May Day was spectacular for the South Sudanese Congregation of Mabaan people at Epworth UMC in Des Moines.  They held their first baptismal service with members from Storm Lake, Omaha and Texas along with Bishop Julius Trimble, Central District General Superintendent Dave Weesner, Field Outreach Minister, Karen Nelson along with representatives from Altoona and Grimes UM Churches and other Central District friends.    Many of the congregation was garbed in colorful African dress and after the ...

Renwick UMC will host Special Hair Donation Event

Renwick UMC will host Special Hair Donation Event

5/5/2016
Pastor Lynn Gardner will be cutting at least 12 inches of her long white hair and donating it to "Pantene Beautiful Lengths" for cancer patients, as part of a Special Spring Fundraiser at Renwick United Methodist Church.   On Sunday, May 22nd, the Renwick United Methodist Church will host this special Hair Donation Event that will begin at 6:00 PM with a pot luck supper and the community is invited to join in the fun of the evening.   Following the community pot-luck supper in the Fellowship ...

UM Men and the Prayer Line Ministry

UM Men and the Prayer Line Ministry

5/2/2016
There is a lot of business on the docket for the upcoming Annual Conference, but it will also be a time for celebration, fellowship, and prayer. To provide prayerful support during this time, the Iowa Conference United Methodist Men will be manning the Prayer Line, which anyone is welcome to call with their prayer requests. “We are scheduled to answer the prayer line during the meal breaks on Saturday and Sunday. What happens is the calls to the Upper Room Living Prayer Center will be re-routed...

Advocate for Change a Child's Story Initiative

Advocate for Change a Child's Story Initiative

4/28/2016
On April 25, 2016, Patty Link began work for the annual conference as the Advocate for the Change a Child’s Story Initiative. She will be working half-time for the next sixteen months to provide strategic support and resourcing to the Change a Child’s Story team, so that the conference’s efforts to improve early childhood reading proficiency can be amplified.   Patty is a native of Burlington, Iowa. She spent part of her childhood in Dyersville and has resided in Des Moines since 1999. She ...

Registration Open for Global United Methodist Clergywomen Gathering

Registration Open for Global United Methodist Clergywomen Gathering

4/28/2016
NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 27, 2016 – United Methodist clergywomen from around the world will gather in Houston August 29-31 to celebrate 60 years of full clergy rights for women in the Methodist tradition, and 20 years of the full-clergy-membership diaconate for United Methodist deacons. The gathering is the culmination of regional gatherings of United Methodist clergywomen that have taken place throughout the connection and will be held in the days leading up to the World Methodist Conference.   ...

Matthew 25 honors Mt. Vernon UMC Church of the Year

Matthew 25 honors Mt. Vernon UMC Church of the Year

4/27/2016
Matthew 25 held their annual Celebration Event on April 5, 2016, in commemoration of a successful year supporting their neighbors and to honor a volunteer, church and corporate partner of the year. This year Mount Vernon United Methodist Church was named Matthew 25 Church of the Year. "It is truly the volunteers that push forward Matthew 25's mission to empower people to transform," announced Eden Youngberg, Matthew 25's Development and Communications Coordinator.  "Our volunteers logged over ...

First-hand view of the destruction in Ecuador

First-hand view of the destruction in Ecuador

4/25/2016
This first-hand account of the devastation in Ecuador was written by my good friend Paul Martel.  His foundation, FIBUSPAM, is on the ground already making a difference.  Their website suggests ways to help in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. - Arthur McClanahan 11:55 on the night of April 21st, 2016 finds me in the 34th hour of my trip from Simsbury, Connecticut to the heart of the destruction caused by the brutal earthquake that struck the northern coast of Ecuador on Saturday, April ...

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