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COVID-19


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 ...

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 ...

Streamed Services: Staying socially connected during COVID-19

Streamed Services: Staying socially connected during COVID-19

4/1/2020
Updated Wednesday, April 1, 10:30 a.m. 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 ...

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 ...

Iowa Conference Center closed through April 30

Iowa Conference Center closed through April 30

3/31/2020
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 and including April 30, 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. ...

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 ...

The United Methodist Publishing House grants temporary permission for UM Book of Worship content

The United Methodist Publishing House grants temporary permission for UM Book of Worship content

3/30/2020
Nashville, March, 2020 – The outbreak of COVID-19 in the US and the resulting cancellation of group gatherings has led many United Methodist churches to plan online virtual worship experiences.   To assure that local churches have the resources they need, the United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) announced that it is granting permission to use and post online selected contents from the United MethodistBook of Worship (BOW) as congregations care for their members during the international ...

‘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 ...

Iowa Conference cancels events for March and April due to COVID-19

Iowa Conference cancels events for March and April due to COVID-19

3/12/2020
DES MOINES, IA (March 12, 2020) – With fourteen cases of COVID-19 reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health (as of March 11) and an additional 126 being monitored, the Iowa Annual Conference is canceling or postponing all upcoming events for the months of March and April 2020. The evolving situation is being closely monitored and information will be updated frequently.  “This is an extremely difficult decision,” said Bishop Laurie Haller. “Nevertheless, our concern is first and foremost ...