News

Mental Health Task Force


From Exile to Hope - January 26, 2023

From Exile to Hope - January 26, 2023

1/25/2023
By: Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon This last week I received the ashes I ordered as well as a cruet for our new campus minister Lewis Cox.  I also put together our Ash Wednesday service for Feb. 22.  As I was doing all of this preparing, I came across a poem I wrote for Ash Wednesday a few years ago. I had been driving somewhere and I heard a program on NPR talking about a company in Illinois or Indiana, one of those states, who were turning human cremains into diamonds that people could wear...

From Exile to Hope: Culture and hospitality matter

From Exile to Hope: Culture and hospitality matter

1/17/2023
A year of... By: Pastor Nate Mason New Toys   I got a new toy for Christmas: The Wok: Recipes and Techniques by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. This cookbook is great! It has recipes from all across the Asian world: various regions of China, South Korea, Thailand, and so many other countries that I had to google when I read the recipe. This new toy pushed me to spend a Saturday afternoon exploring the various Asian groceries in the greater Des Moines area.   These various cooking styles are just so ...

From Exile to Hope: January 12, 2022

From Exile to Hope: January 12, 2022

1/12/2023
A year of... By: Cindy Hickman A few weeks ago, I was sitting at the pharmacy waiting for a vaccination. A woman sat down in line behind me, and a man joined in line behind her. I’ve stopped calling people “elderly” since I have begun to feel little “elderly” myself, but we all probably fit that label. We joked a bit about being brave as we waited to get our shots. The woman opened up a conversation by turning to the man and asking if he had always lived in this community. No, he and his wife ...

From Exile to Hope: January 5, 2022

From Exile to Hope: January 5, 2022

1/4/2023
The Jeweled Tears By: Nan Smith Over this past weekend, I put Christmas away for another year and I must say I was more than ready to do that. I share this with you because, this year, Christmas has been very hard for me. You see my 98-year-old mother passed away at the end of October and so this was my first Christmas without her loving presence. I found that all the traditions I celebrated with family were chock full of so many memories of her and Christmas’ past. I found in this time of ...

From Exile to Hope: December 29, 2022

From Exile to Hope: December 29, 2022

12/29/2022
Epiphany By: Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon? Enlightenment has always been gradual for me -  I remember what happened, for example, after my children were born, how I came to know who I was now: each day a little more room in my heart, in my knowing, as they grew, as their aliveness gathered something more: to grip, to smile, to turn over, to crawl, to walk, to speak. It was all this gathering that taught me:    Enlightenment is gradual like the sun rising even if you just suddenly see it and...

From Exile to Hope: December 22, 2022

From Exile to Hope: December 22, 2022

12/21/2022
This Year's Gifts By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott  As I look ahead to the gifts I’ll give and those I’ll open on Christmas morning, it occurs to me that I’ve already received some gifts I’m savoring. This year, 2022, for all its challenges, has brought me some gifts that have been unexpected and sweet. I wonder if that might be true for you, too. I’ll share a few of mine. Maybe my reflection will prompt you to think, too, about gifts this year has brought you and yours.   Returning to something like ...

From Exile to Hope: December 15, 2022

From Exile to Hope: December 15, 2022

12/13/2022
My Christmas List By: Rev. Cindy Hickman I want BIG GIFTS this Christmas. That may sound selfish and greedy. If you are one of the people obliged to give me a Christmas present, you may be wondering what you are in for. A Caribbean cruise? A luxurious car with a big red bow sitting in the driveway on the morning of the 25th? Let me explain.  These big gifts I am hoping for are not the kind of gifts we can buy with money. I once heard a pastor say: “You can’t outgive God.” I think that’s true. ...

From Exile to Hope: December 8, 2022

From Exile to Hope: December 8, 2022

12/8/2022
How the Grinch can just take Christmas… Please… By: Pastor Nate Mason The older I get, the more I identify with the Grinch. I mean the old school, Dr. Suess original or even the 1966 TV movie featuring Boris Karloff. The modern incarnations of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the Jim Carey or Benedict Cumberbatch versions) try to make the Grinch a tragic character to make him seem relatable. I find that completely unnecessary. The OG Grinch didn’t like Christmas. I get it. All the Who girls and...

From Exile to Hope: December 1, 2022

From Exile to Hope: December 1, 2022

11/30/2022
Openness By: Nan Smith So there were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen generations from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen generations from the exile to Babylon to the Christ. (Matthew 1:17 CEB)   There is a hiking trail that follows a river that I have walked upon since I was a wee one. A place so familiar, that my feet just know the right way to go without me having to really think about it. It is a terrain that has been etched into my very being. I know what to ...

From Exile to Hope: November 24, 2022

From Exile to Hope: November 24, 2022

11/24/2022
Sharing life, beyond words By: Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon This is a bit of poem about how sometimes we know each other more in our shared silences and quiet observations of one another than we do in the ongoing chatter.  How that can be a deeply held way of knowing. How that can remind us of how God’s great silence wraps us in abiding love together through time.   Sharing Life, Beyond Words   Everyday there is wanting to tell you the story that cannot be spoken, and to ask about your ...

From Exile to Hope: November 17, 2022

From Exile to Hope: November 17, 2022

11/17/2022
Welcome, welcome, welcome By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott In this week when we’ve experienced our first snowfall of the coming winter, a friend posted a meme on Facebook that included this sentiment:    If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life but still the same amount of snow.  —@mindfulfitness    It’s not hard for me to find joy in snow (yes, I’m one of those people), but those words immediately made me think of the carbon steel skillets my husband insists on ...

Health-full Minute: Grieving as Self-Care

Health-full Minute: Grieving as Self-Care

11/17/2022
By Kae Tritle, RN Well-Being Coordinator   Life this fall seems to be back to normal—stores, churches, schools and businesses are open and operating as usual. We are attending sporting events, plays, concerts and other social events. We are gathering with our friends and family in each other’s homes and restaurants. Fewer people are sick with COVID-19. But life isn’t quite the same as it was before the pandemic. We are still being careful with whom we get close. There has been a dramatic shift ...

Politics leads to disappointment (duh)

Politics leads to disappointment (duh)

11/9/2022
By: Pastor Nathaniel Mason November is traditionally a time when Americans intentionally practice gratitude, so every second Wednesday for the past 10 years I have been grateful that I have woken up a little extra refreshed. Before getting into ministry, I was a political organizer. I did everything from college campus organizing, base organizing, all the way up to Regional Field Director. I promise you that this is the most physically and emotionally draining work that you can do. I’m sure you ...

From Exile to Hope: November 3, 2022

From Exile to Hope: November 3, 2022

11/2/2022
Vote  By: Rev. Cindy Hickman Next Tuesday, Nov. 8, is Election Day. Please vote. This is the last edition of “Abiding” before the election, and I feel compelled to encourage you to vote. We have a lot to vote about: the economy, Ukraine, Russia, threats to democracy, racism, women’s bodies and health, climate change, mental health, public education, gun ownership and gun violence. We are even voting about access to voting and voter rights.  No one of us has all the answers, but in a democracy, ...

From Exile to Hope: October 27, 2022

From Exile to Hope: October 27, 2022

10/27/2022
How the Contemplative Prayer Group Goes By: Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon I have taken to writing a poem for my contribution to From Exile to Hope. This time the poem emerged from my biweekly contemplative prayer group. I have been meeting in this circle on Zoom since the lockdown began. My college roommate, who is my chosen sister, invited me to this group which includes people from all over the United States. Amongst us are a Lutheran pastor, two United Methodist pastors, an Episcopal ...

From Exile to Hope: October 20, 2022

From Exile to Hope: October 20, 2022

10/20/2022
The silence in between By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott A funny thing is happening to me, on the way from exile to hope.    That’s the space we’re in right now, isn’t it? The first “normal” school year since the start of the pandemic, without mask battles and extra protocols, is well underway. We’re past the worst of that long sense of heaviness, and dread, and every tiniest thing being extra complicated. Maybe we’re starting to imagine that there really can be hope, on the other side of all this.   ...

From Exile to Hope: October 13, 2022

From Exile to Hope: October 13, 2022

10/13/2022
What's the most important part of the church? By: Rev. Cindy Hickman   What do you think is the most important part of your church?  I hope your first response was “the people, of course!” You’re right, but today I want to focus on the church building, the physical space where we worship.  What do you think is the most important part? The pulpit? Maybe, although we preachers might want to check our egos if that was our initial response. Not every sermon we have preached has been fabulous ...

From Exile to Hope: October 6, 2022

From Exile to Hope: October 6, 2022

10/6/2022
Forgiveness By: Pastor Nate Mason   So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister[a] sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:3-5   I’m not usually a lectionary preacher.  For simplicity of planning, I’m falling back on the Revised Common Lectionary until I take my three-month vacation ...

From Exile to Hope: September 29, 2022

From Exile to Hope: September 29, 2022

9/27/2022
Beauty By: Rev. Nan Smith   A couple of weeks ago I returned from visiting my adult son in Maryland.  He is a young professional who has just purchased his first house.  It has been a big step for him.  The house he bought is a great house — a colonial, with four bedrooms, that is in an established neighborhood, complete with mature trees and a large yard. He is very excited to be a new homeowner. Plus, his home comes with a definite bonus!  Uniquely his own. His house is home to a whole bunch ...

From Exile to Hope: September 22, 2022

From Exile to Hope: September 22, 2022

9/20/2022
Looking By: Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon So often we search for God without looking; we stumble on little sayings, we keep talking as though in the middle of a particularly long sentence God will appear, will show up.   But I have found that it is when we show up that God appears, and when we are present to each other the breath of the Holy Spirit rises and falls between us, and maybe you or I said a thing or maybe we didn’t.   Just yesterday we were walking and I saw how the leaves were ...

From Exile to Hope: September 15, 2022

From Exile to Hope: September 15, 2022

9/15/2022
Day one on the job, two years in By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott   I heard a hopeful word recently. It was in a podcast about church leadership, where these two guys told me, “Welcome to your first day on the job!”    They were talking to me, because I’m among the many of us who began ministry at our current churches in 2020. You might have arrived in your place earlier or later, but you, too, can get in on this hopefulness.   The message I found hopeful went like this: When we look at what we’ve ...

From Exile to Hope: September 8, 2022

From Exile to Hope: September 8, 2022

9/8/2022
Nate was right!   By: Rev. Cindy Hickman   Last week Nate Mason wrote a great piece about change and transition. Honestly, it was like hearing a good sermon that keeps coming to mind days later. (If you haven’t read it, you can find it here.) Nate wrote about change and transition. Change is facing a new situation. Nate’s daughter is going to kindergarten, a new situation. Change might be heading off to college or taking a new job or getting married or ending a marriage. I retired a year ago ...

From Exile to Hope: September 1, 2022

From Exile to Hope: September 1, 2022

8/30/2022
Happy New (School) Year everyone!   By: Pastor Nate Mason pastor.nate.mason@gmail.com “Ch-ch-ch-Changes/Turn and face the strange”                                      -David Bowie   I always felt like the school year affected me in my personal and professional life, even when I wasn’t directly doing school related things.  Church programming, even for adults, tends to reflect the school year, youth ministry is built to be a mirror to its secular counterpart, and church attendance mimics school ...

From Exile to Hope: August 25, 2022

From Exile to Hope: August 25, 2022

8/24/2022
Ramblings By: Rev. Nan Smith I have a friend, an engineering professor, who when he retired took to kayaking the waters in a city park located north of Ames. Ada Hayden Heritage Park, so named for Ada Hayden, a past curator of the Iowa State Herbarium. She was instrumental in preserving specimens of the tallgrass prairie habitat. It is a sparkling gem of a park. My friend built his own wooden kayak – a beautiful work of craftsmanship and when he retired, he spent his days on the waters. It was...

From Exile to Hope: August 18, 2022

From Exile to Hope: August 18, 2022

8/18/2022
Abiding in the distant country By: Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon As Abiding in Exile moves to Abiding in Hope, I drew back to a sermon that I preached on the Prodigal Son in February 2022.  It reminded me of circumstances we sometimes find ourselves in and the question of hope.  So, I have edited my sermon for this essay in my hope that some of you reading this may resonate.    I believe it was Charles Dickens who once said that the story of the Prodigal Son was the most exquisite in all of ...

From Exile to Hope: August 11, 2022

From Exile to Hope: August 11, 2022

8/12/2022
From Exile to Hope By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott  revlas333@gmail.com   We’re transitioning, in this weekly missive. We’re going to try moving through exile in order to lean into hope.   For the last two years, we’ve been Abiding in Exile. That’s the title we chose, six months after the pandemic began, for this series of posts that has contained lament, truth, poetry, prayer, history, social commentary, and more.  We chose this theme thinking of the Biblical stories of exile and wondering if they ...

Abiding in Exile 8/4/2022

Abiding in Exile 8/4/2022

8/2/2022
Considering our losses By Cindy Hickman A wise friend once told me that if we want to understand someone, we should consider what that person has lost. Right now, at least to me, the world seems pretty confusing. This seems like a good time to take my friend’s advice and consider our losses. I asked my Facebook friends to describe what they lost during the pandemic. They poured out their hearts. Here’s what they said:   They lost their health. I lost my taste, and it changes my perspective on ...

Abiding in Exile 7/21/2022

Abiding in Exile 7/21/2022

7/19/2022
The importance of wonder and awe By Nate Mason      Image: Webb’s First Deep Field Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI The heavens keep telling the wonders of God,  and the skies declare what he has done. Each day informs the following day;  each night announces to the next.  They don't speak a word, and there is never the sound of a voice.  Yet their message reaches all the earth, and it travels around the world. Psalm 19:1-4 (CEB)   Have you taken the time to check out the newly released images...

Abiding in Exile 7/14/2022

Abiding in Exile 7/14/2022

7/13/2022
Here are two poems that capture moments, one in morning, one in night. It is in the moments that we live our lives; it is in the moments that we are aware of life within life, God within life, God with us, God with the world.  By Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon    The Morning Walk   My shoes were drenched where I left them in the yard   so I walked barefoot   over the smooth stones and the long folding grass, then,   the sharp edge of the trellis cut my ankle   when I leaned in to breathe the early day...

Abiding in Exile 7/7/2022

Abiding in Exile 7/7/2022

7/7/2022
This week we welcome Rev. Cindy Hickman to our regular team of Exile writers. You’ve met her already as a guest writer. Welcome, Cindy! "C'mon" By Rev. Cindy Hickman The Holy Spirit offers a daily invitation. “C’mon. I have something to show you. Come and see with your eyes, your heart, your soul." A few days ago, my husband and I were visiting New Orleans. One evening we walked to Café Du Monde, famous in the French Quarter for beignets, puff pastry covered in powdered sugar. We picked up our ...

Abiding in Exile 6/30/2022

Abiding in Exile 6/30/2022

6/30/2022
When we no longer know what to do By Rev. Lee Roorda Schott Stuck with a push-pin on the board behind my computer, I have this poem by Wendell Berry:   Our Real Work It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.   I read this, and I think, has Wendell Berry been watching me? Because “no longer ...

Abiding in Exile 6/23/2022

Abiding in Exile 6/23/2022

6/21/2022
A conversation with Emily St. James By Pastor Nate Mason For this week I'm doing something a little bit different. I'm doing a follow-up to my last piece by doing an interview with Emily St. James, a trans journalist, co-founder of the trans-inclusive style-guide for literature and journalism, and my old friend.  She has some very helpful tips on ways the church can connect with marginalized communities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y8iHFGTReE&t=1s   Subscribe to Abiding In Exile ? ...

Abiding in Exile 6/16/2022

Abiding in Exile 6/16/2022

6/16/2022
Wonder By Pastor Nan Smith Sing to God; sing praises to the Lord; dwell on all God’s wondrous works. Psalm 105:2 (CEB) The meeting ran long, very long. At the time, I was working as a naturalist for Story County Conservation and as a favor to a good friend had agreed to do a naturalist program for the children of the families she worked with. She said “I need to have a short, I mean really short meeting with the parents. I promise it won’t last more than 5 minutes.” One should always be wary of...

Abiding in Exile 6/09/2022

Abiding in Exile 6/09/2022

6/8/2022
  By Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon This poem was written for the Trauma Summit that was held in 2009 in the collaborated Orders Event with  the Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling. We read it in unison. I wrote it as a homage to the way I had come to experience Iowa and its people. While we find ourselves divided in so many ways – in our politics, in our theologies, and perhaps, for many, within their own minds – I still lean into the sense of place that has gathered human beings here ...

Abiding in Exile 6/01/2022

Abiding in Exile 6/01/2022

6/1/2022
  By Rev. Cindy Hickman This week we are sharing another guest post from Rev. Cindy Hickman, back after her good words a couple of months ago. She wrote this essay a few weeks ago—before the tragic shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and so many other places. We hope her encouragement will soak deep into your spirit.   A pep talk for us church folk I want to give you a pep talk. (I need to hear a pep talk, so I thought maybe you did too.) These are wild times, for sure. Climate worries; the pandemic; ...

Abiding in Exile 5/12/2022

Abiding in Exile 5/12/2022

5/12/2022
  By: Nan Smith 1 John 4: 16: So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.  God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them. As I move towards retirement, there have been so many memories flooding my mind from my time of serving as a pastor. Just recently, there was a married couple where the husband suffered a massive heart attack. The EMT’s were able to get a heartbeat and he was airlifted to the hospital’s cardiac critical care. He was in pretty ...

Abiding in Exile 5/5/2022

Abiding in Exile 5/5/2022

5/3/2022
Matthew 6 By: Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon Consider the lilies of the field their color drenched in a daily  sun wash: sweet sounds of aliveness –   no promise other than to reach, reach and hold the moment of wind-warmed heat from the sky light above and loamy earth under root.   Jesus says to consider and so that  holiest Spirit teaches of bird flight where no prayer lingers alone,   lifting life instead upward into cloudless  echoes across the sacred opening - thinly between this earth ...

Abiding in Exile 4/28/2022

Abiding in Exile 4/28/2022

4/29/2022
By: Lee Roorda Schott Returning to God, Again I led a frenzied meeting a month ago. People came, and we got done what we had set out to do. But I hurried people through it. There was no overt talk of seeking God’s will. I’m not sure we even prayed. I had the sense that we needed to make some decisions on upcoming events and initiatives, and we did. But was God in it?   As the meeting ended I noticed a grittiness in my spirit. I knew immediately how far I was from God, in leading that meeting. I ...

Abiding in Exile 4/21/2022

Abiding in Exile 4/21/2022

4/19/2022
Sacred Invitation By: Nate Mason   How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? This question is a variation of Thomas Aquinas’s reflections found in Suma Theologica. In the centuries since, the premise of the question has been mocked for its abstract faux intellectualism, but the question was meant to inspire wonder and awe. How can the servants of the Lord achieve such wondrous works with only the Spirit? Let me pose an updated question for reflection: How can a half-time pastor serve ...

Abiding in Exile 4/14/2022

Abiding in Exile 4/14/2022

4/12/2022
Howling By: Nan Smith   Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8: 26 (NRSV) I was having a bad week. You know the kind of week where there were pressures coming from all sorts of directions, all demanding my immediate attention; a week where the expectations were many and none seemed to be being met completely. I knew I was going to drop the ball somewhere and let others ...

Abiding in Exile 4/07/2022

Abiding in Exile 4/07/2022

4/4/2022
We are Called to Listen By: Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon   “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God ...

Abiding in Exile 3/31/2022

Abiding in Exile 3/31/2022

4/1/2022
The Complicated Whether and How of Touching By: Lee Roorda Schott When the CDC changed its metrics and eased its masking and distancing guidelines in February, the leaders at the church I serve promptly pivoted to “masks optional.” As that first worship service approached, I kept remembering details that could suddenly be adjusted. We removed the “Xs” that had, for a year, blocked off every other row in our sanctuary. We took down signs about distancing. We announced that we would again be ...

Abiding in Exile 3/24/2022

Abiding in Exile 3/24/2022

3/25/2022
Abiding in Exile Week of March 24th By Nate Mason   We do things wrong all the time, and that’s ok.  Our lives are full of busy and important things, so sometimes we shlub over the little details because we lack the bandwidth to give it proper attention.  For example, most of us probably use Q-tips the wrong way.  At least, I always have, and still do!  Apparently, we are only supposed to clean the outer ear and not venture into the ear canal.  Our bodies naturally clean that part out through ...

Abiding in Exile 3/17/2022

Abiding in Exile 3/17/2022

3/17/2022
Paralysis Week of March 17- Abiding in Exile- Nan Smith Hope in the LORD!    Be strong!       Let your heart take courage!       Hope in the LORD! Psalm 27: 14 (CEB) Of late, I have been feeling particularly overwhelmed by the tragic happenings in our world.  I find that my emotions are many and difficult to process.  I have appreciated the beautiful prayers and poems that have been written by so many that gives voice to the pain and suffering unfolding around us.  I also give thanks for the ...

Abiding in Exile 3/10/2022

Abiding in Exile 3/10/2022

3/10/2022
Ukraine Week of March 10, 2022 - Rev. Dr. Mary L. Bellon   They are walking. It is snowing. Around them the earth lies shattered and the bridge they climb is broken. A bomb has fallen here - a bomb from the Principalities.    When did You say, “I saw Satan fall like lightening”? Did You see this now and before?  - how you said to us “I have given you the power to tread on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the enemy’s power” Look then:   There is a train carrying children across the border...

Abiding in Exile 3/3/2022

Abiding in Exile 3/3/2022

3/2/2022
Unimaginable Days  By: Lee Roorda Schott   I never had a reason to give much thought to what it would be like to live through the first days of a war.  How fortunate I have been. Some of you reading this may remember the first days of what we now call World War II. “First days” being an uncertain designation, depending on where you lived and when war was declared. In those days, the memory of the “Great War” (now known as World War I) was achingly fresh. Those early days were unthinkable enough;...

Wespath Offers free First Aid for Mental Health Training for participants

Wespath Offers free First Aid for Mental Health Training for participants

2/23/2022
Have you noticed that a colleague, friend or family member might be going through a difficult time? What do you do? What do you say? Unfortunately, for many of us this is not a hypothetical scenario, but a lived experience. To help create a more empathetic community and environment within The United Methodist Church (UMC) for those struggling with their mental and emotional health, Wespath is offering first aid training for mental health to all its participants—at no cost. Church staff and ...

Abiding in Exile 2/24/2022

Abiding in Exile 2/24/2022

2/22/2022
Abiding in Exile By: Nate Mason Dear Friends,   Holy smoke!  February is almost over and I have no idea where it went.  Do to my constant distraction from life in ministry, life with a young family, and just life in general I have missed out on most of this month, and that’s tragic because two very important things happen in February.  The first is February is the annual stewardship campaign for Iowan United Methodist Camps  Please, please, please take the time to go to their website and fill ...

Abiding in Exile 2/17/2022

Abiding in Exile 2/17/2022

2/17/2022
Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Fraser This week, the ashes that I ordered for our service on March 2nd arrived. This week, I met with my program staff to develop the liturgy and music for our service -- both the digital service we will offer and the one in our sanctuary.  I know as you read this, we are a couple of weeks away from the beginning of Lent. And yet, do we not feel ourselves getting ready for the journey, preparing ourselves for the spiritual pilgrimage in which we hope to undergo again ...

Abiding in Exile 2/10/2022

Abiding in Exile 2/10/2022

2/10/2022
Abiding in Exile. by: Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon   I return to poetry this week, and this is a poem about how each season doesn’t end or begin suddenly, but in movements, in flutters of different parts of life that appear and awaken us to the way time moves forward: not all at once but in recognitions. Maybe in seeing something that tells us we are a part of something larger, something that reminds us everything is passing and everything is beginning all at once.   Winter Birds   There is...

Abiding in Exile 1/20/2022 Come to the Waters

Abiding in Exile 1/20/2022 Come to the Waters

1/20/2022
Come to the Waters By: Nan Smith And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”  Matthew 3: 16-17 (NRSV) It was a hot day, a sticky day, a long day of paddling on our second day out for this canoe trip I was leading for high school girls in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area ...

Abiding in Exile 1/6/2022 -The Glorious Holiness of Time

Abiding in Exile 1/6/2022 -The Glorious Holiness of Time

1/7/2022
The Glorious Holiness of Time By: Lee Roorda Schott Just as 2021 was drawing to a close, I read these lines in a terrific novel that takes place almost entirely on the day before New Year’s Eve: The new year arrives, which of course never means as much as you hope unless you happen to sell calendars. One day becomes another, now becomes then. Winter spreads out across the town like a relative with slightly too much self-confidence…. Like much of Fredrik Backman’s quirky prose, these words made ...

Abiding in Exile 12/16/2021 Be Still

Abiding in Exile 12/16/2021 Be Still

12/16/2021
Written by: Nancy M (Nan) Smith Be Still “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations; I am exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 NRSV) When my son was a week old, he developed an infected belly button and ended up being hospitalized for a week, so that he could receive strong antibiotics intravenously. This infection was nothing to mess around with.  It wasn’t until my son was ready to be released from the hospital, that my pediatrician told me, that including my son, he had ...

Abiding in Exile- 12/09/2021 The Shepherd Speaks

Abiding in Exile- 12/09/2021 The Shepherd Speaks

12/6/2021
By: Rev Dr Mary L. Bellon   The Shepherd Speaks   You are sleeping, newly, fresh, your breath a gentle sigh. I find you after a journey so long, long with remarkable stars and midnight hymns.  Angels descending with Angels their voices, stillness, sing joy.   The walk here broke my feet and my heart, snapped the straps that tied me to a life I was no longer living, that did not hold me, freed me from the relentless, empty question of whether there was a You, and so, whether there was a me. How ...

Abiding in Exile- 12/2/2021 Right in Our Midst

Abiding in Exile- 12/2/2021 Right in Our Midst

11/30/2021
By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott   Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.                             --Psalm 84.5 You may not realize that as you go about your day, you are walking through crowds of amazing creatures. There’s probably a gym or two near your church—not the Family Life Center-type gym—but one where great battles play themselves out, every day or so, with fast attacks and charged attacks (and no, I’m not talking about church conflicts!) and ...

Abiding in Exile - Music 11/24/21

Abiding in Exile - Music 11/24/21

11/23/2021
By Nate Mason Growing up, I used to pretend that I had refined musical tastes and would justify all my musical selections by citing critical acclaim, social/musical significance, or technical ability.  Now that I’ve grown to be less insecure, I can admit my musical tastes are pretty much random and arbitrary.  On my most played list in Pandora I have everything from classic b-sides from The Who to video game theme songs. My wife is not thrilled about our two-year-old bouncing around the house ...

Abiding in Exile - Sammmm – Peabody, Peabody, Peabody 11/11/2021

Abiding in Exile - Sammmm – Peabody, Peabody, Peabody 11/11/2021

11/11/2021
By Nan Smith 4 “But I have said these things to you so that when their time comes, you will remember that I told you about them.  I didn’t say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I go away to the one who sent me. None of you ask me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Yet because I have said these things to you, you are filled with sorrow.”  —John 16: 4-6 (Common English Bible)   Long ago, as an ISU student taking my first class on bird identification, we had our first...

Abiding in Exile - The Aroma of Christ 11/4/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Aroma of Christ 11/4/2021

11/3/2021
By Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon   Earlier in October I went to Maine to visit my son who moved to Portland during the pandemic. With my husband and son, I spent an amazing day hiking in Acadia National Park climbing Norumbega Mountain. At the top we could see the Atlantic Ocean, and the scent of the fall foliage mingled with the salt air. It was exhilarating.  I believe that this day will live with me the rest of my life: to have climbed the rigorous trail to the top and stand there with my son ...

Abiding in Exile - Nobody Cares 10/28/2021

Abiding in Exile - Nobody Cares 10/28/2021

10/27/2021
By Lee Roorda Schott Growing up, I never liked my haircut. My bangs (required because of my high forehead) were always crooked, or too short. Once I got my long hair cut short in the fifth grade—in a then-fashionable “shag,” and later a Dorothy Hamill “wedge”—I was never satisfied. Literally every time, I’d complain to my mom about yet another terrible haircut. And always, after reassuring me that it looked great, she would say, “Don’t worry about it, honey. No one else is thinking about your ...

Abiding in Exile - Fall is Finally Here, Be Prepared! 10/21/2021

Abiding in Exile - Fall is Finally Here, Be Prepared! 10/21/2021

10/21/2021
By Nate Mason Part of me absolutely loves Fall.  This year it sure took its sweet time getting here!  Now it has arrived in all of it’s Fall-ish glory.  My mind goes to the first song I ever learned on the guitar, a White Stripes song “I can tell that We are gonna be Friends”   Fall is here, hear the yell Back to school, ring the bell Brand new shoes, walking blues Climb the fence, books and pens I can tell that we are going to be friends Yes I can tell that we are going to be friends[1]   Doesn...

Abiding in Exile - Blessed Community 10/14/2021

Abiding in Exile - Blessed Community 10/14/2021

10/14/2021
By Nan Smith Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body.  And be thankful. —Colossians 3: 14-15, NRSV So, I am excited about this upcoming weekend because I will be going on retreat with a dear group of women friends. This group started as a church book study, but quickly morphed into something much deeper and meaningful. Granted, members of this ...

Abiding in Exile - Releasing the Day  10/07/2021

Abiding in Exile - Releasing the Day 10/07/2021

10/5/2021
By Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon Oftentimes in the busy life of ministry, I find it hard to go to sleep when the clock stares at me, reminding me it’s time now, to rest. In my years as a pastoral counselor, I listened to many people who had that problem too. It’s like our minds gather the conversations, events, plans, disruptions and ideas, and spin them around and around endlessly. Mindfulness helps, but not always. Listening to quiet music helps, but not always. I bet that you could add other ...

Abiding in Exile - Fetishizing Our Sadness 09/30/2021

Abiding in Exile - Fetishizing Our Sadness 09/30/2021

9/30/2021
By Rev. Lee Roorda Schott I did the math and realized we’re eighteen months in. By now we’re well into the season we thought would be post-pandemic. But the news reminds us otherwise, with continued daily news of hospitalization levels, boosters, the latest status of the masking wars, and more. A lot of conversations that begin “How are you doing?” are really asking, still, “How are you surviving this pandemic?,” and the return to school, and the endlessness of it all.   The pandemic malaise ...

Abiding in Exile - Differability 09/23/2021

Abiding in Exile - Differability 09/23/2021

9/23/2021
By Nate Mason Recently I preached on the Book of Judges.  Before prepping for my sermon, I cannot remember the last time I dove into that particular book of the Bible. Most of us Mainline Protestants stay safely in the Gospels while occasionally venturing into the Epistles or Acts, but I was in the mood for something different. Since I’m still in the honey-moon phase of my new appointment, my congregations let me get away with it. I had forgotten how much I love the story of Deborah![i] Deborah ...

Abiding in Exile - Discombobulation 09/16/21

Abiding in Exile - Discombobulation 09/16/21

9/16/2021
By: Nan Smith Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14: 27 NRSV So, I am now the proud owner of a three-month-old golden retriever puppy.  He is filled with energy and a fascination with the newness of the world that is around him.  Because of him, I am once again becoming acquainted with the wonders of seeing the day break. He carries such a sense of anticipation and ...

Abiding in Exile - 09/09/2021 - Moments of Encounter

Abiding in Exile - 09/09/2021 - Moments of Encounter

9/9/2021
Moments of Encounter By: Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon For the spiritual pilgrim, particularly as the journey unfolds, there are presented and taken more and more moments of encounter that move us into liminal space. These snapshots of time may be brief, or, if one is removing themselves for retreat, even longer. The liminal, or that in-between space of what is and what is becoming, often captures the domain of spiritual exile in a unique way. It evokes the sense of being apart or separated for a ...

Abiding in Exile - Mining the Negative Space 09/02/2021

Abiding in Exile - Mining the Negative Space 09/02/2021

9/2/2021
By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott I’m just back from a much-needed vacation that included four days on the road between here and southwest Colorado. Playing the alphabet game to pass the time, I was helped by the many FedEx trucks. And while logging the sometimes elusive “F,” I found myself marveling again at the arrow in their logo. You know about that, right? It’s been there all along, but I didn’t see it until someone pointed it out. You have to look at the white space between the E and the X. See ...

Abiding in Exile - Beloved Space 08/26/2021

Abiding in Exile - Beloved Space 08/26/2021

8/26/2021
By: Pastor Nate Mason I am a proud Dork Dad, and one of my favorite Dork Dad activities is reading Ms. Marvel comics to my four-year-old daughter, Lily.  For those of you who are more productive with your reading time, there is a new Ms. Marvel character.  Kamala Khan is a sixteen-year-old daughter of Pakistani immigrants who gets shape changing superpowers. The comics teach inspiring lessons about life and the experience of the modern American Muslim. Lily loves it almost as much as I do.   One...

Abiding in Exile - 08/20/2021 - First Love

Abiding in Exile - 08/20/2021 - First Love

8/20/2021
First Love By: Nan Smith “But I have this against you: you have let go of the love you had at first. 5 So remember the high point from which you have fallen. Change your hearts and lives and do the things you did at first. If you don’t, I’m coming to you. I will move your lampstand from its place if you don’t change your hearts and lives.”  — Revelation 2:4-5 (Common English Bible)   This fall, our church will be celebrating 50 years of being Hope United Methodist Church. The beauty of ...

Abiding in Exile - Noah and God  08/12/2021

Abiding in Exile - Noah and God 08/12/2021

8/10/2021
By: Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon Perhaps no one did exile in quite the same way as Noah: first, as the laughing stock of his community or thought simply crazy as he built his boat; and then on the seas, hidden within the ark with his family and the community of animals as it rained and rained and rained. Finally, he stood alone with his family in a new land. In the poem below, I attempt to capture Noah’s conversation with God and himself as he rides the long, persistent storm and finds dry land. I ...

Abiding in Exile - The Fickle Weight of “Exile” 08/05/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Fickle Weight of “Exile” 08/05/2021

8/5/2021
By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott I remember Bishop Julius Trimble standing before a room of incarcerated women some years ago, speaking of the 23rd Psalm. He came to those words, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” and he paused there.   Looking out at those women, whose lives he knew contained so much of pain and death and distance, he said these words I’ll never forget. “Trouble is, it’s not just ‘through,’ is it? As if that valley is an easy walk.”    He held his left ...

Abiding in Exile - Bad Bread 07/29/2021

Abiding in Exile - Bad Bread 07/29/2021

7/26/2021
  With today’s post, we welcome Nathaniel Mason to our Exile Project writers’ team! Nate is an LLP serving Booneville and Maple Grove United Methodist Churches on the west edge of the Des Moines metro. You might remember Nate from his time as the Leadership Development Minister for Young Adult and Generational Ministries (2013-2015) for the Iowa Annual Conference. When not engaged in ministry, Nate is busy pursuing his other callings of cooking and being a fun dad to his two young children. ...

Abiding in Exile - Unfamiliar Terrain 07/22/2021

Abiding in Exile - Unfamiliar Terrain 07/22/2021

7/21/2021
By: Nan Smith Unfamiliar Terrain I can still remember the reply I was given, when I first pitched my wilderness trip idea to the pastor of the church.  I said “how about you and I take a canoe trip with high school girls into the wilderness lakes and woods of northern Minnesota?”  She quipped back that maybe she better bring the Book of Worship just in case some of us didn’t make it back out and we needed a service. Heading into the wilderness isn’t for the faint of heart, but intentionally ...

Abiding in Exile - 07/15/21 - The Mystery of God

Abiding in Exile - 07/15/21 - The Mystery of God

7/15/2021
Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon   The Mystery of God Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon Something you probably do not know about me is that I love murder mysteries. While my daughter Laurel and son in law Kenny were staying with me before they moved to California in June, we watched Knives Out on Amazon Prime. It’s a great who-dun-it that takes place in a big mansion and Detective Benoit Blanc (played by Daniel Craig with a Kentucky accent) must sort out all the family members and staff while ...

Abiding in Exile - Post-Pandemic Perceived Rejection 07/08/2021

Abiding in Exile - Post-Pandemic Perceived Rejection 07/08/2021

7/7/2021
By: Rev. Lee Roorda Schott   I wonder if your body is as confused as mine has been, of late, about what to do with itself around other human beings.    Some of you are probably avoiding the confusion by maintaining a pretty rigid “no-touch” zone, even now. And some of you are thinking, “What? Those worries are so 2020!”    For the rest of us, confusion reigns.    Take, for instance, the question of handshakes. Do you or don’t you take that other person’s offered hand, or extend your own? After ...

Abiding in Exile - 07/01/2021 - That Still Point

Abiding in Exile - 07/01/2021 - That Still Point

7/1/2021
That Still Point By: Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon With today’s post, we welcome Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon to the writing team for Abiding in Exile. Many of you know Mary from her twenty years of service through the Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling. She now serves as senior pastor at Collegiate UMC and Wesley Foundation in Ames. A more complete bio and photo is available at our writer page. When I lived in California, many years ago now, a friend of mine took several people out on a sailboat. We...

Abiding in Exile - 06/23/2021 - Florida in July

Abiding in Exile - 06/23/2021 - Florida in July

6/23/2021
Florida in July By: Nan Smith I am taking a little time away this summer. I have been asked to join my daughter and her family for a week of vacation. Our destination is a beach, specifically a beach in Florida, in southern Florida, in July. At this point, I’m guessing that all of you are wishing you were taking this very same trip!  Actually, every person I have mentioned this vacation to has responded in a similar manner. Something like - “Really? Florida? July? You know it’s going to be hot!”...

Abiding in Exile - The Bittersweet Dream of an Immigrant Family in America  06/17/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Bittersweet Dream of an Immigrant Family in America 06/17/2021

6/16/2021
This week’s reflection is a guest post from Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon, Conference Superintendent for the Central/Riverview Park District since 2016. We are grateful for his reflections, especially in light of recent violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—the news of which can seem to erase the details of individual experience. The Bittersweet Dream of an Immigrant Family in America By: Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon I grew up in South Korea. My wife, Anne, and I, as students, came to San ...

Abiding in Exile - On Not Getting What You Deserve 06/10/2021

Abiding in Exile - On Not Getting What You Deserve 06/10/2021

6/10/2021
By Katie Kennedy On Not Getting What You Deserve? This may come as a shock to you, but I’m not always right. It’s certainly always a shock to me. It reminds me of when Abraham Lincoln disagreed with Ulysses S. Grant’s tactics for taking Vicksburg, the fortress on the Mississippi that would be key to a Union victory in the Civil War. Grant took full responsibility for whatever happened but said he was going forward with his plan. After he took Vicksburg, Lincoln wrote him a short letter that has ...

Abiding in Exile - No More Helping 06/03/2021

Abiding in Exile - No More Helping 06/03/2021

6/3/2021
By Lee Roorda Schott  No More Helpin I’ve about had it with people trying to help me through this “unprecedented time.”   I first felt this way in March and April of 2020, when it seemed like every other e-mail was trying to describe the heavy impact of the pandemic, or to help me through its ravages. I was invited to sign up for webinars that would offer mental health support, and others designed for clergy like me who were trying to adapt to the new online world, and to every other changed ...

Abiding in Exile - Imagine 05/27/2021

Abiding in Exile - Imagine 05/27/2021

5/27/2021
By Nan Smith Imagine Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.  1 Corinthians 16: 13-14 (NRSV)   I remember it was a chilly November day, the clouds hanging heavy in the sky, looking like they would break into rain or snow at a moment’s notice. We were picking our way through a harvested cornfield filled with stubble and clods of soil.  It was tough walking. We stopped on the crest of a hill, gazing down at the land below - harvested ...

Abiding in Exile - The Forgiveness Process 05/20/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Forgiveness Process 05/20/2021

5/20/2021
By Eric Rucker The Forgiveness Process I was commuting to work the other day, listening to worship music, and to my surprise I started to cry. I’m not a frequent crier, so you can imagine how surprised I was that my crying continued through the whole drive; and then continued during my therapy session that afternoon; and then continued on my commute home that evening!    Tears are sometimes a mysterious thing, and it’s often hard for me to reduce the explanation of my tears to one feeling or ...

Abiding in Exile - The Extra Mile 05/13/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Extra Mile 05/13/2021

5/11/2021
By Priscilla Joel The Extra Mile If you happen to talk to anyone who knows me well, they would tell you that patience is not a virtue I have. It is not uncommon for me to deliver birthday and Christmas presents to my loved ones a day or two early because I am just that excited and not patient enough to wait for the right time. You may have heard the saying, “The last mile is the longest.” Whether it’s the physical metric of a mile at the end of a marathon, or the metaphorical end of a ...

Abiding in Exile - Muscle Memory 05/06/2021

Abiding in Exile - Muscle Memory 05/06/2021

5/5/2021
By Rev Lee Roorda Schott Muscle Memory This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. --John 15.12-13 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. --1 John 4.7                                     I sat down at my piano this week for the first time in a while. A few pieces of old music were sitting there, with Debussy’s Golliwog’s ...

Abiding in Exile - Baby Steps 04/22/2021

Abiding in Exile - Baby Steps 04/22/2021

4/21/2021
By: Eric Rucker Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.” - John 20:27   Jesus was dead for three days - exiled from life. And his disciples were likewise exiled during that time - their teacher and Lord was dead, and the movement for which they had given everything appeared finished. They hid in a locked room together, afraid.   The nature of Jesus’ return from exile - and the disciples’ subsequent return to faith - are notable. The...

Abiding in Exile - The Key to Humanity’s Survival 04/15/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Key to Humanity’s Survival 04/15/2021

4/13/2021
By: Priscilla Joel We have wandered through many unknowns the past several months, and as the title of this devotional series would inform you, it has often felt like we’ve been exiled. Exiled from each other, exiled from the outside world and maybe even exiled from freedoms we used to enjoy. As more and more people are receiving their vaccine each day, I have been reflecting on all the rules we have had to follow (and continue to) to keep ourselves and each other safe throughout this pandemic. ...

Abiding in Exile - The Cool Earth Beneath Your Feet 04/08/2021

Abiding in Exile - The Cool Earth Beneath Your Feet 04/08/2021

4/6/2021
By Rev. Jonathan Heifner This week we are sharing a guest post from Rev. Jonathan Heifner. A member of our writing team remembered Jonathan preaching about how we abide with creation. You’ll be blessed by his good words at just the time when nature itself is inviting us out of our closed-in spaces with warmth, new growth, and green shoots.  [God to Job]: Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?     Can you establish their rule on the earth? “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,  so that a...

Abiding in Exile - ReMemberIng 04/01/2021

Abiding in Exile - ReMemberIng 04/01/2021

3/30/2021
By Rev. Lee Roorda Schott Over the weekend, in the tedium of working on taxes, I had gone online for details from my bank records from last year. I scrolled through the months and came to last March and was astonished at the tears that came out of nowhere. It wasn’t about the numbers! It was grief I didn’t expect to be waiting for me in that particular spot. Bumping into those last weeks that were “normal” brought up a flood of memories, of so much that happened then, and since.   That ...

DisAbility Ministries Committee would like to be a resource to clergy

DisAbility Ministries Committee would like to be a resource to clergy

3/12/2021
Submitted by Deaconess Sharon McCart, chair, and the UMC Mental Health Task Force Greetings to Clergy from the United Methodist Mental Health Task Force! We are a new team, part of the DisAbility Ministries Committee of The United Methodist Church, which is a ministry partner of the General Commission on Religion and Race. We would like to be a resource to you! John Wesley’s ministry was grounded in the redemptive ministry of Christ with its focus on healing that involved spiritual, mental, ...

Abiding in Exile - Leaving Our Arks 03/11/2021

Abiding in Exile - Leaving Our Arks 03/11/2021

3/11/2021
By Lee Roorda Schott 6At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. 8Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; 9but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with ...

Abiding in Exile - Lament 03/04/2021

Abiding in Exile - Lament 03/04/2021

3/4/2021
By: Nan Smith Psalm 57: 1 (NRSV) “Be merciful to me, O God, be       merciful to me,    for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I       will take refuge,    until the destroying storms       pass by.”   It was my first year of seminary and it was the year my marriage was crumbling to pieces. It was also the year my clergy mentor for ministry became very ill and ended up leaving the church. It was a tough year.     And within that year, there was the week when multiple ...

Abiding in Exile - Suffering 02/25/2021

Abiding in Exile - Suffering 02/25/2021

2/25/2021
By: Eric Rucker Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering…and after three days rise again. He said this all quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.” – Mark 8:31-32   I’m an amateur gardener. A few years back my wife and I started a compost pile in our backyard. We intended to grow the pile of our food scraps for several months and then to use the composted soil for our new garden.    Spring arrived and we went out to begin the garden....

Abiding in Exile - A Doubting-Thomas Sympathizer 02/18/2021

Abiding in Exile - A Doubting-Thomas Sympathizer 02/18/2021

2/16/2021
By: Priscilla Joel I can often be a bit of a skeptic at times. I like things I can see, touch, and prove—be it an equation from propulsions class or the weather. I have a habit of wearing many layers of warm clothing well into the spring season, even when the weather forecast claims that the temperature is, in fact, warmer. But the prediction isn’t good enough. I need to see the ice turning to slush with my own eyes and I need to feel the sun with my own skin. For a while now, my skepticism has ...

Clergy resource: DMPCC Virtual Clergy Pods

Clergy resource: DMPCC Virtual Clergy Pods

2/10/2021
Submitted by DMPCC This is a challenging time to be a religious leader.  Clergy and congregations have been pressed to adapt and create new ways of caring and staying connected. At the same time, the level of anxiety of nearly everyone around them has been amped up to eleven!  Yes, this is a difficult time. However, there is no need to keep pushing ahead alone. The concept of the “pod” has emerged as a way of safely connecting with others during the pandemic.  The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling ...

Abiding in Exile - Adapting to New Circumstances 02/04/2021

Abiding in Exile - Adapting to New Circumstances 02/04/2021

2/4/2021
by Rev. Nan Smith February 4, 2021 Scripture “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”   ~Psalm 27: 14 (NRSV)   When I worked as a naturalist, I attended a wonderful conference for interpretive naturalists in Tucson, Arizona. Now as a group, naturalists tend to lean towards the “wild” side of life, so it was really no surprise that a group of us decided to rise early and hike in the desert landscape.  Now part of our motivation was to get some exercise ...

Abiding in Exile - Differentiated 01/28/2021

Abiding in Exile - Differentiated 01/28/2021

1/28/2021
By: Eric Rucker “When the new Temple was laid… some wept with a loud voice… though many shouted for joy.” (Ezra 3:11) I’ve spent the last two weeks creating a flow chart for my ministry for the spring and summer. It is comprised of three contingency plans (in-person, hybrid, and virtual ministry) that could be executed by my team, based on how the public health situation progresses in the next six months. Then, last week, I listened as a news report told of a new – more contagious – variant of ...

Abiding in Exile - Expectations 01/21/2021

Abiding in Exile - Expectations 01/21/2021

1/21/2021
By: Priscilla Joel When I was a kid, there were many things that I thought would be a very big deal when I became an adult. Activities and actions that I thought I would have to deal with on a regular basis. Here are a few of those things: Quicksand Tongue twisters Pirates Identifying types of rocks Haunted houses I am not exactly sure where all of these ideas originated from. Some were from school, while others were probably conceived through books I read and movies I watched. But I still ...

Abiding in Exile - We Contain Multitudes 01/14/2021

Abiding in Exile - We Contain Multitudes 01/14/2021

1/14/2021
By Lee Roorda Schott I just noticed that I haven’t been napping on Sunday afternoons.  This is surprising because I’ve always been a dedicated observer of S.A.I.N.T.: Sunday Afternoon Is Nap Time. I’d get home from worship and whatever else was part of the morning, and I’d be out. But I’m not, now. Now I find myself changing my clothes and then pondering options. A walk with my husband, or the “crafternoon” we shared recently. Folding the laundry. Some reading, or some Netflix.  I’m not certain ...

Abiding in Exile - Tempered 01/07/2021

Abiding in Exile - Tempered 01/07/2021

1/5/2021
By Nan Smith “Isaiah 43:2 (CEB) 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;     when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched and flame won’t burn you.   When the shot was fired, the wolf pups scattered in all directions and the mother wolf fell to the ground. For Aldo Leopold, a conservation officer in the 1950s, it was business as usual. He was just doing his job – systematically removing the top predators in the White ...

Abiding in Exile - The Ritual of Grief 12/31/2020

Abiding in Exile - The Ritual of Grief 12/31/2020

12/29/2020
By Eric Rucker “How can we sing the songs of the Lord in a foreign land?” – Psalm 137    “My tears have become my food, day and night!” – Psalm 42   I haven't been doing well.    And I don't mean that in the causal sense, like I experienced five minutes of indigestion or an hour of moodiness. I mean it's been several weeks of heaviness in my heart. I’ve found myself unable to muster a compassionate response to those whom I love. Challenges that in another season I could navigate with nimbleness ...

Page 1 of 2 1 2 next

Topics

All

2021 Iowa Annual Conference

2022 Iowa Annual Conference

2023 Iowa Annual Conference

2024 General Conference

Advent

Advocacy

Aldersgate District

Alignment

Anti-racism

Ash Wednesday

BeUMC

Bishop Deb Kiesey

Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai

Bishop Laurie

Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry

Board of Ordained Ministry

Boy Scouts of America

Budget

Builder's Call

Camp Clear Lake District

Camping

Central District

Circuit Ministry

Communications

Conference

Congregational Development

Congregations

Connect

Connectional Ministries

Connectional Table

Council of Bishops

COVID-19

Difference Makers

Disaffiliation

Disaster Response

Discipleship Pathways

Emerging Faith Communities

Equip

Faith in Action

Faithful Leaders

Finance

Fire-Filled People

Fresh Expressions

Fruitful Communities

Global Missionaries

Golden Valley District

Health-full Minute

Healthy Church Initiative

Hispanic Latino Ministry

Hope Made Real

Immigration

In Mission Together

Inspire

Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice

Judicial Council

Justice For Our Neighbors

Leading Now

Lent

Licensing School

Loving Learning Leading

Memo for Preachers

Mental Health Task Force

Migration

Ministry Development

Mission Ingathering

Missions

New Faith Communities

North Central Jurisdiction

Orders

Parish Development

Peace

Pictured Rocks District

Religion and Race

Retirees

Riverview Park District

School for Lay Ministry

SLI

Social Principles

Southern Sudanese (Mabaan)

Special Sundays

Stewardship

Student Ministry

Thanksgiving/Advent/Christmas 2022

Transformational Leaders

Trustees

UMCOR

UMMen

United Methodist Church

United Women in Faith

Vision 2032

Volunteers in Mission

What We Believe

Women at the Well

Women in Ministry

Worship

Youth