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Disaster Response update

Disaster Response update

12/15/2021
By. Rev. Catie Newman, Disaster Response Coordinator As we watch the pictures of the damage from the 38 tornados that tore through Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois on December 10th and 11th, many of us in Iowa know firsthand how it feels to see the church roof ripped off or our belongings scattered and wet across the yard. Like many of you, I confess that my first instinct is to get in the car and help. HOWEVER, we are being asked to NOT COME at the current ...

Christmas Worship for December 26

Christmas Worship for December 26

12/12/2021
Dear Church Leader, The Episcopal Office of the Iowa Annual Conference has created a full worship service for pastoral leaders and worship teams to use on Sunday, December 26, 2021. Bishop Laurie and the Appointive Cabinet thank you for your tireless work during the COVID-19 pandemic. This worship service has been planned for your inspiration and encouragement while providing a moment of rest for our local church leaders. Merry Christmas! Bishop Laurie and the Appointive Cabinet VIEW ON OUR ...

Consider a preaching visit from Pastor Paul Witmer, lead pastor for Women at the Well

Consider a preaching visit from Pastor Paul Witmer, lead pastor for Women at the Well

11/9/2021
Hello, Friends and Partners of Women at the Well! My name is Jenna Isely and I am privileged enough to be the new Administrative Assistant for Women at the Well.   We are excited to open the preaching calendar for 2022 and would like to invite you to consider a preaching visit from Pastor Paul Witmer, lead pastor for Women at the Well. If you would like to secure a date, please email me at WomenAtTheWell@iaumc.org and I will be happy to schedule your visit. In February of 2022, we will ...

Iowa Camps in “relationship season” – an open letter from the Director of Camps and Retreats

Iowa Camps in “relationship season” – an open letter from the Director of Camps and Retreats

11/9/2021
Dear Friends and Colleagues in Ministry, What an exciting time of year it is! As the weather begins to turn colder and Christmas decorations begin to pop up my heart is filled with gratitude for the amazing people that I have had the opportunity to partner with at the Iowa Annual Conference. Being your colleague is a joy and one that neither I nor the Iowa Camps Team takes for granted.  In 2019 Iowa United Methodist Camps started off on a journey to sustain itself apart from apportionment ...

New Facebook group created for local church communicators in Iowa

New Facebook group created for local church communicators in Iowa

10/28/2021
A new Facebook group has been created by the Communications Engagement Team of the Iowa Conference to encourage conversation between local church communicators across the state. The page's goal is to be "a place where conversations about church audio, video, social media and more can be discussed. We are a community where church members involved with their congregation's communications efforts can brainstorm and share resources with one another." It is open to both clergy and laity with an ...

The Fall Orders event a breath of fresh air for Iowa clergy

The Fall Orders event a breath of fresh air for Iowa clergy

10/22/2021
The Fall 2021 Orders of Elders & Deacons and Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members event was held October 14 from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at Big Creek State Park. The Orders events intend to draw people closer to God and one another by offering an enriching experience. Offered this fall were various activities, including painting, photography, candle making, fishing, and hiking.   The base for these activities is options that the canceled Flourishing Clergy Project (Book of Discipline ...

Online certification opportunities to begin in January

Online certification opportunities to begin in January

10/19/2021
For Immediate Release Oct. 19, 2021 — A new cycle of online ministry certification courses is set to begin on January 17, 2022, at BeADisciple.com. BeADisciple.com is part of the Institute for Discipleship at Southwestern College and has offered quality online educational experiences with roots in Wesleyan theology since 2006.  Church leaders and interested persons can begin progress toward certification in 10 different disciplines— Christian education, children's ministry, youth ministry, women...

Thank you Clergy - a note from Bishop Laurie

Thank you Clergy - a note from Bishop Laurie

10/14/2021
Video Transcript: Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  On behalf of all of the local churches in the Iowa and Dakotas Annual Conferences, I want to thank you for your support and encouragement of your clergy. It is not an easy calling to be a pastor, particularly during this time of COVID, when our clergy have had to continually reinvent themselves in ministry in order to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ and stay connected with their ...

Jordan, Quehl-Engel win GBHEM Francis Asbury Award

Jordan, Quehl-Engel win GBHEM Francis Asbury Award

9/2/2021
General Board of Higher Education and Ministry — For release Sept. 2, 2021 The Reverend Gerald C. Liu, PhD, Director of Collegiate Ministries, Initiatives, and Belonging and ordained elder of the Mississippi Annual Conference is pleased to announce ten Francis Asbury Award winners for the 2020 – 21 academic year on behalf of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) and the Annual Conferences who have supported them. The award recognizes and encourages outstanding support of ...

Rev. LaTonya P. Calderon to become Part-time Associate Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence (ACLE) for the Iowa Conference

Rev. LaTonya P. Calderon to become Part-time Associate Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence (ACLE) for the Iowa Conference

5/10/2021
It is with great celebration we announce Rev. LaTonya P. Calderon as Part-time Associate Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence (ACLE) for the Iowa Conference. Beginning July 1, 2021, LaTonya will be serving ¾ time at Windsor Heights UMC and ¼ time in this conference role. As Associate Director, LaTonya will be a strategic partner alongside Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, who, on July 1, will become the Assistant to the Bishop while also maintaining her role and responsibilities as Director of...

Wesley Woods Equestrian Coordinator Receives Award

Wesley Woods Equestrian Coordinator Receives Award

3/22/2021
Laura Hutler, Equestrian Coordinator at Wesley Woods United Methodist Camp, has received the Distinguished Service Award through the Great Rivers chapter of the American Camp Association. This award is presented to an individual who has given “outstanding and distinguished service” to a camping program within the Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri area.    Laura was nominated by a group of camping professionals within the Midwest who recognized the value of the work that she has done this past ...

Candidacy Summit still spirit-filled in virtual setting

Candidacy Summit still spirit-filled in virtual setting

2/12/2021
The pandemic didn’t stop the Board of Ordained Ministry’s Candidacy Advising and Mentoring, Recruitment Encouraging (CARE) Committee from hosting its Candidacy Summit Retreat for those reflecting on pursuing ministry. A virtual event was held Saturday, February 6, with almost 20 people in attendance.   “It was a delight to see so many varied persons considering a future in ministry in our annual conference,” said Mara Bailey, CARE Committee member. “Given all the limitations of a virtual event, ...

New Hope UMC thankful for pastor and congregation during pandemic

New Hope UMC thankful for pastor and congregation during pandemic

9/23/2020
Submitted by Nancy Monthei, Office Administrator of Des Moines New Hope United Methodist Church New Hope UMC in Des Moines didn’t let the pandemic slow down its outreach to the community or connection with its congregation. The church continued to monetarily support the Urbandale Food Pantry and the Johnston Partnership in its community. New Hope also provides a monthly meal for Central Iowa Shelter and Services. Meal volunteers are more creative with the meal preparations and taken new ...

Rural pastor comes alongside parishioners after derecho

Rural pastor comes alongside parishioners after derecho

9/18/2020
This is the final installment of a series of Faith In Action reports on how churches, ministries, and people from the Iowa United Methodist Church are making a difference and changing lives following the derecho disaster in August 2020.  On August 10, 2020, a derecho damaged an area nearly 800 miles wide throughout the Midwest, with the highest winds recorded at over 140 miles per hour in and around the Cedar Rapids area.  Barns and sheds had been torn open and exposed to the elements. Silos ...

SYA Alumni release Youth Leaders Training

SYA Alumni release Youth Leaders Training

9/9/2020
A message from the Simpson Youth Academy Hello friends - As your communities embark upon uncharted territory, doing ministry with youth in the context of COVID-19, SYA wants to support you in your efforts. We are therefore pleased to share with you a FREE 30-MINUTE VIDEO recording of four of our gifted SYA alumni and staff reflecting upon faith and leadership in this challenging time. This panel was recorded during our recent youth leaders training. (Note that the first 60 seconds are spotty ...

Caring Connections for July 22, 2020 — A Conversation with Rev. Ron Carlson

Caring Connections for July 22, 2020 — A Conversation with Rev. Ron Carlson

7/22/2020
Caring Connections with Bishop Laurie Haller - A Conversation with Ron Carlson from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.  

North Central Jurisdiction Gathering

North Central Jurisdiction Gathering

1/2/2020
From:  Iowa UM Delegation 2020 website The North Central Jurisdiction’s Mission Council brought together General and Jurisdictional conference delegates to hear from various agencies and to talk together about where we as a jurisdiction moving into 2020. Iowa’s Ryan Russell is the chair for the Mission Council and Lanette Plambeck was part of the planning team for the gathering. She helped to organize and preached at the closing worship for the event, with other Iowans part of the communion ...

Prayerful preacher leads the South Central district

Prayerful preacher leads the South Central district

12/10/2019
“I have served in Iowa for 19 years now,” said Rev. Dr. Moody Colorado, the new superintendent of the South Central District. He describes his new domain by the driving, which he notes is “relaxed” and full of “winding roads”. That said, he concedes that he has been getting a lot of help from his cell phone’s GPS as he’s made his way around the district for meetings and conferences. He is very engaged in the work of developing leaders in the church and relating better to lay leadership.  ...

From Lone Ranger to team player, Rev. Doug Cue becomes Southeast Superintendent

From Lone Ranger to team player, Rev. Doug Cue becomes Southeast Superintendent

12/6/2019
“The Southeast district is an enormous stretch of geography filled with wonderful churches and effective pastors—and I’m getting to know them better and better as the days go by,” says Rev. Doug Cue, who began his appointment as Superintendent of the Southeast District this summer. In this new job, which is both as a missional strategist and a kind of pastor of pastors, Rev. Cue is currently focused on relationship-building, which he views as one of his primary gifts. Through discussions and ...

Seeking volunteer chairperson for the Board of Discipleship

Seeking volunteer chairperson for the Board of Discipleship

11/22/2019
We are looking for a volunteer to be chairperson of the conference Board of Discipleship (BOD). The purposes of the BOD are to resource churches in each of the five BOD areas of ministry – stewardship, spiritual formation, Christian education, worship, and evangelism – and to help churches develop and implement a discipleship pathway for their own ministry setting. This board includes one representative from each district and one advocate from each of the ministry areas. The chairperson should ...

Video offers insight into the UMC-Episcopal dialogue on Full Communion

Video offers insight into the UMC-Episcopal dialogue on Full Communion

10/16/2019
For immediate release                                                            October 14, 2019   Videos offer insight into the United Methodist-Episcopal Full Communion Dialogue WASHINGTON, D. C. -  The United Methodist Church – Episcopal Church Dialogue Committee has released a series of videos highlighting shared ministries between the churches and discussing the current full communion proposal developed by the committee.   The videos include a conversation between Bishop Gregory Palmer ...

Rev. Douglas Cue installed as new SE District Superintendent

Rev. Douglas Cue installed as new SE District Superintendent

10/14/2019
Lay and clergy of the Southeast District celebrated the installation of Rev. Douglas Cue as their new Superintendent on Sunday, October 13. Gathering at First United Methodist Church in Mt. Pleasant, the significant presence in that congregation’s sanctuary vocally expressed the commitment to “put one foot in front of the other and lead with love.” Bishop Laurie Haller asked the community, “Are you ready for the journey?” Together they declared, “We are ready! We gather as the people who are ...

Myrtle Felkner—an extraordinary Christian educator

Myrtle Felkner—an extraordinary Christian educator

10/1/2019
Myrtle Felkner, an extraordinary Iowa Christian educator who had worked with many Iowa churches, passed away on September 25, 2019 at the age of 94.  Myrtle was the creator and author of the One Room Sunday School model, along with hundreds of articles and stories for children's curricula. She was very well known by members of CEF (Christian Educators Fellowship - now Christians Engaged in Faith Formation). Her last Christian education book came out when she was 84. She was also very active in ...

Clergywomen retreat explores Celtic Christianity

Clergywomen retreat explores Celtic Christianity

9/9/2019
In the Sawtooth Mountains along the shore of Lake Superior, ten clergywomen spent a week exploring Celtic Christianity and immersing themselves in nature, prayer, art and exercises to deepen awareness of God’s presence.   Offered through the Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling, the week was led by Dr. Mary Bellon and Rev. Nan Smith and designed to allow the participants to bring leadership as well.   Dr. Lanette Plambeck, Rev. Lee Schott, Rev. Beth Harbaugh, Rev. Elizabeth Bell, Rev. Cathy ...

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 ...

Announcing new Associate Directors of Congregational Excellence

Announcing new Associate Directors of Congregational Excellence

1/23/2019
Christenson, Drake to be Associates for Congregational Excellence   Bishop Laurie Haller has announced that Rev. Ryan Christenson and Rev. Melissa Drake will be the two new Associate Directors for Congregational Excellence.   Describing the role, Bishop Laurie Haller said, “the Associate Directors for Congregational Excellence are of critical importance for our conference because they will be working directly with local congregations around vital ministry. These churches, in return, will be ...

Two Conferences Offered by ShareChurch Conferences at Church of the Resurrection April 4-5

1/14/2019
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection is excited to announce registration is now open for two conferences hosted by ShareChurch Conferences on April 4 – 5, 2019. Participants may select to attend either The Art of Radical Hospitality Conference or the Empowered: A Model of Care Conference. The conferences are hosted concurrently at Church of the Resurrection’s Leawood, KS Campus and feature combined opening and closing sessions, with distinctive sessions in between. Churches are ...

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 ...