News


An Update from Change a Child's Story

An Update from Change a Child's Story

4/22/2016
Cherie Miner, a member of Grant United Methodist Church, is part of the Bishop’s Poverty to Opportunity Taskforce, which has led to the creation of Change a Child’s Story. This initiative, which has recognized that educating young children is one of the best ways to ultimately keep them out of poverty, is dedicated to providing kids with books and encouraging volunteers to read to them. The Change a Child’s Story team has been getting the word out to all districts about the effort. “In almost ...

Bertram UMC and HCI Builds Strength

Bertram UMC and HCI Builds Strength

4/22/2016
Just outside of Cedar Rapids is the small township of Bertram, once a railroad town and now the center of a sprawl of new housing developments. “The church in the town is the only institution,” says Bertram UMC pastor Jenny Seylar. “And part of being the only institution is that a lot of people in the town claim the church as their church, although our worship attendance is 25 to 32 on any given Sunday. So we see a lot of people come to our events, we see people come to our special things at the...

First UMC in Ottumwa and HCI Expands Reach

First UMC in Ottumwa and HCI Expands Reach

4/22/2016
Marva Philipsen and her husband have been attending First United Methodist Church, located in downtown Ottumwa, for about five or six years. They found it friendly and warm, and small groups helped them to get involved and connected. But it’s an older church, with an aging membership, and, she explains, it has perhaps tended to be a bit too inward focused. That’s where First UMC was at when they began the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI), a process which Marva has been closely involved with. “I ...

Greenfield UMC and HCI Revives Ministries

Greenfield UMC and HCI Revives Ministries

4/22/2016
While the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) has been in place in the Iowa Conference for four-plus years, many congregations were putting elements of the initiative that equips clergy and laity to reach new people into practice prior to its official inception, and sometimes since without having fully implemented the program. One such church is Greenfield United Methodist Church, with its free health clinic and another ministry called Fields of Faith. Free Clinic Ministry  The church’s health ...

Manning UMC and HCI Focuses on the Mission

Manning UMC and HCI Focuses on the Mission

4/22/2016
An already fruitful and thriving ministry at the Manning United Methodist Church was blessed to grow and reach more people through the work of church members and pastors involved in the ministry, aided in part by the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) process. With The Source worship service and its parent Recovery Bible Study ministry, Manning UMC is touching hearts and helping to repair lives in its congregation and the broader community, in a team effort that has flourished for years between the...

Mapleton community receives books to Change A Child's Story

Mapleton community receives books to Change A Child's Story

4/22/2016
Rev. Jena Manchester, pastor of St. John’s UMC in Mapleton, was collecting books for the Change A Child’s Story initiative to take to the Annual Conference when she started thinking about what those books might be able to do to help people in her own community. “I was praying about what could we do with the books -- how can we change a child’s story? And the answer I heard was ‘Take ‘em to the swim pool.’” Reading at the Pool So she managed to get more than 50 of those books that she had ...

A Gathering of Colleagues

A Gathering of Colleagues

4/21/2016
“We’re trying to find ways to be better connected to each other and to our churches, and to the world at large. And we’ve got some amazing speakers with some amazing teaching going on. And we’re in the beauty of nature,” says chairperson Rev. Ron Carlson of the annual School for Ministry, taking place at Honey Creek Resort State Park in Moravia, Iowa from April 19-22. Click here to listen to the conversation with Rev. Calderon and Rev. Carlson “We know that Jesus went away and he prayed. He ...

JFON's April 2016 newsletter

4/13/2016
Click here to read JFON's April newsletter

2016 Gathering of Senior Pastors of Large Churches

2016 Gathering of Senior Pastors of Large Churches

4/7/2016
The Rev. Mike Janes lead pastor of Christ Church in Davenport and Rev. James Parks lead pastor of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Williamsburg Iowa attend the Gathering of Large Church Pastors on March 31, 2016 at Ankeny First United Methodist Church.

What “the transformation of the world” really looks like

4/7/2016
By Judy Kading “The mission of the United Methodist Church is to create disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”   I have often wondered what “the transformation of the world” really looks like.  Likewise, I have questioned how “to create disciples of Jesus Christ” to make that happen.  Does it only happen in the four walls of a church building? Does it only happen on Sunday morning during a moving church service?   My involvement with the many volunteers who participate ...

The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - April 6, 2016

The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - April 6, 2016

4/6/2016
The Story Continues   April 6, 2016 The story of the Mabaan people from the South Sudanese continues in Ethiopia due to Sudanese leaders’ single-minded quest for power and authority. To escape fighting, persecution, rape and death, many Mabaans’ fled across the border to Ethiopia.  Aaron Limmo completed his studies in Khartoum with the intent on finding his mother and younger brother in South Sudan but this did not happen as people were not allowed to travel from North to South Sudan due to ...

Diane Wasson Eberhart Reflects on the General Conference

4/4/2016
A full Deacon serving at Walnut Hills UMC, Diane Wasson Eberhart is an experienced clergy member of the Iowa Conference delegation to the 2016 General Conference, coming up in Portland, Oregon from May 10-20. Although she says that having been to the conference previously makes her a little bit more knowledgeable, that doesn’t necessarily make it easy. “Some of the process is just hard work, no matter what,” she admits. “Reading through all the materials, and especially being familiar with my ...

McRoberts Invites Iowa UMs to Hold General Conference Delegation in Prayer

4/4/2016
Rev. Sean McRoberts is the first alternate clergy delegate for the Iowa Conference to the 2016 General Conference, which is coming up this May in Portland. Though he has visited several General Conferences in the past, this will be his first time there as a part of a delegation, and there is a great deal to be done beforehand. “There’s a lot of preparation to do, and I think foremost I appreciate our bishop’s call to prayer, to pray for our delegation and to pray for the whole General ...

Vano Kiboko Remains Imprisoned in the Congo

Vano Kiboko Remains Imprisoned in the Congo

4/3/2016
“He’s still there, and things are up in the air. We don’t know what to expect,” reports Rev. Kiboko I. Kiboko regarding his brother, Vano Kiboko, who remains in a military prison in the Congo. The situation is difficult for the entire Kiboko family. “It is painful – emotionally, financially, and psychologically. It’s been tough.” Click here to listen to the conversation with Rev. Kiboko I. Kiboko While some things have improved since Vano was moved to the military prison where he is now held, ...

Iowa JFON supports funding of the Refugee Rise Americorps program

Iowa JFON supports funding of the Refugee Rise Americorps program

3/30/2016
Htay, right, was an interpreter for Kwa at the March "Green Card" Clinic. Both are refugees from Burma.

Ted Lyddon Hatten—For everything there is a season

Ted Lyddon Hatten—For everything there is a season

3/30/2016
To the Iowa Annual Conference,   For everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven… a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to speak, and a time to keep silence.   For 22 years it has been my privilege to serve the Iowa Annual Conference as Conference Artist. It has been my aim with this unprecedented opportunity to contribute to our on-going conversation by offering theopoetic stylings based on our annual theme. It was my hope that I might be able to use visual art to ...

Revitalizing a congregation

Revitalizing a congregation

3/28/2016
Sheldahl United Methodist Church is living into their Healthy Church Initiative prescriptions by trying new ways to build relationships with their community. This piece, written by Dawn Sargasso Pauls, appeared in the March issue of North Polk Iowa Living magazine. Click here to read this article on page 18.  Revitalizing a congregation Sheldahl UMC follows four “prescriptions” to get the focus it needs There was a feeling of uncertainty at the Sheldahl United Methodist Church. “The ...

Trinity/Las Americas serves the community

Trinity/Las Americas serves the community

3/26/2016
Trinity/Las Americas and it’s more than century-old building in Des Moines’ Riverbend neighborhood, was highlighted in a Des Moines Register article.  The piece, written by Michael Morain of the Register staff, focuses on “7 old Iowa churches on their way to new life.”   The focus on Trinity/Las Americas is the final segment of the article written for the Easter weekend.  “Millions of Christians around the world will celebrate Easter,” Morain writes, “the day that defines their religion more ...

The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - March 21, 2016

The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - March 21, 2016

3/21/2016
Written by Judy Marnin and Beverly Nolte Pastor Aaron Limmo completed Grade Eight while staying with an uncle in Khartoum, then capital of the Sudan. Because of high grade scores and excellent study habits, he passed over high school to attend Gideon Theological College, the only high level theological school of the Sudan Interior Church (SIC). Upon completion of his four year study he was given a certificate. It was later in Syracuse, NY that Aaron studied to receive his GED. The Sudan ...

Tritle endorsed as candidate for Bishop

Tritle endorsed as candidate for Bishop

3/21/2016
The General and Jurisdictional Conference delegation endorsed Rev. Dr. Barrie Tritle to be their episcopacy candidate. The lay and clergy who are representing the Iowa Conference voted at their meeting on Saturday, March 19 to support him for Bishop at the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, set for July 13-16 in Peoria, Illinois. There is a process that has brought Rev. Dr. Tritle to this distinguished place, and, as he puts it, “It begins with a lot of prayer and a lot of ...

Books, Books and More Books

Books, Books and More Books

3/18/2016
Jeff Becker and Megan Cassady (Trinity UMC Fort Dodge Director of Youth Ministry) deliver books to Heidi Nelson at Cooper Elementary School in Fort Dodge Iowa.

Connectional Table begins series about key GC topics

Connectional Table begins series about key GC topics

3/16/2016
Continuing the conversation around key topics related to General Conference 2016, The Connectional Table begins a new series of #CTTalks. #CTTalks is an online forum, a series of videos and social media conversations around key topics related to General Conference 2016.  This month highlights the work done by The Connectional Table and the Council of Bishops over the last quadrennium related to matters of human sexuality. This month’s videos will highlight the process that led to The ...

Annual Conference set to gather in June

Annual Conference set to gather in June

3/14/2016
Delegates - lay and clergy - will gather for the 173rd Iowa Annual Conference session in June.  To be held, once again, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, the 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 Julius C. Trimble will call the members of the annual conference to order on Saturday, June 6, to begin the three-day session.  “It’s my ...

HCI brings ‘amazing changes’ to Mt. Ayr UMC

HCI brings ‘amazing changes’ to Mt. Ayr UMC

3/14/2016
Founded in 1856, Mt. Ayr UMC is a rural southern Iowa congregation. It’s a friendly, welcoming church that cares about its relationship with the community. And as such, Mt. Ayr welcomed the opportunity to be one of the pilot churches for the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI), a program designed to help strengthen leadership and grow churches. Prescriptions for a Better Church Mt. Ayr’s pastor, Rev. Charles “Skip” Rushing, praises the HCI process. “As the process goes along, and the more intense...

'An opportunity and a privilege'

'An opportunity and a privilege'

3/11/2016
“I was shocked,” admits Rev. Heecheon Jeon, who was recently appointed Superintendent for the Central District of the Iowa Conference. “I was shocked and I was a little bit scared, somehow. Because I never, never imagined that it would come to me at this point.” Click here to listen to the conversation with Rev. Jeon Rev. Jeon had only been with his current congregation, Mt. Vernon UMC, for about a year when he got the news from Bishop Trimble of his new position, but there was still something...

JFON sends brief to Supreme Court

JFON sends brief to Supreme Court

3/9/2016
News Release   National Justice for Our Neighbors Date: March 8, 2016 Contact: Rob Rutland-Brown, Executive Director (703) 766-0442              National Justice for Our Neighbors and the Entire Justice for Our Neighbors Network Urge the Supreme Court to Allow the Expanded DACA and DAPA Programs to Move Forward   Today, National Justice for Our Neighbors, on behalf of the entire Justice for Our Neighbors Network, filed an Amicus Curiae (i.e., friend of the court) Brief before the U.S. Supreme ...

Support the Iowa/Nigeria Partnership

Support the Iowa/Nigeria Partnership

3/9/2016
By Sue Kromminga Photos courtesy of John Penna and Chris Congdon An intentional decision and a step of faith make all things possible with God’s help.  This story is shared with you to encourage you to become a partner of The Iowa Nigeria Partnership. It's a Brand New Day at Living Faith Parish of Monona! For many years, the missions and outreach to the community and the world were very limited by the three congregations that make up the Living Faith Parish in Monona, Iowa. The annual ...

Awakenings Academy opens at Hillcrest

Awakenings Academy opens at Hillcrest

3/8/2016
  Hillcrest Family Services Announces the Opening of Awakenings Academy, a Residential Treatment Facility Open to Youth Across the Country.   Years in development, supported by countless hours of research, with an unparalleled commitment to the most advanced and effective teaching, treatment and quality control methods, Hillcrest Family Services announced this week the opening of Awakenings Academy, the nation’s newest, and one of only a handful of holistic residential treatment facilities for b...

Bishops to consider accountability covenant

Bishops to consider accountability covenant

3/8/2016
The Council of Bishops Accountability Task Force has recommended adoption of a “covenant of accountability” by the Council of Bishops. The task force invited bishops to prayerfully consider how the covenant might guide and shape their ministry now and in the future. The Council will consider action on the proposed covenant, which is based on discussion from the bishops’ 2015 meeting, work of the task force and further input by the executive committee, at their May meeting preceding General ...

Fe y Esperanza – ‘growing’ church

Fe y Esperanza – ‘growing’ church

3/8/2016
As nearly a hundred people gathered in a circle of prayer, the growing ministry of the Fe y Esperanza moved into a new chapter.  In a “sending service,” held at Broadway UMC, Council Bluffs, the nearly old faith community celebrated its ministry there and began to look towards reaching out to new areas of that city.   The service, filled with smiles, sounds of laughter, and more than a few tears, was the culmination of a ministry that began “with five people present to pray and listen to my ...

Tent witness at the Conference Center

Tent witness at the Conference Center

3/4/2016
I Have a Feeling in My Heart That I’m Supposed to Be Persistent On March 4, the Iowa Conference had a guest named Rev. Mike Tupper who chose some rather unique accommodations for his overnight stay – he pitched a tent out on the lawn. This was not because Rev. Tupper is an avid camping enthusiast, but rather because he’s trying to make a point. Click here to see a photo album of Rev. Tupper pitching his tent.  Others joined him for conversation and witness. Click here to listen to the ...

Getting to know you...the MABAAN story continues

Getting to know you...the MABAAN story continues

3/2/2016
Written by Judy Marnin and Beverly Nolte One of the ways in which Africans in South Sudan find their identity is through their tribes. It’s instructive to know the names and locations of some of the tribes, though there are too many to examine. The largest tribe is the Dinka, 35.8% of the South Sudan population. President Salva Kiir is a Dinka, who are said to control 42% of the area of South Sudan, with 12 of the 28 states of South Sudan under Dinka control.  Next largest in the Nuer people,...

Matthew 25 seeks to build partnership in Morocco

Matthew 25 seeks to build partnership in Morocco

2/29/2016
From left to right, Denise Clark, Barry Boyer, Clint Twedt-Ball, Eric Christianson

Milford and UMPH ready for new challenges

Milford and UMPH ready for new challenges

2/28/2016
His new second floor office looks out at a peaceful mini lake.  But for Rev. Brian Milford, and indeed, for the United Methodist Publishing House, life is anything but tranquil.   Milford, an ordained Elder from the Iowa Conference was named incoming president and CEO of the oldest publishing house in North America last week.  This year he succeeds Neil Alexander at the helm of the denomination’s book and resource provider, having previously served in the capacity of Chief Content Officer and ...

Dancing With the Dominicans

Dancing With the Dominicans

2/25/2016
By: Pastor Lori Shannon Gray United Methodist Church Ah, the joys of an Iowa winter!  In January while many of you dealt with the drudgery of scooping snowdrifts, chiseled ice from your windshields, or watched your breath freeze, I, along with seventeen others, traveled to Samana’ in the Dominican Republic, dined on rice and beans, swatted pesky mosquitos and slathered on sunblock. We represented the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission which annually sends a team outside the United States to...

Immigration attorney April Palma reaches out to children and teens

Immigration attorney April Palma reaches out to children and teens

2/25/2016
April Palma is completing her first year of working as an immigration attorney with Justice for Our Neighbors here in Iowa. She was hired to carry on a fledgling program that reaches out to the children and teens who have come to Iowa from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This program was begun in the summer of 2014 when a hotline was established. The obvious need dictated that JFON, as a Matthew 25 Ministry should become more involved. Here is one of the reasons why we are glad that we ...

New Conference Superintendent Named by Bishop

New Conference Superintendent Named by Bishop

2/22/2016
Rev. Jeon is currently the Senior Pastor of the United Methodist Church of Mt. Vernon, Iowa.   "I never imagined that I was going to be appointed to Bishop’s Appointive Cabinet, Rev. Jeon said.  “I was literally shocked…but I do believe that ‘the first call is God’s call’ that is shaped and formed by many prayers.”   Prior to the appointment at Mt. Vernon (2015), he served Iowa City First UMC as associate pastor (2012-2015) and Corning UMC (2007-2012). He is an ordained Elder and Full Member of ...

Fleeing from Iraq

2/18/2016
Ann Naffier of Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors shares some recent successes.  The generous support of individuals and churches of the Iowa Annual Conference makes this ministry possible.  Thank you.   Fleeing from Iraq  Omar* is a mechanical engineer from Iraq, who worked closely with the U.S. army in Iraq throughout that last decade.  He also worked with an international project specifically focusing on women’s economic rights in Iraq.  From the beginning of his cooperation with the U.S. and the...

Milford elected incoming president

Milford elected incoming president

2/16/2016
Meeting via video conference today, the Board of the United Methodist Publishing House elected the Reverend Brian K. Milford (Iowa Annual Conference) as the Incoming President/CEO of The United Methodist Publishing House. In celebrating Milford’s election Board Vice-Chair, Justice Cornelia A. Clark noted, “Brian Milford is known across The United Methodist Church as a gifted and astute servant leader who has earned the respect and trust of many. As UMC Book Editor and Chief Content Officer he ...

Getting to know you

2/15/2016
Getting to know you… This song is of getting to know you, getting to know all about you so let’s get to know the  Mabaan people from Upper Nile State in South Sudan.  Take five minutes to check out on the web: South Sudan (newest nation in the world) Upper Nile State (one of 10 states along the Ethiopia border with the White Nile flowing through it)  Malakal (capital of the state and largest city) Mabaan (small ethnic group of the Upper Nile) Once we get to know a little about the Mabaan’s ...

The Iowa-Nigeria Partnership is Alive and Well

The Iowa-Nigeria Partnership is Alive and Well

2/15/2016
  Watch the video of Jordan and David teaching Jesus Loves Me. Click here. The Iowa Nigeria Partnership, better known as the INP, has a new leadership team. On January 9, 2016, Sue Kromminga (chairperson), Julie Kinsella (vice chairperson), and Arlona Fredrickson (Financial Secretary) were voted in as the new leadership team. Other board members include Mark Fransdal, Chris Congdon and Tom Shinkle. Each of these women, Sue, Julie and Arlona, have put their feet on the ground in Nigeria and ...

Volunteers in Mission visit to Israel and Palestine

Volunteers in Mission visit to Israel and Palestine

2/15/2016
For two weeks in September 18 people participated in a Volunteer in Mission trip to Israel/Palestine. We visited many holy sites but the most meaningful experiences included the reaffirmation of our baptismal vows at the Jordan River, sailing on the Sea of Galilee and Holy Communion at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem.   In addition to visiting sites, we spent most of our time working with Palestinians. Our first four days were spent in the town of Ibillin in the Galilee region. Here we worked and ...

Rev. Kiboko speaks out about his brother

Rev. Kiboko speaks out about his brother

2/13/2016
In December 2014, businessman and United Methodist Vano K. Kiboko was imprisoned in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for speaking out against that nation’s president, due to his attempts to usurp the constitution and run for an additional term. But as of January 26, 2016, Vano was transferred to a military prison called Ndolo Prison. “We were told that it was because he was eating with the outcasts in prison. He was befriending the prisoners,” says his brother, Rev. Kiboko I. Kiboko. “He ...

As gang violence worsens, more Salvadorans flee

2/5/2016
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, Feb 3 (UNHCR) – Repeatedly shaken down by gang members for a weekly US$30 protection payment he could barely afford, Salvadoran bus driver Javier filed a complaint with the police. A family man with two teenage daughters, he recalls waking up at 3:00 am the next day with a knot of fear in his stomach. The six block walk to work at the central bus station in San Salvador stretched to an eternity as he anticipated a violent reprisal. Read on.  

VIM—doing God's work in the sun/son

VIM—doing God's work in the sun/son

2/4/2016
On the thumb of northern Dominican Republic is Samana, nestled among palm trees listing toward the sea, in a bay where 3,000 spouting humpback whales winter to have their babies. The Dominican Republic shares an island with Haiti but is more than two-thirds the size of its smaller neighbor. It is Spanish speaking being discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. It is said that this country is the most visited destination in the Caribbean and we Iowans believe it.   This was the work ...

'Careful listening' key for John Rothlisberger

'Careful listening' key for John Rothlisberger

2/3/2016
“When I submitted my name, I wasn’t at all confident that it was even really a possibility. That’s why I think I was a little bit surprised when I wound up being selected at Annual Conference last year,” says John Rothlisberger, a first-time lay delegate from Iowa to the 2016 General Conference. “But I came to realize maybe there is a reason for me to do it.” Click here to listen to the conversation with John John, a Dean at the School for Lay Ministry at Simpson College, realized that the ...

Christin Nevins Talks About Conference Leadership Teams

Christin Nevins Talks About Conference Leadership Teams

2/3/2016
The Iowa Conference is getting some serious coaching right now. Spiritual Leadership Incorporated (SLI), an organization that seeks to help church leaders grow and put their ideas into action, has provided two coaches to guide two teams – the Bishop’s Operating Team and the Bishop’s Appointive Cabinet – through a year-long process that will hopefully transform the culture of how ministry plans are put together and how lay and clergy leaders are brought into the ministry life at the Iowa ...

Dawson looks to 'See the Global Church in action'

Dawson looks to 'See the Global Church in action'

2/3/2016
Rev. Katie Dawson, a member of the delegation to the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon, is honored to have been re-elected by her fellow clergy to represent Iowa. She is also cognizant and appreciative of the fact that the first two clergy delegates to be re-elected were in fact both women. “And we represent diversity in age and in ethnicity, and I think that really represents who we are as Iowa well.” Click here to listen to the conversation with Katie. This diversity among the ...

Free clergy tax video

Free clergy tax video

2/3/2016
Clergy face some distinctive tax regulations and often need guidance from tax professionals with experience working with clergy. To help seminary students and clergy understand better the issues to which they and their tax preparers need to give attention, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has prepared “Compensation and Taxes,” an informational 12-minute video. Topics include compensation, federal and state income taxes, parsonage or housing allowing ...

Looking ahead to the General Conference

Looking ahead to the General Conference

2/3/2016
“At the heart of General Conference, our purpose is to continue to discuss the mission and ministry of the church moving forward, to assess some of the things that we’ve been about in the previous four years, and to identify what we’re going to do for the next four,” explains Phil Carver. Click here to listen to the conversation with Phil For over 30 years, Phil has been a part of nearly every General Conference of The United Methodist Church. For the next one, meeting at the Oregon Convention...

Refugees Get Helping Hand

Refugees Get Helping Hand

2/3/2016
JFON immigration attorney Brynne Howard working at refugee "green card" legal clinic.

UM pastors, leaders ahead of tech game

UM pastors, leaders ahead of tech game

2/3/2016
United Methodist pastors and church leaders match or exceed the average U.S. technology adoption rates, according to new research from United Methodist Communications. “The purpose of the United Methodist Emerging Technology Survey was to assess penetration of new types of digital communication within the church to aid agency communications and messaging,” said Dan Krause, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. Krause said the study also helps the agency determine interest in ...

Update on Vano Kiboko

Update on Vano Kiboko

2/3/2016
The following update on Vano Kalembe Kiboko was provided by his brother, Rev. Kiboko Kiboko, superintendent of the East Central District December 29, 2014 Vano Kiboko is sent to a maximum security prison called Makala for trying to defend basic human rights for the people of the Congo. He had invited the president of the Congo not to consider running for the third time which is against the constitution. He became dangerous to the regime. Vano was able to feed prisoners in his pavilion (200 to ...

Bishop Talbert Receives Carver Medal

Bishop Talbert Receives Carver Medal

1/29/2016
By Arthur McClanahan and Brooke Pierce* Bishop Melvin G. Talbert received Simpson College’s prestigious Carver Medal at a ceremony at the College on January 27, 2016. In accepting the honor, Bishop Talbert noted that the medal is named for inventor and scientist George Washington Carver, who was admitted to Simpson at a time when black Americans were often denied access to higher education.   Bishop Talbert delivered a timely lecture entitled “The Intersection of Oppression and Privilege,” ...

Going to Immigration Court

1/28/2016
At the Decorah United Methodist Church’s Justice for Our Neighbors legal clinic in January, Alicia met a group of folks who take Jesus’ counsel in Matthew 25 seriously.   I was blessed to help out this group of Good Samaritans and do some transportation for Alicia as a follow-up to her appointment with immigration attorney Ann Naffier, staff attorney for Justice for Our Neighbors.    I had a chance to get to know Alicia and her little daughter Martita while driving from Des Moines to Omaha to ...

Communications Ministry Team receives awards

Communications Ministry Team receives awards

1/26/2016
The Conference Communications Ministry Team receives six awards at the recent meeting of the United Methodist Association of Communicators.  The five were first place and one second place commendations were presented at a ceremony that featured remarks by Bishop Grant Hagiya of the Pacific Northwest area. At the two day meeting, which preceded the pre-General Conference briefing in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Arthur McClanahan, Iowa Conference Director of Communications, was re-elected Chairperson of...

Healthy Church Initiative—Outward focus brings church to the community

Healthy Church Initiative—Outward focus brings church to the community

1/22/2016
On January 21, 2016, the Rev. Bob Farr, Director of the Center for Congregational Excellence and a member of the appointive cabinet in the Missouri Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, held a lively question and answer workshop at the Iowa United Methodist Conference Center on the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) process.   The workshop was open to anyone with an interest in the Healthy Church Initiative and in attendance were coaches, pastors, lay people, consultation team members, ...

IRMS—Celebrates 30 years as an Elegant Solution

IRMS—Celebrates 30 years as an Elegant Solution

1/20/2016
Julius C. Trimble, resident Bishop of Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church along with five other partner denominational representatives signed the re-covenanting contract with IRMS.

Iowa Wesleyan University is named a top tier regional college in the Midwest

Iowa Wesleyan University is named a top tier regional college in the Midwest

1/15/2016
News Release from Iowa Wesleyan University Mount Pleasant, IA. – Iowa Wesleyan University is named a top tier regional college in the Midwest, by U.S. News & World Report. The rankings were released in September 2015. “We are most grateful for this very prestigious recognition in the latest U.S News & World Report ratings and consider it further verification of our excellence and achievement -- all of which benefit our students and graduates,” Steve Titus, president of IWU said. “Iowa Wesleyan...

Iowa Disaster Response update for January 2016

Iowa Disaster Response update for January 2016

1/13/2016
The month of December 2015 had many occurrences of storms, heavy rain, flooding, tornados and snowstorms in the Midwest and in Texas.   Here are updates on the disaster response efforts in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Texas and contact information if you want to help along with some suggestions as to what you can do right now. Pray for one another and our sisters and brothers in crisis. Make clean-up buckets to re-stock Midwest Missions. Make a financial donation to help in the recovery ...

Mission to Care for Syrian Refugees

Mission to Care for Syrian Refugees

1/13/2016
Rev. Deborah Coble Wise of Trinity United Methodist Church in Waverly is preparing to head out to the Greek Island of Lesvos on a 10-day mission to help refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. All during the Advent season, thinking about Jesus, himself a refugee, these distressed and displaced people were on her mind. “Last week, two boats overturned and 60 people died. This is still a human rights issue. There are people dying to get to freedom. They’re cold, they’re wet, they’re hungry, ...

First United Methodist in Ames welcomes new associate pastor

First United Methodist in Ames welcomes new associate pastor

1/11/2016
Rev. Cephas Davis became the new associate pastor of First United Methodist Church in Ames on Sunday, January 10. Contributed photo by First United Methodist Church

Marengo UMC celebrates 100th anniversary

Marengo UMC celebrates 100th anniversary

1/11/2016
Church members and clergy, past and present, gathered on a Sunday before Advent to commemorate Marengo United Methodist Church’s (UMC) 100th anniversary in its current site. The worship service was very energetic, according to Pastor Matt German, with rededication of the church’s baptismal font, pulpit and the entire building, followed by a potluck lunch and memory sharing.  “It was vibrant,” Rev. German said, “with the presence of the Holy Spirit.” Methodists have a history in the Marengo area ...

Saving Starfish—Making a difference in the lives of young immigrants, one by one

Saving Starfish—Making a difference in the lives of young immigrants, one by one

1/11/2016
After the Postville Raid. Photo credit: Fair Immigration Reform,

Removing barriers to self-care

Removing barriers to self-care

1/6/2016
In January, many people make plans to do better at taking care of themselves such as: losing weight, eating better, or spending time with family rather than putting work ahead of family. In other words, to improve their health habits. This translates into what is known within wellness and health promotion as “self-care”. While we know we “should” take better care of ourselves, it is often hard to do. Several barriers include: Knowing you want to change your eating habits and physical activity, ...

Determination and Faith Changes Lives

Determination and Faith Changes Lives

12/21/2015
New Southern Sudanese (Mabaan) United Methodist Church—Where Determination and Faith Changes Lives From the newest African nation, South Sudan, to a new home in Iowa, Rev. Aaron Limmo along with his wife, Helen and four children (Meeko, Ciimban, Diengke and Bwanne) are establishing a new community of faith, The Southern Sudanese United Methodist Church (Mabaan) at the Epworth United Methodist Church in Des Moines.  In 1983, Rev. Limmo was one of the thousands of children who became separated ...

165 faith leaders urge changes in gun laws

165 faith leaders urge changes in gun laws

12/10/2015
Bishop Trimble signed the op-ed regarding gun violence in our society and the call to take action! It was published today in the Des Moines Register.

Give the gift of Camp this season

Give the gift of Camp this season

12/10/2015
As we move into the joyous occasion of our Savior’s birth it reminds me to be thankful for all the gifts we’ve been given. That little baby in a manger reminds me of the joy of children and the hope and peace that they provide to all of us. I have three young children myself and when I look into their faces I just smile with joy, and I am thankful for them to be healthy and to be able to enjoy many different things in life.  As I thought about this, I realized that many of the youth we work with...

Share Your Video Stories

Share Your Video Stories

12/7/2015
Share the exciting things that are happening in your congregation and the ways you’re making a difference in your community.  Send the video you’ve posted on YouTube on on a social media site and we’ll add them to the new Your Video Stories library.  You’ll inspire others and may just help them to discover new ways to have a terrific impact.   Here are a few topics/themes that you might want to consider in your video storytelling: Community service New ways to reach your community Missions New...

Thanksgiving Ingathering tops $1m goal

Thanksgiving Ingathering tops $1m goal

12/7/2015
The 2015 Thanksgiving Ingathering brought together more than $1 million in cash/checks, in-kind contributions, and special activities.  The report, presented Friday, December 4, at the Ingathering committee meeting, detailed the number of kits, sweaters and cartons of books destined for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the Iowa Nigeria Partnership (INP).  In addition, the financial support raised for related missions was tallied.   The 36th annual Thanksgiving Ingathering was...

Only love can drive out hate

12/3/2015
Only love can drive out hate Authorities are still trying to sort out the why of the shooting in San Bernardino. We know that 14 people were killed, 17 wounded, and countless others terrorized and the heart of Jesus is once again broken. In the Advent season we, in the United Methodist Church, join other Christians in celebrating the coming of the “Light of the World,” Emmanuel, God with us. What we do know is that Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik acted with hatred and malice in their hearts. In ...

Prayers for San Bernardino

Prayers for San Bernardino

12/2/2015
We’ve seen this before.   Is sad to say…almost callous…as if today’s tragedy wasn’t important, as if the lives taken and lives disrupted didn’t really matter.   Today it was San Bernardino, with 14 reported dead (as of 8 pm December 2).  On November 27th it was Colorado Springs with three killed and nine wounded.  On November 23rd four were killed in Columbus, Ohio.  Closer to home, on November 30th two people were found dead in a home on Center Street in Des Moines.  And, of course, there was ...

#CTTalks Series on Vital Congregations

#CTTalks Series on Vital Congregations

12/1/2015
Continuing the conversation around key topics related to General Conference 2016, The Connectional Table begins a month-long series in December on Vital Congregations and the Four Areas of Focus as part of the #CTTalks online forum. Beginning Tuesday, December 1st, a video will be posted each week that explores how vital congregations are aligning their attention, energy, and resources in ways that are bearing fruit in the Four Areas of Focus: engaging in ministry with the poor, improving global...

December 2015 School Teachers for Nigeria

12/1/2015
As we turn the calendar to December there is lots of educational news from Nigeria.  Banyam Theological Seminary (BTS) will graduate students on December 1. Staff and students will leave for their villages to spend the holiday period.   Rev. Musa Danjuma, studying at West Africa Theological Seminary in Lagos, will finish his first semester on December 18.  During the holiday break he will do Practical Research in Kano—a northern city on the edge of the Sahara Desert.  The new Ronald Wilmot ...

JFON asks Gov. to change immigration stance

JFON asks Gov. to change immigration stance

11/23/2015
The attorneys, staff, and volunteers of Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors call on Governor Terry Branstad to immediately cancel his order halting state agencies from aiding Syrian refugee resettlement in Iowa.  Staff Attorney Brynne Howard states, “The Governor's order is legally, factually, and morally unfounded, as well as a threat to decades of work by Iowa's clergy, business, education, and law enforcement communities to make Iowa a welcoming state for refugees.”   We urge Governor Branstad to ...

What United Methodists Believe...

What United Methodists Believe...

11/18/2015
On the topic of Immigration… “We recognize, embrace, and affirm all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God. We affirm the right of all persons to equal opportunities for employment, access to housing, health care, education, and freedom from social discrimination. We urge the Church and society to recognize the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.” -United Methodist Social Principles, “The Social ...

"Be messengers of peace’ - Bishop Trimble

11/17/2015
“This is an occasion where all Christians, all of humanity should cry out and weep,” said Bishop Julius C. Trimble, speaking about the tragedy that occurred in Paris on Friday, November 13.  “This is not just a tragedy for the country of France, or the city of Paris,” he added.  Indeed, “it’s a tragedy for the whole human family.”   Bishop Trimble called on Iowa United Methodists “in all our local churches and communities…[to] always carve out time to remember that we’re part of a much bigger ...

Bishop: governors be ‘promoters of peace’

Bishop: governors be ‘promoters of peace’

11/17/2015
“Governors who publicly refuse to consider allowing Syrian refugees are fostering fear and prejudicial treatment of Syrians,” said Iowa Conference Bishop Julius C. Trimble.  “The governors are creating an environment of racial profiling.”   The Bishop’s remarks came against a backdrop of calls to “pause” admitting refugees from Syria.  The backlash comes following the tragedy in Paris, last week, when some 128 people were killed in terror attacks.   “I want to invite people to remember we are ...

Grief, Dismay and Prayers for Peace

Grief, Dismay and Prayers for Peace

11/15/2015
   “Love and truth will embrace; justice and peace will kiss. Truth will spring from the earth; justice will look down from heaven"  (Psalm 85:10-11, NIV).  We mourn for the 132 women, men and children who were killed and hundreds more who were injured in terrorist attacks on Paris, November 13, in the name of Islamic extremist ideology. Our thoughts and prayers remain with those who are devastated by the loss of friends, family, and loved ones. We stand in solidarity with the people of France ...

New Site Director at Pictured Rocks

New Site Director at Pictured Rocks

11/11/2015
New Site Director at Pictured Rocks Camp and Retreat Center Announced The Iowa United Methodist Camp and Retreat Team would like to welcome Gabe Dorrell as the new Site Director of Pictured Rocks Camp and Retreat Center. Dorrell is a native of Newton, Iowa, and his love for camp started when he attended Pine Lake Camp as a youth in Eldora, Iowa. He later worked for the camp ministry team and has also served as a Director of Youth and Family Ministry in Platteville, Wisconsin.  “I tend to thrive...

'Shaping the UMC is a treasured experience'

'Shaping the UMC is a treasured experience'

11/10/2015
“I am grateful to all my colleagues who voted for me and have confidence in me,” said Rev. Lilian Gallo Seagren, who had the honor of being the very first of the six clergy elected to the Iowa Conference delegation to the 2016 Conference of The United Methodist Church.  “The thought that I am a participant in the shaping and perfecting of the United Methodist Church is a treasured experience to me,” she enthuses.  Interacting With the Delegates This September they had their first meeting, ...

IRMS hosts Bethlehem peace light

IRMS hosts Bethlehem peace light

11/10/2015
Iowa Religious Media Services, in partnership with the Mid-Iowa Council of the Boy Scouts of America, will once again host the Bethlehem Peace Light during this Advent season.  For over a thousand years, lamps have been continuously lit in the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and now the same flame can shine in your sanctuary too.  Since 1989, Boy Scouts from Austria have facilitated the distribution of the Bethlehem Peace Light from the Grotto of the Nativity in the small town of Bethlehem,...

Blessed are the children

Blessed are the children

11/9/2015
Cathi Griswold, co-chair of the North Central Thanksgiving Ingathering for the Webster City site remembers participating in the Ingathering as a child growing up in the United Methodist Church. When asked if she and her husband, Scott, along with another couple, Gary and Nicole Chamnes, would take the lead with the project three years ago, she didn't hesitate because she knew that thousands of lives would be changed in Iowa and afar. On November 7, 2015, Asbury United Methodist Church hosted the...

Blessed by 'generous hearts'

Blessed by 'generous hearts'

11/8/2015
 It was a crisp, fall morning. The crops were in.  The leaves were down.  Steam rose from still lakes.   Faithful United Methodists at five sites – Cherokee, Webster City, Cedar Falls, Mt. Pleasant, and Greenfield – gathered, ready to receive kits for the Iowa-Nigeria Partnership, United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR), crafts, quilts to be auctioned, and donations to Heifer Project International, Self-Help International, Church World Service , THE PET Project, and district hunger related ...

Presence and Partnership mark Town Hall conversation

Presence and Partnership mark Town Hall conversation

11/6/2015
An expressed desire to be able to interact with Conference leaders and people in mission and being partners in ministry marked the conversation at the second of the fall 2015 “town hall” meetings.   A modest sized group of more than a dozen lay and clergy gathered at Eldridge United Methodist Church for the Thursday evening “town hall,” which was the second in the series of 10 scheduled for November. Conference Treasurer Terry Montgomery and Director of Communications Dr. Art McClanahan, lay and...

Bishop Kiesey to retire

Bishop Kiesey to retire

11/5/2015
Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey has informed the United Methodist Church Council of Bishops of her intent to retire in 2016 at the end of her current 4-year assignment to the Michigan Area. The West Michigan Conference and the Detroit Annual Conference comprise the Michigan Area  of The United Methodist Church. Together, these annual conferences represent nearly 900 United Methodist churches and over 150,000 members in Michigan. In her announcement to the Michigan Area, released on video earlier ...

Help MUMM with Holiday Giving

Help MUMM with Holiday Giving

11/3/2015
It’s that time of the year when many of us begin to think about holiday giving. And MUMM is no different. As we travel during the summer, we meet kids whose families are strapped trying to make ends meet. Often that means food is scarce, not to mention clothes, books, toiletries and so many things the rest of us take for granted.  So this time of year, we check back with the churches we partnered with for Vacation Bible School to see if they have families they need help providing for during the ...

November 2015 School Teachers for Nigeria

11/3/2015
Giving Tuesday on December 1 is a day Global Ministries will accept gifts over the phone or online starting at 12:01 AM. United Methodists will once again come together to support the work of Advance projects and missionaries on UMC #GivingTuesday. And once again, every gift made online through The Advance at www.umcmission.org/give on Dec. 1, 2015 will be matched up to $1 milion. The theme for the 2015 UMC #Giving Tuesday campaign is “Activate Love. Transform Lives. Change the World.”  Because ...

#CTTalks About Christian Conferencing

#CTTalks About Christian Conferencing

11/2/2015
Today the Connectional Table begins a month-long series on Christian Conferencing as part of the #CTTalks online forum. The forum was designed to create conversation around key topics related to General Conference leading up to the event in May 2016. Each Monday in November, a video will be posted that addresses the principles of Christian Conferencing for delegations to use these as they gather together to prepare for General Conference. The first video on November 2 features Bishop Sharon ...

Bishops Assemble for Fall Learning Retreat

Bishops Assemble for Fall Learning Retreat

11/2/2015
The residential bishops of The United Methodist Church will meet November 1-5 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. for a time of learning, reflection, sharing, worship and devotion.  The gathering will continue a focus on the theme of adaptive leadership, which was also the central topic at the bishops’ retreat in 2014. The five-day learning experience will include presentations by Marty Linsky, adaptive leadership expert,  co-founder of Cambridge Leadership Associates and co-author of The Practice of ...

Disaster Ministries Fall Update

Disaster Ministries Fall Update

11/2/2015
Morningside College students volunteer at their "Into The Streets" Mission day.

Could reorganizing agencies boost church vitality?

Could reorganizing agencies boost church vitality?

10/29/2015
By Heather Hahn Oct. 29, 2015 (UMNS) Supporters and opponents of Plan UMC agree on this: Any reorganization of United Methodist agencies ought to help more churches become vital and strengthen the denomination’s Christian witness. Whether this plan can get the job done is in dispute.  “That’s a question that will primarily be before the General Conference,” said Lonnie Brooks, Alaska Conference lay leader and one of six contributors to the legislation retooled after the 2012 General Conference. ...

Vote to End Hunger Rally

Vote to End Hunger Rally

10/29/2015
You are invited to participate in the “Vote to End Hunger” interfaith rally on Sunday, Nov. 8 at Grand View University in Des Moines. The event is sponsored by Bread for the World and the Iowa Catholic Conference. The purpose of the rally is to make hunger a priority issue in the presidential campaign. Speakers will include Bishop Richard Pates of the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines and the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. Kathie Obradovich, political columnist for the Des ...

"Islam" November's Extended Learning Opportunity through the School for Lay Ministry

10/20/2015
We are excited to offer some Extended Learning Opportunities at Cornell College again this fall. Classes are open to all clergy, laity or anyone interested so please feel free to get the word out. We hope many can take advantage of these opportunities. If you are interested in attending any of the classes, a registration form is posted here: SLM Website. Please send your registration form along with a non-refundable deposit check in the amount of $40.00, per class, to me for processing. The ...

Move to new episcopal residence nearly complete

Move to new episcopal residence nearly complete

10/9/2015
The Iowa Conference has a new residence for its resident bishop and family.  Located in Clive, the home is in one of Iowa's fastest-growing counties, one with significantly increasing diversity.   The Clive episcopal residence meets all guidelines and standards, as set by the General Council on Finance and Administration as well as the North Central Jurisdiction (NCJ) of The United Methodist Church.  The house is also comparable to other episcopal residences across the NCJ.   The Conference's ...

Child Care Center awarded Native American Sunday special offering

Child Care Center awarded Native American Sunday special offering

10/6/2015
Pastor Audrey Westendorf Young, Chairperson for Mission Education of the Iowa Conference Board of Global Ministries has announced that Grace United Methodist Church in Sioux City has been awarded over $39,000. Grace UMC houses the Native American Child Care Center. The Native American Sunday collection is received each year as one of the six denominational special offerings.  (Read more)  Half the offering has been sent to the GBGM with the other half remaining in Iowa.  Here are pictures from...

front*piece October 2015

10/6/2015
The Right Thing to Do One of the places where I learned to give thanks was Stratford Avenue School in Garden City, New York.  Miss Streeter taught one of the Kindergarten classes.  I enjoyed being in her class probably about as much as any of my K-6 years there.  She helped us to learn to appreciate each other and appreciate ourselves...as much as any 4 year-old could grasp such profound lessons.  It was more than the automatic “please and thank you” that any well-mannered child includes in ...

October 2015 School Teachers for Nigeria

10/3/2015
At Banyam Theological Seminary in Bambur, the new medical clinic is being completed with an opening date of October 5.  Cedar Falls First UMC and Living Parish/Monona UMC have funded this priority project. With over 200 students and staff on campus, having health care on site has been a dream of the BTS leadership for several years. The young families need pre/post natal and maternity care, which will now  become a reality. People can be seen there with minor health problems treated rather than ...

Celebrate 36 years of giving at the Thanksgiving Ingathering

Celebrate 36 years of giving at the Thanksgiving Ingathering

10/1/2015
Projects Supported by the Ingathering • Church World Service • Heifer Project International • Self-Help International • Iowa-Nigeria Partnership • Umcor Depot  • Personal Energy Transportation • District Hunger Related Agencies On November 7th Iowa celebrates the 36th year of the Thanksgiving Ingathering. What began as a casual conversation between Art Richardson and Bill Applegate about why there was so much hunger and poverty around the world while many were living in luxury, has resulted ...

Summer camp—a God-powerful experience

Summer camp—a God-powerful experience

10/1/2015
By Courtney Glienke The 2016 catalog will be mailed in January. Watch for more information about online registration. If you would like to be on the Camps mailing list just email camps@iaumc.org.   Summer camp.     Those two words can trigger memories for anyone who has ever experienced it. Camp means making friends that become family, facing challenges in a safe environment and meeting God in the wonders of Creation.  2,523 campers experienced all of this and more this summer at one of Iowa’s...

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