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Abiding in Exile - Noah and God  08/12/2021

Abiding in Exile - Noah and God 08/12/2021

8/10/2021
By: Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon Perhaps no one did exile in quite the same way as Noah: first, as the laughing stock of his community or thought simply crazy as he built his boat; and then on the seas, hidden within the ark with his family and the community of animals as it rained and rained and rained. Finally, he stood alone with his family in a new land. In the poem below, I attempt to capture Noah’s conversation with God and himself as he rides the long, persistent storm and finds dry land. I ...

Abiding in Exile - The Fickle Weight of “Exile” 08/05/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Fickle Weight of “Exile” 08/05/2021

8/5/2021
By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott I remember Bishop Julius Trimble standing before a room of incarcerated women some years ago, speaking of the 23rd Psalm. He came to those words, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” and he paused there.   Looking out at those women, whose lives he knew contained so much of pain and death and distance, he said these words I’ll never forget. “Trouble is, it’s not just ‘through,’ is it? As if that valley is an easy walk.”    He held his left ...

An update for church communities on masking during the rise of the Delta variant

An update for church communities on masking during the rise of the Delta variant

8/4/2021
Dear Beloved, We pray for your health and the healing of our nation as the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant is causing strain on hospitals and healthcare facilities. As schools begin to reopen, we also pray for children who have not reached vaccination age. To maximize protection against the Delta variant, the Iowa Conference COVID-19 Re-entry Team encourages you to follow the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) guidance for fully vaccinated people. The CDC recommends that "everyone wear a mask...

Abiding in Exile - Bad Bread 07/29/2021

Abiding in Exile - Bad Bread 07/29/2021

7/26/2021
  With today’s post, we welcome Nathaniel Mason to our Exile Project writers’ team! Nate is an LLP serving Booneville and Maple Grove United Methodist Churches on the west edge of the Des Moines metro. You might remember Nate from his time as the Leadership Development Minister for Young Adult and Generational Ministries (2013-2015) for the Iowa Annual Conference. When not engaged in ministry, Nate is busy pursuing his other callings of cooking and being a fun dad to his two young children. ...

Abiding in Exile - Unfamiliar Terrain 07/22/2021

Abiding in Exile - Unfamiliar Terrain 07/22/2021

7/21/2021
By: Nan Smith Unfamiliar Terrain I can still remember the reply I was given, when I first pitched my wilderness trip idea to the pastor of the church.  I said “how about you and I take a canoe trip with high school girls into the wilderness lakes and woods of northern Minnesota?”  She quipped back that maybe she better bring the Book of Worship just in case some of us didn’t make it back out and we needed a service. Heading into the wilderness isn’t for the faint of heart, but intentionally ...

Abiding in Exile - 07/15/21 - The Mystery of God

Abiding in Exile - 07/15/21 - The Mystery of God

7/15/2021
Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon   The Mystery of God Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon Something you probably do not know about me is that I love murder mysteries. While my daughter Laurel and son in law Kenny were staying with me before they moved to California in June, we watched Knives Out on Amazon Prime. It’s a great who-dun-it that takes place in a big mansion and Detective Benoit Blanc (played by Daniel Craig with a Kentucky accent) must sort out all the family members and staff while ...

Abiding in Exile - Post-Pandemic Perceived Rejection 07/08/2021

Abiding in Exile - Post-Pandemic Perceived Rejection 07/08/2021

7/7/2021
By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott   I wonder if your body is as confused as mine has been, of late, about what to do with itself around other human beings.    Some of you are probably avoiding the confusion by maintaining a pretty rigid “no-touch” zone, even now. And some of you are thinking, “What? Those worries are so 2020!”    For the rest of us, confusion reigns.    Take, for instance, the question of handshakes. Do you or don’t you take that other person’s offered hand, or extend your own? After ...

Abiding in Exile - 07/01/2021 - That Still Point

Abiding in Exile - 07/01/2021 - That Still Point

7/1/2021
That Still Point By: Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon With today’s post, we welcome Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon to the writing team for Abiding in Exile. Many of you know Mary from her twenty years of service through the Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling. She now serves as senior pastor at Collegiate UMC and Wesley Foundation in Ames. A more complete bio and photo is available at our writer page. When I lived in California, many years ago now, a friend of mine took several people out on a sailboat. We...

Abiding in Exile - 06/23/2021 - Florida in July

Abiding in Exile - 06/23/2021 - Florida in July

6/23/2021
Florida in July By: Nan Smith I am taking a little time away this summer. I have been asked to join my daughter and her family for a week of vacation. Our destination is a beach, specifically a beach in Florida, in southern Florida, in July. At this point, I’m guessing that all of you are wishing you were taking this very same trip!  Actually, every person I have mentioned this vacation to has responded in a similar manner. Something like - “Really? Florida? July? You know it’s going to be hot!”...

Abiding in Exile - The Bittersweet Dream of an Immigrant Family in America  06/17/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Bittersweet Dream of an Immigrant Family in America 06/17/2021

6/16/2021
This week’s reflection is a guest post from Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon, Conference Superintendent for the Central/Riverview Park District since 2016. We are grateful for his reflections, especially in light of recent violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—the news of which can seem to erase the details of individual experience. The Bittersweet Dream of an Immigrant Family in America By: Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon I grew up in South Korea. My wife, Anne, and I, as students, came to San ...

Abiding in Exile - On Not Getting What You Deserve 06/10/2021

Abiding in Exile - On Not Getting What You Deserve 06/10/2021

6/10/2021
By Katie Kennedy On Not Getting What You Deserve? This may come as a shock to you, but I’m not always right. It’s certainly always a shock to me. It reminds me of when Abraham Lincoln disagreed with Ulysses S. Grant’s tactics for taking Vicksburg, the fortress on the Mississippi that would be key to a Union victory in the Civil War. Grant took full responsibility for whatever happened but said he was going forward with his plan. After he took Vicksburg, Lincoln wrote him a short letter that has ...

Abiding in Exile - No More Helping 06/03/2021

Abiding in Exile - No More Helping 06/03/2021

6/3/2021
By Lee Roorda Schott  No More Helpin I’ve about had it with people trying to help me through this “unprecedented time.”   I first felt this way in March and April of 2020, when it seemed like every other e-mail was trying to describe the heavy impact of the pandemic, or to help me through its ravages. I was invited to sign up for webinars that would offer mental health support, and others designed for clergy like me who were trying to adapt to the new online world, and to every other changed ...

Abiding in Exile - Imagine 05/27/2021

Abiding in Exile - Imagine 05/27/2021

5/27/2021
By Nan Smith Imagine Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.  1 Corinthians 16: 13-14 (NRSV)   I remember it was a chilly November day, the clouds hanging heavy in the sky, looking like they would break into rain or snow at a moment’s notice. We were picking our way through a harvested cornfield filled with stubble and clods of soil.  It was tough walking. We stopped on the crest of a hill, gazing down at the land below - harvested ...

Abiding in Exile - The Forgiveness Process 05/20/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Forgiveness Process 05/20/2021

5/20/2021
By Eric Rucker The Forgiveness Process I was commuting to work the other day, listening to worship music, and to my surprise I started to cry. I’m not a frequent crier, so you can imagine how surprised I was that my crying continued through the whole drive; and then continued during my therapy session that afternoon; and then continued on my commute home that evening!    Tears are sometimes a mysterious thing, and it’s often hard for me to reduce the explanation of my tears to one feeling or ...

Iowa Conference Re-entry team update after CDC eases guidelines for Americans fully vaccinated from COVID-19

Iowa Conference Re-entry team update after CDC eases guidelines for Americans fully vaccinated from COVID-19

5/13/2021
On Thursday, May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased their indoor mask-wearing guidelines for Americans who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19. A summary of the recent change said that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”    “Church leadership should determine their best...

Abiding in Exile - The Extra Mile 05/13/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Extra Mile 05/13/2021

5/11/2021
By Priscilla Joel The Extra Mile If you happen to talk to anyone who knows me well, they would tell you that patience is not a virtue I have. It is not uncommon for me to deliver birthday and Christmas presents to my loved ones a day or two early because I am just that excited and not patient enough to wait for the right time. You may have heard the saying, “The last mile is the longest.” Whether it’s the physical metric of a mile at the end of a marathon, or the metaphorical end of a ...

Abiding in Exile - Muscle Memory 05/06/2021

Abiding in Exile - Muscle Memory 05/06/2021

5/5/2021
By Rev Lee Roorda Schott Muscle Memory This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. --John 15.12-13 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. --1 John 4.7                                     I sat down at my piano this week for the first time in a while. A few pieces of old music were sitting there, with Debussy’s Golliwog’s ...

Abiding in Exile - Shifting Terrain 04/30/2021

Abiding in Exile - Shifting Terrain 04/30/2021

4/30/2021
By Nan Smith Shifting Terrain When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”  John 20:19 (NRSV) I have always experienced joy when canoeing in the Boundary Water Canoe Area of northern Minnesota. It is a wilderness made up of lakes and forest. I have led newbies into this wilderness, have paddled the area with groups of close ...

Abiding in Exile - Baby Steps 04/22/2021

Abiding in Exile - Baby Steps 04/22/2021

4/21/2021
By: Eric Rucker Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.” - John 20:27   Jesus was dead for three days - exiled from life. And his disciples were likewise exiled during that time - their teacher and Lord was dead, and the movement for which they had given everything appeared finished. They hid in a locked room together, afraid.   The nature of Jesus’ return from exile - and the disciples’ subsequent return to faith - are notable. The...

Worship in The Post Pandemic World with Jason Moore

Worship in The Post Pandemic World with Jason Moore

4/21/2021
Worship and ministry have radically shifted in this COVID-19 age, yet we hear a call to go back to “normal.” Returning to exactly how things were in the past may not be possible, so you might ask yourself, "How do we, as the church, refocus our efforts and embrace the changes in healthy ways?"  The Iowa Conference's Office of Congregational Excellence, along with the Office of Clergy and Leadership Excellence, invite you to attend four upcoming webinars presented by Jason Moore July 12-13 that ...

Abiding in Exile - The Key to Humanity’s Survival 04/15/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Key to Humanity’s Survival 04/15/2021

4/13/2021
By: Priscilla Joel We have wandered through many unknowns the past several months, and as the title of this devotional series would inform you, it has often felt like we’ve been exiled. Exiled from each other, exiled from the outside world and maybe even exiled from freedoms we used to enjoy. As more and more people are receiving their vaccine each day, I have been reflecting on all the rules we have had to follow (and continue to) to keep ourselves and each other safe throughout this pandemic. ...

Streamed Services: Staying socially connected during COVID-19

Streamed Services: Staying socially connected during COVID-19

4/8/2021
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 streamed services as they become available. To submit a service time, please fill out this form with your church name, service time and a link to where the service is found online, Facebook, YouTube, television or radio station. Services won't be listed if URLs are not made available.   Thinking of starting to...

Abiding in Exile - The Cool Earth Beneath Your Feet 04/08/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Cool Earth Beneath Your Feet 04/08/2021

4/6/2021
By Rev. Jonathan Heifner This week we are sharing a guest post from Rev. Jonathan Heifner. A member of our writing team remembered Jonathan preaching about how we abide with creation. You’ll be blessed by his good words at just the time when nature itself is inviting us out of our closed-in spaces with warmth, new growth, and green shoots.  [God to Job]: Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?     Can you establish their rule on the earth? “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,  so that a...

COVID-19 Reentry Team update: Holy Week

COVID-19 Reentry Team update: Holy Week

3/31/2021
COVID-19 Update - Holy Week As you prepare your local church for worship (virtual and in-person) and traditional gatherings this Holy Week, we encourage you to follow guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their recommendation is for vaccinated and non-vaccinated people alike. All are encouraged to avoid medium and large gatherings. If you are participating in an in-person worship service, all are asked to mask, practice social distancing and engage in hand-washing ...

Abiding in Exile - ReMemberIng 04/01/2021

Abiding in Exile - ReMemberIng 04/01/2021

3/30/2021
By Rev. Lee Roorda Schott Over the weekend, in the tedium of working on taxes, I had gone online for details from my bank records from last year. I scrolled through the months and came to last March and was astonished at the tears that came out of nowhere. It wasn’t about the numbers! It was grief I didn’t expect to be waiting for me in that particular spot. Bumping into those last weeks that were “normal” brought up a flood of memories, of so much that happened then, and since.   That ...

Iowa Conference Center visitor and COVID-19 guidelines

Iowa Conference Center visitor and COVID-19 guidelines

3/30/2021
The Iowa Conference Leadership Team continues to meet, carefully consider and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects the conference building's usage in Des Moines.  Staff and visitors need to continue to maintain COVID-19 masking, distancing, and hygiene protocols. Building usage for gatherings in the building will continue to have event modifications, mitigations, and protective behaviors until COVID-19 in the community is very low. The Leadership Team expects these modifications ...

Abiding in Exile - Returning from exile with faithfulness 03/25/2021

Abiding in Exile - Returning from exile with faithfulness 03/25/2021

3/25/2021
By Eric Rucker “Then King Solomon conscripted slave labor (to build the Temple).” (1 Kings 9:21)   I’m noticing myself starting to relax, to take an exhale. There is an easing of tension in my body as I anticipate our society begin to leave exile. I know that the pandemic is not “over,” but with the vaccines released, and some of our most vulnerable people receiving shots, I have begun to hope.    But I’ve felt a certain sadness as I have relaxed. Because I’ve noticed that my relaxation has ...

Abiding in Exile - Knowledge is Fuel 03/18/2021

Abiding in Exile - Knowledge is Fuel 03/18/2021

3/18/2021
By Priscilla Joel It’s kind of wild how much we learn in such a short period of time. A “short period” could mean ten minutes, or it could mean ten years. My mom recently found some old pictures of me at space camp from when I was about ten years old. I am standing in the elementary school lawn, beaming, while holding up the model rocket I had just launched. I remember watching the little foot-long cardboard rocket launch up into the air, and slowly float down with the bright yellow parachute as...

A year of transition

A year of transition

3/12/2021
Submitted by: Kae Tritle, RN Wellness Coordinator   This has been a marathon year of coping with the effects of Covid-19. Unfortunately, we are not through. Like all marathons, the last third of the race feels the longest.  The same is true now for the pandemic.     While it seems that we have been in a holding pattern, waiting for life to resume, we have really been in a society-altering transition.  Life will not go back to what it was before Covid-19. Zoom gatherings are here to stay.  The ...

The Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-entry team recommends a cautionary return as you reconvene or expand in-person gatherings

The Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-entry team recommends a cautionary return as you reconvene or expand in-person gatherings

3/5/2021
As of March 4, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 598 new positive COVID-19 tests and 35 additional deaths. The state reports 742,386 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Iowa, with 196,084 individuals completing their vaccine series. Additionally, vaccines Iowa’s virus positivity rates continue to hover around 4%. The 14-day average dropped from 4.2% to 4.1%. The 7-day average fell from 4.1% to 4.0%. State data shows 4,105,183 COVID-19 tests have been administered in ...

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

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

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

Abiding in Exile - Suffering 02/25/2021

Abiding in Exile - Suffering 02/25/2021

2/25/2021
By: Eric Rucker Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering…and after three days rise again. He said this all quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.” – Mark 8:31-32   I’m an amateur gardener. A few years back my wife and I started a compost pile in our backyard. We intended to grow the pile of our food scraps for several months and then to use the composted soil for our new garden.    Spring arrived and we went out to begin the garden....

Abiding in Exile - A Doubting-Thomas Sympathizer 02/18/2021

Abiding in Exile - A Doubting-Thomas Sympathizer 02/18/2021

2/16/2021
By: Priscilla Joel I can often be a bit of a skeptic at times. I like things I can see, touch, and prove—be it an equation from propulsions class or the weather. I have a habit of wearing many layers of warm clothing well into the spring season, even when the weather forecast claims that the temperature is, in fact, warmer. But the prediction isn’t good enough. I need to see the ice turning to slush with my own eyes and I need to feel the sun with my own skin. For a while now, my skepticism has ...

The Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-entry team reminds churches to be vigilant and remain in the Yellow Light phase of the Covid-19 Reentry Plan

The Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-entry team reminds churches to be vigilant and remain in the Yellow Light phase of the Covid-19 Reentry Plan

2/8/2021
On Friday, February 5, 2021, Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new Public Health Disaster proclamation, effective February 7, 2021, that relaxes the state’s limited mask requirements, social distancing requirements, and limits on gatherings. The proclamation strongly encourages Iowans, businesses, and organizations to take reasonable public health measures consistent with guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health.   In her proclamation Governor Reynolds states, “I continue to ...

Conversations on Local Church and Conference Finances for your congregation

Conversations on Local Church and Conference Finances for your congregation

2/5/2021
Four Conversations on Local Church and Conference Finances were held via livestream the last two weekends. About 365 people tuned in total on Vimeo and Facebook Live and questions were answered after the presentation. As a follow up, a Q&A list has been created and the full presentation is available for download to share with your local churches. The team has also made available the apportionment witness statements from laity and clergy in the conference. If you have questions about these ...

Abiding in Exile - Adapting to New Circumstances 02/04/2021

Abiding in Exile - Adapting to New Circumstances 02/04/2021

2/4/2021
by Rev. Nan Smith February 4, 2021 Scripture “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”   ~Psalm 27: 14 (NRSV)   When I worked as a naturalist, I attended a wonderful conference for interpretive naturalists in Tucson, Arizona. Now as a group, naturalists tend to lean towards the “wild” side of life, so it was really no surprise that a group of us decided to rise early and hike in the desert landscape.  Now part of our motivation was to get some exercise ...

Abiding in Exile - Differentiated 01/28/2021

Abiding in Exile - Differentiated 01/28/2021

1/28/2021
By: Eric Rucker “When the new Temple was laid… some wept with a loud voice… though many shouted for joy.” (Ezra 3:11) I’ve spent the last two weeks creating a flow chart for my ministry for the spring and summer. It is comprised of three contingency plans (in-person, hybrid, and virtual ministry) that could be executed by my team, based on how the public health situation progresses in the next six months. Then, last week, I listened as a news report told of a new – more contagious – variant of ...

Abiding in Exile - Expectations 01/21/2021

Abiding in Exile - Expectations 01/21/2021

1/21/2021
By: Priscilla Joel When I was a kid, there were many things that I thought would be a very big deal when I became an adult. Activities and actions that I thought I would have to deal with on a regular basis. Here are a few of those things: Quicksand Tongue twisters Pirates Identifying types of rocks Haunted houses I am not exactly sure where all of these ideas originated from. Some were from school, while others were probably conceived through books I read and movies I watched. But I still ...

Cedar Falls First UMC virtual training conference on January 31—

Cedar Falls First UMC virtual training conference on January 31—"Leading Through a Pandemic and Beyond"

1/20/2021
Virtually none of us in local church leadership imagined being movie producers or tele-evangelists when we were called into ministry.  Yet during the pandemic, we have had to reimagine how we do everything in relation to ministry.  At Cedar Falls First United Methodist Church, we have found some innovative ways to engage in mission and ministry through trial/error, failures, and blessings in new endeavors.  We would love to share some of the strategies we have found fruitful as well as some ...

Abiding in Exile - We Contain Multitudes 01/14/2021

Abiding in Exile - We Contain Multitudes 01/14/2021

1/14/2021
By Lee Roorda Schott I just noticed that I haven’t been napping on Sunday afternoons.  This is surprising because I’ve always been a dedicated observer of S.A.I.N.T.: Sunday Afternoon Is Nap Time. I’d get home from worship and whatever else was part of the morning, and I’d be out. But I’m not, now. Now I find myself changing my clothes and then pondering options. A walk with my husband, or the “crafternoon” we shared recently. Folding the laundry. Some reading, or some Netflix.  I’m not certain ...

Epiphany Address: Watching Over One Another in Love

Epiphany Address: Watching Over One Another in Love

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

Abiding in Exile - Tempered 01/07/2021

Abiding in Exile - Tempered 01/07/2021

1/5/2021
By Nan Smith “Isaiah 43:2 (CEB) 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;     when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched and flame won’t burn you.   When the shot was fired, the wolf pups scattered in all directions and the mother wolf fell to the ground. For Aldo Leopold, a conservation officer in the 1950s, it was business as usual. He was just doing his job – systematically removing the top predators in the White ...

Abiding in Exile - The Ritual of Grief 12/31/2020

Abiding in Exile - The Ritual of Grief 12/31/2020

12/29/2020
By Eric Rucker “How can we sing the songs of the Lord in a foreign land?” – Psalm 137    “My tears have become my food, day and night!” – Psalm 42   I haven't been doing well.    And I don't mean that in the causal sense, like I experienced five minutes of indigestion or an hour of moodiness. I mean it's been several weeks of heaviness in my heart. I’ve found myself unable to muster a compassionate response to those whom I love. Challenges that in another season I could navigate with nimbleness ...

Destroyed Nativity reminds Woodbine UMC of the 'simplicity of Christmas'

Destroyed Nativity reminds Woodbine UMC of the 'simplicity of Christmas'

12/29/2020
Pastor Regina Harrison was finishing up a long day in the Woodbine First United Methodist Church office when she heard the winter wind howling and sleet hitting the church’s windows. She decided it was time to pack up her things and head home. Little did she know, there was more work to be done that night.   “I grew up in the south and have been through hurricanes, and it literally sounded like a hurricane out there,” Harrison said. “The wind was blowing about 50 miles per hour, and it was well ...

Abiding in Exile - What Do We Do with Hope? 12/24/2020

Abiding in Exile - What Do We Do with Hope? 12/24/2020

12/23/2020
By Priscilla Joel December 24, 2020 We all finally received some encouraging news a couple of weeks ago. A COVID-19 vaccine had approved by the FDA. Finally, a glimmer of hope after a long, seemingly endless stretch of darkness. This does not necessarily mean our fears and anxieties disappear, nor does it mean we should stop practicing vigilance to keep ourselves and our communities safe. There is still much to be done before we can live in a mask-less, social world once again. So, what do we do...

Abiding in Exile - The Timely Discipline of Showing Up 12/17/2020

Abiding in Exile - The Timely Discipline of Showing Up 12/17/2020

12/17/2020
By Lee Roorda Schott   December 17, 2020 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.                                      --Jeremiah 29.5-7 ...

Celebrate Advent and Christmas with Bishop Laurie Haller

Celebrate Advent and Christmas with Bishop Laurie Haller

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

Abiding in Exile - Ashes 12/10/2020

Abiding in Exile - Ashes 12/10/2020

12/9/2020
By Nan Smith December 10, 2020 Scripture: Isaiah 61: 1-3a “1The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,    because the Lord has anointed me; God has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,    to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,    and release to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,    and the day of vengeance of our God;    to comfort all who mourn; 3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—    to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil...

A letter of encouragement from the Covid-19 Re-Entry & Response Team

A letter of encouragement from the Covid-19 Re-Entry & Response Team

12/3/2020
In a letter to the people of Philippi, the Apostle Paul writes:   “Be glad in the Lord always…Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)   There is a lot to be anxious about these days. We are worried about the health of our community and the stress upon our hospital systems. Our...

A Blue Christmas Worship Service for churches to use during the Christmas season

A Blue Christmas Worship Service for churches to use during the Christmas season

12/1/2020
As a gift to our pastors and churches during the Christmas season, we are creating a Blue Christmas Worship Service for use in your online church messages, to share with members, or on your social media channels.   We know that not everyone is experiencing joy and excitement during the Christmas season. Dealing with the isolation of a global pandemic, job losses, COVID-19 infections, deaths of loved ones, divorces, the political and religious divisions all contribute to feelings of pain and ...

Abiding in Exile - Running with Horses 12/3/2020

Abiding in Exile - Running with Horses 12/3/2020

11/30/2020
By Eric Rucker December 3, 2020 “Jeremiah, if you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you, how will you run with horses?” (Jeremiah 12:5)   As the catastrophe of the Babylonian exile approached, Jeremiah lamented to God – about the people’s self-centeredness, about Israel’s disregard for vulnerable people and the land. Jeremiah was fed up with it all. And then God spoke to Jeremiah this question:    “If you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you, how will you run ...

Christmas Eve candle light service alternative for all

Christmas Eve candle light service alternative for all

11/30/2020
The West Des Moines UMC's worship committee is inviting you to participate in an at-home candlelight service on Christmas Eve. In addition to their online worship services planned for the evening of Christmas Eve, at 9:00 pm they are asking people to light a candle and step out their front doors, and wish their neighbors Merry Christmas.  They have prepared the attached invitation (word doc.) that people can give to their neighbors ahead of time. This is a great way for us to share Christ with ...

A message of thanks from Bishop Laurie

A message of thanks from Bishop Laurie

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

Abiding in Exile - An Unprecedented Way of Life 11/26/2020

Abiding in Exile - An Unprecedented Way of Life 11/26/2020

11/24/2020
By Priscilla Joel November 26, 2020 When you think of the word “Wilderness,” what comes to mind? I tend to associate the word with my personal adventures outside. Someplace secluded, uninhabited and vast. Someplace that makes my boots muddy and my brow glisten with sweat. That type of wilderness I enjoy. It feels good to escape from the confines of my apartment, and spend some time running or hiking in places where the Wi-Fi is weak.   But there is another side, another purpose, to wilderness ...

You can now order an Iowa Conference

You can now order an Iowa Conference "Do No Harm" mask

11/24/2020
If you would like to order an Iowa Conference "Do No Harm" mask, we have set up a group order through Custom Ink. The order form will be open for 15 days or until December 8. You can order, pay, and ship directly to your address. To keep costs low, we have designed these on navy blue fabric with white imprinting. Place your orders here. When using Custom Ink, the way it works is to get the printing completed; we need to order a minimum of 36 total masks. After that quantity is reached, the order...

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie regarding her Worship Directive

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Laurie regarding her Worship Directive

11/20/2020
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As we approach Christ the King Sunday, I am reflecting on how this marks the end of the Christian year. Alongside the Thanksgiving holiday, this last Sunday of the liturgical year encourages us to pause and be thankful for the blessings we have known, even in the midst of this most troubling time.  As you know, COVID-19 infections remain high in Iowa. In Governor Reynolds’ daily briefing ...

Abiding in Exile - A pocket full of hope 11/19/2020

Abiding in Exile - A pocket full of hope 11/19/2020

11/20/2020
By Nan Smith November 19, 2020 Scripture: Romans 15: 13  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,     so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”   Reflection: It was my first year, in my first appointment, when I visited a married couple: retired farmers still living on their farmstead.  The day was one of those arctic blasts from Canada and the winds were bitterly cold with temperatures well below zero.  So, there we were, sipping tea at their ...

Denison First UMC plays an integral part in providing for the food insecure during the pandemic and beyond

Denison First UMC plays an integral part in providing for the food insecure during the pandemic and beyond

11/20/2020
Denison First United Methodist Church provided much-needed organization, hundreds of volunteers, physical and monetary donations to the Crawford Cares drive-up food distribution program when a massive increase in need became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Crawford Cares is a Facebook-based organization that acts as a message board to connect volunteers to community members who may be less self-reliant in Crawford County, Iowa.   After the Denison Community School District closed their ...

Important new pandemic guidance from Bishop Laurie and the Iowa Conference Appointive Cabinet

Important new pandemic guidance from Bishop Laurie and the Iowa Conference Appointive Cabinet

11/18/2020
November 18, 2020 For immediate release   Important new pandemic guidance from Bishop Laurie and the Iowa Conference Appointive Cabinet   In light of worsening Covid-19 positivity rates, the crisis faced by our healthcare systems, and out of an abundance of caution and love for our neighbor, Bishop Laurie Haller and the Appointive Cabinet is directing clergy and churches to cease in-person indoor worship and church activities through and including January 10, 2021. The Appointive Cabinet met ...

November 10, 2020 COVID-19 Update to the IAUMC

November 10, 2020 COVID-19 Update to the IAUMC

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

Abiding in Exile - Unspeakable History 11/12/2020

Abiding in Exile - Unspeakable History 11/12/2020

11/10/2020
By Lee Roorda Schott November 12, 2020 In September, as we approached the six-month mark since the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. I was certain my Facebook news feed would be full of people’s reflections on all that had happened during that time. It had been half a year. So many things disrupted—still—and a challenging flu season and colder months upon us. I was curious to see what my friends would say, and I toyed with what I might add.   But that didn’t happen. Crickets.   A ...

November addendum to the 3-2-1 Reentry Plan

November addendum to the 3-2-1 Reentry Plan

11/6/2020
The Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church offers this November addendum to the3-2-1 Reentry Plan. This addendum was developed in consultation with the Extended Cabinet of the Iowa United Methodist Conference and in review of reports by leading epidemiologists in Iowa, analysis of updates from medical researchers and public health organizations across the state and nation, and in discernment of resources provided by the major coronavirus outlets including the White House Coronavirus Task...

Abiding in Exile - God Has left the Temple 11/6/2020

Abiding in Exile - God Has left the Temple 11/6/2020

11/6/2020
By Eric Rucker November 6, 2020 Ezekiel 10:18: “Then the glory of the LORD went out from the threshold of the Temple.”    This is perhaps the most shocking statement in all of the Hebrew Scriptures. The prophet Ezekiel is telling the exiled Israelites: God has left the Temple! The Temple in Jerusalem was synonymous with God’s presence. Basically, “Temple = God.” Subsequently, “Destroyed Temple = Destroyed God.” We cannot imagine the disorientation these people faced, seeing their worship place ...

Graettinger UMC boosts giving with a

Graettinger UMC boosts giving with a "Show me the Plate" curbside offering service

10/22/2020
Members of Graettinger United Methodist Church in Northwest Iowa have lived up to the town's motto of "small town, big heart" during the coronavirus pandemic. When Treasurer Denise Tindall came up with an idea to boost the church's weekly giving by going door to door with a "show me the plate" curbside offering, faithful members found it their hearts to give extra to their small yet beloved church.   "Financially, things have never been fantastic," said Lana Williams, pastor of the dual point ...

Abiding in Exile - More Than I Can Handle 10/22/2020

Abiding in Exile - More Than I Can Handle 10/22/2020

10/20/2020
by Priscilla Joel October 22, 2020 You might have heard the phrase, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I certainly have. I’ve read it in devotionals, seen it on posters, and heard it from my friends. But since the COVID-19 pandemic uprooted our lives, I’m not so sure if any of us believe that phrase anymore. Sometimes, it is nice to be able to do my work from the comfort of my home, but sometimes, I feel like I’ve got more to juggle now than ever.    One of the most difficult ...

Abiding in Exile - Accept the Anxiety of Feeling In Suspense 10/15/2020

Abiding in Exile - Accept the Anxiety of Feeling In Suspense 10/15/2020

10/15/2020
by Eric Rucker October 15, 2020 Last week I found myself driving straight into oncoming traffic, having turned the wrong way down a one-way street. Don’t worry, I’m ok, just embarrassed. There is no geographical explanation for this error. I’ve driven that neighborhood on my way to work hundreds of times. But it’s like my auto-pilot function stopped working. The directions for my life that were once intuitive are so no longer.   This feeling of dislocation is not limited to my morning commutes. ...

Let us introduce you to Rust College

Let us introduce you to Rust College

10/15/2020
Rust College is the oldest of 11 HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) related to the United Methodist Church. The Iowa Annual Conference has had a special relationship of encouragement and support with Rust College for many years and would like to introduce or reintroduce the Iowa United Methodist family to why Rust is so unique.      Rust is located in northern Mississippi and serves a student body where a significant percentage of students are the first in their families to ...

Faith and Democracy statement calling on all people of the UMC to support voter registration and encourage voting

Faith and Democracy statement calling on all people of the UMC to support voter registration and encourage voting

10/12/2020
For Immediate Release Monday, October 12, 2020   WASHINGTON, D.C. – United Methodist bishops based in the United States today issued a statement on Faith and Democracy, calling on the people of The United Methodist Church to support voter registration and encourage people to vote in the November 3 elections.   Council of Bishops President Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey made it clear that the statement is not a statement of or from the Council of Bishops but is a conciliar statement by United ...

An introduction to Abiding in Exile

An introduction to Abiding in Exile

10/9/2020
A NEW weekly e-newsletter to support the mental health and wellness of lay and clergy leaders living through the pandemic.

An introduction to Abiding in Exile

An introduction to Abiding in Exile

10/9/2020
A NEW weekly e-newsletter to support the mental health and wellness of lay and clergy leaders living through the pandemic.

Abiding in Exile - The “Pandemic Era

Abiding in Exile - The “Pandemic Era" 10/8/2020

10/8/2020
by Rev. Lee Roorda Schott October 8, 2020 Read: Jeremiah 29.4-14 I had been referring to the pandemic like it wasn’t going to last long. I’d say, “We just have to persevere through this strange time of Coronavirus.” I’d close an e-mail with words like, “I hope you’re managing OK through this COVID-19 season.” I didn’t let myself think of all this as more than a blip. An interruption. An anomaly that we’d look back at and say, “Wow, that was weird, wasn’t it?” Then maybe a month ago—when all this...

A Letter from Bishop Laurie about World Communion Sunday

A Letter from Bishop Laurie about World Communion Sunday

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

Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-Entry Update - October 2020

Iowa United Methodist Conference Re-Entry Update - October 2020

9/30/2020
The Crisis Operations Team provides this third iteration of the Conference Re-Entry Plan to deliver updated resources, guidance, and support for clergy and lay leadership of the Iowa Conference (IAUMC) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This tool provides best practices we have identified from webinars, interviews, and publications presented by CDC,[1] Iowa Department of Public Health,[2] local public health officials, medical agencies, scientists, other critical partners (i.e., HVAC officials, ...

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 going to support multiple mission projects at her church. As ...

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 ...

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 ...

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