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Bishop Laurie


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...

A note from Bishop Laurie and the Appointive Cabinet

A note from Bishop Laurie and the Appointive Cabinet

3/18/2020
FROM BISHOP LAURIE AND THE APPOINTIVE CABINET Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. We write to you to encourage and support you in this time marked by coronavirus warnings, quarantines, social distancing and even the cancelation of March Madness! Our world has undergone major changes in the last few days and weeks. Our governor has declared a state of emergency and prohibited all social gatherings of greater than 10 people including spiritual and religious...

United Methodist General Conference to be postponed

United Methodist General Conference to be postponed

3/18/2020
Dear friends, I am writing to let you know that the Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference was notified by the Minneapolis Convention Center today that they are restricting events at the venue through May 10, 2020, because of the spread of the coronavirus. Therefore, the Executive Committee announced that the General Conference scheduled for May 5-15, 2020, will be postponed and new dates will be selected at some point.   Of primary concern now in our state, country, ...

Be prepared, stay connected, and receive God's peace

Be prepared, stay connected, and receive God's peace

3/14/2020
March 14, 2020   Dear Clergy Colleagues,   As it has become clear, the Coronavirus will get worse before it gets better. That has entailed changes in our everyday life and work, as we all seek to avoid exposure and infection with the virus.   I know that it is now Saturday evening and Sunday’s a’coming. However, the rapidly evolving face of the Coronavirus Pandemic means that continual reevaluation of safety procedures is necessary. I am making several recommendations for those of you who are ...

Bishop Laurie responds to Council of Bishops letter to postpone General Conference 2020

Bishop Laurie responds to Council of Bishops letter to postpone General Conference 2020

3/13/2020
Dear friends, It is with a heavy heart that I share with you that the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops has decided to ask for a postponement of the 2020 General Conference due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It is not known yet when the General Conference, currently scheduled for Minneapolis in May, will be rescheduled. We know that many important decisions need to be made at General Conference. Our primary concern, however, is the health and welfare of our delegates and those who ...

Rev. Melissa Drake to be New Superintendent

Rev. Melissa Drake to be New Superintendent

3/2/2020
Bishop Laurie Haller has announced that Rev. Melissa Drake will become one of the Superintendents effective July 1, 2020.  She will serve the southwest region, which comprises the current Southwest District and some adjacent areas of the current Northwest District. Rev. Drake will follow Rev. Terra Amundson, who concludes her tenure on the Appointive Cabinet this year, having served most recently as the Dean of that group. She becomes lead pastor of the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church in ...

Bishop urges congregations to be prepared, be calm

Bishop urges congregations to be prepared, be calm

2/28/2020
Bishop Laurie Haller is urging Iowa United Methodist congregations to be prepared as reports of the spread of the coronavirus (also known as “COVID-19”) makes the news.    “Let’s all be calm here in Iowa,” Bishop Laurie said, “even as we receive reports of the spread of the coronavirus disease in regions across the world. We pray for recovery for those who have fallen ill.  We also pray for the medical teams who are working to contain the outbreak.”   It’s suggested that leaders of Iowa United ...

"Wandering Into Grace" available to order today

2/18/2020
"Last week my office at the Conference Center was so cold that I had to move elsewhere to work. I thought it was due to the intense cold and wind chill until someone finally checked the thermostat and discovered that the heat wasn’t working!" said Bishop Laurie. "It reminded me of the night before my daughter Talitha and I crested the Larkya Pass in Nepal at 17,060 feet. Sleeping in a small stone hut with no heat and the wind howling all around us, we soon realized that we had to get creative in...

Consider a Lenten Journey by Wandering Into Grace

Consider a Lenten Journey by Wandering Into Grace

2/10/2020
Looking for a meaningful Lenten journey?  For yourself?  For a group in your faith community?   Consider Bishop Laurie Haller’s new book, Wandering Into Grace: A Journey of Discovery and Hope for your personal devotion or small-group study.   “Wandering is a way of life for those who seek to create a world where grace leads us into new ways of seeing, serving, leading, and reaching out,”  Bishop Laurie writes.   Her 2018 trekking trip to Nepal is chronicled in the book in six chapters.  Each has...

Bishop Laurie Haller Wanders Into Grace

Bishop Laurie Haller Wanders Into Grace

2/6/2020
“I’ve always been a writer. Ever since I was a child, I would write about significant things in my life,” shares Iowa Conference Bishop Laurie Haller, recalling her early chronicle of a two-week trip out west with her family. Her father, who worked in a commercial printing factory, even put her writings about the trip together into a little book for her.   Now, some years later, Bishop Laurie is seeing the chronicle of her July 2018 trip, an arduous trek in Nepal with her daughter Talitha, ...

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie Haller

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie Haller

1/23/2020
To the Saints of God in Iowa, Grace and peace! As we experience snow and bitter cold in Iowa, I am reminded of the graciousness and warmth of spirit that I witness in every corner of our state. In the midst of uncertainty and anxiety about the future of The United Methodist Church, you are engaged in transformative ministries in your local communities and around the world that are changing hearts and saving lives. I'd like to share some thoughts about our Conference’s Vision 2032 that will have ...

United Methodist Traditionalists, Centrists, Progressives & Bishops sign agreement aimed at separation

United Methodist Traditionalists, Centrists, Progressives & Bishops sign agreement aimed at separation

1/3/2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Iowa Annual Conference, Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as this new year begins. I am writing to make you aware of the discernment of a “mediation team” that has been working for the past several months to bring a proposal to the delegates of the 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis. The mediation team is a diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups with contrasting views and bishops from the US and ...

A Christmas Message from Bishop Laurie

A Christmas Message from Bishop Laurie

12/24/2019
A Christmas Message from Bishop Laurie Haller from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.  

Bishop's Statement on Judicial Council Memorandum No. 1388

Bishop's Statement on Judicial Council Memorandum No. 1388

11/6/2019
  By now, some of you may have become aware of the Judicial Council’s November 1, 2019 ruling (Memorandum No. 1388) on the Decision of Law I submitted on July 3, 2019.   My Decision of Law, with Exhibits, and Memorandum No. 1388 can be found here.    In the Decision of Law, I ruled, among other things, that the part of Item 506 that resolved “in light of our current IAC budget crisis, the IAC should prioritize the full funding of conference missions, new ministry starts, and clergy support ...

Looking into the future - Vision 2032

Looking into the future - Vision 2032

10/15/2019
Faith communities, lay and clergy, and leaders are looking into the future of the Iowa Annual Conference, to discern Vision 2032.    To be able to do this most effectively, with the greatest input from across the Conference, a series of listening sessions has just begun. The first conversation took place on Sunday, October 13, at Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church. In the coming weeks, through the end of November, an additional seven sessions will take place. (See the schedule here.)   “The ...

Thank You from Bishop Laurie

Thank You from Bishop Laurie

9/5/2019
I want to thank you for your kind expressions of love and support upon the death of my father. It is overwhelming to know that so many people care enough to send a card or an email or say a prayer. I will be forever grateful for your continued commitment to make a difference in our world by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service, and your witness to the love of Jesus for all people. Blessings, Bishop Laurie  

Laity Day with Bishop Laurie

Laity Day with Bishop Laurie

3/22/2019
Join us for the Iowa Conference Laity Day with the Bishop on Saturday, April 6 at Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames. Bishop Laurie’s sermon, which will be part of Morning Worship, is titled “The Same but Different.” She will also participate in a discussion of General Conference 2019 and an afternoon question and answer session.   The current situation in the United Methodist church will be explored in a morning session, “The UMC: Taking Stock and Looking Forward.” Compare the ...

Write a Daily Devotion for Lent

Write a Daily Devotion for Lent

2/15/2019
To the Clergy of The Iowa Annual Conference, The 40-day season of Lent will be beginning soon and Bishop Laurie invites clergy of The Iowa Annual Conference to prayerfully consider writing a short devotional to help members and friends of the Conference journey through this season of spiritual refocusing and renewal.  Every morning during Lent, these short devotionals are delivered via email to every person who has subscribed to help facilitate their journey during the 40 days. You are invited ...

Bishop Laurie's prayer for GC2019

Bishop Laurie's prayer for GC2019

2/13/2019
Editor's note: This is the third and final video interview with Bishop Laurie Haller in the days leading up to the Special Called General Conference February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. In this video, Bishop Laurie offers a prayer for Iowa United Methodists and for the upcoming conference.   Bishop Laurie Haller prays for Iowa UM's and the General Conference from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.  

A bishop's role at GC2019

A bishop's role at GC2019

2/12/2019
Editor's note: This is the second of three video interviews with Bishop Laurie Haller leading up to the Special Called General Conference February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. In this video, Bishop Laurie discusses what the role of the bishops is during the conference.    A Bishop's Role at the General Conference from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.  

Praying together for the Special Called General Conference

Praying together for the Special Called General Conference

2/11/2019
Grace and peace, In a little over a week, United Methodists from around the world will gather together for the 2019 Special Called General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. I invite you and your congregation to join me in praying the unison prayer I've written below during worship on Sunday, February 17, 2019. We will pray together for our delegation, the General Conference, and The United Methodist Church. Please feel free reprint the prayer I've written below in your bulletin, share on social...

A moment with Bishop Laurie before GC2019

A moment with Bishop Laurie before GC2019

2/7/2019
Editor's note: This is the first of three videos interviews with Bishop Laurie Haller leading up to the Special Called General Conference February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. In the first interview, Bishop Laurie talks about how she's feeling in the weeks leading up to the conference. This will be her first General Conference as a bishop of the United Methodist Church.   Bishop Laurie Haller looks ahead to the 2019 General Conference from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.  

Recap of Fall COWF Gatherings

Recap of Fall COWF Gatherings

2/5/2019
Our Purpose is Love Bishop Laurie Haller would like to thank the nearly 1,600 people who joined her at one of the eight Fall Gatherings across the Conference to discuss the proposals made by the Commission on a Way Forward and the upcoming Special General Conference in St. Louis Feb. 23-26, 2019. During each of the gatherings, Bishop Laurie spoke about the Mission, Vision, Scope, and Theological framework of the Commission on a Way Forward and presented information about the three major plans. ...

'Be instruments of Peace' - Bishop Laurie

'Be instruments of Peace' - Bishop Laurie

10/28/2018
In response to the tragedy at the Tree of Life Or L'Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh that left 11 dead and six others wounded, Bishop Laurie Haller called upon Iowa United Methodists to "name evil."  At the same time, she issued the invitation to "work for good in the world." In a prayer, posted on her Facebook page, Bishop Laurie expressed the hope that "each one of us [can] become an instrument" of God's peace and hope. Merciful God, we confess that fear and anger have overwhelmed us. We ...

Bishop Laurie begins COWF Fall Gatherings

Bishop Laurie begins COWF Fall Gatherings

9/27/2018
More than 300 people gathered at Salem and Washington United Methodist Churches to listen and join in on the Conversation on a Way Forward on Sunday, Sept. 23.   Bishop Laurie Haller spoke about convicted humility, and about how she hopes that attitude can carry the denomination and the Iowa Conference through the upcoming decision.    “Convicted humility is an attitude that Jesus wants us to show in our lives, and not only in the way we relate to our family and friends and work colleagues,” ...

Everything to hope, little to fear—Episcopal Address AC2018

Everything to hope, little to fear—Episcopal Address AC2018

6/9/2018
  Kinnick Driscoll from Broadway UMC did the benediction for the Opening Worship and Episcopal Address at AC2018. Read his prayer here. Truly one of God's difference-makers in the making! Watch Bishop Laurie's Episcopal Address Bishop Laurie Haller opened the 2018 Annual Conference Session with an Episcopal Address that challenged the Conference to wade into uncharted territory with hope instead of fear and to also find a way to remain united in the midst diversity in the church.   See an ...

Bishop Laurie on preparing for Annual Conference

Bishop Laurie on preparing for Annual Conference

6/5/2018
Communications Director Rev. Arthur McClanahan sat down with Bishop Laurie Haller during her preparations for Annual Conference. The following is a transcript of their conversation together. If you wish to join Bishop Laurie in her spiritual preparations before the conference begins, you may use the scriptures for the Retirement Service, Memorial Service, and Ordering Service. They are: Numbers 8:23-26; John 9:1-7; Psalm 23; Lamentations 3:19-24; John 6:32-40; and Isaiah 64:1-9. Art: Bishop ...

Statement from Bishop Laurie about the Called 2019 General Conference and the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference

Statement from Bishop Laurie about the Called 2019 General Conference and the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference

5/29/2018
May 29, 2018 Dear Friends, You may have heard that our United Methodist Judicial Council met last week. Their purpose was to consider a request from the Council of Bishops for a declaratory decision on whether petitions inconsistent with the Bishops’ own report could be considered at the Special General Conference, set for Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis. (Click here to read the Bishops’ proposal.)              The following is the summary of Decision 1360 of the Judicial Council: “The purpose...

Pastoral Letter about Santa Fe shooting

Pastoral Letter about Santa Fe shooting

5/18/2018
Once again, our hearts are broken by the violence at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, this morning, where ten people were killed and another ten were wounded. In the midst of unspeakable horror, we lament along with the psalmist.   I cry out to you from the depths, Lord my Lord, listen to my voice!     Let your ears pay close attention to my request for mercy! If you kept track of sins, Lord,     my Lord, who would stand a chance? But forgiveness is with you;     that’s why you are honored. I ...

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie

Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie

5/5/2018
A PASTORAL LETTER FROM BISHOP LAURIE   May 5, 2018   Dear Laity and Clergy in the Iowa Annual Conference,   Grace and peace! I am writing to you with an update from the Council of Bishops around the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. I am deeply grateful for your interest in and prayers for the Commission and for your presence at seven district gatherings around the state in March and April. As many of you know, the 2016 General Conference voted to form a special Commission to help us ...

"God bless this holy place and all who enter here"

3/23/2018
Psalm 127:1 Unless it is the Lord who builds the house, the builder’s work is pointless. Unless it is the Lord who protects the city, the guard on duty is pointless.   “You are the ones who are building the house, you are the ones who are protecting those who are defenseless, and God blesses you for your ministry here,” read Bishop Laurie Haller at the blessing celebrating the new office of Iowa Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) on March 15, 2018.   “We think that all means all, and that all ...

Bishop's Statement about Florida tragedy

Bishop's Statement about Florida tragedy

2/15/2018
On the afternoon of Ash Wednesday, seventeen students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida were killed by alleged gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who used a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle. This was the eighth school shooting in the US in 2018, and we are only 47 days into the year.   Our American love affair with guns and the challenge of passing gun legislation is well portrayed by the sign on the United Methodist Building in Washington D.C., which is the ...

Carlson to become NW Superintendent

Carlson to become NW Superintendent

1/8/2018
Bishop Laurie Haller has announced her intention to name Rev. Ronald L. Carlson to the Appointive Cabinet, beginning July 1, 2018.   “The Iowa Annual Conference has eight districts, each led by a Superintendent who works with me to appoint the very best clergy to our congregations,” said Bishop Laurie.  “The superintendents are the chief missional strategists for the districts, developing programs of mission and ministry that extend the witness of Christ into the world.  In addition, the ...

Bishop offers prayer for Texas tragedy

Bishop offers prayer for Texas tragedy

11/6/2017
Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the deaths yesterday of 26 children, women, and men at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Twenty others were wounded, many critically, in the largest mass shooting in Texas history. Children lost parents, multiple members of extended families were killed, and the 14-year-old daughter of the pastor died at the hands of shooter Devin Patrick Kelley. Four percent of the town’s population was killed in the shooting. In the midst of this senseless and ...

Judicial Council upholds Bishop’s ruling

Judicial Council upholds Bishop’s ruling

10/30/2017
The Judicial Council, United Methodism’s “supreme court,” upheld Bishop Laurie Haller’s ruling on a “decision of law” raised during the 2017 annual conference session.  The decision announced on October 26, 2017, came during the Council’s fall meeting.  The question was raised “regarding the complaint procedure involving a clergy member who was reported to have publicly declared to be ‘a self-avowed practicing homosexual’,” according to the opening of Decision 1351. In brief, the Judicial ...

Begins tenure on July 1, 2018

Begins tenure on July 1, 2018

10/13/2017
Bishop Laurie Haller announced today that Rev. Harlan Gillespie will be the new Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, effective July 1, 2018.  Gillespie, Superintendent for the North Central District, also currently serves as Dean of the Appointive Cabinet. “The Assistant to the Bishop works with the Bishop in administering the life of the annual conference,” said Bishop Laurie. This includes representing the Bishop on conference administrative committees and at conference events, ...

An important message from Bishop Laurie

An important message from Bishop Laurie

10/6/2017
The entire country woke up on Monday morning to the shocking news that a lone gunman unleashed hundreds of rounds from high-velocity semi-automatic weapons from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel onto a crowd of 22,000 people at an outdoor music festival. It was the deadliest mass shooting modern US history. 58 people were killed and hundreds more were injured. Among the victims was Carly Kreibaum of Sutherland, Iowa, who had a husband and two children. Authorities are just beginning to piece ...

Bishop Laurie runs the Boston Marathon

Bishop Laurie runs the Boston Marathon

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