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Bishop Laurie


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 ...

Wednesday Words of Encouragement — Caring Connections with Bishop Laurie

Wednesday Words of Encouragement — Caring Connections with Bishop Laurie

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  

Prayers requested for Bishop Laurie

Prayers requested for Bishop Laurie

8/13/2019
Please keep Bishop Laurie Haller and her family in your prayers. Her father, Gerald F. Hartzel, Sr., passed away on Monday, August 12, 2019. Services will be at 11:00 am on Monday, August 26th at Peter Becker Community, 800 Maple Avenue, Harleysville, PA. Mr. Hartzell is survived by his children: Gerald F. Hartzel, Jr.; Bishop Laurie Haller, 2301 Rittenhouse Street, Des Moines, IA 50321; Randall L. Hartzel and Jennifer Handwerk. Memorial contributions can be made in his memory to Zion Mennonite...

Bishop Laurie laments gun violence in El Paso and Dayton

Bishop Laurie laments gun violence in El Paso and Dayton

8/5/2019
A PASTORAL LETTER TO THE IOWA ANNUAL CONFERENCE August 5, 2019   My heart was heavy this morning at Epworth Assembly in Ludington, Michigan, when the American flag was lowered to half-staff. It was a gesture of both mourning and respect for the victims of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio over this past weekend. I have been at this summer resort with Methodist roots for several days of preaching and teaching. At an open forum this morning, we shared deep grief for the ...

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 ...