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Bishop Laurie


Iowa United Methodist Church’s newest bishop makes her first visit to Iowa

Iowa United Methodist Church’s newest bishop makes her first visit to Iowa

12/8/2022
Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, her husband Kee, and her son Kamden made a quick trip to Iowa on December 6-7, 2022, before she begins residency in January 2023. During their visit, they toured the episcopal residence, visited high schools, met the appointed cabinet, and attended a farewell Christmas celebration hosted by Bishop Laurie and Rev. Gary Haller at the Iowa Conference Center.   Bishop Kennetha is already falling in love with Iowa after touring Des Moines, saying it reminds her a lot of ...

Bishop Laurie Haller asks at her retirement service,

Bishop Laurie Haller asks at her retirement service, "Do you have room?"

12/8/2022
“What I learned over the course of my ministry is that I embrace all of the various caucus groups in our conference and denomination. I understand that we don’t all see eye to eye around various theological issues. And I’m not bothered by the variety of beliefs held by United Methodists because that’s the glory of the big tent that is United Methodism,” said Bishop Laurie Haller at her Celebration of Retirement Service on December 4, 2022. See a gallery of images from the celebration.  |  Watch...

Bishop Laurie's Appointive Cabinet's Letter of Open Churches 2023

Bishop Laurie's Appointive Cabinet's Letter of Open Churches 2023

12/6/2022
Dear Clergy in the Iowa Annual Conference, As we have for a number of years, the Appointive Cabinet is posting open churches where announced and approved retirements or leaves of absence are known. Our intention is to invite you to prayerfully discern whether you have the gifts and graces to serve in any of these communities and churches. You will note that each open appointment will list three to five clear missional needs identified by the district superintendent in consultation with the ...

Celebrating Bishop Lanette Plambeck’s ministry in Iowa and plans for ministry transitions

Celebrating Bishop Lanette Plambeck’s ministry in Iowa and plans for ministry transitions

11/18/2022
The Iowa Annual Conference is celebrating Bishop Lanette Plambeck’s election to the episcopal office of bishop and assignment to the Minnesota/Dakotas Conference by asking you to send your congratulations, memories, and thank you notes to The Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church at 2301 Rittenhouse Street, Des Moines, IA 50321. They will be collected and given to her before she moves. As Bishop Plambeck transitions to the Minnesota/Dakotas episcopal area, Rev. William Poland ...

Bishop Laurie’s Retirement Celebration -  Dec. 4 at 3pm

Bishop Laurie’s Retirement Celebration - Dec. 4 at 3pm

11/7/2022
Making A Difference A Retirement Celebration Honoring Bishop Laurie Haller Sunday, December 4, 3:00pm First United Methodist Church 1001 Pleasant St., Des Moines, Iowa United Methodists and ecumenical friends across Iowa are invited to celebrate the ministry of Iowa Bishop Laurie Haller as she prepares to retire at the end of 2022.   Bishop Laurie was elected to the Episcopacy in the North Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church on July 14, 2016. Prior to her election as a Bishop and...

Hurricane Fiona and Ian support update

Hurricane Fiona and Ian support update

10/6/2022
Last week, Bishop Laurie Haller urged the Iowa Conference to support the United Methodist Committee on Relief's (UMCOR) U.S. Disaster Fund to help survivors of Hurricane Ian. Here is an update on how to also support survivors of Hurricane Fiona. Reminder: Do not self-deploy to go help. First responders and UMCOR will assess the situation and let us know when it is safe to deploy recovery groups. For more information on how you or your church can get involved, visit our Disaster Ministries page....

Invitation from Bishop Laurie to support hurricane relief

Invitation from Bishop Laurie to support hurricane relief

9/29/2022
Update October 6, 2022: Bishop Laurie adds new relief information for Hurricane Fiona and Ian Invitation to Support Hurricane Relief   Iowa Annual Conference  September 29, 2022   Dear Friends, The words of the prophet Isaiah are haunting today as we lift in constant prayer our brothers and sisters who are in harm’s way because of Hurricane Ian.  “Lord, you are my God.  I will exalt you; I will praise your name,     for you have done wonderful things,  planned long ago, faithful and sure.  ...

Bishop Laurie updates her blog - Leading from the Heart

Bishop Laurie updates her blog - Leading from the Heart

9/6/2022
Dear Friends, My heart is full. As most of you know, I have been on Medical Leave since April 1, 2022, recovering from a shattered wrist and concussion. I am beginning to participate in meetings and will formally return to active ministry on October 1. At the end of 2022, I plan to retire. In the meantime, I hope to remain as connected as possible to the congregations and ministries of the Iowa Annual Conference. One way in which I can do that is by resuming my weekly blog, Leading from the ...

Announcement from Bishop Laurie Haller

Announcement from Bishop Laurie Haller

8/29/2022
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Iowa Annual Conference,   Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As summer concludes and students prepare to return to school, I rejoice in anticipation of the coming of fall as well as the changing seasons of life.  As you are aware, I have been on a six-month medical leave since April 1, 2022. On February 16, I fell on black ice while running outside and sustained a significant concussion as well as a fractured wrist. Over the course ...

Diane Brockmeyer retires after working for and supporting The United Methodist Church for more than three decades

Diane Brockmeyer retires after working for and supporting The United Methodist Church for more than three decades

5/21/2022
After 30 years of faithful service, Diane Brockmeyer transitioned to retirement on May 6, 2022.  Brockmeyer has been an integral part of the Iowa Conference and her contributions to our organization will always be valued and remembered. Her hard work, commitment, and dedication have been priceless over the years. She will be greatly missed!   Brockmeyer's career working for The United Methodist Church began in 1971 when she started as a secretary at Cedar Falls, St. Timothy's UMC. She also ...

Announcement from the NCJ College of Bishops regarding episcopal leadership for the Dakotas and Iowa Conferences

Announcement from the NCJ College of Bishops regarding episcopal leadership for the Dakotas and Iowa Conferences

3/30/2022
Dear Friends in Christ in the North Central Jurisdiction:   I greet you in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the peace and power of the Holy Spirit.   As many of you are already aware, on the morning of February 16, Bishop Laurie Haller fell on ice while running, fracturing her right wrist, and being knocked unconscious.  Her concussive symptoms have persisted, leading Bishop Haller to make the difficult decision to request a leave from her responsibilities as bishop.   ...

Update from Bishop Laurie on her recovery

Update from Bishop Laurie on her recovery

3/17/2022
March 17, 2022 “The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” —Psalm 27:1   Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Iowa Annual Conference,   Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As I write this midway through this second week of Lent, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to come alongside you in vital ministry. Every day I am filled with wonder at the many ways in which you let your light shine by embodying and sharing the love of Jesus not only in...

Bishop Laurie and Appointive Cabinet offer prayers following High school deadly shooting

Bishop Laurie and Appointive Cabinet offer prayers following High school deadly shooting

3/7/2022
Dear friends,  Tonight we reach out to enact a conference-wide call to prayer and action following the tragic news of today's shooting on the grounds of East High School in Des Moines.  We mourn with and pray for the families and friends of the 15-year-old boy who did not survive his injuries and for the 16-year-old and 18-year-old girls who remain in critical condition. We pray for the students, teachers and administrators of East High noting the traumatizing effect of fear. We pray for the ...

Bishop Laurie and Appointive Cabinet respond to deadly storms throughout Iowa

Bishop Laurie and Appointive Cabinet respond to deadly storms throughout Iowa

3/5/2022
Dear friends, In the aftermath of strong storm systems making their way across Iowa, I invite you to be in prayer for the residents of our state impacted by this evening’s storms. Pray for those reeling from the news of a loved-one’s life lost. Pray for our disaster recovery teams combing through debris and for our lineworkers as they work into the night to restore power. Pray for the communities who wait for daybreak to assess the condition of their neighborhoods and nearby rural homes. At the ...

Prayers for Peace in Ukraine

Prayers for Peace in Ukraine

2/24/2022
Dear Beloved Community,  You are likely now aware that in the early hours of Thursday morning, Vladimir Putin addressed the citizens of Russia announcing a “special military operation” and “full-scale invasion” of neighboring Ukraine. With Mr. Putin’s announcement and subsequent ground reports of airstrikes, explosions and gunfire resounding across Ukraine, the worst case scenario of war has now been realized. This despite days of diplomatic efforts by The United Nations Security Council and ...

News on Bishop Laurie Haller - 2/17/22

News on Bishop Laurie Haller - 2/17/22

2/17/2022
Dear Family and Friends of the Iowa Conference, I am writing to you on behalf of Rev. Gary Haller, Bishop Laurie’s spouse. Yesterday, while out on a morning run, Bishop Laurie hit black ice and fell. This fall resulted in a wrist fracture and possible concussion. The Bishop is home recovering under Gary’s compassionate care and watchful eye. I invite you to be in prayer for Bishop Laurie in these early days of recovery. Please know that her physician has instructed her not to use computer ...

Lent 2022 - Bishop Laurie's Ash Wednesday message for the Iowa Annual Conference

Lent 2022 - Bishop Laurie's Ash Wednesday message for the Iowa Annual Conference

2/9/2022
Bishop Laurie begins the season of Lent with a video for Ash Wednesday, "Leave Your Pot on the Fire." It is available as a video or audio file to download and share with your church. The Iowa Annual Conference's Appointive Cabinet will be also be writing weekly Devotions that will be sent to you in an email. If you would like to receive the Lent 2022 emails, please subscribe below. Subscribe to Lent 2022 Devotions →   Ash Wednesday: Leave You Pot on the Fire Introduction: "The ...

Council of Bishops statement on hatred and racism

Council of Bishops statement on hatred and racism

2/8/2022
Press Release February 8, 2022  WASHINGTON, D.C. -  The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has condemned the recent hatred and racist attacks on houses of worships and institutions of learning in the United States. In a statement released today, the Council of Bishops referred to the recent attack on a synagogue in Texas and bomb threats against historically Black colleges and universities.  “We want our Jewish sisters and brothers to know that we are appalled by this senseless...

Bishop Laurie announces Cabinet transitions in 2022

Bishop Laurie announces Cabinet transitions in 2022

1/19/2022
Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon Bishop Laurie Haller has announced her intention to appoint Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon as the next senior pastor at First United Methodist Church (UMC), Iowa City, beginning on July 1, 2022. Rev. Dr. Jeon grew up in South Korea and moved to California as an international student. He attended the San Francisco Theological Seminary (MDiv) and Claremont Graduate University, where he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy of religion.   While he and his spouse, Anne, were planning to ...

Praying for Burns UMC after bomb threat

Praying for Burns UMC after bomb threat

1/10/2022
January 9, 2022   Dear Iowa United Methodists,   I am writing this afternoon following news of a bomb threat at Burns United Methodist Church in Des Moines; the threat is currently under investigation by local law enforcement.  Burns United Methodist Church (a Historically Black Church) is the oldest multi-cultural church in the state of Iowa and takes its name in honor of Francis Burns, the first Black Bishop of Episcopal Methodism. From its formation in 1866 by Black residents, the ...

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie - Encouragement as COVID-19 continues

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie - Encouragement as COVID-19 continues

1/7/2022
Dear Clergy and Laity of the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church,   Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, our healer and our hope.   As the spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus continues across our beloved state, nation and world, I am writing to give both a word of encouragement and also cautionary guidance as we seek to care for our churches and communities throughout Iowa.   In my recent Epiphany address, I indicated the pandemic continues to be one of ...

Epiphany Eve Address—Celebrating God’s Hope Made Real: A Different Way

Epiphany Eve Address—Celebrating God’s Hope Made Real: A Different Way

1/6/2022
On Epiphany Eve, January 5, 2022, Bishop Laurie Haller and the Appointive Cabinet, along with the worship team of Indianola First UMC, presented the annual Epiphany worship service.    Bishop Laurie preached “Celebrating God’s Hope Made Real: A Different Way.”  You can view and download the video of the service from here. You can read the transcript of Bishop Laurie's message here.   Based upon the Gospel Lesson for the Epiphany of Jesus Christ, Matthew 2:1-12, and Romans 12, the worship service...

Epiphany Address worship service Livestream on January 5th at 6 pm

Epiphany Address worship service Livestream on January 5th at 6 pm

12/27/2021
View the Livestream here → Bishop Laurie Haller invites all clergy and laypersons in the Iowa Conference to an Epiphany Eve Address and Worship Service, “A Different Way: Celebrating God’s Hope Made Real.”   The address will be Livestreamed on Wednesday evening, January 5, 2022, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. You can view the Livestream here (new link). It will be recorded and available at https://www.iaumc.org/leading-now.   The worship service is based upon the Gospel Lesson for the ...

Bishop Laurie offers prayers to Iowans affected by Dec 15th storms

Bishop Laurie offers prayers to Iowans affected by Dec 15th storms

12/17/2021
Dear Friends in Christ, Wednesday, tornadoes and damaging winds ripped through Iowa. Winds of 70 to 100-plus mph sheared off roofs, overturned vehicles, toppled trees, and caused hundreds of thousands of power outages while contributing to hazardous travel.  In times like these, I can only stop and turn to the Lord. So, I ask you to pray with me: God of the Universe, at the dawn of creation, your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness. You created the oceans ...

Christmas Greetings from Bishop Laurie

Christmas Greetings from Bishop Laurie

12/16/2021
Christmas Greetings from Bishop Laurie Download Video Transcript

Bishop Laurie's Statement on December 11th Tornadoes

Bishop Laurie's Statement on December 11th Tornadoes

12/13/2021
Dear Friends in Christ,    In Psalm 46:1-3, the psalmist describes how God's presence is among all people, giving them protection, confidence, and peace. God is our refuge and strength,     a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,     though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam,     though the mountains tremble with its tumult. (NRSV)   On December 11, we experienced one of the largest tornado outbreaks ...

Christmas Worship for December 26

Christmas Worship for December 26

12/12/2021
Dear Church Leader, The Episcopal Office of the Iowa Annual Conference has created a full worship service for pastoral leaders and worship teams to use on Sunday, December 26, 2021. Bishop Laurie and the Appointive Cabinet thank you for your tireless work during the COVID-19 pandemic. This worship service has been planned for your inspiration and encouragement while providing a moment of rest for our local church leaders. Merry Christmas! Bishop Laurie and the Appointive Cabinet VIEW ON OUR ...

Leading Now and Into the Future – Our Vision

Leading Now and Into the Future – Our Vision

12/3/2021
December 3, 2021 PREAMBLE Even before Iowa became a state on December 28, 1846, the Methodist movement was established in what would soon become the Iowa Territory. In Between the Rivers: A History of the United Methodist Church in Iowa, author Rev. John Nye tells the story of the rise of Methodism that began for early pioneers in “1833 when Baron Randle of the Illinois Conference crossed the Mississippi River to the cluster of cabins that was to become Dubuque, and preached to whoever would ...

2022-2023 Bishop's Letter of Open Churches

2022-2023 Bishop's Letter of Open Churches

11/16/2021
November 16, 2021   Dear Clergy in the Iowa Annual Conference,   As we have for a number of years, the Appointive Cabinet is posting open churches where announced and approved retirements or leaves of absence are known. Our intention is to invite you to prayerfully discern whether you have the gifts and graces to serve in any of these communities and churches. You will note that each open appointment will list three to five clear missional needs identified by the district superintendent in ...

NCJ delegates name commitment to anti-racism, LGBTQIA+ inclusion

NCJ delegates name commitment to anti-racism, LGBTQIA+ inclusion

11/12/2021
By Christa Meland, director of communications, Minnesota Conference • NCJ Delegate Covenant • Statement from the Council of Bishop's Narrative for Continuing the UMC • "A Call To Grace" - An open letter to all United Methodists At a virtual North Central Jurisdictional (NCJ) Conference this week, delegates elected by their respective annual conferences created and overwhelmingly approved a covenant naming their commitment to anti-racism work and LGBTQIA+ inclusion. Approximately 250 delegates ...

Special Alert: Bishop Haller to continue to serve Iowa and the Dakotas in 2022

Special Alert: Bishop Haller to continue to serve Iowa and the Dakotas in 2022

11/8/2021
The United Methodist Council of Bishops on Friday, Nov. 5 approved a plan for episcopal oversight in the North Central Jurisdiction (NCJ) that includes Bishop Laurie Haller continuing to serve as interim bishop for the Dakotas Conference in 2022. She will also continue to serve as resident bishop for the Iowa Conference. Here is the press release the North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops sent out: At the November, 5, 2021 meeting of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist, the ...

10/29/2021 - Important BSA Bankruptcy Update – Receipt of Disclosure Statement Package

10/29/2021 - Important BSA Bankruptcy Update – Receipt of Disclosure Statement Package

10/29/2021
Some local churches and charter organizations have received Disclosure Statement Packages from the Boy Scouts of America. Soon, The General Council of Finance & Administration of The United Methodist Church will provide resources to the Conference to assist local churches through this process. If your church does not receive the Packet, you can safely ignore this update. If you do receive the packet, do not take any action at this time. In the coming days, many United Methodist churches will ...

A Blessing for All Saints Day

A Blessing for All Saints Day

10/22/2021
Transcript: Grace and peace to each one of you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As many of you know, All Saints Day is on November 1, but many of us are observing All Saints Day today, which, coincidentally, is Halloween, October 31. On All Saints Sunday, we honor the lives of our loved ones who have died over this past year. At the same time, we also remember those around the world who have been affected by COVID. As of September 17, there have been a total of 227,054,671 ...

Thank you Clergy - a note from Bishop Laurie

Thank you Clergy - a note from Bishop Laurie

10/14/2021
Video Transcript: Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  On behalf of all of the local churches in the Iowa and Dakotas Annual Conferences, I want to thank you for your support and encouragement of your clergy. It is not an easy calling to be a pastor, particularly during this time of COVID, when our clergy have had to continually reinvent themselves in ministry in order to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ and stay connected with their ...

Soul Nurturing Travel with Bishop Laurie & Gary Haller

Soul Nurturing Travel with Bishop Laurie & Gary Haller

10/5/2021
Have you been thinking about a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Bishop Laurie and Gary Haller? Israel is open to international travelers. Educational Opportunities has had groups travel there since May. Explore the Lands of the Bible tour departs February 1, 2022. Click this link for details and registration. It will be important to register by November 1 to avoid any late registrations fees. "I invite you to join me for this unique Bible Land Exploration that will bring the Bible and this ...

Bishop Laurie pastoral letter responding to sentencing

Bishop Laurie pastoral letter responding to sentencing

9/27/2021
Dear Friends in Christ,   Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (CEB)   I am writing to address an unpleasant and uncomfortable topic: fraud and embezzlement in one of our beloved churches in the Iowa Conference.    Melissa Noland, who was formerly employed as a financial records keeper by First United Methodist Church in Mason City, was charged with felony wire fraud after ...

Pastoral Statement on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11/2001

Pastoral Statement on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11/2001

9/10/2021
Every year on September 11, we remember. We remember exactly where we were. We remember how our eyes were glued to the TV as the horror of the attacks unfolded in New York City, and we remember the depth of our despair. At the time I was in Arizona, visiting my parents, and the day is indelibly imprinted in my memory. Fear, tears, numbness, shock, even shaking my fist at God. How could 2,996 people perish this way? As we still wrestle with the reality of the evil of these attacks and the grief ...

Reflections on the Olympics: A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie

Reflections on the Olympics: A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie

8/9/2021
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, The Olympics ended yesterday. What a joy it was for millions of people across the globe to watch the best athletes in the world compete for the gold. I was able to find time most days to admire the tenacity and commitment of each one of these athletes to their particular sport. Their stories have been inspiring! Over the years, I have been especially interested in how world-class athletes address performance anxiety, the knowledge that every time they make a ...

A pastoral letter for the Fourth of July 2021

A pastoral letter for the Fourth of July 2021

7/1/2021
A Pastoral Letter for the Fourth of July 2021 To the saints in Iowa:  Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Fourth of July holiday marks the time when summer moves into high gear in the U.S. Families go on vacation, outdoor activities beckon, and we connect with neighbors and friends. As we give thanks for the freedom and privileges that many of us enjoy in America, we also acknowledge that millions of people in our country and around the world do not even have the...

Bishop Laurie's Message for Laity Session - AC2021

Bishop Laurie's Message for Laity Session - AC2021

6/9/2021
Bishop Laurie's Sermon Script from Laity Session: Grace and peace to each one of you. I am honored to be able to share a few words of encouragement at the beginning of your annual Laity Session at the Annual Conference. Let’s pray. Dear God, we are at the start of another annual conference, and we thank you for the privilege of being able to participate virtually. We are grateful for those who have taught us how to connect with one another electronically, and we rejoice in the new and ...

The Episcopal Address - AC2021

The Episcopal Address - AC2021

6/9/2021
"It’s been quite a year and a half, hasn’t it? Never could you and I have imagined what our life would be like on June 5, 2021," said Bishop Laurie Haller in her Episcopal Address and Opening Worship on the first day of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church's 2021 annual session. Full Worship Service | Episcopal Address | Episcopal Address Script | Worship Bulletin Bishop Laurie went on to recall her and everyone's naivete in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, "...

A Prayer for the 2021 Iowa Annual Conference

A Prayer for the 2021 Iowa Annual Conference

6/1/2021
O Creator and Redeemer God, in a few days we will gather in your presence and as your faithful disciples at the 2021 Iowa Annual Conference. In 1744, your servants John and Charles Wesley first met with a few clergy to consider how they should proceed to save their own souls and those who heard them. They quickly agreed to invite the lay preachers who were in the house to join them. 277 years later, ever-renewing God, you are still bringing us together as United Methodists every year — all ...

Prayer Request for Rev. Dr. Moody Colorado, District Superintendent of the Pictured Rocks District

Prayer Request for Rev. Dr. Moody Colorado, District Superintendent of the Pictured Rocks District

5/27/2021
Dear Friends in Christ,   I write to you today with a prayer request. Rev. Dr. Moody Colorado, District Superintendent of the Pictured Rocks District, is schedule for triple bypass surgery tomorrow. Please keep Moody, son John, and his extended family in your prayers as he undergoes this procedure and for his recovery. Moody is a faithful and exuberant servant of God. He offers his entire self to the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ to which he has been called. Pray with me, as I pray:   ...

Pray for Pastor Olivia Fabros and her son, Siegfried

Pray for Pastor Olivia Fabros and her son, Siegfried

5/14/2021
Friends in Christ,   We recently received word from Rev. Olivia Fabros that her son, Siegfried, is scheduled for surgery on May 21. With the time zone difference, the surgery will most likely begin on Thursday, May 20 CDT.   Her son’s heart condition has been described as a valvular disease including severe mitral regurgitation, prolapsed posterior mitral value.    You may remember that Pastor Olivia shared with us on May 8 that Siegfried was flown to the Southern Philippines Medical Center in ...

UMC Bishops end 5-day meeting; clarify key decisions

UMC Bishops end 5-day meeting; clarify key decisions

4/30/2021
Dear Friends in the Iowa/Annual Conference, The Council of Bishops met virtually for five days this week to pray, worship, listen to one another, and discern God’s continued call to vital ministry and mission in The United Methodist Church. I encourage you to read the attached press release. I had the privilege of preaching to my episcopal colleagues on Wednesday morning, using the text from Colossians 1:24-2:7. In the midst of these difficult times, God is working in a mighty way through the ...

Lean on Christ: Statement on the Chauvin verdict from Bishop Laurie

Lean on Christ: Statement on the Chauvin verdict from Bishop Laurie

4/20/2021
The effect of righteousness will be peace and the result of righteousness, quietness, and trust forever. Isaiah 32:17, NRVS    The words of Isaiah are on my heart as I search my soul for peace and understanding during this time of deadly tensions, the COVID-19 pandemic, political divisiveness, and racism. This afternoon we heard the announcement of the conviction of Derek Chauvin on all counts in the death of George Floyd.      The tragic, racially charged, and unnecessary death of Floyd at the ...

From the Office of Bishop Laurie: Violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

From the Office of Bishop Laurie: Violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

3/30/2021
Dear clergy sisters and brothers of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and all members of the Iowa Conference,  I am writing to you during this Holy Week with a word of encouragement and hope. I give thanks for the amazing ministry that each one of you has in the Iowa Annual Conference. Your deep faith and your fervent desire to share the love of Jesus with all of God’s children is making a difference in communities across the state. At the same time, I lament with you the increasing violence we...

Let it begin with me: A statement from Bishop Laurie on shootings in Atlanta and Boulder

Let it begin with me: A statement from Bishop Laurie on shootings in Atlanta and Boulder

3/23/2021
In response to the recent shootings that killed eight people, including six Asian-Americans, in Atlanta and ten people in Boulder, Bishop Laurie released the following pastoral letter to Dakotas and Iowa United Methodists. My heart echoes the psalmist’s cry: “O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God!” (Psalm 83:1, NRSV) Today, I grieve the horrific violence of the shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, at three spas and a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado. In these ...

From the Office of Bishop Laurie: Further Postponement of General Conference

From the Office of Bishop Laurie: Further Postponement of General Conference

2/26/2021
To the Laity and Clergy of the Iowa Annual Conference:       Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was announced yesterday that the Commission on the General Conference has made the difficult decision to further postpone the 2020 General Conference because of safety issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges in traveling from different areas of the world. Our Book of Discipline is clear that the Commission is obligated to “take necessary measures to ...

Celebration of Life update: Keep Bishop Deborah Kiesey and family in your prayers

Celebration of Life update: Keep Bishop Deborah Kiesey and family in your prayers

2/11/2021
Brad Kiesey was an Iowa farm boy who grew up in Washington on a forty-acre farm. He always loved music and met his wife Deb while he was first practicing law in Mason City. I didn’t meet Brad until Deb was elected a bishop in The United Methodist Church. I remember voting for her at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in 2004.  Brad and Deb and my husband Gary and I became better acquainted in 2008 when the North Central Jurisdictional Conference met in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and we ...

Vision 2032: Conversations on Local Church and Conference Finances

Vision 2032: Conversations on Local Church and Conference Finances

1/28/2021
As a follow-up to Bishop Laurie’s Epiphany Address, there will be Conversations on Local Church and Conference Finances. Bishop Laurie has prepared an opening devotion, “Sowing Seeds of Generosity” in which she describes her personal journey of faith relating to financial stewardship. Conference Treasurer Maggie Biggs and the Conference Council on Finance and Administration Chairperson Norlan Hinke will also present reports on the status of the giving of our local churches to Apportionments. ...

Epiphany Address: Watching Over One Another in Love

Epiphany Address: Watching Over One Another in Love

1/8/2021
Epiphany Address Transcript: WATCHING OVER ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE   January 4, 2021, Bishop Laurie Haller Epiphany Address  Iowa Annual Conference Bishop Laurie Haller:   Good evening, friends. Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am deeply grateful that you have chosen to participate in this time of reflection and celebration of where we have been as United Methodists in Iowa and how God is leading us into a future with hope. This is a very tender time in the life ...

A Statement from Bishop Laurie Haller and the Iowa Annual Conference Appointive Cabinet

A Statement from Bishop Laurie Haller and the Iowa Annual Conference Appointive Cabinet

1/6/2021
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in ...

Ministry reports for the January 4th Epiphany Address

Ministry reports for the January 4th Epiphany Address

12/28/2020
All clergy and laypersons in the Iowa Conference are invited to Bishop Laurie’s Epiphany Address: Watching Over One Another in Love, Livestreamed on Monday evening, January 4, 2021, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The address will be recorded for future viewing.   The address is based upon the Gospel Lesson for the Epiphany of Jesus Christ, Matthew 2:1-12. She intends to offer both a word of hope for the New Year and share reports on the formation of Circuit Ministry, church finances, a process for ...

A Pastoral Message from Bishop Laurie

A Pastoral Message from Bishop Laurie

12/23/2020
As many of you know, changes in episcopal supervision in the North Central Jurisdiction were announced last summer because of the postponement of both the 2020 General Conference and the North Central Jurisdictional Conference due to COVID-19. Because Bishop Bruce Ough is retiring from the Dakotas-Minnesota Conference on December 31, 2020, and will be serving part-time as the Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops, I was asked to assume episcopal oversight of the Dakotas Annual Conference...

Bishop Laurie Haller’s Epiphany Address: Watching Over One Another in Love

Bishop Laurie Haller’s Epiphany Address: Watching Over One Another in Love

12/18/2020
Bishop Laurie Haller invites all clergy and laypersons in the Iowa Conference to an Epiphany Address: Watching Over One Another in Love.   The address will be Livestreamed on Monday evening, January 4, 2021, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The address will be recorded for future viewing.   The address is based upon the Gospel Lesson for the Epiphany of Jesus Christ, Matthew 2:1-12. She intends to offer both a word of hope for the New Year and will share with you several initiatives designed to address ...

Bishop Laurie announces the retirement of Rev. Dr. Harlan Gillespie and the appointment realignments of Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck and Rev. Bill Poland

Bishop Laurie announces the retirement of Rev. Dr. Harlan Gillespie and the appointment realignments of Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck and Rev. Bill Poland

12/15/2020
Bishop Laurie Haller announces the retirement of Rev. Dr. Harlan Gillespie as Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries effective July 1, 2021.  “I have had the great honor of working with Rev. Dr. Harlan Gillespie over the past three years,” said Bishop Laurie Haller. “During a very challenging time in The United Methodist Church, Harlan has provided outstanding and steady leadership in all of his appointments. Harlan made it a practice to connect regularly with ...

Celebrate Advent and Christmas with Bishop Laurie Haller

Celebrate Advent and Christmas with Bishop Laurie Haller

12/15/2020
Bishop Laurie Haller invites you to join her on a journey to renew our collective practices of prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness as we begin a new Christian year.    In the message for the First Sunday of Advent, Bishop Laurie remarks, “What is it that holds us together as people called United Methodists? It is a set of spiritual practices that center around the membership vows we take.”   During Bishop Laurie’s Vision 2032 Conversations, many of you said that we needed to regain a ...

A message of thanks from Bishop Laurie

A message of thanks from Bishop Laurie

11/25/2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, Thanksgiving is a very meaningful holiday for me because I was born on Thanksgiving Day. Perhaps this is why I’ve always considered gratitude to be part of my DNA. I am so grateful that my parents shared the love of Jesus with me from a very early age and am thankful to God for the opportunities I have had to live out my faith over many years. Psalm 95 is my song of gratitude to God O come, let us sing to the Lord;     let us make a joyful noise to the rock...

November 10, 2020 COVID-19 Update to the IAUMC

November 10, 2020 COVID-19 Update to the IAUMC

11/11/2020
In support of Governor Kim Reynolds’ Public Health Proclamation on November 10, 2020, the input that we are getting from health professionals, and the awareness that our Iowa hospitals are reaching or are at capacity to accept new patients, the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church has made the prayerful and careful decision to mandate masks/face coverings for all gatherings. This includes all in-person local church worship, meetings, and groups occurring in United Methodist Churches ...

A Letter from Bishop Laurie about World Communion Sunday

A Letter from Bishop Laurie about World Communion Sunday

10/1/2020
Dear Friends, This coming Sunday, October 4, is World Communion Sunday. It has always been one of the most special days of the year for me. Sharing in the sacrament of holy communion with Christian believers around the world is a visible reminder that we all one human family in Christ Jesus and are called to make a difference wherever we are. Serving the sacrament this year, however, will be very different because of COVID-19. It is possible to participate in Holy Communion, but special ...

A Cabinet response to the escalation of hate crimes and violence in Iowa

A Cabinet response to the escalation of hate crimes and violence in Iowa

9/20/2020
Siblings in Christ of the Iowa Annual Conference:   In recent weeks, we have seen the escalation of hate crimes and violence across Iowa. In the small community of Stuart, a family discovered racial epithets spray-painted on their home. Near the college town of Grinnell, authorities are investigating an apparent homicide after witnesses discovered the body of Michael Williams, a Black man, burning in a Jasper county ditch. Too frequently, we receive reports from laity and clergy around our state...

Walking where Jesus walked!

Walking where Jesus walked!

9/9/2020
Bishop Laurie Haller is leading a trip to the Holy Land next year, February 2-12, 2021.   An informational Zoom gathering will be held Sunday, October 4, at 3:00 p.m. CST for all persons registered.   If you are interested in hearing more and would like to join the informational gathering, please send your email to the Eberhart's by Sept. 30.   Tom Smith from Educational Opportunities will be on the call to provide up to date information about travel to Israel. The “Bible Land Exploration” ...

A note from Bishop Laurie Haller - September 2020

A note from Bishop Laurie Haller - September 2020

9/4/2020
Transcription: To the saints in Iowa, Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is the beginning of September, and the summer season is coming to a close. My prayer is that you have found creative ways to renew and refresh your spirit in the midst of a world that is in a very different place this year, with a convergence of many challenges.  COVID-19 continues to affect us in Iowa, and our schools, colleges, and universities have had to make very difficult ...

Caring Connections for August 26 - A Conversation with Rev. Moody Colorado

Caring Connections for August 26 - A Conversation with Rev. Moody Colorado

8/26/2020
Bishop Laurie chats with Northeast District Superintendent Rev. Moody Colorado. Originally from the Philippines, Moody talks about how his family ended up in Iowa and how "there is a hymn for everything" he needs.  

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie regarding IAUMC's Missional Direction

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie regarding IAUMC's Missional Direction

8/21/2020
August 21, 2020 To the saints of God in the Iowa Annual Conference, Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Where did the summer go? It’s getting toward the end of August, and our children and youth have already begun or are about to return to school in a variety of configurations due to COVID-19. After the conclusion of our Iowa Annual Conference Clergy and Laity Sessions, the Legislative Session, two Orders services, and several town hall meetings, we have all needed ...

Bishop Laurie and Rev. Catie Newman provide a derecho disaster update

Bishop Laurie and Rev. Catie Newman provide a derecho disaster update

8/13/2020
Dear Friends,   Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I write this as thousands of Iowans are in the process of recovering from the dangerous thunderstorm complex or “derecho” that barreled through our state on Monday with up to 100 miles per hour winds.      As of Wednesday evening, major damage has been done across the state and 277,000 Iowans are still without power. The damage has included some United Methodist churches and parsonages. In addition, according to ...

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie - Caring for the Health and Well-Being of All

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie - Caring for the Health and Well-Being of All

8/5/2020
Dear Friends,    August is upon us, and for many here in Iowa it seems as if the summer is just beginning because our annual conference events are just concluding. For the first time in our history, the Iowa Annual Conference was conducted entirely online, and the Laity Session took place Sunday afternoon. To all those who led us through this monumental effort, I am deeply grateful. COVID-19 has affected every corner of our world, yet we continue to find new and unique ways to worship, learn, ...

Caring Connections for July 22, 2020 — A Conversation with Rev. Ron Carlson

Caring Connections for July 22, 2020 — A Conversation with Rev. Ron Carlson

7/22/2020
Caring Connections with Bishop Laurie Haller - A Conversation with Ron Carlson from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.  

Bishop Laurie Reflects on the 2020 Iowa Annual Conference

Bishop Laurie Reflects on the 2020 Iowa Annual Conference

7/20/2020
July 20, 2020 This past Saturday we conducted a historic annual conference here in Iowa. For the first time, our legislative session met virtually because the COVID-19 Pandemic prevented our ability to meet in person. We also completed our business in one day.  Clergy and lay delegates, I want to thank you for your patience in attending the virtual town hall meetings so that you were not only well informed about legislation but learned how to vote electronically. And thank you for ...

Bishop Laurie and husband Gary invite you to join them on the 2021 Pilgrimage to Israel

Bishop Laurie and husband Gary invite you to join them on the 2021 Pilgrimage to Israel

7/9/2020
My husband Gary and I will be leading a pilgrimage to Israel from February 2-12 in 2021. We have an amazing itinerary, which includes the Sea of Galilee, Mt. Carmel, Megiddo, Nazareth, the Mount of Beatitudes, Qumran, the Dead Sea, Bethlehem, Jericho, Yad Veshem (the Holocaust Museum), The Temple Mount, Mount of Olives, the Western Wall, the Upper Room, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Garden Tomb, and the Dome of the Rock.   You will also the opportunity to extend your trip for a few days ...

Bishop Laurie forms Anti-Racism Leadership Team with a charge of creating a pathway toward a fully anti-racist conference

Bishop Laurie forms Anti-Racism Leadership Team with a charge of creating a pathway toward a fully anti-racist conference

7/8/2020
Colleagues in Christ,   As we continue to witness and experience the sin of racism in our society and our church, I have requested the formation of an Anti-Racism Leadership Team in the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church. I see this team as a critical component for the work of becoming fully anti-racist at all levels of ministry in the Iowa Conference. Because we live in a culture that is so resistant to and uncomfortable with discussions of racism, I feel it is imperative to create ...

College of Bishops of the North Central Jurisdiction announce interim leadership for 2021

College of Bishops of the North Central Jurisdiction announce interim leadership for 2021

7/7/2020
Today the North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops announces the plan proposed to and approved by the Council of Bishops for episcopal leadership for 2021 in light of the vocational retirements of Bishops Sally Dyck and Bruce Ough (¶408.2b), and the inability to gather and engage in episcopal elections during the current COVID-19 pandemic.  The retirements of Bishops Dyck and Ough have been approved by the NCJ Committee on the Episcopacy and become effective January 1, 2021. To serve the ...

UMC Bishops welcome new Executive Secretary and Ecumenical Officer

UMC Bishops welcome new Executive Secretary and Ecumenical Officer

7/7/2020
WASHINGTON, D.C.  -  The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is pleased to announce that Bishop Bruce Ough and Bishop Sally Dyck will become the new Executive Secretary and Ecumenical Officer of the Council effective September 1, 2020.  Both were elected at the 2019 November meeting of the Council. Bishop Ough will be succeeding Bishop Marcus Matthews as Executive Secretary while Bishop Dyck will be taking over the ecumenical portfolio from Bishop B. Michael Watson.  The Executive...

Move With Purpose Bishop's Virtual Fit Walk 5K

Move With Purpose Bishop's Virtual Fit Walk 5K

7/2/2020
The Bishop's 5k/Fit Walk has been around for many years, usually taking place on Sunday morning during Annual Conference. Our Annual Conference has gone virtual and so has the Fit Walk/Run! Our theme is MOVE WITH A PURPOSE. We are encouraging one another to move our bodies to the glory of God and move in ministry with the purpose of joining the Holy Spirit in doing new and amazing things in Iowa and beyond. The healthier we are, the more energy we can put to this mission! How does a virtual ...

Caring Connections for June 24, 2020—A Conversation with Rev. Carol Kress

Caring Connections for June 24, 2020—A Conversation with Rev. Carol Kress

6/24/2020
A Conversation with Rev. Carol Kress from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Bishop Laurie Haller's conversation with Rev. Carol Kress, who has served as the Superintendent of the North Central District of the Iowa Annual Conference.  Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for June 17, 2020  

Caring Connections for June 17, 2020—Bishop Laurie interviews Dr. Arthur McClanahan as he retires

Caring Connections for June 17, 2020—Bishop Laurie interviews Dr. Arthur McClanahan as he retires

6/17/2020
Bishop Laurie Haller interviews Dr. Arthur McClanahan in this episode of CaringConnections.  McClanahan is retiring as the Iowa Annual Conference's Director of Communications after 15 years.  An ordained United Methodist clergyperson who has served congregations in New York and Connecticut, he believes that communications is all about making connections, telling the Story and helping people to find their place in The Story.  Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for June 17, 2020  

A Statement on Racism and Nonviolence from Bishop Laurie Haller and the Appointive Cabinet

A Statement on Racism and Nonviolence from Bishop Laurie Haller and the Appointive Cabinet

6/4/2020
Dear faithful leaders of the Iowa Annual Conference, Amid our nation’s deep grief over the loss of so many American lives from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are witnessing that another fatal virus of systemic racism is taking away precious lives and human dignity. George Floyd’s outcry, “I can’t breathe,” at his last moment, haunts the whole American public. His senseless death puts us in trauma and moral injury because it reveals deeply rooted racial bigotries in the history of our country. It ...

Caring Connections for June 3, 2020—Bishop Laurie interviews Rev. Terra about being SW District Superintendent

Caring Connections for June 3, 2020—Bishop Laurie interviews Rev. Terra about being SW District Superintendent

6/3/2020
Bishop Laurie interviews Rev. Terra about being SW District Superintendent from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Bishop Laurie Haller invites Rev. Terra Amundson, Superintendent of the Southwest District, to reflect upon her time as the spiritual leader of that region of the Iowa Annual Conference in this week’s episode of Caring Connections.  Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for June 3, 2020  

Bishop Laurie's Statement on Protests in Des Moines

Bishop Laurie's Statement on Protests in Des Moines

5/30/2020
You are no doubt aware of the tragic death of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday at the hands of a white police officer who placed his knee on Floyd’s throat for at least eight minutes, causing him to die. This happened despite protests from onlookers that his life was in jeopardy.    Floyd’s death has had a worldwide impact as we continue to wrestle with racism in the United States and has sparked protests and riots in Minneapolis as well as in other cities around the ...

Bishop:

Bishop: "Refrain from in-house worship through May 31"

5/22/2020
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ in the Iowa Annual Conference, As you may have heard, President Donald Trump announced this morning that he is designating all places of worship, including churches, synagogues, and mosques, as “essential,” saying he wants them to “open right now.” He said, “We want our churches and our places of faith and worship, we want them to open.” We all agree that our houses of worship play a critical role in our life here in the United States. However, we also have ...

Letter from Bishop Laurie and Cabinet regarding Iowa's Agriculture challenges

Letter from Bishop Laurie and Cabinet regarding Iowa's Agriculture challenges

5/19/2020
Greetings in the name of the Risen Christ!   Here in the great state of Iowa, we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation. COVID-19 and a challenging farm economy have combined to form an unparalleled convergence of grief, injury, and anxiety in our state, particularly in agriculture and agriculture-related communities.    The purpose of this letter is to help our pastors and lay leadership better identify, name, and support those affected in and near our churches.   We continue to hear of ...

May 19 All-Clergy Zoom Meeting to Discuss Re-entry Plans

May 19 All-Clergy Zoom Meeting to Discuss Re-entry Plans

5/15/2020
Dear Clergy Colleagues,   As you may be aware, Governor Kim Reynolds announced this morning that she is relaxing COVID-19 restrictions in all 99 counties in order to open the state and boost the economy. Effective Friday May 15, she will be lifting mandated closures on barber shops and salons. Also included in the relaxed restrictions are restaurant dining areas, libraries, racetracks, and fitness centers in all counties. It is important to remember that current restrictions related to capacity ...

Caring Connections for May 13, 2020—

Caring Connections for May 13, 2020—"God Isn't Far Away from Any of Us"

5/13/2020
"God Isn't Far Away from Any of Us" from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for May 13, 2020 Grace and peace in the name of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What a beautiful time of year spring is here in Iowa! As I sit in my home office at my computer and look out the window, I see many children playing in their front yards or choosing teams to compete at basketball, and it reminds me that even in the midst of COVID-19 life goes on. God continues to ...

Denominational Leaders remain united urging Iowa congregations to refrain from in-person gatherings  despite visit to Iowa from Vice President on Friday

Denominational Leaders remain united urging Iowa congregations to refrain from in-person gatherings despite visit to Iowa from Vice President on Friday

5/7/2020
PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release May 7, 2020 Denominational Leaders remain united urging Iowa congregations to refrain from in-person gatherings despite visit to Iowa from Vice President on Friday   On April 28, twenty-one denominational leaders from ten denominations from across Iowa issued a joint statement regarding Governor Kim Reynolds' proclamation on April 27 to allow congregations to gather in-person despite the continued spread of COVID-19. The joint statement urged congregations to...

Caring Connections for May 6, 2020—

Caring Connections for May 6, 2020—"Our Complete Trust in God"

5/6/2020
Our Complete Trust in God from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Caring Connections with Bishop Laurie from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for May 6, 2020 Grace and peace to each one of you. This week I have been pondering Psalm 31, which is one of the lectionary lessons of this week. The Psalmist writes:  I take refuge in you, Lord.     Please never let me be put to shame.         Rescue me by your righteousness! 2 Listen closely to me!     Deliver me ...

Caring Connections for April 29, 2020—

Caring Connections for April 29, 2020—"Keep on Caring"

4/29/2020
Caring Connections with Bishop Laurie from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for April 29, 2020 Grace and peace! We are almost into May, and it is a joy to see our world coming back to life as the trees and flowers burst forth in color. At the same time, we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Schools will be closed for the rest of the school year, and I have asked all of our United Methodist congregations to continue virtual worship through the ...

Bishop

Bishop "strongly recommends" no in-person worship before June 1

4/27/2020
Dear Friends, In light of the expectation that positive cases of COVID-19 will peak in Iowa in the next few weeks, I am strongly encouraging all United Methodist churches in Iowa to refrain from in-person worship until June 1, when I will reassess. I am going beyond the Governor’s recommendations despite my previously stated intention of following Governor Reynolds' guidelines around worship.  My reasoning is that our first priority as disciples of Jesus Christ is to protect those who are most...

An important message from Bishop Laurie: Three-day renewal leave required for clergy, church staffs and worship teams

An important message from Bishop Laurie: Three-day renewal leave required for clergy, church staffs and worship teams

4/23/2020
For the past five weeks, our clergy and laity have been working tirelessly to provide vital worship, pastoral care, and hope for our local churches in the Iowa Annual Conference. I also know that many of our clergy, church staff, and worship teams are utterly exhausted in mind, body, and spirit. Therefore, I am requiring those teams to find three days back-to-back between now and Pentecost Sunday, May 31, to experience rest, renewal, and sabbath. That means no work on those three days. To make ...

Caring Connections for April 22, 2020—

Caring Connections for April 22, 2020—"Learning New Ways of Being the Church"

4/22/2020
Learning New Ways of Being the Church from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.   Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for April 22, 2020 Grace and peace in the name of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our congregations in Iowa continue to amaze me by their creativity and determination to be the hands, feet, voice, and heart of Jesus in their communities and around the world. I know that we are all weary of staying home, being inside, and not being able to participate in our normal ...

2020 Annual Conference Session to be Postponed and Held Electronically

2020 Annual Conference Session to be Postponed and Held Electronically

4/16/2020
The 2020 session of the Iowa Annual Conference will be postponed due to the current Coronavirus health crisis. Bishop Laurie Haller made the decision with the full support of the Cabinet and the Annual Conference Session Planning Committee.    Preparations are underway for a one-day electronic Annual Conference Legislative Session via the Zoom platform. It will be held later in the summer or in early fall. Secure remote electronic voting by the elected lay members and clergy members of the Iowa ...

Caring Connections for April 15, 2020—

Caring Connections for April 15, 2020—"Thank you Jesus"

4/15/2020
"Thank You for Jesus" from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for April 15, 2020 “He is risen!” “He is risen indeed.” This traditional Easter greeting is one that many of our churches use on Easter morning as we greet one another in the name of the risen Christ. This past Sunday, however, we were not able to gather in person. I believe this was the first Easter Sunday of my life that I did not physically worship in a local church.  There were no processions ...

Easter Devotion from Bishop Laurie: Practice Resurrection

Easter Devotion from Bishop Laurie: Practice Resurrection

4/10/2020
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb. Look, there was a great earthquake, for an angel from the Lord came down from heaven. Coming to the stone, he rolled it away and sat on it. Now his face was like lightning and his clothes as white as snow. The guards were so terrified of him that they shook with fear and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus ...

A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy of The Iowa Annual Conference

A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy of The Iowa Annual Conference

4/9/2020
Dear Clergy Colleagues, Grace and peace on this Maundy Thursday. Because of COVID-19, this day will be unlike any Maundy Thursday observance of which we have ever been a part. In the midst of the restrictions we must observe around gathering in groups, we will hear and respond to the Passion story in a different way.  We are not able to wash one another’s feet this year, as is the custom in some of our churches. But we can all identify with Jesus’ words to his disciples after he foretold his ...

Caring Connections for April 8, 2020

Caring Connections for April 8, 2020

4/8/2020
Reach Out During Holy Week from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for April 8, 2020 To my brothers and sisters in Christ in Iowa and beyond, grace and peace during the Holy Week. I’d like to share a scripture with you from John chapter 13, which took place as Jesus and his disciples were eating a last supper together on the Thursday before he was crucified.   John 13:4-9 (CEB) 4 So Jesus got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel,...

Caring Connections for April 1, 2020

Caring Connections for April 1, 2020

3/31/2020
God's Love is Faithful from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for April 1, 2020 Good Afternoon, Iowa! It’s Wednesday, April 1, and this is Caring Connections which is also April Fools Day. I’d like to read a few verses from Psalm 18, one of lectionary passages for Palm Sunday     Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,     because his faithful love lasts forever. 2 Let Israel say it:     “God’s faithful love lasts forever!” 21 I thank you because you ...

A letter to clergy from Bishop Laurie regarding Holy Communion and Palm Sunday Great Thanksgiving

A letter to clergy from Bishop Laurie regarding Holy Communion and Palm Sunday Great Thanksgiving

3/30/2020
To the Clergy of The Iowa Annual Conference,    These days marked by the pandemic of Covid-19 are confusing, scary and isolating. As I have been in prayer for our beloved Conference, I have been reflecting on Holy Communion and the way that we, as the body of Christ, experience that sacrament as a means of sustaining and saving grace. In this time of social distancing, we are one body physically separated into many parts, but we remain spiritually united as “one with each other, one with Christ ...

A Pastoral Care letter to Iowa Clergy

A Pastoral Care letter to Iowa Clergy

3/25/2020
Dear Clergy Colleagues,   I want to thank you for the outstanding spiritual leadership that you have been providing for your congregations over these last weeks, as we have all learned to live in a new way in light of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Even though you cannot be physically present with your parishioners on Sunday morning, you are learning new ways to worship, provide spiritual nurture, and proclaim the good news.  I understand that there has been some chatter on social media among Iowa ...

Caring Connections for March 25, 2020

Caring Connections for March 25, 2020

3/25/2020
Caring Connections - March 25, 2020 from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo. Bishop Laurie Haller offers words of encouragement to bolster caring connections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  She shares four stories of churches building relationships and making a difference.  “May God bless each one of you,” she prays, “and keep you safe.”   Listen to Caring Connections from Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Good afternoon, Iowa! This is the first installment of Wednesday Words of Encouragement as...

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