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Vol. XXXI, No. 1 | February 2021
The Iowa Conference United Methodist Women, and the nation, are entering into a new chapter…turning the page. We have new leaders, new awareness, and hopefully a new appreciation of our blessings.
As your new President, I have spent the month of January transitioning and learning. New brings with it opportunities and challenges; both those known and those unexpected. I am excited to discover both and to continue my growth in living out the Purpose of United Methodist Women. One of my personal goals is to build our capacity to communicate the changes which are/have occurred within the Iowa Conference United Methodist Women and the opportunities for growth throughout our Conference and Districts.
First, starting with a change in the organization of the Iowa Conference United Methodist Women regarding the number of districts. We decided last year to move from eight Districts to five beginning in January 2021. This is because the United Methodist Women Officer’s terms run from January to December. The Iowa Annual Conference will move to five districts in July 2021. The five District Officers and the Conference Officers were elected at the October Conference Annual meeting. This newsletter will contain the District Officers for all five Districts and a map to delineate the boundaries of these Districts. If you have ANY questions, please do not hesitate to call or email me or any of the officers listed in this newsletter. We are happy to answer and/or find the answer for you. We want each unit to have the information needed to live out our Purpose. Communication is one of the challenges and it is even harder when there is change. Please feel free to email or give hard copy this newsletter to every member of your unit. The more who read it the better informed we are as an organization. The better informed we are then the better we can live out the Purpose of United Methodist Women.
Next are opportunities to grow and learn. In this newsletter is information to utilize with your units to grow in understanding of our Charter for Racial Justice, activities to consider to grow in Mission through being a Mission Today unit, a grant opportunity for ministry for women/youth/children or for education such as Mission u/Assembly/Lay Ministry and even an Intergenerational Mission Trip to consider for 2023. I have learned to seize opportunities as they come up because tomorrow is not promised to anyone.
May each of you be blessed in this new chapter. As you turn the pages of this newsletter, remember to share your story, share our UMW story, for that is the only way that others will know the that United Methodist Women are ALIVE and DOING mission, while they seek to KNOW GOD.
Gladys Alvarez, President
As we begin a new year, we think of all the things that have happened over the course of the past year and we are thankful for all the blessings we have experienced in 2020. It was a year that caused us to reflect on what was really important in our lives and appreciate so much that which we had taken for granted before the pandemic hit. Yet, God is faithful and continues to walk with us as 2021 begins.
This is the year that the conference is responsible for providing a program to the districts for your annual meetings. We are working on one possibility and hope that we can make that happen. If not, we will come up with something else for your meetings. We will let you know the details when everything is firmed up. It will be something you can use on Zoom or if you are able to meet in person.
We would also like to ask all UMW members to share information with each other as we move to five districts instead of eight. Encourage each other to read the newsletters that come out and find out who your new district officers are. Go to the UMW website, www.unitedmethodistwomen.org, or the Iowa UMW website which is www.iaumc.org/umw and stay informed about the good work we are doing. We find the more we know, the more we understand and appreciate United Methodist Women’s involvement in our state, country, and around the world.
We wish you God’s richest blessings as we move through 2021 with faith, hope and love in action!
|Myra Bowman, Co-Vice President||Barb Trulson, Co-Vice President|
|911 Golfview Ave.||667 6th St. SW|
|Britt, IA 50423||Britt, IA 50423|
An Exciting Mission Opportunity
The Iowa United Methodist Camps are expect to be up and running in person this summer. They will need masks! Many of you know how to make them! Please send masks for campers to the Conference Center.
Thank you for all you do for our youth.
205 N 3rd Ave., Washta, IA., 51061
712-229-0075 or 712-447-6186
P.S.: Thank you to all who sent me cards and prayers after my back surgery! I felt the love of Christ from each of you. So far all is going well and I’m trying to keep my light shining. And to behave myself, which is the difficult part of recovery! I was blessed to have my daughter and her boyfriend here to help me. And her dog Benji, who came to me when he’d hear me moan or have an issue. Another of God’s lights to give hope and peace. God Bless all of you, Sue.
It is with great pleasure that I can say that the 2021 Directory is printed and should be in your hands, as I have sent the District Presidents their copies. Please look them over for any misspellings or mistakes, as there are a lot of names and numbers involved. At a later date I will send any corrections out.
Even though this Covid virus has us all down, I have one thing to say about it; I can go to my district President’s home (only 23 miles) and share the Zoom meeting with her, instead of going to Des Moines all day, and we even spend two days sometimes. My husband is very ill with COPD, and I can’t leave him that long. So I am thankful for this forced way of “meeting”. Perhaps you can also find something to be thankful for in these times. And 2021 WILL be a better year!
Jan Yungbluth, Conference Secretary
120 Willow Lane Rossie, IA 51357
"Glory to God, and praise and love
be ever, ever given;
by saints below and saints above,
the church in earth and heaven."
—Charles Wesley, 1739
Greetings Iowa UMW Friends! I am writing as the Secretary of the North Central Jurisdiction United Methodist Women. I would tell you what this job entails, but I haven't had training yet! Stay tuned. I live in Toledo, and belong to Christ UMC. My part time job as a staff counselor for Grinnell College is interesting. My dog, Ozzie, has been my work-from-home assistant since March 2020. I have 4 grown-up kids who currently live in 4 different states. So grateful for zoom and our weekly family game nights. I'm looking forward to overdue hugs with my 3 precious grandchildren once the world heals. It has only been a year since I last served with the Iowa Conference UMW, but it seems like much longer. These days are unusual, to say the least. While pandemics, derechos, and a few other challenging events are new to us, it is reassuring to know God has been there before us, is ever present with us, and is planning a wonderful future for us. The eternal nature of our God steadies us through the turbulence. Our rich heritage as United Methodists also brings comfort and peace. I have found myself singing Charles Wesley hymns many days - they seem so classic and yet still relevant. My favorite is verse 3 of "O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing". This song has traditionally been the opening hymn in Methodist hymnals throughout the world for 240 years. What has helped you keep your balance in these troubled times? Let me know - I'd love to hear from you!
Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease;
'tis music in the sinner's ears,
'tis life, and health, and peace.
Becky Heeren, NCJ Secretary
|Committee on Nominations|
I have been racking my brain about what to write. Our job should be a little less stressful this year as we only have three positions to fill plus add more to nominations. We need a vice president (have asked someone to fill this but still looking for suggestions if she says no), a communications coordinator and someone for School of mission assistant registrar. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. We always are looking for people to join our nominations committee.
Hope all of you, as I am, are hoping we are done with snow. Looking forward to seeing you and hearing from you.
612 Grand Ave, C-3
Creston, IA 50801
My name is Marilyn Burch, and I will be the new Program Resources chair starting in 2021. I hope to meet you over books and coffee as we delve into the many stories that can lead us to a better understanding of the world around us. What better way to spend time in this strange new world than with a book. I keep going back to our Mission u study book: Finding Peace in an Anxious World. If you have not read it, I think you will find it helpful in navigating feelings of isolation, loss of control and anxiety. Through serenity, acceptance, courage and wisdom we will be stronger than we ever dreamed.
Much love and blessings,
This book really spoke to me as a white person. It helped me to open my eyes to racism and understand my role in racism. White fragility is white people denying racism or denying their own racism. First, I must say, “I am a racist.” As a white person I benefit from racism. I have opportunities and advantages as a white person. I sometimes agree with stereotypes or false statements about black people. I might feel more frightened when being approached by a black man as a white man. These are all forms of racism.
White people often have a feeling of superiority over people of color (POC). Also, white society is privileged which means white people have advantages that are inherent in our society. Often, we deny our privilege and we deny the existence of racism. One of the reasons white people become angry when challenged on racism is that they feel they are being accused of being a bad person. But just because you may have racist ideas does not mean you are a bad person. It means you have much to learn.
Statistics prove white privilege/racism in many ways. Examples include:
The list could go on and on! These truths are racism. This also proves privilege for white people.
These are some of the most common excuses or reasons given when a white person is challenged for being racist. (From White Fragility)
If you hear yourself in any of these comments, you need to stop and evaluate yourself. You are not bad, but you need to evaluate your beliefs. I am working and self-evaluating myself. I hope you will also self-evaluate. We can change racism!
Social Action Coordinator email@example.com
The committee met on January 16 for their first organizational meeting of 2021. We discussed white privilege and several ways we can help educate our UMW sisters. In addition to Social Action articles in the newsletter, there will be additional information from our committee. These articles will include discussion points, videos links, and additional resources. Articles will also appear in the 360 on the UMC website. A virtual event is being planned for May on White Privilege. We choose to be on this continual journey to spread the love of UMW and to help us become antiracists. An antiracist will walk with their fellow sisters on a journey to end racism. Let's get started!
How do we live out the Charter for Racial Justice?
On Jan. 6, we witnessed a mob attacking the U.S. Capitol as our Congress worked to complete the Electoral College vote count from the 2020 election. Despite the shock of this attack, law enforcement agencies’ response was mild, especially as contrasted with the response to Black Lives Matter protestors last summer. It’s unlikely BLM protestors would have been given access to the national mall or a federal building.
As Emily Jones, United Methodist Women Executive for Racial Justice, wrote: “The mob behavior today reflects the extraordinary entitlement of White privilege: violent White protesters stormed the Capitol and threatened democratically elected legislators performing their Constitutional duties as President Trump offered tacit praise and encouragement to the mob.
“If law enforcement can demonstrate this much restraint with wantonly violent gangs when they’re White, then how can we justify as 'inevitable' or 'normal' that people of color — Black and Native people, especially — who have committed far lesser crimes or no offense at all are regularly killed and injured by law enforcement?”
This question reflects the concerns of the United Methodist Charter for Racial Justice. In 1978, this charter was created and adopted by the Women’s Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. It was adopted by the entire denomination in 1980, and it has been readopted every eight years since.
This year, our Iowa Conference UMW Committee on the Charter for Racial Justice will be providing opportunities for all of us to learn about how racism and privilege create an unequal society. In addition to some excellent books in our reading program, including our study Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, we’ll be sharing resources and perspectives in this newsletter and developing events exploring race and bias. Our hope is units can use these articles, resources, and events to open conversations about race, prejudice, and privilege.
Where do we begin?
I suggest we start with Social Action Coordinator Deb Streff’s review of the book White Fragility in this issue of Connections. She recommends we admit we all have biases, giving us much to learn.
And for the white majority in America, our race means we benefit from systems, i.e., educational, employment, financial, etc., designed to restrict access of those outside the majority. The following short video provides a simple illustration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffWhWnIH16E
In this second video, Brandon Leak, spoken word artist from America’s Got Talent, performs his poem on why his mom prays for his safety. It’s a very moving perspective and starts after his intro poem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie-MEV1XfAA
Use these resources to start some conversations about racial justice. Read the Charter using the link above and explore the scripture and discussion questions posted with it. And watch for more opportunities to learn and grow.
Committee on the Charter for Racial Justice:
Gladys Alvarez, Donna Burkett, Lynn Calvert, Cherie Miner, and Deb Streff
|Education & Interpretation|
It’s been an unusual year for our churches and for our UMW districts and units. But somehow, we managed to pay 94% of our anticipated $450,000 pledge to our National Missions! Congratulations to our Iowa units and THANK YOU! We know we have a challenging year ahead, but United Methodist Women are creative problem solvers, and we know that mission will continue to happen in amazing ways throughout this new year.
Because we anticipate that our traditional UMW activity will be very much curtailed for this program year (July 1, 2020- June 30, 2021), we are offering a revised Mission Today Report Form for this 2021. Please see the attached form which asks that units simply report to their district E&I coordinator what they have been able to accomplish during the year. (We will not request a Mission Study Report form this year, since we were unable to have our 2020 Mission u and our districts and units would have been unable to do their traditional studies. Stayed tuned for new possibilities in 2021!)
In filling out the Mission Today Report, we want to know how our units have been living our Purpose. We know that many of our units are keeping close contact with one another, practicing their “creative, supportive fellowship” goal. Hopefully our women are also doing a lot of devotional reading, reminding themselves of our purpose to “know God and experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ.” There is also much we can be doing to “expand [our] concepts of mission” by reading Response articles and books from our Reading Program lists. Don’t forget to check our website often - unitedmethodistwomen.org. There you will find much important information and invitations for your involvement in mission activity. Certainly this can be a growing time for us, especially since we can’t busy ourselves with our usual fundraising activities. Let’s continue to grow in our support of women, children, and youth in our communities and around the world.
319-377-5977 or 563-542-3583 (c)
Ignited for Justice – Mission u 2021
“But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (ESV)
Iowa Conference United Methodist Women are you ready for Mission u 2021? Some Mission u aspects will remain the same: study topics offered will represent those prepared by National Office, study leaders will be certified through training presented by National Office, and Iowa Conference United Methodist Women will engage in an opportunity to join together to discern important topics of our current world. With the ongoing public health emergency and the slow rollout of vaccine administration, Iowa Conference Mission u will be a virtual experience in 2021. The Zoom platform will be utilized to connect participants together in study. Timing of the studies offered will be July 2021 and/or October 2021. Rev. Laurel Capesius, Our Savior UMC in Manson, will lead the spiritual growth “Finding Peace in the Midst of Anxiety”. Rev. Paul Witmer, (former) Women at the Well in Mitchellville, and Rev. Dr. Sarah Rohret, St. Mark’s UMC in Iowa City, will lead separate classes for the social action “Pushout”. Please see the Mission u announcement flyer for more details. Please consider participating and inviting friends/family to join you for this virtual experience.
Linda Blazek Garvin
Mission u Dean 2021-2022
Iowa Conference United Methodist Women
Finding Peace in an Anxious World
2021 Spiritual Growth Mission Study
Finding Peace in an Anxious World, the 2021 Spiritual Growth Study by staff of the Urban Village Church, uses the book of Proverbs and “The Serenity Prayer” as a guide to help Christians find their way through anxiety, worry, and fear and move towards God’s peace that surpasses all understanding. Using “The Serenity Prayer” as a scaffold, Finding Peace in an Anxious World explores ways to discover peace through scriptural and spiritual disciplines so that we can be rooted in God and energized to live fully as disciples of Christ.
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools
2021 Issue Mission Study
Despite increased attention to the mass and over-incarceration of black men, the plight of criminalized black women and girls is overlooked, underreported and under analyzed. Monique W. Morris' Pushout shows how even with obstacles, stigmas, stereotypes and despair, black girls still find ways to breathe remarkable dignity into their lives in classrooms, juvenile facilities and beyond, and challenges the rest of us to do the same.
Weekly sessions July 2021 through Zoom virtual experience
Registration fee: $25/class or $40/both classes
Further details announced soon.
During 2020, Iowa Conference United Methodist Women have joined with women from across the country to care for families, friends, gather in different ways, while continuing to work and serve together through United Methodist Women. Because of your collective efforts, the Legacy Endowment Fund balance is $30,800,000!
The Legacy Fund Endowment Campaign came to a close at the end of 2020, however there is still much to do for us to reach and exceed the $60 Million Goal.
Fundraising for The Legacy Fund will continue beyond 2020 as we continue to build on the investment to the future of United Methodist Women who will put faith, hope and love into action. Following are the ways you can contribute to the Legacy Fund:
Marcia Young Legacy Fund Liaison
Greetings, Iowa United Methodist Women. My term as Mission u Dean is over, cut short by this terrible virus. But I’m not finished with you! I’m now your Historian!
When Gladys appointed me, neither of us could remember having a previous historian of the Conference. So I thought I should begin my position by asking a few questions.
Rather than boxes and boxes of paper, we need a condensed kind of history. No one wants to store or carry around big boxes. Since Mission u was cancelled, I spent last summer collating the two big boxes we had for Mission u into a small file and a flash drive, which I passed on to Linda Blazek-Garvin, our new dean. I know we can’t make everything digital, but that’s the direction I’d like to go.
So I’d like as many Directories as we can find, preferably digital, probably from Jan, Becky, and our last few secretaries. That gives us a place to start.
Let me know what else you think should be saved. It would be good to have a single place to contact with questions about the past. I hope to establish that place! Let me know what you think, and I’ll get started!
1100 Brookridge Circle, Apt. 3B
Atlantic, IA 50022
|National UMW Program Advisory Board|
Greetings, Iowa Conference United Methodist Women leaders!
I am in the process of transitioning from a Central District Officer to a liaison representative from the National United Methodist Women Program Advisory Group, and I’m in the process of learning more about the expectations in the Iowa Conference connected with that position. I believe one is that I provide information and interpretation to UMW leaders and members at the Conference and District levels. I’ll try my best and also continue my local church UMW unit position.
United Methodist Women released a strong statement on January 7 in which UMW CEO/General Secretary Harriett Jane Olson condemned the “unhinged fringe that attacked the Capitol” and called for a renewal of “our commitment to our representative democracy and [taking] up the hard work of finding ways to come together after the flames of divisiveness have wreaked havoc on the bonds that unite us.” In that same statement Emily Jones (UMW Executive for Racial Justice) noted “the extraordinary entitlement of White privilege” and ties to “White Supremacist organizing.” She also stated that “If law enforcement can demonstrate this much restraint with wantonly violent gangs when they’re White, then how can we justify as 'inevitable' or 'normal' that people of color — Black and Native people, especially — who have committed far lesser crimes or no offense at all are regularly killed and injured by law enforcement?” Read the full statement here on the website (United Methodist Women - United Methodist Women Condemns Attacks on U.S. Capitol in D.C.).
There will be two national priorities during the 2021-2024 period: Climate Justice and Criminalization of Communities of Color, which have been part of four priorities of our previous four years. I have taken part in a number of learning opportunities and discussions involved in these concerns, which intersect with systemic problems of racism, economic injustice and other inequities. I highly recommend checking out the UMW website (www.unitedmethodistwomen.org) for news and new opportunities, like Just Energy 4 All trainings (see below), School-to-Prison Pipeline information and work, and regular Faith Talks (recorded podcasts) that are hosted by a young Black woman and always includes several different women (often of color) from a variety of faiths and organizations in addition to UMW. The next Faith Talks session will be Thursday, January 28 at 1:00 pm • Faith Talks: Sustaining Faith with Jennifer Farmer, featuring Emily Jones • register now. Previous podcasts are available for listening on the UMW website.
Just Energy for All 101 - 3-part webinar series on February 22, March 8 and March 22 at 2:00 pm Central time. Learn more about the why and what of United Methodist Women's Just Energy for All campaign, as well as how your United Methodist Women unit, district or conference can be involved. These 90-minute webinars will include presentations, breakout sessions, and opportunities to connect with other UMW members and people of faith. You don’t need to be a United Methodist Women member to join us—all are welcome!
Register today for the Just Energy for All 101 webinar series!
Please contact me with your questions or comments:
Rita Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-979-0605,
7218 El Rancho Ave, Windsor Heights, IA 50324
|Church Women United in Iowa|
Church Women United in Iowa and World Day of Prayer USA
Church Women United Representative to IA Conference United Methodist Women
Board member National WDP-USA.
|United Methodist Women Barbara Csomay Be Bold Grants|
United Methodist Women are again offering grants to women in ministry, both laity and clergy, as well as local UMW units.
These grants are possible through a generous gift from the Barbara Csomay estate. Barbara lived out our Purpose and had a heart for education of women.
In 2020 we were able to give over $42,000 in grants. Many of those grants were in response to urgent needs due to the Covid Pandemic.
In 2021 we will give preference to new projects/programs that reflect our Purpose to serve women, children and youth. However existing and/or on-going projects may also be considered. Applications need to be submitted by May 15 and grants will be announced in June. 2020 was an unusual year and grants were awarded as received. In 2021, grants will not be awarded until June.
If you would like to give a gift to this work, please send your check to our UMW Conference treasurer. Her name and address are on the application forms.
We are excited to be offering these grants and honoring Barbara Csomay.
|Youth In Ministry|
The UMW mission trip to Costa Rica in 2017, encouraged Josie Hayes on the path of volunteerism. In Costa Rica, she helped serve lunch, helped with after school activities and building construction. She continues mission by taking meals to New Direction Shelter and delivering food to people at the Ankeny UMC. We appreciate the UMW fostering her interest in mission.
|Intergenerational Mission Trip|
The mission trip to Alaska Conference has been delayed until June 2023. The ongoing public health emergency of COVID-19 has halted any in-person mission opportunities in the Alaska Conference for 2021. Since United Methodist Women Assembly is to occur in 2022, Gladys and I decided to move the Iowa Conference mission trip to 2023. Planning will restart by Summer 2022. This mission trip is for anyone who is in 6 grade and above. Those who have not graduated will need a chaperone to attend the trip as well. The Iowa Conference United Methodist Women hope to inspire more teens and young adults in mission work offered through UMW as we live out our Purpose.
Linda Blazek Garvin and Gladys Alvarez
Co-organizers Iowa Conference Multi-generational Mission Trip - Alaska Conference
|Iowa UMC District Map|
See the updated District map to find out which District you are in. The Iowa UMC districts are transitioning from eight to five over the next few months and are scheduled to be completed by July 1, 2021.
For more information, go to: https://www.iaumc.org/districts