United Methodists raise 80 percent of malaria goal

Imagine No Malaria counts $60 million in donations and uncountable blessings Imagine No Malaria announced April 10 that United Methodists are 80 percent of the way toward reaching their goal of raising $75 million by 2015. In the past year alone, the people of The United Methodist Church have made contributions and pledges of more than $28 million, boosting the total raised to more than $60 million. In the coming weeks, five annual (regional) conferences will launch fundraising ...

"We do not teach justice by being unjust"

Penalties must be appropriate to crime, social justice agency head tells senators by Wayne Rhodes, Editor, Faith in Action                  The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe (fourth from left), chief executive of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society, was among persons who participated in a discussion of mandatory-minimum sentencing conducted by U.S. Senate Democracts. Others who spoke (from left) are David LaBahn, president, Assn. of Prosecuting Attorneys; Laura ...

Laity Day 2014

Laity Day runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 12, at Grace United Methodist Church, 3700 Cottage Grove Church in Des Moines.  The entire event will be livestreamed. Click here on April 12 to connect to the livestream.  Click on Laity Day 2014 image, top row, left, for Laity Day.  It will appear at 8:30 am on April 12. (Streaming available only on laptops/desktops; not compatible with tablets and smartphones due to Microsoft Silverlight limitations.) Bishop Trimble will refer to his blogpost, ...

Social justice agency sets legislative priorities

2014 legislative priorities Social justice agency announces congressional advocacy agenda by Wayne Rhodes, Editor, Faith in Action on April 08, 2014 WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has set its 2014 legislative priorities for the U.S. Congress. The priorities include several issues in the headlines recently, such as immigration reform and health security. There are also holdovers from 2013, such as combating human trafficking and fully ...

Help us help Uzajja unlock the potential of Christ in Nigeria

                      From the Iowa Nigeria Partnership A Win - Win - Win - Win situation if we help Uzajja further his education at Africa University, the cause of Christ wins four ways: Enhance learning at BTS; Allow seminarians to benefit from new educational programs; Better trained pastors for UMC in Nigeria; and Support Africa University. Here’s what we need: financial assistance to send Uzajja to Africa U for a 2-year Masters program Tuition/school Fees $6,500 per year. ...

Navy Chaplain Jennifer Bowden Serves in Washington Mudslide Disaster

           The recent devastating mudslide near Oso, Wash., took its toll on rescue workers who have diligently searched for survivors underneath a square-mile of debris and muck, which in some parts was 30 to 40 feet deep. Amoung those workers is Lieutenant commander Rev. Jennifer Bowden, Command Chaplain, and a United Methodist who served at Dunwoody UMC during seminary at Candler School of Theology and afterward under full appointment.  The mudslide claimed ...

United Methodists join weekend action to stop deportations

                      By Kathy L. Gilbert - United Methodist News Service During the weekend of April 5-6, many prayers were said for immigrant families torn apart by deportations and those praying are hoping President Barack Obama is listening. United Methodists joined with other faith groups and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in a weekend of action to ask for temporary suspension of deportations, which will soon reach 2 million. Three other denominations — ...

USAID and ZunZuneo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The news that the United States Agency for International Development surreptitiously sponsored a text messaging service in Cuba created a storm of criticism. The fallout has implications for other humanitarian organizations as well. The Rev. Larry Hollon, top staff executive of United Methodist Communications, explains: April 8, 2014 - The news that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) surreptitiously sponsored a text ...

Worshipers turn to church after Fort Hood shooting

By Kevin Schwaller - KILLEEN, Texas (KXAN) — Some members of the community around Fort Hood are coping with last week’s shooting by turning to their church. Flags line the entrance of the First United Methodist Church of Killeen. Four ribbons hang on the front sign. Each ribbon represents one of the dead, including the shooter. Rev. Jeff Miller, senior pastor of the church, lit four candles at the beginning of the service Sunday and a bell rang four times. “A lot of people, they ...

See how UMC camps change lives

        By Rev. David Hobbs, LDM, Camping and Christian Formation  Wow, can you believe it, we are starting to get wonderful warmth out there now, and it’s starting to feel more like summer, and that gets me to thinking about camps.  In the last month I have shared some wonderful testimonies throughout the Conference about folks who have been involved with Iowa UMC Camps over the years, and this week I’m going to do the same. In the last few articles have been some really neat stories ...

"A New Calling: Spiritual Second Careers," an interfaith special, set for Sunday, April 13 on CBS

                              From Mike McCurry, plenary speaker at RCC 2008, featured in broadcast "A New Calling: Spiritual Second Careers," a CBS Interfaith Special that explores the phenomenon of mature adults moving from successful secular careers into the world of religion, will be broadcast Sunday, April 13, on the CBS Television Network (check local listings). The broadcast asks why a successful professional in a secular career chooses to ...

Black caucus commits to increase advocacy

                    At right, the Rev. Cedrick Bridgeforth, chair of Black Methodists for Church Renewal, addresses the caucus about plans for its future. From left, sitting, are the Rev. Danita R. Anderson, the group's secretary, and Deborah Bell, vice chair. Photo by Bill Fulton, WAFB Photo   By Heather Hahn -  United Methodist News Service Expect to hear more in the next three years from The United Methodist Church’s black caucus on issues that affect the denomination and ...

United Methodists doing amazing work in Zimbabwe

By Vicki Brown - Schools, pastoral counseling, hospitals and children’s homes are all part of the outreach United Methodists are doing in Zimbabwe—work that took center stage during two days of the visit to Africa University by staff and directors of the UM Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Staff and members of the agency’s Board of Directors visited and talked with doctors, teachers, children and volunteers at the Old UMC Mutare Mission Center, which houses Hartzell Schools, ...

KCCI: 'Enough is enough!' Iowa groups call for help for families

                  KCCI photo DES MOINES, Iowa — By Marcus McIntosh - Groups held a rally outside the Polk County Courthouse Friday calling for an end to deportations. The rally was part of the national Not1more Deportation campaign. "We are saying enough is enough.  We need to stop deportations and pass a humane and comprehensive immigration reform that is sensible to our country that keeps our borders safe," said Sandra Sanchez of American Friends Service Committee. ...

Letters from U.S. Presidents

DALLAS - United Methodist News Service An exhibit featuring letters and White House invitations sent to Methodists from men who were, had been or once would be president of the United States continues through May 9 at Bridwell Library, part of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.  The dates of the documents range from 1854 to 1957. See images from the exhibit

Eugene Fracek invites understanding and relationship building with Indians

Click to hear the interview with Eugene Fracek Click to see images from the gathering Eugene Fracek was the keynote speaker for the Iowa Methodist Federation for Social Action spring 2014 meeting.   He grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, became the Indian Resource Teacher for the Rapid City School District, served as Indian Education Director for the State of South Dakota, for nearly two decades was an elementary school principal in Des Moines, and now teaches classes ...

Dave Decker elected to be NCJ lay leaders president

Click to listen to the conversation with Dave Decker Dave Decker, Iowa Conference Lay Leader, is the new president of the North Central Jurisdiction Lay Leaders. Having served as secretary for the executive board “they thought it would be good if I would become president of the North Central Jurisdiction” group. Reflecting on the meaning of his election Decker noted, “it means that we have an opportunity to be in a more ambitious relationship with our Bishops and our Conference lay leaders in...

Mudslide Update: Our impact, dollars at work for Oso relief

                    (View of the hill side that gave way near SR 530. A hillside in the Snohomish County community of Oso at SR 530 gave way on March. Pictured here is the side of the hill after the slide. Landslide photo courtesy of WSDOT, praying hands illustration courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.) - By the Rev. Stanley J. Norman Stan Norman serves as the PNW’s Annual Conference Disaster Response Team Co-Coordinator. Here is an update on how our United Methodists have ...

UMCOR monitoring Chile earthquake aftermath

NEW YORK (UMNS) -   The United Methodist Committee on Relief has been in contact with the Methodist Humanitarian Aid Team in Chile following the magnitude 8.2 earthquake there April 1. UMCOR has partnered since 2009 with EMAH, the humanitarian assistance arm of the Methodist Church of Chile, to strengthen the organization's capacity for disaster preparedness and shore up its response network.   Read more

Iowans celebrate unique ministry of Women at the Well

by Karen Tisinger, for Women at the Well Calling Women at the Well “a ministry worthy of our support,” Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble led approximately 120 Iowa United Methodists and ecumenical leaders in celebrating the work of the seven-year-old church—the denomination’s first prison congregation in the U.S. (Women at the Well United Methodist Church is located inside the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women at Mitchellville.) The March 16 celebration included special organ and handbell ...

Board approves four GBHEM-initiated proposals for young clergy

By Vicki Brown - A Sunday focused on call and $600,000 to expand Project Transformation were among four proposals approved by the directors of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry during the March meeting in Mutare, Zimbabwe.  The proposals are aimed at increasing the number of young clergy in The United Methodist Church. The four proposals approved by the Board of Directors were initiated by staff and were in addition to 91 completed applications for grants ...

Builder's Call - The need is year round

The spring 2014 Builder’s Sunday just recently passed but the need and the call continues on. Churches in the Iowa Annual Conference can choose any Sunday to take part in the Builder’s Call, a program that has for 30 years supported the Conference mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The two annual calls benefit churches in the Conference undergoing capital building projects that will enable the churches to better reach people for Jesus Christ, said...

Self-care focus of Orders and Fellowship event

Click to see photos from the day. The spring 2014 Orders and Fellowship gathering took place at First United Methodist Church in Marshalltown on March 18. The program focused on clergy well-being and the transformation that that can bring about and was led by Rev. Scott Lothe, of Marshalltown Hope UM Church and Kim Hanken. “I’m so excited for this day around clergy well-being and self-care,” Rev. Lothe said. “It’s become a very important topic for the church.” “Several of our general ...

South Central church is recipient of Builder's Call

Grace United Methodist Church in Moravia is the spring 2014 recipient of the Builder’s Call. Grace UMC is located in the South Central Conference and is considered to be in the gateway to Lake Rathbun, a little more than an hour southeast of Des Moines. Approximately 800 people live in Moravia. “It’s very small but has a very rich heritage,” said Rev. Cindy Finn, pastor for Grace UMC. The congregation was started with a Moravian colony in the 1850’s. The people held a really deep faith, a ...

United Methodist presence strong in Chicago rally

                        United Methodist Bishop Sally Dyck, Chicago, joins other faith leaders in a March 27, 2014 rally and protest calling upon President Obama to stop deportations of undocumented people. Photo by Michael Vollmer, UMNS By Kathy L. Gilbert  -  United Methodist News Service Bishop Sally Dyck became the third United Methodist bishop to be arrested since President’s Day in an international campaign calling for President Barack Obama to stop deporting immigrants ...

First UMC Burlington promotes fair trade at the LOFT

Click to hear the conversation with Ann Ure about the LOFT Click to see a gallery of images of LOFT LOFT – Loving Opportunities, Fair Trade – at First United Methodist Church, Burlington, is ready to help persons in developing countries. “They don’t want a hand out, they want to work for their living,” said Ann Ure, LOFT’s director.  “They don’t really have a way of doing in on their home communities.  We’re providing them a market for their goods.”  Many crafts persons, artisans, and small ...

United Methodist Committee on Relief recruiting adults for Early Response Team training

                      (Archive photo from | The Times-Picayune)  By Suzie Hunt - In the dark days following Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of people put their own lives on hold and came to the Gulf Coast to help. Known as Early Response Teams, the men and women from many different organizations arrived soon after the winds died down and the waters receded. They came to get their hands dirty and were a blessing to people still in shock on how life here had changed....

A glimpse into the appointment making process

Click here to read the current list of appointments  Click to hear the conversation with Rev. Brian Milford Rev. Brian Milford, Dean of the Appointive Cabinet, provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the appointment making process and talks about the progress being made in the 2014 cycle.   Dr. Art McClanahan has the interview.  

Design Task Force - An Overview

Click to listen to the conversation with Joni Mardesen The 2013 session of the Iowa Conference the establishment of a Design Task Force to review the Strategic Priorities and help the Conference to live into them.  Specifically, the session directed “Conference staffing at all levels…be reassessed and redesigned with the support of the Human Resources department and input from communities of faith to address current needs based on our strategic priorities by June 1, 2014.” The Design Task ...

Diverse East Central communities celebrate faith with Bishop

Two unique faith communities in the East Central District welcomed Bishop Julius Trimble on the first Sunday of Lent. Bishop Trimble preached on March 9 in Cedar Rapids at St. Paul United Methodist Church and at the International French Fellowship at Asbury United Methodist Church. Both were diverse collections of nations and languages, and an opportunity to display the welcoming mission of the United Methodist Church. In the services he had an opportunity to worship in six languages with ...

"Water, Holy Water" (Earth Day 2014)

Gift of God threatened by overuse, pollution WASHINGTON, D.C. - The 2014 Earth Day resource from Creation Justice Ministries explores water as a gift from God being threatened by overuse and pollution. Theme of the resource is “Water, Holy Water.” Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22. Some cities start celebrating a week in advance, ending the recognition of Earth Week on April 22nd. Others host month-long events to stress the importance of teaching about the ...

Iowa UMC Camps Change Lives

--From Rev. David Hobbs, Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation  Spring 2014 is upon us and summer is just around the corner, and that means lots of Christian fun and excitement at one of your Iowa UMC Camps. There is still plenty of time to register for camp and camperships to help your youth get to camp. Enjoy the two testimonies below from past campers and staffers on how camp impacted their lives, one recent Wesley Wood’s camper and summer staffer, and the ...

Iowa Conference UMC 2014 Potpourri Mission Booth

For the last several years the churches of the IAUMC have come together to collect items needed to support the ministries chosen by their home districts and Bishop Trimble.  This year, we are sharing all nine ministries now to invite our congregations to participate in the mission that they feel passionate about and invite you to ask questions about each ministry.  There are many worthy ministries that we can and support each year.  This is an opportunity to focus on some ministries that will ...

Large Church pastors gather to hear about growth and transformation

Click here for the Cornerstone Church website  Click to hear a conversation with Brad Kalajainen Click here to see a photo gallery Pastors of the Iowa Conference’s largest congregations gathered to hear words of encouragement and stories of congregational transformation from Brad Kalajainen.  The event, held at First UMC, Nevada, brought together clergy leaders who serve congregations with an average of 250 or more persons in worship to be guided by the lead pastor of Cornerstone Church, a ...

Laundry of Love

By Rev. Cindy Hickman* Reaching out to the local community is difficult.  We all know that we should be doing it, but actually finding a way to bridge the gap between the church and the community is not easy.  One way we discovered at Bloomfield-Des Moines UMC is Laundry of Love.   We learned a lot of lessons along the way.   Several years ago a new person attended our church and she suggested that we visit area laundromats on Saturday mornings and take quarters and hospitality to those doing...

Human Trafficking Prevention Training

Human Trafficking involves exploiting people for labor or sex under conditions of force, fraud, or coercion as well as the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. Human trafficking is a growing problem in the U.S., where most victims are youth and young adults. Over 100,000 American-born youth are trafficked in our country today. The Network Against Human Trafficking ( invites youth, parents, teachers, and all community members and professionals to a half-day ...

Women pastors growing in numbers

By M. Garlinda Burton - United Methodist News Service Women pastors in The United Methodist Church are finding more acceptance and more reasons to stay in local church ministry than any time in the denomination’s history, according to a survey of clergywomen. Still, women are more likely to leave congregations for ministries beyond congregations, citing lack of support by bishops and cabinets and underuse of their “gifts” for ministry, the survey found. And racial-ethnic clergywomen are ...

mHealth: Healthcare Reaching Remote Places with Mobile Phones and SMS

3/21/2014 – the institute technology and social change                 (Mercy (pictured with Maeghan Ray Orton from Medic Mobile) at UMCom workshop in Malawi) Posted by TechChange alumnus, Neelley Hicks, ICT4D Director of United Methodist Communications. Mobile phones seem to be everywhere in Africa, and they’re keeping people in touch with health, education, banking, and community empowerment. “Email and Facebook are problems…but this text messaging – it’s no problem,” says ...

Register: New president ready to guide Simpson College into future

                      Above: Simpson College Trustee and Board Chairwoman Sunnie Richer, Simpson College President Jay Simmons and Iowa Methodist Conference Bishop Julius C. Trimble at the inauguration of Jay Simmons, held Thursday, March 20 at Indianola First United Methodist Church. Photo credit: Michael Rolands/Indianola Record Herald Indianola, IA - March 20, 2014 By Paige Godden - Des Moines Register Faculty, staff, students, former presidents and alumni gathered at the ...

Chicago Area bishop to join immigration rally

Sam Hodges - United Methodist News Service A third United Methodist bishop soon may be arrested in protest of the Obama administration’s deportation of immigrants. On Feb. 17, Bishops Minerva Carcaño and Julius Trimble, co-chairs of the denomination’s Interagency Task Force on Immigration, were among those police placed in custody during a protest in front of the White House. Bishop Sally Dyck, who leads the Northern Illinois Annual (regional) Conference, said she will join a March 27 rally ...

2014 IAMSCU Conference in Hiroshima

May 24-28, 2014, IAMSCU will hold its tri-annual international conference in Hiroshima, Japan. With a  theme of Peace, Reconciliation and Human Rights, the conference will touch on broad themes of interest to an international audience with special attention to Hiroshima’s historic connection to peace as well as efforts for reconciliation in the Asian Pacific context. Hiroshima Jogakuin, a Methodist school with deep roots in Hiroshima and international peace education  has graciously agreed ...

Bishop Trimble calls Washington Immigration pray-in 'an important Christian witness'

Click to listen to the interview with Bishop Trimble Calling the Washington Immigration Pray-in “a very powerful and very spiritual experience," Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble noted that everyone involved was “committed to a much more hospitable and inviting approach to the issues of immigration and the ways that we treat our neighbors.” For Bishop Trimble “it was an important Christian witness for the church and for the Bishops and for the lay persons from around the country and from across ...

Global Communications Organization Calls on Members to Learn about Technology as a Tool for Social and Economic Development

United Methodist Communications Office of Public Information United Methodist Communications Releases Discussion Paper on Using Technology for Social Good NASHVILLE, TN – United Methodist Communications, the communications agency of The United Methodist Church, today called on members of the church to learn about how the increasing availability of low-cost communication technologies can be used as tools for community organization – strengthening global social and economic development. To ...

Iowa among 20 conferences with 100% general Church apportionment support

The General Council on Finance and Administration of The United Methodist Church reports that twenty annual conferences paid 100% of general Church apportioned funds, Shared Services Department begins work throughout the connection span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family: ">Nashville, TN – The board of directors of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) met in Nashville, Tennessee February 20-21 for the first quarter meeting of 2014. GCFA reports that 20 annual conferences ...

"From Lent to Sent"

                    By Pastor Richard Boatman - Oakwood United Methodist Church, Pleasant Hill There is no higher season for the Church than Lent and its climax into Holy Week and Easter Sunday. From the imposition of ashes until we declare, “Christ is Risen” is a time of remembering, repenting and reflecting. These forty days are an opportunity for going inwardly deeper. But in biblical practice, depth is followed by breadth. Maxims move from being internalized to being ...

Appeal granted in Schaefer defrocking case

                By Heather Hahn - United Methodist News Service An appeals committee has agreed to hear the case of Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked as a United Methodist pastor after a church trial for officiating at the same-sex wedding of his son. “The appeal date has been set for June 20, and the parties have been so notified,” said Jen Ihlo, president of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals. She also noted that a request has been made to reschedule the hearing, ...

Interfaith prayer vigil for peace and unity in South Sudan

Join the Greater Des Moines Community March 22, at 7:30 p.m. for an interfaith prayer vigil for South Sudan.  The prayer vigil will be held at St. Ambrose Cathedral, 607 High St., Des Moines.  Attendees will have the opportunity to light a candle in remembrance of those who lost their lives in South Sudan. This event is sponsored by the United Sudanese and South Sudanese Communities Association (USASSCA) and the South Sudanese for Eradication of Tribalism (SSET).   

Wesley Acres presents: Conversations on the Politics of Jesus

Four Lenten Wednesays - March 26, April 2, 9, 16; 2:12 p.m. - 3:12 p.m. Community Room - Wesley Acres, 3520 Grand Ave., Des Moines   March 26 -   Biblical reflection with Rev. Bill Steward                     Why was Jesus a threat to the political rulers of his time?  What were the political commitments that guided him? April 2 --      Conversation with Bonnie Campbell   The former Iowa Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate will reflect with us on the things that matter. April 9 --...

Bishop Morgan, "leader of leaders," dies

                  By Heather Hahn - United Methodist News Service  Retired United Methodist Bishop Robert “Bob” C. Morgan, who twice oversaw the merger of annual (regional) conferences and mentored a number of active bishops, passed away Sunday, March 16. He was 80. “I always refer to him as a ‘leader of leaders,’” said Bishop Lindsey Davis, who served as a district superintendent under Morgan and considers him a mentor and friend. Davis now leads the Kentucky Annual and Red Bird ...

Dr. Peter Steinke conference - March 31- April 1

Vermeer Leadership Alliance presentation, Vermeer Global Pavillian, Pella Peter Steinke is an internationally respected congregational systems consultant who has also served as a parish pastor, an educator, and a therapist for clergy. He has served as a pastor, developer, and consultant at churches in Virginia, Texas and Illinois, and has taught classes at The Lutheran Seminary of Philadelphia, The Lutheran Seminary of the Southwest, Denver Seminary, and Austin Theological Seminary. Dr. ...

ISU collegiate Wesley Foundation has offerings for students

The Wesley Foundation at Iowa State will offer a new study series in the final weeks of Spring semester..."Discussion of the Week".  The topics for each session have come from previous studies, but these are completely previous participation in Wesley Foundation studies is necessary. Students can attend one, a few or all of the sessions. The Wesley Foundation is offering two identical sessions of this study each week to adapt to student schedules.  Here are the topics:           ...

Complaints filed against Bishop Talbert

By Heather Hahn - United Methodist News Service Formal complaints have been filed against retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert alleging “he has violated the sacred trust of his office,” said a March 13 statement from the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops. The United Methodist Council of Bishops on Nov. 15, 2013, requested the complaints be filed against Talbert, after he officiated at the union of two men — Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince — on Oct. 25, 2013, in Birmingham, Ala., despite ...

Deadline approaching for Denman evangelism award nominations

The Board of Discipleship of the Iowa Annual Conference is accepting nominations for the Harry Denman Evangelism Award for Clergy, Laity, and Youth. This prestigious award recognizes a person whose life and ministry exemplifies the teaching of Christ and the Great Commission. Recipients of these awards, nominated by individuals, churches, or districts, and selected by the Annual Conference, live their call to "Offer Them Christ" daily as modeled by Dr. Harry Denman, founder of The Foundation ...

Des Moines Register: Iowa Methodist School of Nursing building set to implode

By Katherine Kling - Des Moine Register - March 13, 2014 The Iowa Methodist School of Nursing building will crumble to the ground Sunday morning, officials said. The implosion will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday and last 18 seconds, said UnityPoint Health spokeswoman Amy Varcoe. The cloud of dust will last about 20 to 30 minutes. Located on the northeast side of the Iowa Methodist Medical Center campus, the former nursing school building stood for about 100 years. The last class of nurses graduated ...

Clarification of the March 10, 2014 Just Resolution of the Dr. Thomas Ogletree Case

  March 12, 2014  - There has been some confusion and inaccurate reporting following the March 10 press conference announcing the Just Resolution in the case of Dr. Thomas Ogletree. The following will hopefully clarify the terms and outcome of the Just Resolution in the case of Dr. Ogletree. First, the charges against Dr. Ogletree were not “dropped.” Rather they were “resolved” by a just resolution process as outlined in the United Methodist Book of Discipline. The judge of the court, Bishop ...

Japan: Long Recovery from Triple Disaster

              By David Tereshchuk * March 11, 2014—Today marks a milestone for Japan. It is a full three years now since the triple disaster –earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown—hit the country so devastatingly in 2011. From the very beginning of aid efforts, UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, has been deeply involved in a range of disaster response, relief, recovery, and rehabilitation efforts. Even though, as UMCOR’s deputy general secretary, the Rev. Dr. J. ...

United Methodist Church Foundation Celebrates 15 years

Celebrates management of over $108 million investments Nashville, TN – The United Methodist Church Foundation celebrated its 15th year of operations and growth for ministry organizations of all sizes and types within the UMC. Meeting in Nashville, TN on March 6-7, 2014, the directors engaged in a strategic planning process that focused on the diversity of ministry endowments invested during its history to date. Byrd Bonner, the Foundation’s founding president, credited the foresight of ...

Social justice agency issues call to boycott SodaStream

The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has issued a call to boycott SodaStream, a countertop carbonation device produced illegally in the occupied West Bank of the Palestinian Territories. The decision to engage in the boycott of SodaStream was overwhelmingly endorsed by the agency’s Board of Directors during its spring meeting here this month. SodaStream is among 23 “Products of the Year” announced last month by Parade Magazine. The company is Israeli-owned, but its ...

Change the World

On May 17-18, thousands of hands will join together in service during Change the World weekend. Sometimes a milestone sneaks up on you. It's hard to believe that 2014 marks five years of United Methodist participation in Change the World. This year we want you to raise your hands to help work together to create better neighborhoods, communities and a better world. When we do events around basic needs, creation care, education, humanitarian relief, and malaria, we help our neighbors find hope. ...

Mission gifts en route to Nigeria

The 2014 shipment of mission gifts for Nigeria is loaded and on the way.  Each year the Iowa Nigeria Partnership oversees the collection items such as robes, Bibles, hymnals, beds, examination tables and medical supplies for communities and schools in Nigeria. The sea containers that will travel for weeks across the ocean to Nigeria were also the final destination for the various InGathering kits assembled in churches throughout the Conference and delivered to Conference InGathering sites. “...

Patty LaGree to retire as Director of Ministerial Services

Patty LaGree, who has served as the first Director of Ministerial Services, will be retiring effective July 1, 2014.     “I know you will want to thank Patty for her service,” said Rev. Barrie Tritle, Chairperson of the Board of Ordained Ministry.  “We have been blessed by her care for details, her organizational skills, her spirit of hospitality and her passion for our ministry together.  I am very grateful for this position being created and having Patty serving so faithfully in this ...

Strategic Priorities are a way of being

 A set of strategic priorities were adopted at the 2013 Annual Conference Session, and they are something that continue to unfold. Rev. Bill Poland, assistant to the bishop for Administration, recently sat down to discuss the priorities. “As I understand the Strategic Priorities, there really are two priorities,” said Rev. Poland. “And that is creating and equipping world-transforming communities of faith, and also developing leaders in ourselves and others, both clergy and lay, for the sake ...

Evaluating Worship and Music

by Dean McIntyre - It was a simple question that came in the Q&A portion of a recent workshop. The woman stood and said, "My church started a contemporary worship service a few months ago. We converted our early Sunday morning service from traditional to contemporary and now we want to evaluate it. Other than attendance, how do we do that? How can we know if the contemporary service should continue?" I was not prepared for the question, so I was unable to respond to it intelligently ...

HSOP Announces Matching Funds for Associate Director Position

Haiti Solar Oven Partners (HSOP) is excited to announce a blessing--and a challenge--that will help HSOP reach more Haitians with life-changing solar ovens and training Due to the generosity of anonymous donors, HSOP is now one step closer to raising the dollars necessary to support an associate director position. HSOP Director Rick Jost has announced donor gifts totaling $6,000 to be used in a matching gift challenge to other HSOP supporters. "The $6,000, when matched, will pretty much get ...

Celebrating Women"s History month in the UMC

3/6/2014 The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women is celebrating Women’s History Month with special resources every day of March. The 2014 theme is “Women of Character, Courage and Commitment,” and GCSRW is marking that theme in The United Methodist Church three different ways: – Highlighting a different woman in UMC history each day on the agency’s website. – Providing inclusive-language, liturgically appropriate worship elements for each of the five Sundays of the ...

Resources for Lent and Easter Available on GBOD Website

A comprehensive collection of resources to help individuals and congregations prepare for Lent and Easter are now available at the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) website. The collection, titled His Resurrection, Our Life, provides specific information and materials to aid clergy and laity as they organize services for Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Other resources on the website are designed to help small groups, individuals and children and ...

Conference Legislative Advocacy Team Update

Please view the following one page documents summarizing the IAUMC's stance on the following bills and social issues: Civil Rights Providing Interpreters and Translators for Persons with Limited English Proficiency in Legal Proceedings. (SF2199) Approve Human Trafficking and Iowa Mental Health-Suicide Prevention Establishing an Iowa Center for Suicide Prevention through the Department of Public Health and requiring school employee training in suicide prevention and trauma-informed care. (SF...

Iowa Conference provisional deacon: Being woman, being human

General Commission on the Status and Role of Women post in honor of Women’s History Month By Tyler Schwaller After one of the discussion sections for a course I took in the first year of my Master of Divinity program, a friend remarked to me, “I really appreciated how you stood up for women and feminist ideas today.” I understood the sentiment and was grateful for the connection, but it was entirely strange for me to hear. I felt as if I were being thanked for doing something as basic and ...

Special Sunday Offering benefits UMCOR's disaster relief

The Countdown To One Great Hour of Sharing Across The United Methodist Church New United Methodist Committee on Relief video offers an interview with Marji Hill who serves on the ground with UMCOR and has seen the positive impact that churches giving through One Great Hour of Sharing can have. Tune in to gain insight into the work of UMCOR and join for the fourth Sunday in Lent. The new video podcast is also available on iTunes. Click HERE.  

Giving keeps pace with denomination"s budget

By Heather Hahn NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) United Methodist conference treasurers aren’t singing “Happy Days Are Here Again,” but they’re not singing the blues either. A number of United Methodist financial personnel say a mood of cautious optimism holds. Giving during the last couple of years has been steady, and there is a notable improvement from the deep recession of 2009.  Preliminary figures from the General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination’s finance agency, show ...

Member of Asbury UMC Bettendorf is new Churches United director

The Board of Directors of Churches United of the Quad City Area announces\d the promotion of Anne  Wachal, current Acting Executive Director and Program Manager to Executive Director of the 53-year- old organization effective March 1.   Wachal is a member of Asbury United Methodist Church in Bettendorf.   Wachal has been employed with Churches United since June of 1999 and has served as Program  Manager and Associate Director for many years. Under her leadership, Churches United expanded...

United Methodist social-justice agency affirms human rights for all people

GBCS Board of Directors issue statement saying everyone has right to security of person and protection against violence.   March 3, 2014 - General Board of Church & Society, The United Methodist Church   As United Methodists, we believe: span style="font-size:9.0pt; font-family:">The rights and privileges a society bestows upon or withholds from those who comprise it indicate the relative esteem in which that society holds particular persons and groups of persons. We affirm all persons as ...

Early bird registration now open for ICT4D conference

Registration is open for the Game Changers Summit, a technology conference designed to help churches, universities and organizations connect their global mission agendas with technology solutions for the developing world. Attendees will learn step-by-step how to undertake a project in a developing country, as well as get advice from global experts and meet others with similar interests. The 2-1/2 day conference, scheduled for Sept. 3-5 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, features ...

Ukraine youth forum focuses on 'changing world'

UZHGOROD, Ukraine (UMNS) –   "Christianity 4.0" was the theme for the Youth Forum 2014 that focused on the four dimensions of Christianity and its influence on the family, the church, the society and the future. Retired Bishop Hans Vaxby preached about the fourth dimension, Christianity and its perspective.  Participants of the Youth Forum-2014:"We are heading to change this World" "Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see —how good God is." (Psalm 34:9, MSG) Read more.

"Why get arrested?" Bishop blogs on immigration pray-in

On February 17, 2014, I joined other people of faith and kneeled in front of The White House to pray.  This planned gathering in Washington, DC was to bring attention to the nearly two million persons deported as a result of what many of us believe to be an absence of fair immigration policy that allows millions to emerge from the shadows of society with opportunity for citizenship. I, along with other United Methodist leaders, have met with White House staff and members of the Senate and ...

Rwanda ministry teaches independence

by Sherrie Norris - UMNS - A team from Boone United Methodist Church left Feb. 3 for Butare, Rwanda, and returned nearly two weeks later with a new appreciation for the word "empowerment."  Jason Byassee, senior pastor of Boone United Methodist Church, and church members J.J. Brown, Cameron St. Clair and Price St. Clair considered it an honor -- and a blessing -- to have made the trip through ZOE ministry.  ZOE is an orphan empowerment program founded by North Carolina ...

Simpson College presents Carver Medal to Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender

Click here to listen to the medal ceremony, includes President Jay K. Simmons' introduction and General Adams-Ender's Carver Distinguish Lecture. Click here to see a photo gallery from the Carver Medal ceremony Simpson College presented its 2014 Carver Medal to Brigadier General Clara L. Adams-Ender.  The Carver Medal is given "annually [to] recognize an outstanding individual whose life exemplifies the commitment and vision of service of George Washington Carver." Brigadier General ...

Board of Church and Society conducting essay contest

The Board of Church and Society of the united Methodist Church is conducting an essay contest and will present five scholarships ranging from $1000 to $200.  The contest is open to students who are high school juniors or seniors during the current school year (2013 - 2014) and who live in Iowa or attend an Iowa high school.  Students need not be a member of an United Methodist Church or any other religious body.  "Causes and results of inequiitable distribution of wealth, opportunity or ...

Iowa Nigeria Partnership Needs Your Help

On Wednesday, March 5, two sea containers need to be loaded to be sent to Nigeria filled with boxes of InGathering kits, medical supplies, PETs, solar refrigerators, panels and hardware.  The first container will be filled at 9 a.m., and the second one at 1 p.m. We need about 12 – 15 workers to help move these items from our two storage trailers into the sea container.  We also need to collators to record the number of boxes.  Please consider coming to help on March 5.  You will be inside ...

Age no obstacle in Dallas same-sex wedding

By Sam Hodges* February 24, 2014 | DALLAS (UMNS)                   Public defiance of The United Methodist Church’s same-sex marriage ban has increasingly made headlines in the last few months. But the action set for Saturday, March 1, will be like no other, featuring three octogenarian Texas men. The Rev. William McElvaney, 85, plans to officiate at the Dallas wedding of Jack Evans, 84, and George Harris, 80. The latter have been a couple for 53 years, and for more than two ...

UMCOR offers 40 days of Lenten devotionals

    NEW YORK (UMNS) - "The practice of Lenten disciplines," says Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, "offers us the opportunity to deepen our faith, renew our commitment and prepare ourselves for the gift of Christ's Resurrection." Jung, who serves the Wisconsin Annual (regional) Conference, is one of several writers of a new collection of 40 Lenten devotionals that share the life-changing ministries of the United Methodist Committee on Relief.  Click HERE to download.

Registration, features changed for MissionInsite

    Changes have been made to the registration process on the web site for The changes involve the Welcome Screen and the addition of new Directed Studies to assist users in taking advantage of a number of the key features of the system. Click HERE for more detailed information for churches using the MissionInsite demographics resource.

Rev. Terra Amundson to become new Southwest Superintendent

Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble announced Sunday that the Rev. Terra Amundson will become the new Conference Superintendent for the Southwest District of the Iowa Annual Conference.  She will begin her ministry on the District on July 1, 2014. “I am pleased to welcome a gifted pastor and leader in the Iowa Conference,” Bishop Trimble said.  “Terra has led worship at the Annual Conference Session and has served  faithfully in the local church and Annual Conference” Rev. Amundson is currently ...

Former Iowa bishop to speak at ethics and criminal justice event

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UMNS) – "Christian Ethics and the Crisis in U.S. Criminal Justice" will be the focus of this year's Sprague Lecture Series from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 8 at the University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus. Speakers include Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness"; James Logan, author of "Good Punishment? Christian Moral Practice and U.S. Imprisonment"; and Ohio West Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer.  The ...

Lifelong Methodist garners "Who is My Neighbor" award

 On January 20, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Dorothy Higdon, of Cedar Rapids, received the 2014 Percy and Lileah Harris "Who Is My Neighbor?" award at a ceremony in St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids. The award is “In recognition of a lifelong faith commitment to living in harmony with others and to promoting equality and social justice in the community.” The “Who is My Neighbor?” theme is based on the story of the Good Samaritan. Dr. King used the story of the Good Samaritan in...

Student Merit Day Scholarship applications on-line, deadline approaching

The Student Merit Day Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year is available on-line on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry website. This is the only way to complete the application. The Fall 2014 GBHEM on-line scholarship application is open January 6, 2014 - March 5, 2014 at this Web page. Applications for ALL Scholarship Programs must be completed by midnight of March 5 for consideration.  The GBHEM Office of Loans and Scholarships is partnering with a company to provide ...

Mission Camp Experiences with Matthew 25

Looking for a meaningful way for your confirmation class, youth group, or intergenerational team to put their faith into action? Do you have a heart for helping your neighbors but need a structure and a plan? Matthew 25 in Cedar Rapids is now scheduling mission camps for the spring, summer, and fall of 2014. Options for groups include full weeks and short weeks, in addition to specially designed events. Mission campers work together and spend time reflecting upon issues such as local foods, ...

Online engagement ideas for Lent

                  Gavin Richardson Lent is a time of reflection. It is also a time many individuals seek ways to deepen their spiritual relationships. Here are some creative ways churches can engage members and potential visitors during Lent. 1. Photo-a-Day Meditation: To provide an easy entry for seekers at Lent last year, Rethink Church created a photo-a-day meditation that invited participants to submit their photos on social media that related to the word of the day. These ...

Omaha clergy embrace new ways, like the Eagles, to captivate congregations

By Michael O'Connor / World-Herald staff writer  - A church band played the Eagles' song “Desperado” while pastor Bruce Davis preached on a winter morning. Davis tied the song's lyrics — “You better let somebody love you, before it's too late” — to God's love for all people. The Omaha pastor regularly weaves pop music into his sermons at St. Andrew's United Methodist Church to make his preaching more engaging. Local clergy say it's more important than ever to deliver sermons that ...

Peace conference deadline extended

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) – Because the inclement weather has affected many in the southeast, the early registration deadline for the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference has been extended until March 1. The 2014 Lake Junaluska Peace Conference: Faith, Health, and Peace: Seeking the Basic Right to Good Health for All God's Children will be March 27-30 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center.  Click HERE to register.

UMCOR builds health near Sochi Olympics

Building Health Bridges in the Caucasus By Julia Kayser - Just five miles south of Sochi Olympic Park, where the 2014 Winter Games are being held, is a disputed territory with a bloody history. Abkhazia is one of two de-facto independent administrative regions located in the Caucasus; South Ossetia is the other. Historically part of Georgia, they separated from that country with the support of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Although each of the regions is ethnically and ...

She embraced God's call to ministry, but illness cut her life short

By Carol McPhail - She had the voice of an angel, but Carrie Chandler Reece found her life’s work in ministry as a United Methodist pastor, welcoming broken souls and preaching at a small rural congregation in Summerdale. The Bay Minette resident’s life was cut short by a rare form of a rare illness, Cushing’s disease, on the day after Christmas. She was 36. “From the time she was a teenager, she loved people, and loved helping people,” said her mother, Cathy Chandler of Bay Minette. ...

Opportunity to Show Your Support: Attend Interfaith Service to Support Wasike Family

Mike Wasike was badly beaten during a car-jacking last year in Des Moines and remains in need of medical care. An Interfaith Service of "Prayer, Support and Love" to help the Wasike family will be held Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 7pm, at Tifereth Israel, 924 Polk Blvd. Please join Tifereth Israel Synagogue, Maple Grove Methodist Church, Temple B'Nai Jeshurun and the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines in supporting Mike, his family and all they've had to endure over the last year. Read ...

The Other Woman at the Well: a celebration of ministry

Mark your calendar for Sunday, March 16 from 3-5 p.m.  Women at the Well, the Iowa Conference's mission congregation inside the Iowa women's prison in Mitchellville, is hosting a worship service at First United Methodist Church, 1001 Pleasant Street in Des Moines.  Bishop Julius Trimble will be preaching, based on the story of the woman at the well from John 4, which is appointed for a Sunday later in Lent.  As we remember "The Other Woman at the Well" through this celebration of ministry, ...

Warmed by the Carribean Sun and Loved by the Dangrigans

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

Rev. Harlan Gillespie to become new North Central Superintendent

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

Communicating Faith in the 21st Century

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

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

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

Iowa United Methodist Men Annual Meeting

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

Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence established

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

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