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Wilton UMC continues mission in the new year

Wilton UMC continues mission in the new year

2/2/2017
The Wilton United Methodist Church has continued its mission-minded living into 2017. At the end of Advent season, the church raised more than $7,000 to donate to purchasing water pumps and pump maintenance training. This year, 24 people affiliated with the church volunteered at Sager Brown UMCOR Depot in Baldwin, La., leaving Iowa Jan. 21 and returning Jan. 28. “We have a very committed, mission-oriented church,” Lanette Morgan, team leader for the mission trip, said about the large group. “We...

Be a Diakonos or a Youth Delegate at AC2017

Be a Diakonos or a Youth Delegate at AC2017

2/1/2017
Greetings Iowa United Methodist Youth and the people who love and support them!  Have you ever wanted to be a part of something bigger than the local church? Have you ever wanted to serve your church brothers and sisters in Christ? We have two opportunities for you!  The first is called the Diakonos (Greek for servant) Leadership Development program! This is a time for 32 youth from around the state to help with the Iowa Annual Conference. You will be running messages, helping with worshiping, ...

Thank you from the Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities

Thank you from the Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities

2/1/2017
by Pastor Leila Blackburn, Consultant to the Commission   The Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities would like to thank the churches that work to make their facilities and programs accessible to persons with disabilities. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the churches that provide what is needed so those with special needs can join in church activities. The Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities also thanks the many churches ...

'Everyone has a story'- I'm here to tell it

'Everyone has a story'- I'm here to tell it

1/31/2017
The Iowa Conference is home to 780 congregations, 170,000 members, and countless stories of all types of ministry. Roxanne Strike is here to tell those stories.   Roxanne joined the Iowa Conference’s Communications Team as the features writer and social media strategist late in 2016 and has been an invaluable team member ever since. While she’s relatively new to the Iowa Conference’s Communications Team, she’s anything but new to the United Methodist Church.   Click here to listen to the ...

Mission minded church continues fundraising tradition

Mission minded church continues fundraising tradition

1/30/2017
The United Methodist Church in Wilton, a small town 13 miles north of Muscatine, has a longstanding tradition of fundraising and mission work. The members of the Wilton church have raised money for mission trips and mission work for several decades. This past Advent season, the members once again kept the tradition going.   “The United Methodist Church of Wilton is very passionate about mission work and also very generous in their financial giving,” said Pastor Mike Agnew. “They have been a ...

Transforming the leadership of the Conference

Transforming the leadership of the Conference

1/30/2017
by Robert Lyons Beginning a little over a year ago, the Iowa Conference entered into a transformative and collaborative partnership with Spiritual Leadership Inc. (SLI).   SLI is a coaching organization dedicated to educating, developing, and empowering religious leaders. One of the organization’s founders, Greg Survant, works directly with the Iowa Conference. According to Survant, the organization grew to fit a natural, unfulfilled need in the ministry.   “Some 16 years ago, a couple of us ...

Combined Confirmation Class Stronger Together

Combined Confirmation Class Stronger Together

1/25/2017
As Christians across the globe close out the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, three confirmation groups in north Iowa put unity into practice. Don Preston, pastor of Bolan, Trinity and Manly, Bethel churches, Rhoda Preston, pastor of St. Ansgar and Little Cedar churches, and Rob Lanphere of Lake Mills, Ansbury and Northwood churches combined their smaller confirmation classes once a month into larger ecumenical class.   Each group is its own stand alone group - Rob’s group has four students, ...

Women at the Well connect with law enforcement

Women at the Well connect with law enforcement

1/24/2017
by Roxanne Strike This past Christmas, Pastor Lee Schott saw the most unlikely of friends: incarcerated women and law enforcement.   Schott has been the pastor the Women at the Well for the past five and a half years. Women at the Well is the only church in the Iowa women’s prison in Mitchellville, east of Des Moines. Every Christmas, the incarcerated women make and send Christmas cards to different groups and organizations. The last few years, the cards were sent to domestic violence shelters....

"It's always been family"

1/23/2017
by Robert Lyons* On Jan. 6, Cynthia Davis walked through the office doors of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church for the final time as an employee.   Almost 37 years prior, in January of 1980, Davis first began working with the Iowa Conference. Her employment was, for the most part, uninterrupted (except for a five-year “sabbatical” in the early 90s), which led to a fruitful 31 years with the Iowa Conference.   Over the course of 31 years as a receptionist, Davis worked at three...

Bradford appointed to NE District for 7th year

Bradford appointed to NE District for 7th year

1/19/2017
The Northeast District of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church will see a familiar face in its district office this year. District Superintendent Jackie Bradford was recently reappointed to her position for a seventh year.   “It’s quite an honor to be able to continue for a seventh year,” said Bradford. “There is a continuity to my leadership will provide, so there will be a smoother transition (for the next superintendent).”   Typically, district superintendents serve for six ...

Still serving at 100 years old!

Still serving at 100 years old!

1/18/2017
by Roxanne Strike Alice Walters has seen more than most in her life. That is especially true of her church in Jefferson, a small town 45 minutes east of Ames. She’s seen members come and go, building renovations and technology bring the church into the 21st century. For her, church is her Jefferson family and she wants to support that family as it supports her.   Walters, even at 100 years old, volunteers at FUMC every morning Monday through Friday.   “Alice is wonderful because she comes ...

A Prayer for Dr. King Day from Bishop Laurie

A Prayer for Dr. King Day from Bishop Laurie

1/15/2017
Most gracious and compassionate God, on this day we remember your beloved servant, Martin Luther King Jr. At the heart of Dr. King’s life was his hope that our world would become the Beloved Community, which for him was nothing more than your reign on this earth where all people share equally in its welfare.   As early as 1956, your beloved servant Martin spoke of the Beloved Community as the end goal of nonviolent boycotts. Following the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court decision ...

RACE: The POWER of an Illusion

RACE: The POWER of an Illusion

1/5/2017
RACE:  The POWER of an ILLUSION RACIAL EQUITY AWARENESS LEARNING EXCHANGES       WHY Jesus calls us to love God and love neighbor. Racial justice is an ongoing focus of United Methodist Women mission work. We are called to live out the Charter for Racial Justice in our communities. Racial disproportionality and disparity occur in Iowa. WHAT       RACE: The POWER of an ILLUSION (RPI) is a one-day guided educational experience that brings people from various backgrounds together to begin “...

A Hope for Peace

A Hope for Peace

12/22/2016
By Dr. Arthur McClanahan Christmas is an extraordinary time.  A tide of emotions sweeps over us.  The pace all around us is frenetic.  The sights and sounds and smells have a way of transporting us into a time warp, maybe even like the famous “ghost of Christmas past.” It’s a landmark moment…every year!   It would be easy to get caught in the place of “tisk-tisking” the early big box store displays of giant inflatable Santas, snowmen, Christmas Disney characters on planes with real moving ...

Calvary UMC living Nativity reflects true meaning of Christmas

Calvary UMC living Nativity reflects true meaning of Christmas

12/22/2016
By Roxanne Strike Since St. Francis of Assisi first displayed a Nativity scene, or crèche, in 1223, these depictions of the Christmas story have been a popular part of the Advent season across the world. United Methodist churches in Iowa have gladly been a part of that tradition for years, often making it an annual tradition.   Calvary United Methodist Church in Ames has hosted it annual living Nativity scene for more than a decade, said church member Dennis Toft, who has been involved with the...

What Christmas means to me

What Christmas means to me

12/22/2016
By Bishop Laurie Haller   A few years ago, when I was preaching at four Christmas Eve worship services, I finally gave voice to the dis-ease I feel every December. When we sang It Came Upon the Midnight Clear right before the sermon, the tears started to flow. “And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low; who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow; look now! For glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing. O rest beside the weary road, and hear the ...

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed.”

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed.”

12/19/2016
“The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice.  The Lord is  a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”  —Psalm 9: 7-9             The words of Psalms are often inspirational. This is a passage that inspires the work of Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), a ministry of the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. This Psalm reminds us that justice is a ...

Rev. Bradford reappointed NE Superintendent

Rev. Bradford reappointed NE Superintendent

12/19/2016
"I would like you to know that I will be reappointing Jackie Bradford for a seventh year to the Northeast District. Jackie’s broad experience and outstanding leadership skills as current dean of the appointive cabinet have proven to be invaluable as I have begun my ministry as Iowa’s new episcopal leader."  "In addition, the district superintendents have been working for a year with our coaches at SLI (Spiritual Leadership, Inc.) to more effectively align our district resources and staff with ...

Embracing differences and asking

Embracing differences and asking "why" to revitalize the church

12/15/2016
At the recent Route 122 held at the Iowa Conference headquarters in Des Moines, participants learned from each others’ experiences about revitalizing churches to continue the mission of the United Methodist Church. One way to do this is to ask local churches, “Why does it exist as a church, to begin with?”   That is the question Rev. Beth Crissman, district superintendent of the Western North Carolina Conference, and the Rev. Dr. Nancy B.Rankin, superintendent of the Northern Piedmont District ...

Iowa Conference Finance Team welcomes Tim Horsch

Iowa Conference Finance Team welcomes Tim Horsch

12/15/2016
The Iowa Annual Conference welcomed a new member to its Finance staff recently. Tim Horsch began work at the headquarters in Des Moines on Wednesday, Dec. 7, as assistant treasurer/controller. “Tim brings a wide range of experience and skills in the accounting and administrative arena that I believe will be beneficial to not only our department but to the whole Iowa Annual Conference,” said Margaret Biggs, treasurer/director of Administrative Services. Horsch will be involved with any ...

#HerTruth

#HerTruth

11/30/2016
The North Alabama Commission on the Status and Role of Women developed a video called #HerTruth where clergywomen's stories of the struggles they've faced in ministry are read by clergymen. The North Alabama COSROW encourages congregations to watch the video together using the provided discussion guide for fruitful conversations. Clergywomen are encouraged to share their stories on social media using the hashtag #HerTruth.  Watch the video and find the discussion guides here. 

CORR's Banquet with the Bishop

CORR's Banquet with the Bishop

11/29/2016
“We’re so blessed, this group, the Commission on Religion and Race, to have our bishop with us tonight,” said Pastor Dan Fernandez recently at CORR’s “Banquet with the Bishop” event, where the group got to spend some time with the new bishop of the Iowa Conference, Bishop Laurie Haller. Pastor Fernandez was impressed by what she had to say about the need for the church to be inclusive of all people, and he is looking forward to working “hand-in-hand” with her in ministry. This is especially ...

UM Student Day Nov. 27

UM Student Day Nov. 27

11/17/2016
Across the country, the people of The United Methodist Church are serving the people God loves in Jesus’ name. We’re doing it at home, but so often we’d like to do more. We want to serve those in other places who are suffering. We want to offer spiritual words of hope and life. And we want to be well-equipped to do both! But the reality for most of us is that our responsibilities—home, family, work—don’t allow us to engage with every need we’d like to meet. Right now there are UMC young ...

Iowans file complaint against Bishop Trimble

Iowans file complaint against Bishop Trimble

11/16/2016
(This story was updated on November 17 with the addition of a quote from Bishop Trimble.) Seventeen lay and clergypersons from the Iowa Conference have filed a formal complaint against Bishop Julius C. Trimble citing his “disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church” and an unwillingness to do the work of ministry entailed by a bishop.”  It arises from the way an earlier complaint against Rev. Anna Blaedel was handled by the then Iowa Area episcopal leader.   In ...

In Mission Together: A 50/50 Partnership

In Mission Together: A 50/50 Partnership

11/10/2016
​More information about In Mission Together - click here. Listen to the conversation with Judy Marnin - click here. “In Mission Together (IMT) is being instead of doing. We create relationships. We have person-to-person interactions rather than just going and doing something like building a wall or painting a church,” says Judy Marnin. “It delves more into creating partnerships rather than finding out what people need and just giving it to them.” IMT is a global partnership network made ...

Iowans serve on General and NCJ Boards

Iowans serve on General and NCJ Boards

11/7/2016
Ten Iowa United Methodists are serving on commissions for denominational agencies and north central jurisdictional groups for 2016-2020.  Many were among the persons – lay and clergy, selected by the 2015 Annual Conference session to represent the Conference at the recent General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Denominational representation Lindsay Drake, Director of Small Group Ministries at Ankeny UMC in Ankeny, Iowa and Chairperson for the Iowa Conference Board of Discipleship in the Iowa ...

Northwest District works together at the Cherokee Ingathering

Northwest District works together at the Cherokee Ingathering

11/7/2016
Click here to see a photo album from the 2016 Thanksgiving Ingathering. Several volunteers of all ages woke early on a Saturday to help package donations brought from about 100 churches across Northwest Iowa. School Kits, Flood Buckets, Layette Kits and more were assembled and loaded onto a truck for transportation to a depot in Louisiana. “We have the Iowa Nigeria Partnership truck and UMCOR that we load, and it all goes down to a big depot in Louisiana,” said Veronica Timmerman, who has been ...

Ingathering shows how much people care

Ingathering shows how much people care

11/6/2016
Iowa United Methodists are generous. They care.   For the 37th consecutive year a heart for mission and love for others has been evident through Iowa Conference’s Thanksgiving Ingathering.  Kits designated for UMCOR and the Iowa-Nigeria Partnership, cleaning buckets, cash offerings, quilts, and “country store” items poured into the five sites - Cedar Falls, Cherokee, Greenfield, Mt. Pleasant and Webster City. Click here to see a photo album from the 2016 Thanksgiving Ingathering. Thanksgiving ...

John Rothlisberger named to National JFON Board of Directors

John Rothlisberger named to National JFON Board of Directors

10/31/2016
John Rothlisberger, Fredericksburg United Methodist Church, has been invited to serve on the board of directors of National Justice for Our Neighbors.  John is the first Iowan to serve on this board in the 17 years that the Iowa Annual Conference has been a site for Justice for Our Neighbors. Since UMCOR’s founding in 1940, refugee ministry has been at the heart of its work, guided by Christian values of hospitality to the stranger. Justice for Our Neighbors was orginally started by UMCOR, ...

Resolutions now being received

Resolutions now being received

10/31/2016
The Annual Conference Resolutions Committee is now accepting Resolutions for consideration at the 2017 Annual Conference Session.  The deadline for submission is December 1, 2016. Click here for the  Procedures for  Submitting Resolutions instructions Click here for the Resolution proposal form

‘Quite a journey from God’

‘Quite a journey from God’

10/28/2016
Calvary UMC welcomes a new era   “Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of Love” echoed through the sanctuary of Calvary United Methodist Church as the Arnolds Park congregation consecrated its new building.  The celebration for the community whose mission is “sharing God’s love with all” was the culmination a nearly eight-year journey for a community that traces its roots back to 1857.   “Today we celebrate the completion of our church building,” members of the team said, and in ...

Central District welcomes ministry team

Central District welcomes ministry team

10/24/2016
Divinity and Diversity: A Season of Change   The Central District welcomed its Ministry Team in a service of Celebration on Sunday, October 16.  Gathering under the theme “Divinity and Diversity: A Season of Change,” laity, clergy, a Conference Superintendent and Bishop led nearly one hundred people affirming the leadership and supporting a mutual ministry with Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon – Superintendent, Naomi Sea Young Wittstruck – Field Outreach Ministry, and Wendy Lubkeman – District ...

Fall 2016 Builder's Call

Fall 2016 Builder's Call

10/24/2016
Project Vision— Growing with Grace: Growing Our Faith, Growing Our Vision, Growing Our Community.

Fall retired clergy and spouses gathering

Fall retired clergy and spouses gathering

10/20/2016
Click here to watch the video of the Fall Retirees Gathering. Click here to see images from the day. "Wasting Time with Jesus" was the title of the message from Bishop Laurie Haller to the full room of retired clergy and spouses who gathered for the annual Fall Gathering at New Hope United Methodist Church in Des Moines on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.   On a picture perfect Fall morning retirees came to catch up on life, renew friendships and meet their new Episcopal leader, Bishop Laurie Haller....

UMW Annual Meeting welcomes, studies, and looks to future

UMW Annual Meeting welcomes, studies, and looks to future

10/12/2016
United Methodist Women of the Iowa Conference  had their annual meeting on Saturday, October 8, 2016.  Held at First UMC, Decorah under the banner of “A Fresh Wind Blowing – Come Soar with Us,” women from across the conference welcomed Bishop Laurie Haller, met for breakout groups, conducted the business of an annual meeting, and endorsed their leaders for the coming year.   Car parkers, hot coffee and treats, and greeters were just a part of the hospitality offered by men and women of First UMC...

Change a Child's Story October Update

Change a Child's Story October Update

10/11/2016
By now every church in the state should have received a folder full of information to get their church on board with the Poverty to Opportunity Initiative known as Change a Child’s Story. If your church has not received the mailing please contact Patty at patty.link@iaumc.org   Change a Child’s Story has been busy the last few months trying to get the word out to congregations who may not have started Change a Child’s Story in their congregation. There are so many great things happening around ...

Quick UMCOR response in Haiti

Quick UMCOR response in Haiti

10/8/2016
By Elliott Wright* Atlanta, Georgia, October 7, 2016 — The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) acted quickly in response to the destruction and death caused by Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean, notably in Haiti. The provision of emergency supplies, food, health kits, and other assistance builds on UMCOR’s sustained presence in Haiti, work that has continued since the disastrous earthquake in January 2010. More than 500 deaths in Haiti have been attributed to Hurricane Matthew, with ...

Iowa-Nigeria Partnership announcement

10/7/2016
IOWA-NIGERIA PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT   After over 25 years of partnership between Nigerian United Methodists and Iowa United Methodists, the Iowa Conference Board of Global Ministries has decided it is time to step back and evaluate the partnership.  Nigerian United Methodists are planning a Roundtable Conference in 2017 which will include Nigerian United Methodists and United Methodist conferences in the United States that have been working in Nigeria; the planned Roundtable is an opportunity ...

Gathering creates conversation

Gathering creates conversation

10/5/2016
Conversation was the order of the day at the fall gathering of the Orders of Elders Click here to see more images from the Orders of Elders and Deacons and Association of Licensed Local Pastors event. Click here to see the video of Bishop Laurie's sermon and Deacons and Association of Licensed Local Pastors. Meeting at First United Methodist Church in Ames, the clergy of the Iowa Conference focused on the denomination's effort to discover "a way forward" as it addresses the unity of the church ...

Bishop Trimble dismisses complaint

Bishop Trimble dismisses complaint

9/12/2016
A complaint, filed in June, by three Iowa Conference clergy against one of their fellow clergy was dismissed on August 30, 2016 by Bishop Julius C. Trimble.    His brief statement, conveyed to all parties involved, said, in part, “In accordance with Paragraph 363.e of 2012 Book of Discipline I have decided to dismiss the complaint against Rev. Anna Blaedel. The rationale was shared with the appointive cabinet.”   Rev. Craig Peters, Rev. Gary Hoyt, and Pastor Ben Blanchard filed a complaint with ...

Lansing area flood status update

Lansing area flood status update

9/5/2016
“We had some severe thunderstorms and the rain came down a little heavier than was anticipated,” says Rev. Kevin Smith, pastor of Lansing United Methodist Church, describing the flooding that affected a number of Iowans on August 22 & 23. “In Lansing, we had seven inches of rain overnight. We had a couple areas that had over eight inches of rain. And along the Upper Iowa River basin, flood waters came up so quickly that a lot of people weren’t able to get things moved to higher ground.” Listen ...

Helping with NE Iowa flooding

Helping with NE Iowa flooding

8/29/2016
On August 24, 2016 more than 8 inches of rain fell in Northeast Iowa. The Upper Iowa and Turkey Rivers have all flooded.  Causing evacuations of homes, businesses, schools and campgrounds.    The Governor of Iowa has made a Disaster Proclamation for 6 counties in Northeast Iowa.    The Hardest hit appears to be Winneshiek, Chickasaw, Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette and Howard counties and many, many rural acres.   On Saturday we delivered we delivered 144 Clean-Up Buckets and other supplies to ...

Dr. Gene Hoy - State Fair veterinarian

Dr. Gene Hoy - State Fair veterinarian

8/26/2016
During the 11 days of the Iowa State Fair, visitors have a chance to see cows, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, and other animals that exemplify farm life when they drop by the Knapp Animal Learning Center. And in charge of the center is Richland UMC member and veterinarian Dr. Gene Hoy, who does everything from checking the animals’ health status to overseeing live births. “We had one a couple days ago that, right in front of everybody, laid down and had her calf with 250 people watching,” reports...

African Cultural Festival

African Cultural Festival

8/25/2016
On Saturday, August 27 from 1pm to 4pm, on the spacious and welcoming grounds of Salem United Methodist Church (3715 33rd Avenue Southwest), the people of Cedar Rapids will have an opportunity to take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of multiple African cultures thanks to a partnership of local congregations and ministries, notably African Women Empowered from St. Mark’s, the Asbury International French Fellowship, and the St. Paul’s African National Ministry. Click to listen to Dr. Jill ...

Flooding in Louisiana

Flooding in Louisiana

8/25/2016
This aerial image shows flooded areas on and near the campus of Louisiana State University (LSU), Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Baton Rouge, La. (Patrick Dennis/The Advocate via AP)

'Christian Chaos' plays the Iowa State Fair

'Christian Chaos' plays the Iowa State Fair

8/24/2016
“This is our third year playing here,” says Greg Brown, founder and leader of the band Christian Chaos, following their gig at the Iowa State Fair on August 17. “We’ve put together a set list that’s really geared more towards this type of a venue than what we would do at a fundraiser or at a youth rally or something like that.” Click to listen to the Iowa Conference Conversations podcast with Greg Brown of 'Christian Chaos' The members of Christian Chaos all belong to the First United Methodist ...

Trinity Huxley 'excited' community ministry

Trinity Huxley 'excited' community ministry

8/24/2016
“They get things done. When they get the idea, they pursue it and get it taken care of,” says Pastor Rick Baarda of Trinity UMC in Huxley. He’s talking about his church’s ‘Dare To’ teams: Dare to Pray, Dare to Dream, and Dare to Act It’s an idea that his church came up with about a year and a half ago, to take the idea of a dream team to the next level – so that they could really start making those dreams come true. Daring to Make a Difference “Prayer Team really takes on the initiative of ...

Conference Ctr Team helps at food pantry network

Conference Ctr Team helps at food pantry network

8/11/2016
A team of nine from the Iowa Conference Center sorted non-perishable items, checked expiration dates, and packaged items for the shelves at the Des Moines Area Religious Council Food Pantry Network warehouse this week.  The visit to DMARC’s distribution center was one of a series of mission events that Conference staff participates in each year.   Click to see the Conference Center team at work at the DMARC Food Pantry Network warehouse Some 5000 unique households, which translates to some ...

Central District's 'Sampling Diversity'

Central District's 'Sampling Diversity'

8/10/2016
Sunday afternoon was devoted to “Sampling Diversity” on the Central District of the Iowa Conference.  Hundreds gathered at the Christian Life Center of Ankeny First UMC to sample food, view art, experience cultural dance, sing in multiple languages, talk with each other about diversity, be introduced to the new Superintendent and Field Outreach Minister, and hear the Scripture read in three languages.   Click to see photos from the event Beginning the afternoon, Rev. Paul Burrow welcomed the ...

Maggie Biggs new Conference Treasurer

Maggie Biggs new Conference Treasurer

8/10/2016
Although Maggie Biggs has been helping the Iowa Annual Conference with its finances in various ways for twenty years, on August 1 she took on her most significant role yet as the new Treasurer/Director of Administrative Services for the Conference. “It’s a privilege to serve the Conference in a new way,” says Biggs, who has an accounting degree and her CPA license. She describes herself as both excited and a little scared, given the number of responsibilities that the position entails, but ...

Bishop Laurie Haller visits the Iowa Conference Center

Bishop Laurie Haller visits the Iowa Conference Center

8/1/2016
Bishop Laurie Haller and her husband, Rev. Gary Haller, meet Lisa Steel and other conference employees as they tour the Iowa Conference Center last week.

Glory Sightings

Glory Sightings

7/25/2016
By: Rev. Katharine Yarnell, Field Outreach Minister North Central District   Swaledale UMC lets their bells ring Swaledale United Methodist Church participated in the Healthy Small Church Initiative this year, and Pastor Travis Stevick invited longtime church member, Don Hanson, to preach.  To Hanson, this was a bold step out in faith, and it was immensely appreciated!  During Hanson's childhood, the Swaledale church would ring their bell to call the town to worship. Over the years, that ...

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers changes volunteers from thrive

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers changes volunteers from thrive

7/25/2016
thrive UMC board member, Kris Bush and Rev. Jennifer Hibben accept the Volunteer Impact Award from Iowa Homeless Youth Center.

New Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation

New Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation

7/21/2016
Bryan Johnson, Site Director of Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp, has accepted the position of Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation for the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  He will begin on September 12, 2016.   Bryan graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa with a degree in business and marketing.   Camping has long been an important part of his life; he has fifteen years’ experience in camping and outdoor education.    At ...

Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors announces job openings

7/18/2016
Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors is announcing job openings in our office due to the beginning of a new project based on an award from the federal government through the Iowa Attorney General's Office. This award is from the Victim Services Support Program funds. This project will focus on immigrant victims of crime and begins with the July 1 fiscal year. While JFON will continue the church-based legal clinics with a 17 year history here in Iowa, this new project will enable JFON to add several ...

Bishop Trimble assigned to Indiana

Bishop Trimble assigned to Indiana

7/17/2016
Bishop Julius C. Trimble, Iowa’s resident United Methodist bishop since 2008, will become the leader of the Indiana area in September.  The announcement was made during the Consecration Service of the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference on Saturday, July 16.    Celebrate the ministry of the Bishop and First Lady on Saturday, August 6, 2pm-6pm, at the Conference Center Bishop Trimble was elected to be a bishop of the church at the 2008 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, held that ...

Meet Bishop Laurie Haller

Meet Bishop Laurie Haller

7/16/2016
Iowa's new episcopal leader will be Bishop Laurie Haller.  She was elected on ballot 13 at the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference on Thursday, July 14.  Click here to listen to the podcast of a conversation Bishop Haller had with Dr. Art McClanahan Bishop Laurie Haller has served in the Michigan area since 1982.  She was serving as senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Birmingham in the Detroit Annual Conference when she was elected to the Episcopacy on July 14.    Prior to...

NCJ2016 Call for Unity in Thursday Worship

NCJ2016 Call for Unity in Thursday Worship

7/14/2016
During a Thursday worship service filled with music from the NCJ praise band, Bishop Hee Soo Jung of the Wisconsin Annual Conference delivered a sermon entitled “Living Together Amidst Diversity”. Though he joked that as a Korean-American, he is “half kimchi and half Wisconsin cheese,” he drew upon personal, historical, and biblical examples and delivered a serious call: to love one another despite, or perhaps because of, our differences. Bishop Jung pointed to stories of Jesus’ birth from ...

NCJ2016 Episcopal Address by Bishop Kiesey

NCJ2016 Episcopal Address by Bishop Kiesey

7/14/2016
Episcopal Address – ‘Seeking Something Deeper’ The 2016 Episcopal Address moved from pulpit to piano as Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey addressed the chaos and fears experienced by individuals and the church in this day. During the times of disquiet permeating life, “I seek something deeper,” she said. While a lover of words, Kiesey admitted that “I need something more visceral in these uncertain times.” Because she “hears Jesus’ words in a new way” through music, the bishop offered her audience ...

NCJ2016 Update for July 14

NCJ2016 Update for July 14

7/14/2016
NCJ 2016 Summary for Thursday July 14   NCJ elects fourth bishop and says goodbye to four others Thursday at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference was a time of celebrating leadership. Prophetic voices were heard during morning worship and in the afternoon episcopal address. The fourth bishop to be elected was coming to the stage at mid-day. Then business closed in the afternoon with a fond farewell to faithful episcopal servants. Bishop Jung preaches The Opening Worship featured a sermon...

NCJ2016 convenes on July 13

NCJ2016 convenes on July 13

7/7/2016
By Arthur McClanahan   The 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church will convene on July 13 in Peoria, Illinois.  Gathering together under the theme, “Living Together…In Unity…Amid Diversity…for Ministry,” the regional assembly is guided by the scriptural words of Ephesians 4:1-16.   In his welcome letter to the delegates host Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton identified the primary reason for the 2016 edition of the once-every-four-years meeting.  “May we dedicate ...

Iowan elected at UMW Assembly

Iowan elected at UMW Assembly

7/6/2016
Just this June, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the North Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Women held their quadrennial gathering. Several women from the Iowa Conference attended, and one of them, Linda Blazek Garvin, was even elected to a position with the UMW. “The new Secretary for the North Central Jurisdiction committee is Linda Blazek Garvin from Polk City,” says Rita Vallery, President of the UMW for the Iowa Annual Conference, noting that Blazek Garvin previously served as ...

Celtic Spirituality Trekking Adventure to Dingle Peninsula, Kerry, Ireland

Celtic Spirituality Trekking Adventure to Dingle Peninsula, Kerry, Ireland

7/5/2016
Eleven pilgrims from Iowa began meeting once a month on Sunday afternoons last January to study Celtic Christianity together, following the work of John O’Donohue, who wrote the international best seller Anam Cara.  Anam Cara is an old Gaelic word meaning, “soul friend,” and was used in the Celtic spiritual tradition to refer to a person or persons who accompany one’s soul on the journey through this life as it encounters its destiny with God. This June, this group of anam cara friends set out ...

Phil Carver looks ahead to NCJ2016

Phil Carver looks ahead to NCJ2016

7/5/2016
The United Methodist Church has been doing a lot of conferencing in the last few months, and now we are at last coming to the jurisdictional conferences. The 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, which includes Iowa, will meet from July 13-16 in Peoria, Illinois. During that time, four new bishops will be elected from a slate of 17 candidates. Click here to listen to the Iowa Conference Conversation with Phil Carver and Dr. Art McClanahan “That’s a little more than we typically have, so...

AC2016: Looking Back, a Summary

AC2016: Looking Back, a Summary

6/28/2016
By Arthur McClanahan*   The 2016 session of the Iowa Annual Conference called its communities of faith to “Therefore Go and Make Disciples.”  Meeting at the Iowa Events Center (Des Moines) the 1472 members of the Annual Conference Session– clergy and lay – gathered to worship, renew commitment to mission that transforms the world, affirm the call of young people to ministry, celebrate the service of retirees, remember the dedicated lives of memorialees, appreciate the eight-year ministry of ...

NCJ: Celebrating Ministry and Electing Bishops

NCJ: Celebrating Ministry and Electing Bishops

6/28/2016
“A Jurisdictional Conference meets every four years, not long after Annual Conference,” explains Bishop Julius Trimble. “In fact, this is the year of conferencing in United Methodism. We had a General Conference in May, and our Annual Conference in June, and in just a few weeks we’ll be gathered in Peoria, Illinois for the North Central Jurisdictional Conference.” The North Central Jurisdictional Conference will be taking place from July 13-16, at the same time that all of the jurisdictional ...

Change a Child's Story pairs up with United Way

Change a Child's Story pairs up with United Way

6/27/2016
On June 21, 2016, Change a Child’s Story Initiative paired up with United Way of Central Iowa to host a Literacy Solstice Event.  From sunrise to sunset on the longest day of the year the United Way hosted events around Central Iowa to make literacy kits for kids and to read to kids in the Boys and Girls Club.   As part of the Bishop’s initiative, United Methodists from across Iowa were asked to volunteer to read to students in poverty during the 2016-17 school year.  In Des Moines, United...

NCJ elects four Directors of UMW

NCJ elects four Directors of UMW

6/27/2016
Elections happen every four years in the church and in the nation. All United Methodists know that. There’s campaigning and balloting for Bishops, Senators, and Representatives. But there are other elections that are just as significant though not as high profile. Folks in all five jurisdictions in the U.S gathered in recent weeks to elect Directors to the National United Methodist Women. The Quadrennial Meeting for the North Central Jurisdiction took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan June 24-26,...

NW Detroit Flood “muck-out” teams needed!

NW Detroit Flood “muck-out” teams needed!

6/27/2016
 From Rev. Becky Wilson, Coordinator of The Northwest Detroit Flood Recovery Project of The United Methodist Church. Brethren Disaster Ministries is doing great work on rebuilds and is also trying to assist with muck-outs but is in need of additional volunteers for muck-out teams. Currently the muck-out teams are working on about a dozen homes with projects that range in size from big to small. A UMC team that volunteered from Columbus, OH earlier in the spring was able to complete eight ...

Vano Kiboko says ‘Je vais bien,’ I am good

Vano Kiboko says ‘Je vais bien,’ I am good

6/26/2016
by Arthur McClanahan and Brooke Pierce* “I am doing very well for now. It’s sure that I am free. I am free from the prison,” states Vano Kiboko in his native French, as his brother Rev. Kiboko I. Kiboko, Superintendent of the East Central District, translates to English. “I want to thank God and thank all the churches in the USA and all the annual conferences that have been praying for me.”  Click here to listen to the Iowa Conference Conversations episode with Vano Kiboko  Click here to see ...

‘The Spirit is calling, moving, inviting'

‘The Spirit is calling, moving, inviting'

6/22/2016
by Arthur McClanahan*   “The Spirit is calling, moving, inviting,” said Rev. Anna Blaedel during the 2016 session of the Iowa Annual Conference.  “Be the church.  Now.  Be the body of Christ,” she added.   Rising to a moment of personal privilege, surrounded by colleagues and friends offered a glimpse into her life story and journey of faith.  “I have been a United Methodist almost my entire life.”  She recalled the time when her parents came to faith when she was four and when she was baptized ...

The Church at It’s Best

The Church at It’s Best

6/21/2016
The Church at It’s Best—Reaching Out in Mission Supported by Church and Community Workers For seventeen years the Iowa Annual Conference has supported a Church and Community Worker assigned to Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors. The first person was Judy Kading, then came Allison Brown, followed by Trina Scott Zuor and now Brynne Howard. The contributions of these Church and Community Workers, who are missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries, have helped to make Justice for Our ...

Walnut Hills Allotment Garden is Spiritually Nourished Soil

Walnut Hills Allotment Garden is Spiritually Nourished Soil

6/16/2016
Jean and Paul Swenson work hard weeding and mowing the Walnut Hills United Methodist Church allotment garden.

Patty LaGree, Conference Secretary

Patty LaGree, Conference Secretary

6/14/2016
 This year’s Iowa Annual Conference has concluded, and with it, Patty LaGree’s time serving as Conference Secretary. It’s a position that she first took on seven years ago after receiving a phone call. “Bishop Palmer called me one day at home and asked if I would like to be Conference Secretary. I said I would like to consider it. I needed to know what some of the duties were and the expectations. I looked into that, and decided it was something I would like to give my energy to.” Listen to the ...

Bishop's Statement on Orlando Mass Shooting

Bishop's Statement on Orlando Mass Shooting

6/13/2016
As all of you, I was shocked and saddened to hear of the mass shooting at an Orlando nightspot in the early hours of Sunday morning.  As President Barack Obama said, “We grieve the brutal murder – horrific massacre – of dozens of innocent people.”   The attack at the Pulse Nightclub targeted members of the LGBTQI community, which heightens the tragedy all the more.  Violence, in any form, is unacceptable and when it targets people because of who they are it becomes all the more reprehensible.   ...

AC2016 Lay Leaders Address

AC2016 Lay Leaders Address

6/8/2016
A generous spirit is necessary for the church to do its work. This was the message of the Laity Address given at the 2016 Annual Conference Session. Lay Leader Margaret Borgen addressed Sunday’s Conference Session, telling the assembly that giving to the church is an elephant in the room members find it hard to talk about, but that it is basic to the church’s ability to perform ministry. “Financial stewardship is a priority for me,” she said, “and for the future of the church.” Borgen said ...

AC2016 Change a Child’s Story Update

AC2016 Change a Child’s Story Update

6/6/2016
Clint Twedt-Ball, team member of the Change a Child’s Story team asked Bishop Trimble during 2016 Iowa Annual Conference, “A year ago when we talked, you said that our goal should be to get 100% of the churches on board with Change a Child’s Story. Do you still believe that we can reach that audacious goal of 100% participation?” “Yes!” Bishop Trimble replied. Twedt-Ball continued saying it should be a no-brainer for the churches of the Iowa Conference to reach 100% participation. If there is ...

AC2016 Conference Artist—Therefore Go

AC2016 Conference Artist—Therefore Go

6/6/2016
Rev. Ted Lyddon Hatten addressed the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference a final time on Monday, June 6, 2016 and said that he was preaching on the edge as this was the last time he would be with them in this way. Rev. Lyddon Hatten has retired after 22 years. "Words spoken at the end of a narrative have more weight than those from the middle," he said. Rev. Lyddon Hatten expressed is gratitude to those who have helped and worked with him along the way making a special note to thank his assistant and ...

AC2016 Teaching Sessions

6/5/2016
More than 400 people attended Teaching Sessions offered at the 2016 Annual Conference Session. Six sessions were presented Sunday evening, covering various aspects of ministry and church finances. The sessions included: Social Media and Web Ministry: “Communicating Faith in the 21st Century” Focused on going beyond simply having a church website to effectively implementing a broader online presence. Change a Child’s Story Women at the Well: “And Who is My Neighbor” Breaking down walls with ...

AC2016 First Round of Offerings

6/5/2016
The first round of offerings for the 2016 Annual Conference Session were announced Sunday morning, reflecting robust participation. The Clergy Assistance Fund collection taken at Friday night’s Clergy Session was $4109. The Opening Worship offering collected Saturday morning for the Rust College Choir totaled $5445.34. Collection for Camperships taken at Sunday’s Ordering of Ministry Service was $ 6741.55. Water for Flint garnered $1670.20 as of Sunday morning.      

AC2016 Legislative wrap-up Saturday, June 4, 2016

AC2016 Legislative wrap-up Saturday, June 4, 2016

6/4/2016
The first day of the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference Session saw swift approval of numerous legislative resolutions.   2017 Annual Conference Session dates Saturday, June 10 - Monday, June 12, 2017 were approved, along with 2018 Annual Conference Session dates of June 9-11, 2018. Conference Secretary Nitza Dovenspike was elected, succeeding Patty LaGree. Maggie Biggs interim named Interim Conference Treasurer.   The following action items were approved: Section I: Conference Ministries – Episcopal ...

AC2016 “Our God is Able” - General Conference Report

AC2016 “Our God is Able” - General Conference Report

6/4/2016
Southeast District Superintendent Rev. Lilian Gallo Seagren and Southeast District Field Outreach Minister Phil Carver gave a report on the 2016 General Conference at Saturday’s assembly of the 2016 Annual Conference Session. The Great Commission from Matthew 28:16-20, with the verse, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” was prevalent throughout the 11 days of the Conference, Rev. Seagren said. Iowa was represented by 12 lay and clergy delegates at the Portland, OR., Conference, ...

AC2016 Episcopacy Endorsements

AC2016 Episcopacy Endorsements

6/4/2016
Rev. Barrie Tritle’s Episcopal Endorsement was affirmed nearly unanimously on Saturday evening of the 2016 Annual Conference Session. The First United Methodist Church Iowa City Pastor had received the recommendation as an episcopal candidate of the Iowa Annual Conference’s Jurisdictional Delegation. Four episcopal assignments are due to come open in the North Jurisdictional Conference in the coming months. Southeast District Field Outreach Minister Rev. Phil Carver addressed Saturday’s ...

Letter from the Council of Bishops

Letter from the Council of Bishops

5/25/2016
To the people of The United Methodist Church: The Council of Bishops brings you greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has called us to be servant leaders of the church. In 1812, Bishop Francis Asbury, Bishop William McKendree and General Conference Secretary Daniel Hitt sent the first letter to churches following General Conference. This letter seeks to revive that tradition. Many bishops will also be communicating individually in their own areas. Hundreds of lay and ...

Local Church Helps Change a Child’s Story

Local Church Helps Change a Child’s Story

5/25/2016
This week, every student at Hillis Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa will go home with five brand-new books of their very own thanks to the generosity of Immanuel United Methodist Church. Thanks to a matching grant from the Educational Development Corporation, Immanuel UMC is purchasing reading-level appropriate books for every student. The distribution of the books will be during a book fair at Hillis Elementary on May 26. In 2012, roughly 1 in 4 Iowa fourth-graders scored below ...

GC2016: Technology Helps 'Extravagant Hospitality'

GC2016: Technology Helps 'Extravagant Hospitality'

5/7/2016
“We wanted to make sure our local host teams were able to give people the answer right off the bat when they had a question – and that also means talking to them in a different language,” says Greg Nelson, Director of Communications for the Oregon-Idaho Conference, discussing how volunteer teams at the General Conference, beginning in Portland on May 10, will be greeting and directing thousands of attendees from around the globe. “One of the things about General Conference, because it happens ...

Vano Kiboko released

Vano Kiboko released

5/7/2016
In a stunning sudden reversal, Vano Kiboko has been released from the military prison where he had been incarcerated for “inciting tribal hatred.” The arrest came after he publicly denounced the December 8, 2014 shooting of a woman engaged in a nonviolent protest. In addition, he had spoken out against proposals to change Congo’s constitution to allow President Joseph Kabila to run for a third term. The release, on Thursday, May 5, followed nearly 16 months of imprisonment.  The situation was ...

A Day Sprinkled with Love

A Day Sprinkled with Love

5/5/2016
May Day was spectacular for the South Sudanese Congregation of Mabaan people at Epworth UMC in Des Moines.  They held their first baptismal service with members from Storm Lake, Omaha and Texas along with Bishop Julius Trimble, Central District General Superintendent Dave Weesner, Field Outreach Minister, Karen Nelson along with representatives from Altoona and Grimes UM Churches and other Central District friends.    Many of the congregation was garbed in colorful African dress and after the ...

Renwick UMC will host Special Hair Donation Event

Renwick UMC will host Special Hair Donation Event

5/5/2016
Pastor Lynn Gardner will be cutting at least 12 inches of her long white hair and donating it to "Pantene Beautiful Lengths" for cancer patients, as part of a Special Spring Fundraiser at Renwick United Methodist Church.   On Sunday, May 22nd, the Renwick United Methodist Church will host this special Hair Donation Event that will begin at 6:00 PM with a pot luck supper and the community is invited to join in the fun of the evening.   Following the community pot-luck supper in the Fellowship ...

Registration Open for Global United Methodist Clergywomen Gathering

Registration Open for Global United Methodist Clergywomen Gathering

4/28/2016
NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 27, 2016 – United Methodist clergywomen from around the world will gather in Houston August 29-31 to celebrate 60 years of full clergy rights for women in the Methodist tradition, and 20 years of the full-clergy-membership diaconate for United Methodist deacons. The gathering is the culmination of regional gatherings of United Methodist clergywomen that have taken place throughout the connection and will be held in the days leading up to the World Methodist Conference.   ...

Matthew 25 honors Mt. Vernon UMC Church of the Year

Matthew 25 honors Mt. Vernon UMC Church of the Year

4/27/2016
Matthew 25 held their annual Celebration Event on April 5, 2016, in commemoration of a successful year supporting their neighbors and to honor a volunteer, church and corporate partner of the year. This year Mount Vernon United Methodist Church was named Matthew 25 Church of the Year. "It is truly the volunteers that push forward Matthew 25's mission to empower people to transform," announced Eden Youngberg, Matthew 25's Development and Communications Coordinator.  "Our volunteers logged over ...

First-hand view of the destruction in Ecuador

First-hand view of the destruction in Ecuador

4/25/2016
This first-hand account of the devastation in Ecuador was written by my good friend Paul Martel.  His foundation, FIBUSPAM, is on the ground already making a difference.  Their website suggests ways to help in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. - Arthur McClanahan 11:55 on the night of April 21st, 2016 finds me in the 34th hour of my trip from Simsbury, Connecticut to the heart of the destruction caused by the brutal earthquake that struck the northern coast of Ecuador on Saturday, April ...

An Update from Change a Child's Story

An Update from Change a Child's Story

4/22/2016
Cherie Miner, a member of Grant United Methodist Church, is part of the Bishop’s Poverty to Opportunity Taskforce, which has led to the creation of Change a Child’s Story. This initiative, which has recognized that educating young children is one of the best ways to ultimately keep them out of poverty, is dedicated to providing kids with books and encouraging volunteers to read to them. The Change a Child’s Story team has been getting the word out to all districts about the effort. “In almost ...

Bertram UMC and HCI Builds Strength

Bertram UMC and HCI Builds Strength

4/22/2016
Just outside of Cedar Rapids is the small township of Bertram, once a railroad town and now the center of a sprawl of new housing developments. “The church in the town is the only institution,” says Bertram UMC pastor Jenny Seylar. “And part of being the only institution is that a lot of people in the town claim the church as their church, although our worship attendance is 25 to 32 on any given Sunday. So we see a lot of people come to our events, we see people come to our special things at the...

First UMC in Ottumwa and HCI Expands Reach

First UMC in Ottumwa and HCI Expands Reach

4/22/2016
Marva Philipsen and her husband have been attending First United Methodist Church, located in downtown Ottumwa, for about five or six years. They found it friendly and warm, and small groups helped them to get involved and connected. But it’s an older church, with an aging membership, and, she explains, it has perhaps tended to be a bit too inward focused. That’s where First UMC was at when they began the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI), a process which Marva has been closely involved with. “I ...

Greenfield UMC and HCI Revives Ministries

Greenfield UMC and HCI Revives Ministries

4/22/2016
While the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) has been in place in the Iowa Conference for four-plus years, many congregations were putting elements of the initiative that equips clergy and laity to reach new people into practice prior to its official inception, and sometimes since without having fully implemented the program. One such church is Greenfield United Methodist Church, with its free health clinic and another ministry called Fields of Faith. Free Clinic Ministry  The church’s health ...

Manning UMC and HCI Focuses on the Mission

Manning UMC and HCI Focuses on the Mission

4/22/2016
An already fruitful and thriving ministry at the Manning United Methodist Church was blessed to grow and reach more people through the work of church members and pastors involved in the ministry, aided in part by the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) process. With The Source worship service and its parent Recovery Bible Study ministry, Manning UMC is touching hearts and helping to repair lives in its congregation and the broader community, in a team effort that has flourished for years between the...

Mapleton community receives books to Change A Child's Story

Mapleton community receives books to Change A Child's Story

4/22/2016
Rev. Jena Manchester, pastor of St. John’s UMC in Mapleton, was collecting books for the Change A Child’s Story initiative to take to the Annual Conference when she started thinking about what those books might be able to do to help people in her own community. “I was praying about what could we do with the books -- how can we change a child’s story? And the answer I heard was ‘Take ‘em to the swim pool.’” Reading at the Pool So she managed to get more than 50 of those books that she had ...

A Gathering of Colleagues

A Gathering of Colleagues

4/21/2016
“We’re trying to find ways to be better connected to each other and to our churches, and to the world at large. And we’ve got some amazing speakers with some amazing teaching going on. And we’re in the beauty of nature,” says chairperson Rev. Ron Carlson of the annual School for Ministry, taking place at Honey Creek Resort State Park in Moravia, Iowa from April 19-22. Click here to listen to the conversation with Rev. Calderon and Rev. Carlson “We know that Jesus went away and he prayed. He ...

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