An Annual Conference 2021 update from Bishop Laurie

An Annual Conference 2021 update from Bishop Laurie

April 29, 2021

To the Lay and Clergy Members of The Iowa Annual Conference,

Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I write this on a beautiful spring day, with warm breezes, not a cloud in the sky, and trees and shrubs beginning to bloom. Spring also reminds me that it’s time to prepare for Annual Conference, which I have attended for forty years. Annual Conference has always been a time to reconnect with friends, experience inspiring worship, and celebrate the commissioning and ordination of colleagues.  
We’re in a different place now, aren’t we? At the closing of last year’s virtual Iowa Annual Conference, it was my hope that our 2021 Iowa Annual Conference Session could be held in-person. As you know, the spread and intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic through 2020 and well into 2021 has not allowed us to meet in-person. If it is any consolation, many annual conferences areas across the connection are also meeting virtually this year. 

Our 2021 Annual Conference theme is “Connected in Christ: Watching Over One Another in Love.” 

The Iowa Annual Conference Session, including the Clergy Session and Laity Session, will be held virtually by Zoom webinar, June 4 through June 6, 2021. Before making this decision, I sought the counsel of the Appointive Cabinet, the Iowa Annual Conference Sessions Planning Committee, and our Conference Chancellor, John Moorlach (paragraph 603.3 of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016).  
As it was for the virtual 2020 IAC Session, the 2021 IAC Session will also follow these important organizational practices:  

  1. The agenda for the 2021 IAC will be limited to only the essential business for the 2021-2022 appointment year and the 2022 fiscal/calendar year. (paragraph 605.2 of The Book of Discipline).
  2. We will vote on a motion to ratify the decisions of the 2020 Iowa Annual Conference Session and vote on a motion to require a ratification vote of the 2021 IAC decisions at the 2022 IAC Session.
  3. Certain elections of boards, agencies, or committees and certain officers can only be held at the first annual conference following the regular session of the General Conference. Those elected in this manner include the: Board of Ordained Ministry (635.1), Committee on the Episcopacy (637.1), Council on Finance and Administration (612.2), the Conference Secretary (603.7), Conference Treasurer (619), and the designation of a conference chancellor, which shall be done quadrennially (603.8). 
  4. During the 2021 IAC Clergy and Legislative Sessions, the “chat function” on Zoom Webinar will not be used. This is a parliamentary decision affirmed by the IAC Sessions Planning Committee. The Q&A function will be used throughout the sessions. 

Annual Conference agenda and events

Click here for the proposed 2021 IAC Agenda. The Agenda includes:

  • The virtual Clergy Session is Friday, June 4, beginning at 9:30 am.
  • The virtual Laity Session is Friday, June 4, beginning at 7:00 pm.
  • The virtual IAC Legislative Session will convene at 9:00 am on Saturday, June 5. This legislative day is scheduled to conclude at 5:00 pm, followed by the pre-recorded Clergy Retirement Service. 
  • The Sunday IAC Legislative Session will begin at 1:00 pm on June 6 and is scheduled to adjourn at 5:00 pm followed by the Memorial Service. The IAC Sessions Planning Committee and I believe it is best for the Annual Conference not to meet on Sunday morning, June 6, so that local churches and their pastors have the opportunity to worship together. 
  • Login information will be sent out to IAC members prior to the sessions.

Pre-Conference Manual, Orientation Sessions, and Town Hall

I encourage you to take advantage of the following Pre-Conference events so that we will be prepared for this year’s Annual Conference. 
Pre-Conference Orientation Sessions will be held to familiarize everyone on the workings of this year’s Annual Conference and to practice the Zoom Webinar program and the VVoter system. Login information will be sent out to IAC members prior to the sessions. Each of these sessions will include the same information. Choose the one or more of the following dates to attend:

  • Wednesday, May 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, May 15 from 9:00 to 11:00 am
  • Thursday, May 20 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm

A Pre-Conference Town Hall will be held on Sunday, May 23 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. The Town Hall will include important reports and updates on 2021 IAC legislation and other matters. Login information will be sent out to IAC members prior to the sessions. This is a time for questions and answers. More information is available here
The 2021 Pre-Conference Manual (PCM) will be available here on or before May 12.

Submission of Resolutions

2021 would usually be a “resolutions year,” meaning that an Iowa Conference clergy person, lay member of a local UMC, or a local church or churches may submit resolutions to be considered by the Iowa Annual Conference Session for inclusion in the Iowa Conference Book of Resolutions. 

No submissions of proposed resolutions for inclusion into the IAC Book of Resolutions were received by the December 2020 due date, however, it is still possible to submit a resolution for consideration by the 2021 Annual Conference Session. More information is available here.

Thank you!

I am grateful your patience and forbearance as we continue to refine the process of holding our 2021 virtual annual conference. May God bless you in your preparations as, together, we commit ourselves to making wise decisions on behalf of our mission to inspire, equip, and connect communities of faith to cultivate world-changing disciples of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Laurie