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COVID-19


New Hope UMC thankful for pastor and congregation during pandemic

New Hope UMC thankful for pastor and congregation during pandemic

9/23/2020
Submitted by Nancy Monthei, Office Administrator of Des Moines New Hope United Methodist Church New Hope UMC in Des Moines didn’t let the pandemic slow down its outreach to the community or connection with its congregation. The church continued to monetarily support the Urbandale Food Pantry and the Johnston Partnership in its community. New Hope also provides a monthly meal for Central Iowa Shelter and Services. Meal volunteers are more creative with the meal preparations and taken new ...

Derecho doesn't delay confirmation at Lovely Lane UMC

Derecho doesn't delay confirmation at Lovely Lane UMC

9/16/2020
This is the sixth in a series of Faith In Action reports on how churches, ministries, and people from the Iowa United Methodist Church are making a difference and changing lives following the derecho disaster in August 2020.  A typical year of confirmation turned upside down for Lovely Lane United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids after quarantine and the derecho on August 10. That didn’t stop Rev. Scott Meador from completing the year with a celebration.   “We started back in the fall of 2019 ...

Answered prayers lead New Hartford UMC to create a

Answered prayers lead New Hartford UMC to create a "Viral" Bible school

9/9/2020
Submitted by Sandy Becker, New Hartford United Methodist Church Lay Leader and Christian Education Coordinator The New Hartford United Methodist Church is a typical rural small church in Iowa. In 2019, New Hartford's population dropped 5.4% from 2010, which has continued since the 1980s. Nevertheless, members of the New Hartford UMC are making every effort to make disciples by serving the community and spreading the gospel. Then we came across the COVID-19 pandemic. We made the very difficult...

SYA Alumni release Youth Leaders Training

SYA Alumni release Youth Leaders Training

9/9/2020
A message from the Simpson Youth Academy Hello friends - As your communities embark upon uncharted territory, doing ministry with youth in the context of COVID-19, SYA wants to support you in your efforts. We are therefore pleased to share with you a FREE 30-MINUTE VIDEO recording of four of our gifted SYA alumni and staff reflecting upon faith and leadership in this challenging time. This panel was recorded during our recent youth leaders training. (Note that the first 60 seconds are spotty ...

Monroe UM Church donates 1000 face masks

Monroe UM Church donates 1000 face masks

9/8/2020
Submitted by Van Dickens, Monroe United Methodist Church “We are a friendly, faithful, loving family dedicated to sharing God’s love with our neighbor.” The Nurture and Outreach Committee of the Monroe United Methodist Church began Operation Face Mask on April 13 with the goal of providing free face masks to the community. We began by offering sewing kits with directions, fabric, elastic, etc., so individuals could make their own face masks. We also had no-sew kits with directions, fabric, ...

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 ...

Church Reentry Frequently Asked Questions

Church Reentry Frequently Asked Questions

9/4/2020
1. What about clergy with pre-existing conditions? Will we be required to go back to public ministry? Please have a conversation with your District Superintendent and your SPRC. We do not want any clergy or laity who are high risk to be made even more vulnerable. Laity who are comfortable returning to public worship can lead the service. Lay leaders, worship leaders, and others are encouraged to be part of this planning. Preachers could use Facebook, zoom, skype, bluejeans, or other formats to ...

With a little nudge from God, Monique Shore turns her children's message into a book

With a little nudge from God, Monique Shore turns her children's message into a book

9/4/2020
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Grinnell United Methodist Church's Lay Leader, Monique Shore, would share her children’s message in person to the youth during church. When it was her turn last May during their new online worship, she created a video and a children’s story that addresses the emotional struggles everyone is experiencing because of the pandemic. She then took it one step further. Her message is now a book with proceeds go to support multiple mission projects at her church. As the ...

West Des Moines UMC rings the bell to remember lives lost to COVID-19

West Des Moines UMC rings the bell to remember lives lost to COVID-19

9/1/2020
On August 23, 2020, West Des Moines United Methodist Church rang its bell 1,030 times to remember Iowans who have died during the Coronavirus Pandemic. We pray for God to heal our broken world.   Read the Des Moines Register Iowa Columnist Courtney Crowder's coverage of the event. See a gallery of images on Flickr.

Back to School Partnerships

Back to School Partnerships

8/14/2020
Sharon Dentlinger, Superintendent of the Interstate 35 Community School District; Julie Robinson, Principal in the Iowa City Community School District; and Carl Turner, retired Superintendent of the Storm Lake Community School District were the featured presenters at the August 6, 2020, Good Idea Webinar on Back to School Partnerships.   Rev. Ron Carlson, Northwest District Superintendent hosted and opened the webinar asking the panelists how they thought United Methodist churches could best ...

The 2020 Mission Ingathering continues with alterations

The 2020 Mission Ingathering continues with alterations

8/14/2020
The Mission Ingathering Committee has determined that this year’s events will be held at all five traditional sites. However, Ingathering will look very different this year because of risks related to the COVID-19 virus.  As usual, each site will collect greatly needed kits and monetary donations from churches and individuals. All other traditional parts of Ingathering (worship, lunch, education, bazaar, youth overnight, quilt, and woodcarving auctions) will not occur this year. Each site will ...

The storms of life

The storms of life

8/14/2020
By Kae Tritle, RN Well-being Coordinator   In the past few months and particularly this past week, we have been pounded by several storms; literally, emotionally, physically, relationally, and spiritually. Our lives and our emotions have been pummeled with several issues; mostly related to the impact of the COVID-19 virus including jobs, health, schools for our children, loss of in-person connections, loss of spiritual connections, financial effects, community diversity issues, and now the brunt...

Iowa City First UMC partners with local school to provide care packages

Iowa City First UMC partners with local school to provide care packages

8/9/2020
First UMC in Iowa City responded to the COVID-19 situation by forming a partnership with their neighborhood. Working with Horace Mann School Principal, Julie Robertson, the church provided rent assistance, food gift cards, and quarantine care packages to families in the neighborhood connected to the school.  “I spoke about this project in our Livestream worship and many families have responded with donations to help with this ministry,” said Rev. Dr. Barrie Tritle.  One person who is an ...

On the Go Masks is GCFA’s newest ministry partner

On the Go Masks is GCFA’s newest ministry partner

8/9/2020
Nashville, TN – The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) Connectional Relations Team is pleased to announce that On the Go Masks (OTG) has been vetted and approved as a ministry partner. The Connectional Relations Team researches and vets companies that can provide needed services to help local churches and other United Methodist entities in their respective ministry of administration.    As a ministry partner, On the Go Masks is offering an exclusive program for the purchase of ...

Silver Creek UMC is

Silver Creek UMC is "Chalk-Full" of positive vides during COVID-19

8/9/2020
In May 2020, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Silver Creek UMC near Galva, Iowa sought to bring a little joy into the lives of their community by encouraging youth to decorate their sidewalks by passing out the sidewalk chalk.  They were able to collect around $70 dollars and a couple of 24 packs of chalk. They delivered the chalk to homes in the community, left baggies on the front step, or for those in the country in their mailboxes.  “We also handed them out to kids that were out ...

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.  

Next two Good Idea Webinars: Hospitality Beyond the Screen and Back-to-School Partnerships

Next two Good Idea Webinars: Hospitality Beyond the Screen and Back-to-School Partnerships

7/20/2020
7/23/20 | 23 - Hospitality Beyond the Screen We know how to do hospitality in a normal season, but what does hospitality that links our online worship to our online worship? How will we include and welcome those many people we have reached in our online worship now that we are considering returning to in person worship? Join us for a Good Idea Webinar hosted By Rev. Melissa Drake, Superintendent of the SW Region. Join us on Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/99033983214), dial in at +1 301 715 8592 with ...

Next Good Idea Webinar: Hospitality Beyond the Screen

Next Good Idea Webinar: Hospitality Beyond the Screen

7/9/2020
7/23/20 - Hospitality Beyond the Screen  We know how to do hospitality in a normal season, but what does hospitality that links our online worship to our online worship? How will we include and welcome those many people we have reached in our online worship now that we are considering returning to in-person worship? Join us for a Good Idea Webinar hosted By Rev. Melissa Drake, Superintendent of the SW Region. Join us on Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/99033983214), dial in at +1 301 715 8592 with ...

Long-term plan for usage of the Conference Center building

Long-term plan for usage of the Conference Center building

7/4/2020
Due to the care and concern for the safety of our ministry partners, vendors, and staff, the Leadership Team of the Iowa Conference has developed a long-term plan for usage of the Conference Center building in Des Moines.  Beginning Monday, July 6, 2020, staff can receive visitors and group meetings may resume under the following guidelines:   Visitors will be allowed in the building by appointment only during our designated visitor days - Tuesday and Thursday of each week.   Visitors with an ...

Global Ministries Missionary Larry Kies provides

Global Ministries Missionary Larry Kies provides "virtual visits" during summer 2020 itineration

7/2/2020
Larry Kies, a United Methodist missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries and an Iowa native who serves as technical advisor to the Africa University Farm in Zimbabwe, Africa and was scheduled to present at the Teaching Session at the Iowa Annual Conference in June 2020 and to visit supporting churches in Iowa during the summer of 2020. Both have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel bans but with the support of Global Ministries, Kies will be able to "Virtually Visit...

Status and Reentry letter from the Iowa Annual Conference Crisis Operations Team

Status and Reentry letter from the Iowa Annual Conference Crisis Operations Team

7/1/2020
Greetings friends, and Peace in the name or our Lord Jesus Christ.   We of the Appointive Cabinet and the Crisis Response Team continue to hold you, the laity and clergy, of the Iowa Conference in our hearts and prayers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As you undoubtably know there has been an uptake in the number of cases here, in Iowa, and around the nation. Many of you have expressed concern for your churches and for the safety of members as some of our congregations begin to gather again for ...

Don't miss the next two Good Idea Webinars: Staff Teams in the Covid-Age and Hospitality Beyond the Screen

Don't miss the next two Good Idea Webinars: Staff Teams in the Covid-Age and Hospitality Beyond the Screen

6/25/2020
7/9/20 - Staff Teams in the Covid-Age The pandemic has shaken even the steadiest, highest-performing teams.  How do you navigate staffing and social distancing, performance goals and evaluation, or even the personal stresses of illness, finances, and family?  Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck and Rev. Ryan Christenson will share their insights and advice, and you are invited to share your experiences and best practices.  Lanette serves as Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence for the Iowa Annual ...

Important Message from Bishop Laurie: To mask or not to mask, that is the question

Important Message from Bishop Laurie: To mask or not to mask, that is the question

6/23/2020
From Bishop Laurie to the Clergy and Laity of the Iowa Annual Conference: I want to thank you for your faithfulness over these last months as we have had to learn a new way of being the church as a result of COVID-19. We have now entered a new phase where we are considering re-entry plans for in-person worship in our local churches. One of the questions we hear often is whether we have to wear masks to worship.  Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, who is our Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence ...

Iowa Conference Center closed until July 5

Iowa Conference Center closed until July 5

6/23/2020
In light of the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and the recommendations to limit our social interaction to prevent the spread of the virus, the Iowa Annual Conference Center will be closed until July 5, 2020.  Conference staff will be working remotely during that time.    Staff can be reached either by calling their direct extension or by calling the main number, 515-974-8900, listening for the directory prompt, accessing the staff person’s extension, and leaving a message.    The ...

June 25 Good Idea Webinar is a Re-Entry Plan Revisit - Everything Other Than Indoor Worship

June 25 Good Idea Webinar is a Re-Entry Plan Revisit - Everything Other Than Indoor Worship

6/19/2020
The June 25 Good Idea Webinar is titled, Re-Entry Revisit: Everything Other Than Indoor Worship.  While our last re-entry webinar fielded mostly indoor worship questions, church life includes so much more. Bring your questions about service, small groups, leadership, discipleship, and outdoor worship for this season of navigating the “yellow phase”.   Join the conversation for the Good Idea Webinar on June 25th at 2:00 PM. Our guest will be Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, Director of Clergy and ...

The bells ring at Wilton UMC to mourn and remember COVID-19 victims

The bells ring at Wilton UMC to mourn and remember COVID-19 victims

6/17/2020
After three Sundays of online worship in March and watching the Iowa COVID-19 death toll continue to rise, Pastor Steve Braudt wanted to help his congregation and community face the size of this pandemic.    “In this situation, I wanted something physical to do in response,” he said. “Ringing the bell at noon seemed an ideal way to physically, emotionally, and spiritually respond to this unfolding crisis.”   As of today, He has rung the bell at Wilton United Methodist Church just over 14,000 ...

Update on Mabaan fundraising effort

Update on Mabaan fundraising effort

6/12/2020
Submitted by Beverly Nolte, Chair, Iowa Conference Mabaan Fund Raising Committee It was June 2016 when Central District Superintendent Dave Weesner asked me to help find housing to relocate a South Sudanese pastor to Des Moines. The family, Aaron Limmo and Helen Lieti, along with their family of four, were to be the new pastor of a fast-growing Mabaan speaking Christian group in Des Moines with a smattering of Mabaans in Storm Lake and Omaha. The family arrived in August 2016 which began my ...

June 11 Good Idea Webinar will be about the Circuit Ministry Model

June 11 Good Idea Webinar will be about the Circuit Ministry Model

6/5/2020
Do you have questions about circuit ministry? Have you heard about this new model the conference is moving toward but are unsure about what it means for you? If so please join us for our next Good Idea Webinar on June 11 at 2:00 PM.  Our guests will be Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson, Director of Congregational Excellence for the Iowa Annual Conference and Rev. Paul Wilcox, District Superintendent of the Northeast District who will talk about the circuit ministry model, the role of the circuit leader, ...

Paycheck Protection Program to Help Sustain Ministries

Paycheck Protection Program to Help Sustain Ministries

6/5/2020
For quite some time, the United Methodist churches in Iowa have experienced the same trends found in most, if not all, mainline denominations: aging members, decreasing worship attendance, and declining revenue. In recent years, our Iowa churches have also felt the fallout from the natural disasters across our state, and now we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. In order to address immediate operational needs stemming from COVID-19, a Crisis Operations Team consisting of leadership across...

Next week the Good Idea Webinars move to Zoom

Next week the Good Idea Webinars move to Zoom

5/29/2020
Beginning next week, the Good Idea Webinars will be moving to Zoom. On Monday, June 1, the Unscripted Time of Encouragement and Support will have a special invitation for folks wanting to talk about caring for our health care workers. Join the conversation on Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/95263025913), or dial in at +1 301 715 8592 with meeting ID 952 6302 5913 Thursday, June 4, Good Idea Webinar will be focused on the Iowa Conference Re-Entry Plan featuring Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck. Join the webinar...

Letter from Bishop Laurie: Reentry Update and Resources

Letter from Bishop Laurie: Reentry Update and Resources

5/27/2020
Beloved of God,     I greet you in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. In just a few short days we will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday. The Greek word pentecoste means "fiftieth day" and marks the time when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and others assembled in Jerusalem, marking the birth of the church. For many of us, the “fiftieth day” also marks our time away from in-person worship since the disruption in all areas of our lives caused by this global pandemic....

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 ...

Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church Crisis Response Re-Entry Plan

Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church Crisis Response Re-Entry Plan

5/22/2020
The Iowa Annual Conference Crisis Operations Team is providing this Re-Entry Plan for the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church. This plan is guided by John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules, which provides a message and methodology of how to approach our strategic and compassionate plan to care for our churches and communities through COVID-19. Wesley’s rules have been placed within a stoplight framework to guide us as we move through a graduated 3-Level reentry process from red to yellow to...

Iowa United Methodist Camps announce summer ministry plans

Iowa United Methodist Camps announce summer ministry plans

5/22/2020
Registration for Backyard Camp can be found at www.iaumc.org/camps. The Summer of 2020 is just around the corner and with it comes opportunities to connect in different ways than ever before. Iowa United Methodist Camps are proud to announce “Backyard Camp”, a one-of-a-kind summer program offering from the combined staff at Wesley Woods and Okoboji United Methodist Camps.  Bryan Johnson, Director of Camps and Retreats says “connection with friends old and new is one of the best parts of the ...

Iowa Conference clergy converse on congregation reentry

Iowa Conference clergy converse on congregation reentry

5/21/2020
About 400 Iowa Conference clergypersons joined a Zoom meeting focused on reentry plans for Iowa United Methodist congregations addressing the concerns surrounding reentry into churches during and after the COVID-19 crisis.    “Have you ever heard the words, ‘We’ve never done this before,’?” asked Bishop Laurie Haller during her opening devotion. “No, we haven’t done this before, but this evening we’re doing something new. We’re gathering as clergy in a way we have never gathered before.” Watch...

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 ...

Is your church doing something creative as a response to the Covid-19 outbreak

Is your church doing something creative as a response to the Covid-19 outbreak

5/15/2020
Churches of all sizes from all parts of Iowa are coming up with unique ideas such as sidewalk chalk drawing, giving away quarantine care bags, making and giving away masks and so much more. We would like to hear your stories! If your church is doing something you are proud of and would like to share, or if you know a UMC that is, please email jaye.johnson@iaumc.org with details and include a few pictures. We will be assembling a video for the virtual AC2020 to highlight the spirit and response...

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 ...

Next webinar topics are: What’s Up With Camps, and Stewardship in a Covid-19 World

Next webinar topics are: What’s Up With Camps, and Stewardship in a Covid-19 World

5/15/2020
5/21/20: What’s Up With Camps?  @ 2 p.m. Bryan Johnson, Director of Camping and Christian Formation for the Iowa Annual Conference will be sharing what is going on with camps this summer. It was announced at the end of April there will be no onsite camping at Wesley Woods or Camp Okoboji this summer. Join us using this link https://tinyurl.com/IAUMCCamp. The host will be Rev. Ron Carson, District Superintendent of the Northwest District.  The webinars will be recorded and posted here www.iaumc.o...

Health-full Minute—being nutritionally smart

Health-full Minute—being nutritionally smart

5/11/2020
By: Kae Tritle, RN Wellness Coordinator As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have emotionally moved through various phases; denial, panic, crisis, and now a sense of long-term coping. We are beginning to realize that this situation is going to continue for a while. The word “marathon” is being used for the next phase of the Covid-19 response. As we have experienced the impact of COVID-19 upon our daily lives, an area that is part of our emotional response is what we put into our...

Colfax UMC asked to 'up the ante' to help community

Colfax UMC asked to 'up the ante' to help community

5/8/2020
12 families, including 19 children, aren't going hungry over the weekend because of the generosity of the people of the Colfax United Methodist Church and other congregations in the community.   “We just knew there was a need and we’ll take care of that need for as long as it needs to be,” said Rev. Terry Pollard of the Colfax United Methodist Church.   Listen to a conversation with Rev. Terry Pollard about the ecumenical outreach. Colfax has a backpack program during the school year, ...

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...

UPDATED: Denominational Leaders Unite: Congregations should refrain from in-person gatherings

UPDATED: Denominational Leaders Unite: Congregations should refrain from in-person gatherings

5/7/2020
May 7, 2020 Denominational Leaders Remain United:  Congregations should refrain from in-person gatherings   As church denominational leaders, representing more than 1.2 million Christians throughout the state of Iowa, we are grateful for the opportunity provided by the upcoming visit of Vice President Mike Pence to re-issue and recommit to our position regarding in-person gatherings of faith communities, whether for worship or group ministries.    With one voice, we want to assure the Vice ...

Streamed Services: Staying socially connected during COVID-19

Streamed Services: Staying socially connected during COVID-19

5/1/2020
Updated Friday, May 1 The Iowa Conference Communications Office is assembling a list of ways you can continue socially engage in worship while practicing physical distancing. We will update this story with new resources as they become available. To submit a service time, please email courtney@iaumc.org with your church name, service time and a link to where the service is found online, television station or radio station.   Thinking of starting to livestream? Ask The UMC can help you jump the ...

Worship Service for use during three day renewal leave

Worship Service for use during three day renewal leave

4/30/2020
Dear Iowa United Methodist Clergy, Worship Leaders, Lay Leaders, and Staff, Bishop Laurie recently shared, “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...

2020 Summer Camp announcement

2020 Summer Camp announcement

4/29/2020
To supporters of the Iowa United Methodist Camping Ministry: The Iowa United Methodist Camping Ministry has adopted core values which guide our values, principles and decision making. Our first core value is to “ensure guests feel safe, secure and loved”. As a result, today we are announcing that due to ongoing concerns regarding the safety and health of our campers, families and staff due to COVID-19 we will be cancelling all summer programs at Okoboji and Wesley Woods United Methodist Camps ...

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 ...

Tentative General Conference dates publicized

Tentative General Conference dates publicized

4/21/2020
By Heather Hahn April 21, 2020 | UM News   After the pandemic-caused postponement, the new prospective dates for The United Methodist Church’s General Conference are Aug. 31-Sept. 10, 2021. The Council of Bishops disclosed the proposed dates, including a Council of Bishops meeting starting Aug. 26, in an email to its members and other church leaders. The proposed dates also were discussed among delegates of at least one jurisdictional conference in late March. General Conference organizers have ...

Health-Full Moment

Health-Full Moment

4/20/2020
By Kae Tritle, RN Wellness Coordinator   The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted our usual life routines. While some people are essential workers for the hospitals, grocery/gas stores, police, fire and EMT departments, many of us are now social distancing, self-isolating, working, schooling, and shopping from home. A cartoon currently circulating is a person talking to a dog “Now I know why you get so excited about car rides!” Please be mindful of and pray for the essential workers. ...

Mabaan Flood Relief fundraiser put aside at the present time

Mabaan Flood Relief fundraiser put aside at the present time

4/20/2020
Bishop Haller and the Cabinet have agreed that the Mabaan Flood Relief fundraiser should be put aside at the present time. With the disruptions of normal activities, financial stress on our economy, and churches unable to meet during the COVID-19 period, many are not able to respond to this fundraiser.   The Mabaan speaking tribal group number in the hundreds here in Des Moines. Their home country/county was ravaged by a 6-month long flood which destroyed their livelihood and homes. The Iowa ...

Next Good Idea Webinars focus on small churches and youth ministry

Next Good Idea Webinars focus on small churches and youth ministry

4/17/2020
4/21/2020: Small Church Struggles & Solutions   Small Church Struggles & Solutions - Are you part of a small church? Have you felt like the resources and ideas offered to deal with Covid-19 are not possible for you? Do you have some ideas that have worked for your small church you would like to share with others? If so join us for a Good Idea Webinar titled Small Church Struggles & Solutions using this link  https://tinyurl.com/IAUMCSmallChurch  Small membership and rural churches have faced ...

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 ...

Far-reaching permission to use United Methodist Publishing House resources for online worship during crisis

Far-reaching permission to use United Methodist Publishing House resources for online worship during crisis

4/15/2020
Nashville, April, 2020 – As we continue to receive requests for clarification about use of copyrighted resources online during the crisis, United Methodist Publishing House is emphasizing full permission for churches to use worship materials, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. The copyright page in the 1992 United Methodist Book of Worship grants permission as follows: “United Methodist congregations may reproduce for worship or educational purposes any item from The United Methodist Book of...

Midwest Mission send relief shipment to Jamaica

Midwest Mission send relief shipment to Jamaica

4/13/2020
By: Chantel Corrie, Executive Director, Midwest Mission Pawnee, IL (April 13, 2020) – Midwest Mission will be sending their fourth relief shipment to Jamaica on Tuesday, April 13 with their international partner, Food for the Poor. “The container will be valued over $150,000 and consist of medical items, cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies (towel, washcloth, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, finger nail clippers, Band-Aids and comb), sewing items, and education supplies along ...

In Easter message, Bishops urge Christians not to despair in midst of global pandemic

In Easter message, Bishops urge Christians not to despair in midst of global pandemic

4/10/2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. - President of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church Bishop Kenneth H.  Carter has urged Christians to rely on the power of Easter to overcome the forces of death, division, darkness, and despair in the amidst of the COVID-19 global pandemic.   In the Easter message to The United Methodist Church, Bishop Carter noted that, “Easter is the moment when who we are, what we believe and what we do becomes clear. Easter is the power of the crucified and risen Jesus over...

Three Good Idea webinars next week: Ministry Ideas for Laity, God is With Us, and Fighting Isolation

Three Good Idea webinars next week: Ministry Ideas for Laity, God is With Us, and Fighting Isolation

4/10/2020
4/14/2020: Ministry Ideas for Laity Ministry Ideas for Laity - As United Methodists we believe in the priesthood of all believers. We believe that all people are called to ministry through baptism and not just our clergy. Wondering how lay people might be engaged in ministry given the Covid-19 outbreak? Want to know more about how you might make a difference? Have some ideas to share? Please join us for a Good Idea Webinar on Ministry Ideas for Laity using this link https://tinyurl.com/IAUMCIdea...

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 ...

Wespath/GCFA guidance for local churches applying for PPP loans

Wespath/GCFA guidance for local churches applying for PPP loans

4/9/2020
Friends in Christ,   General Council of Finance and Administration and Wespath have assembled a detail guidance for local church applications to the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program. Some early applications from UM churches in Iowa have received a notice of the acceptance of their applications. A hopeful sign.  Blessings, Joni Mardesen, Director Human Resources/Benefits Officer Margaret Biggs, Conference Treasurer/Director Administrative Services Rev. Dr. Harlan Gillespie, Assistant to the ...

A note from the Iowa Annual Conference Treasurer

A note from the Iowa Annual Conference Treasurer

4/8/2020
The Iowa Annual Conference (IAC) received $600,101 in total apportionments for the month of March from local churches; that is a total of $1,694,434 for the year 2020.  Based on past receipts as of March 31, we project to receive 63.7% of the total 2020 budget of $13,127,917.  That would be over $4.7M less than budgeted.   The IAC has taken a number of steps to continue reducing the expenses of the IAC, and CF&A instituted the Contingency Plan which puts in place restrictions on the types of ...

Don't miss a good idea! Learn best practices from Iowa clergy and laity experts

Don't miss a good idea! Learn best practices from Iowa clergy and laity experts

4/8/2020
Good Idea webinars are a series of interactive presentations designed to address issues and concerns of pastors and laity during the COVID-19 crisis. Good Idea webinars are a joint effort of the Office of Congregational Excellence, Office of Clergy Leadership and Excellence, the Cabinet, and lay leaders of the Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Please join the conversations! Thursday, April 9, 2020: Best Practices for Funerals: A Conversation with A Funeral Director  ...

All US Jurisdictional Conferences for 2020 are postponed

All US Jurisdictional Conferences for 2020 are postponed

4/7/2020
Dear NCJ Delegates and Alternates,   I trust you are all doing well and that you are safe and healthy.   After conversation with Bishop David Bard, President of the NCJ College of Bishops, I want to let you know that we received news that all US Jurisdictional Conferences for 2020 are postponed.     Once the dates for the General Conference are finalized, the Council of Bishops will set the date for the Jurisdictional Conference. The plan is for the Commission on General Conference and the ...

Grace United Methodist Church comes together despite changing times

Grace United Methodist Church comes together despite changing times

4/7/2020
Grace UMC Sioux City, Iowa is keeping connections alive during changing times. "Course, those connections, I think will continue even once we get into whatever is next," said Reverend Jim Shirbroun. Read the story or watch the video on KTIV News

Grimes Storehouse steps up in crisis times

Grimes Storehouse steps up in crisis times

4/6/2020
A record number of people have been cared for this month by the Grimes Storehouse, said Pastor Ben Wedeking of Grimes United Methodist Church, and he expects that the need will continue to increase.    “We have had record numbers already and it has gone up every month, even before the crisis,” he said. “This month we served 74 families, which is a massive amount for us, and I expect those numbers to go up.”   Listen to an interview with Pastor Ben Wedeking about how the Storehouse is adapting to...

‘The Resurrection is Still with Us’

‘The Resurrection is Still with Us’

4/3/2020
“We’ve got to acknowledge that this is Holy Week, and that it’s going to be different, but that we’re still going to go through it together.”  That’s how Rev. Nate Nims, Senior Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Des Moines  describes the sacred journey from Palm Sunday to Easter.    “It feels very different, very different,” Nims said, “especially with such a liturgical week and a week that is so connected to being together.” For example, “It’s very odd  not to have that fully immersive ...

Good Idea webinars for April 7 and April 9 focus on caring for our neighbors and best practices for funerals

Good Idea webinars for April 7 and April 9 focus on caring for our neighbors and best practices for funerals

4/3/2020
Caring for Our Neighbors Looking for ways to connect with your neighbors and be in ministry during this age of social distancing? Looking for some ideas how to show you care? Perhaps you have some ideas to share. If so, please join us for our Good Idea Webinar titled: Caring for Our Neighbors on Tuesday April 7, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. Our guests will be the staff of Ames, Collegiate United Methodist Church. Join us using this link: https://tinyurl.com/IAUMCNeighbors    Our host will be Rev. Dr. ...

The CARES Act may save your church during COVID-19

The CARES Act may save your church during COVID-19

4/3/2020
From Discipleship Ministries Church Leaders, When Congress passed legislation to help ease the health and economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our country, they also included $349 billion dollars to assist small businesses, including non-profits and churches. The “Phase Three” bill - the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) – included a $349 billion loan program available to small businesses, including churches and other 501(3)(c) non-profits, to ...

A Letter from Bishop Laurie regarding Drive-In-Worship guidelines

A Letter from Bishop Laurie regarding Drive-In-Worship guidelines

4/2/2020
Dear Friends,    I want you to know how very grateful I am for the way in which you have been providing creative, vital worship in your communities during this time when in-house corporate worship is prohibited. One way in which some of our congregations are serving their communities is through drive-in worship. Because of questions that have been raised about the appropriateness of drive-in worship, the Iowa Annual Conference has been in contact with the Governor’s office about guidelines for ...

Cabinet letter to the churches of Iowa Annual Conference

Cabinet letter to the churches of Iowa Annual Conference

4/1/2020
Beloved Churches of the Iowa Annual Conference, You are loved, redeemed, called, and commissioned to live and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, not despite the COVID-19, pandemic, but because of it!  Never has the witness of the Church been more needed than during this difficult time of social isolation.  Our Churches have been delivering meals to hungry school children, curbside food pantries on our front lawns, drive-in worship services, online sermons and daily devotions, caring phone ...

Payroll Protection letter to conference

Payroll Protection letter to conference

4/1/2020
Friends in Christ,   The Paycheck Protection Act that was recently passed by Congress has included non-profit organizations, such as churches.    We encourage you to look into this program and see how it best fits your local church. Please make sure your Finance Committee, Trustees, and Administrative Council (Church Council) review the program. Your local church’s legal counsel would also provide sound advice for you.    This is a “loan to grant” program, meaning that the loan may be become a ...

Holy Week message from Bishop Laurie

Holy Week message from Bishop Laurie

3/31/2020
God's Love Never Ends from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.   Listen to the Bishop Laurie's message for Holy Week 2020 Grace to you and peace on this Palm Sunday. Lament is a common word that we are using in these days to describe our coronavirus world. Lament in the Bible has always been a deep expression of grief and sorrow for someone who has died or for something that is gone. In the midst of the deadly effects of the virus and our attempts to stop its spread, we lament all that we have ...

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 ...

Emotional well being

Emotional well being

3/30/2020
By: Kae Tritle, RN, Iowa Annual Conference Wellness Coordinator We are living in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis that has elicited a variety of emotions. For the majority of us, our usual safe and comforting routines, places, and people have changed. Change usually triggers a grief response. Many of us are experiencing the following stages:   Shock and denial: Is Covid-19 real or could it affect me or my family members? Bargaining or negotiation: What will you do or won’t do in ...

‘Hope is Never Going to Be Canceled’

‘Hope is Never Going to Be Canceled’

3/20/2020
“Hope is never going to be canceled.”  That’s the clear message of Rev. Dr. Barrie Tritle, lead pastor of First United Methodist Church in Iowa City. Through its compassionate outreach in the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis and the online worship presence, the congregation is actively sharing that positive assurance    On March 17, he was interviewed by Katie Kay and a colleague from BBC World News.  He was asked about the online presence of the church.  “It was a great opportunity to share ...

New video resource – Caring Connections with Bishop Laurie

New video resource – Caring Connections with Bishop Laurie

3/20/2020
Bishop Laurie and conference leaders are starting a short video series sharing how our connection is still strong even if we are not physically connected. It will begin on Wednesday at 2:00 pm. You can watch them on Facebook (@iowaumchuch) or follow us on Vimeo (@iowaannualconference) or bookmark this page that will have all Caring Connections videos. In addition, the Caring Connections podcast will soon be available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and five other sites. In the ...

Chuck Knows Church: Things We Can Do

Chuck Knows Church: Things We Can Do

3/19/2020
Chuck Knows Church is back! He’s teaming up with #SeeAllThePeople to share a few simple ideas that your church can do to help your community during this time of crisis. During these uncertain times, we may feel isolated from one another and experiencing a sense of aloneness, but we can still provide community in Christ and fellowship in the spirit. Watch as Chuck shows us how our congregations can turn isolation into engagement with our community.     EPISODE 1: MAKE A CALL   EPISODE 2: ...

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, ...

Health-Full coping strategies for COVID-19

Health-Full coping strategies for COVID-19

3/17/2020
Written by: Kae Tritle, RN, Wellness Coordinator   “God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7   We are all coping with the real effects of the Coronavirus in our world; from being intentional about hand-washing to changes in our travel plans to our social gatherings, meetings and classes canceled. We need to use the sound mind that God has given us to be appropriate and prudent about who and where we are in contact with others. Use ...

Taking your worship online: A guide for beginners and everyone else

Taking your worship online: A guide for beginners and everyone else

3/17/2020
By Jeremy Steele SPECIAL FROM ResourceUMC/MYCOM - "The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 highlights the need for worship alternatives like livestreaming. “There’s cause for prayer and bereavement care,” Jeremy Smith wrote recently, “but also [the need] for preparation [among] faith communities to continue to function amidst public health concerns — and indeed assist in the effort to contain this virus’ spread.” This article was fast-tracked to walk you through the planning needed to serve members ...

COVID-19 Lockdown: Creating Live-streamed Worship in 3 Days

COVID-19 Lockdown: Creating Live-streamed Worship in 3 Days

3/16/2020
The following is shared from HACKING CHRISTIANITY by Rev. Jeremy Smith.  Visit his blog at hackingchristianity.net  We're grateful for his insights and creativity MARCH 9, 2020 BY UMJEREMY 15 COMMENTS I pastor a church under COVID-19 restrictions. This is how we worshipped online with only 3 days prep.  Last week, I wrote “I pastor a church near a COVID-19 outbreak. Here’s what churches can do” after a meeting with the Public Health department of Seattle’s region. I detailed several ways how...

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 ...