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Faithful Leaders


A note from Rev. Ron Carlson

A note from Rev. Ron Carlson

10/5/2018
Written by Rev. Ron Carlson, Northwest District Superintendent   "I am because we are." While we are in the middle of this season of interviews and charge conferences, I am also getting ready to travel to Africa University with our Bishop. In the midst of transition and searching for a new normal, I am questioning the sanity of this adventure at this time. There is so much going on here in the district and I will be gone for about two weeks. Often, the preparations and the current reality ...

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 ...

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 ...

Rev. Jerry Oakland 'energized' by Annual Conference

Rev. Jerry Oakland 'energized' by Annual Conference

6/10/2018
The following is a transcript of a conversation between Rev. Jerry Oakland, Transitional Director of Connectional Ministries, and Rev. Dr. Art McClanahan, Director of Communications. Art and Jerry talk about the first half of Saturday at Annual Conference 2018, and what conference means to Jerry. The full conversation can be viewed in the video below. Art: Reverend Jerry Oakland is the Transitional Director of Connectional Ministries. Jerry, we're just now in the first half of the first day of ...

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 ...

Treasurer Maggie Biggs looking forward to Annual Conference

Treasurer Maggie Biggs looking forward to Annual Conference

6/6/2018
The following is a transcript of the Iowa Conference Conversations Podcast featuring Maggie Biggs, Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services, and Communications Director Rev. Dr. Art McClanahan. Art:  Maggie Biggs is the Iowa Annual Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services. Maggie this third Annual  Conference coming up to present the treasurer's report and the statistics to the yearly gathering. It's two days ahead of time now. How are you looking forward...

Building Beloved Clergy Community

Building Beloved Clergy Community

5/3/2018
A beloved community was in full bloom at the spring Order of Elders, Order of Deacons, Fellowship of Local Pastors & Associate Members Gathering on April 26, 2018. Clergy gathered at Ames First United Methodist Church to address the common anxiety in the Iowa Conference around the upcoming General Conference sessions.   “Today is an opportunity to be together, take a deep breath, and address our common anxiety about where our church is right now,” said Rev. Scott Lothe, an Orders planning ...

"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 ...

‘It’s been my privilege to serve four bishops’

‘It’s been my privilege to serve four bishops’

1/10/2018
On New Year’s Day, Rev. J. Robert Burkhart began as interim Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, a position that he will hold until September 1st, when Rev. Harlan Gillespie steps in. The role is nothing new to Rev. Burkhart—in fact this is his third “go around” in it. “The role has really changed over the years and probably grown a lot,” he says. “But it’s been my privilege to serve with four bishops.” Not only has the job title experienced slight variations over the years, but the ...

JOY Camp

JOY Camp

11/6/2017
Mobile United Methodist Missionaries (MUMM) finished its summer season with JOY Camp at Wesley Woods during the last week of July. JOY stands for “Jesus, Others & You.” In her blog, Allison Engel, the Senior Summer Assistant for MUMM, tells about a tradition at the camp that keeps the schedule a mystery each day. Campers are puzzled to learn that everything starts at 7:47! Alison was feeling rather glum in the middle of the week until she found a camper who was searching through his Bible to ...

Excited for his new role

Excited for his new role

11/2/2017
Rev. Harlan Gillespie, Superintendent for the North Central District, who also serves as Dean of the Appointive Cabinet, will be taking on a very important new role starting July 1: Assistant to the Bishop for Administration. For the new position, he and his wife will be leaving their home in the North Central District, where they’ve enjoyed living for the last four years, and relocating to Des Moines. Click to listen to the interview with Rev. Harlan Gillespie. “When I think about it, my ...

New director shares God's love through camping

New director shares God's love through camping

11/2/2017
Chip Hutler is the new site director for Wesley Woods Camp and Retreat Center, located in Indianola, Iowa. He’s been in the ‘camp business’ for nearly 30 years, working at camps and YMCAs from Wisconsin to Arizona. Strangely enough, though, he didn’t grow up as a camper – in fact, he found himself rather unexpectedly falling into his career. Click to watch the interview with the new Wesley Woods site director, Chip Hutler. “I blame my wife,” Chip laughs. “My wife and I met in college in an ...

NW District changes how they handle charge conferences

NW District changes how they handle charge conferences

11/2/2017
By Phil Carver This fall the Northwest District churches are handling their annual charge conferences in a new way. Their district superintendent, Tom Carver, says that “charge conferences are one of the ways we support the mission and vision of the local church.” However, the business of the charge conference can be handled rather briefly during the course of congregation’s regular church council meeting. Elders in the area, therefore, have been asked to preside over these events, which frees ...

Team focuses on building relationships

Team focuses on building relationships

10/23/2017
The 10-member Faithful Stewardship Team, which meets monthly and has gathered together four times so far, is fully into the process known as ‘loving, learning, and leading’. The team’s convener, Rev. Ron Carlson, says, “Our coaches, Betty Stone and Karen Kirkpatrick, have been leading us and guiding us as we’ve learned about each other and tried to get a feel for what was going on – a lot of the preparatory work, developing our team, understanding who we are and what assumptions we operate with....

Upper Midwest Extension Course of Study nurtures fruitful pastoral leadership

Upper Midwest Extension Course of Study nurtures fruitful pastoral leadership

10/3/2017
“It’s an alternative to the educational program offered by our seminaries,” explains Dr. Dennis Tevis, the director for the Upper Midwest Extension Course of Study. “It’s a 20-course program that covers things that pastors need to know in serving congregations, from congregational care to preaching to Old and New Testaments, to historical theology and contemporary theology.” Part of the Garett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, the Upper Midwest school serves part-time ...

Reaching out to storm survivors in Puerto Rico

Reaching out to storm survivors in Puerto Rico

9/29/2017
Photo credit: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Poland looks to build community

Poland looks to build community

9/26/2017
Starting in January, Rev. Bill Poland, currently serving as the Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, will become the Director of New Faith Communities. He’s excited about the opportunity and looks forward to engaging with people throughout the Iowa Annual Conference as he works to help “build systems for building new faith communities.” New Position This is actually a brand new position that grew out of a study of the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) where it was determined that there ...

Wesley Woods Promises “Amazing Experiences” for Youth and Adults

Wesley Woods Promises “Amazing Experiences” for Youth and Adults

9/25/2017
Coming off of a life-changing 62nd summer of ministry, Wesley Woods United Methodist Camp and Retreat Center is growing in new and exciting ways to meet the ministry needs of the Iowa United Methodist Church. To help usher in growth and new experiences, Wesley Woods is excited to welcome new Site Director Chip Hutler to Iowa. “We are thrilled to have Chip here in Iowa,” says Bryan Johnson, LDM for Camping and Christian Formation. “We think you are going to love getting to know him and will ...