News

Difference Makers


Iowa achieves 100% giving to Africa University in 2018

Iowa achieves 100% giving to Africa University in 2018

5/9/2019
The Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church has successfully achieved 100% of its Africa University apportionments in 2018. In an email to the conference, James Salley, Associate Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Advancement in the Africa University Development Office, thanked Iowans for their invaluable support of the university. "Africa University students are called and committed to serve God in communities across the continent and in mission settings around the world," he said. "...

Hamburg Flood: Residents find strength through church, community

Hamburg Flood: Residents find strength through church, community

4/12/2019
Virginia Lynn, 93, has lived in Hamburg, Iowa, her entire life and not once experienced the floodwaters that have hit the town. Until now.   Lynn moved to the Park Washington Plaza apartments in July from the home she raised her family in after her husband passed away last January.   “I kept telling everybody I was so blessed because after I lost my husband my kids took me to visit, I sold my house and then I moved,” she said. “It’s just mind-boggling to me. I have literally lost everything. It’...

Video tour of flooding in Hamburg, Iowa

Video tour of flooding in Hamburg, Iowa

4/1/2019
Pastor Luke Fillmore gave the Iowa Communications Team a brief tour of the devastating flooding in Hamburg, Iowa. Fillmore is appointed in Hamburg and also the nearby town of Shenandoah and has been balancing two congregations and building new relationships.   “There's a lot of trust I've already built, and there's a lot of trust being built, but it's taken a lot of humility to step back and say ‘I can only do what's been put in front of me and God has only given me so much to do,’” Fillmore ...

Annual mission trip to Honduras builds close bonds

Annual mission trip to Honduras builds close bonds

3/29/2019
Each year in January, Clayton Eakins of Bloomfield, Iowa, organizes a Volunteers in Mission trip out of Davis County, to Honduras.    This is the fifth time he has brought a group to these areas, and this year he was joined by Steve Davidson, Penny Warren, Pastor Donna Olinger and Linda Rowe. They worked primarily in the El Negrito and Subirana areas.   Eakins likes to go back to the same place as they keep adding on to their projects and especially because of the deeper relationships formed ...

Packing meals for the hungry

Packing meals for the hungry

2/7/2019
A team of nine Conference Center staff members spent a morning volunteering at Meals From the Heartland and packaged 4,104 meals on Jan. 29. "Our mission is to empower people to save the starving, so it's those people who come in and give up their time to package meals, just like you did today that make this organization go," said Susan Bunz, Executive Director of Meals From the Heartland. "Last year we engaged over 75,000 volunteers, we would never be able to do what we do without the people ...

5K helps 'end the stigma' of mental health

5K helps 'end the stigma' of mental health

9/26/2018
Photos from the End the Stigma Mental Health Awareness 5K and Forum on Sept. 15, 2018 in Carlisle. When Linda Benton went to Annual Conference in 2018 as a lay delegate, she didn’t expect to walk away with a mission from God.   “I attended one of the workshops about mental health, and God put a bug in my ear,” she said. “I just thought, ‘Linda, you’ve got to do something with this.’”   She came back to her church in Carlisle intending to host a forum about the stigma surrounding ...

Coming alongside others in care

Coming alongside others in care

9/25/2018
Written by Rev. Nan Smith, Pastor at Marshalltown Hope UMC  On Thursday afternoon, July 19, when an F3 tornado roared through Marshalltown, the United Methodist Women here at Marshalltown Hope were putting the final touches on their annual fundraiser — a rummage sale set to open the next day. As our church had suffered no damage because of the storm, the women went ahead and opened the doors on Friday. However, as the reports began to roll in that morning about the extent of the tornado damage,...

God is the Potter who molds us—Ordering service AC2018

God is the Potter who molds us—Ordering service AC2018

6/10/2018
God is the potter who continually molds us to reflect his grace, love, and hope, Bishop Laurie Haller told those gathered for Sunday's Ordering of Ministry service.   And it is in being His creation that we can find purpose and the beauty of our individual “Gloria.”   The Iowa Annual Conference ordained five elders at the 2018 Annual Conference Session, also commissioning six for the work of an elder, and recognizing six others as Course of Study graduates.    See more images from the Ordering ...

A holy conferencing, not a kind of arguing conferencing

A holy conferencing, not a kind of arguing conferencing

6/9/2018
Kinnick Driscoll gave the benediction at the close of the AC2018 Episcopal Address. Kinnick—Kid Pastor at Broadway United Methodist Church in Council Bluffs—told Bishop Laurie, "I will pray my very best prayer!" "Dear God, thank you for leading us down the road here. Thank you for our worship day and night. Thank you for making this a holy conferencing, not a kind of arguing conferencing. Help us to recognize you more and to show courage when making decisions about the church. Thank you for ...

Building Relationships to End Poverty

Building Relationships to End Poverty

5/24/2018
Food pantries, free clinics, and education opportunities are just a few of the things the congregation of Greenfield United Methodist Church has its hands in after a Rural Poverty Workshop held in November 2017 at the church. It has joined forces with other churches, the school, and local Crisis Intervention and Community Action services to begin relationship building with those struggling in the community.   “Many people in our community have been transformed in their thinking toward those who ...

"God bless this holy place and all who enter here"

3/23/2018
Psalm 127:1 Unless it is the Lord who builds the house, the builder’s work is pointless. Unless it is the Lord who protects the city, the guard on duty is pointless.   “You are the ones who are building the house, you are the ones who are protecting those who are defenseless, and God blesses you for your ministry here,” read Bishop Laurie Haller at the blessing celebrating the new office of Iowa Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) on March 15, 2018.   “We think that all means all, and that all ...

2017 Ingathering presents mission opportunity

2017 Ingathering presents mission opportunity

1/2/2018
Just a month after another successful Thanksgiving Ingathering for Iowa United Methodists, the Ingathering’s state coordinator, Mary Davis, sat down along with treasurer Marilyn Jensen and Greenfield site co-chair Jim Tussey to talk about the event. Marilyn reported that donations this year amounted to “about $985,000 dollars’ worth of both cash and in-kind gifts. Which, the in-kind is kits that are donated. So just short of a million dollars’ worth of giving for Thanksgiving Ingathering. And ...

DMARC food pantry network – Iowa Annual Conference volunteers

DMARC food pantry network – Iowa Annual Conference volunteers

1/2/2018
The issue of hunger continues to touch Des Moines-area residents across all demographics, as demonstrated by statistics from the Des Moines Area Religious Council’s (DMARC) Food Pantry Network. In Fiscal Year 2016-2017, the DMARC Food Pantry Network assisted more than 48,000 unique individuals and nearly 20,000 unique households, as well as distributed more than 1.8 million food items. November is always the DMARC Food Pantry’s highest volume month, said Luke Elzinga, DMARC’s communications ...

Meet JFON's new director, Sol Varisco-Santini

Meet JFON's new director, Sol Varisco-Santini

1/2/2018
A ministry of the Iowa Annual Conference, Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) has been in operation for more than 18 years now. Now, for the first time ever, the organization has hired a paid executive director. “When I saw the position was available, I was very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful team,” says Sol Varisco-Santini, who is now leading a small but dedicated group of immigrant lawyers, paralegals, and an intake specialist. Iowa JFON’s first executive director ...

High School student starts a choir

High School student starts a choir

12/27/2017
Katie Palmer is a difference maker at the West Chester United Methodist Church. When she was a sophomore in high school, she had the idea to start a children’s chime choir. She presented a proposal to the Administrative Council of the church, complete with PowerPoint slides, to ask them to buy the chimes. She sent letters to all the parents in the community who had children in kindergarten through the fifth grade to invite them to participate in the chime choir. Only two of the first dozen kids ...

Parish nurses receive Trinity Hospital's FOCUS award

Parish nurses receive Trinity Hospital's FOCUS award

11/13/2017
The October Trinity Hospital Foundation newsletter featured two parish nurses, Brenda Sherrick and Carol Jackson.  These two parish nurses were the first-ever recipients of Trinity Hospital's FOCUS award.  Brenda is technically a Trinity employee working at Asbury; Asbury pays her salary to Trinity. Carol is considered a "volunteer" for the Trinity Parish Nurse program, as she is a direct employee of Asbury. Both Carol and Brenda are long time members of Asbury United Methodist Church in ...

Meeting Needs; Meeting the Community

Meeting Needs; Meeting the Community

11/7/2017
By: Amy Johnson New Virginia United Methodist Church has found a new way to meet new needs in its community. As the resources in Warren County become more and more centralized in Indianola, it became clear through interviews with the schools and community leaders that local resources are scarce. This led to several ministries in the past, such as the Winter Coat drive and support to keep the local food pantry open. As of September, though, it has led to an even wider ministry in Southwest ...

63 years of Christmas sharing

63 years of Christmas sharing

10/25/2017
Bidwell Riverside Center has started to solicit help in making their 63rd year of sharing the most impactful yet. We’re seeking toys for all ages to make this year a success and bring joy to even more children.  Learn more about the Bidwell Riverside Center Toy Drive Most needed items include: Toys, stocking stuffers, books, hats & gloves, stuffed animals, $10 and $20 gift cards to Walmart, Target, and other grocery stores. Donated items can be dropped off in our administrative office located ...

Iowans generous in disaster response

Iowans generous in disaster response

10/17/2017
Iowa United Methodist communities of faith were very generous in their giving to disaster response in September.  Giving from 155 congregations amounted to $59,386.41, of which $3,952.93 was designated for an international response and $55,433.48 for domestic disaster response. In this difficult 2017 storm season, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been particularly attentive to the devastation in Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.  The United Methodist News ...

Waterloo Kimball receives award

Waterloo Kimball receives award

10/2/2017
Waterloo Kimball UMC has received The State of Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award for their Partner in Education program with Orange Elementary School where they had 16 reading buddies during the 2016-17 school year who read over 400 hours. They also have volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, Eye of the Needle and the local hospitals. Congratulations Waterlook Kimball, that's how you show the world that the United Methodist Church is filled with Difference Makers!