Vol. XXXI, No. 3 | August 2021 2021
When I was younger, as I grew, there were times that my muscles or bones would hurt. My dad always told me, “Those are growing pains, Gladys Kay.” He would continue to tell me my body was learning how to handle its new shape, weight, or height (not that I am tall ??). This year I again have been having growing pains. Though this time, not so much in my physical stature but in leadership skills, social/emotional skills, and awareness of world events. Whenever there is a change, there is an opportunity for growth. With growth comes change; with change comes loss (even if it is a positive change); with loss comes emotions and, at times, pain.
The Iowa Conference United Methodist Women have had many opportunities for growth this year and several changes. We thought we were being proactive and moved to five districts in January prior to the Annual Conference date in July. There was confusion, mixed emotions, loss, and gains. Then as we got settled in, we learned of some changes to the district lines with Circuit Ministry assignments leading to more confusion and questions. Of course, there was continued learning on how to do ZOOM meetings and stay connected, how to build and sustain creative, supportive fellowships to expand concepts of mission, and how to thoughtfully evaluate world events and respond.
We had another opportunity for growth and possible difficult conversations with other UMW members and maybe family members by being able to participate in educational opportunities like the Charter for Racial Justice event on May 22 with Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. It challenged me to examine and explore bias, privilege, and supremacy in a new way. I am learning new terms this year and trying to understand them: transgender, BIPOC, intersectionality, cisgender. Participating in the Mission u study, “Finding Peace in An Anxious World,” offered a way to reflect, pray and remember that I Know God and the peace that comes with that relationship.
Finally, the balancing act of this year is learning how to be a full-time clinical therapist, UMW President, Mom, Grandma, friend, and Administrative Council Chair.
You all have similar balancing acts which offer growth experiences but possibly also stress or growing pains. The thing with growing pains is if you do not acknowledge them, put them in context, or learn from them, they tend to get worse, hurt more, and get in the way of relationships and experiencing freedom as whole persons.
So, where have you felt Growing Pains this year?
Gladys Alvarez, President
1140 45th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50311
(H) 515-277-7337 (W) 515-244-2267
|Myra Bowman, Co-Vice President||Barb Trulson, Co-Vice President|
|911 Golfview Ave.||667 6th St. SW|
|Britt, IA 50423||Britt, IA 50423|
|Committee on Nominations|
Greetings to all from your Nominations committee,
Hope all have managed to stay cool during this past week. I'm ready for fall cool weather. We have nearly completed our ballot. We are always looking for more people for nominations—as I'm sure all of you are. I have several calls out looking for a Communication Coordinator.
Remember: "No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light." Luke 12:33. I hope when you get all a call—whether it will be from your district nomination committee or the conference, you will give it some thought and pray about it before saying no.
612 Grand Ave, C-3
Creston, IA 50801
"An understanding mind gains knowledge; the ear of the wise is knowledge." —Proverbs 18:15 (CEB)
Let’s talk Faith Talks.
Have you tried it?
What did you think?
Do you know how to find it?
Can you find the link?
No, I don’t do poetry well, as you can see. But I do listen and participate in Faith Talks. It is new for me. Some of you may have been with this format for some time. I’m positive that some of you are like me, just finding out what benefit Faith Talks has. And some of you may not have a clue as to what I’m talking about.
Faith Talks is a podcast provided by United Methodist Women. They are monthly conversations on topics that explore ways to put faith, hope and love into action in our daily lives. My first podcast was on Soul Care. Faith-filled women talked about ways to take care of our soul in the stressful times of pandemic lockdown. From oils to exercises to mindfulness, these ladies provided some very helpful information.
Go online to response magazine and type in Faith Talks on the search line. It will show all previous recorded Faith Talks and future podcasts that you can sign up for. It is free. Three podcasts in a year is worth 1 Spiritual Growth book.
Book of the Month, Social Action: Women Rise Up by Katey Zeh. I really enjoyed this book of stories of women of the bible. While many of the stories were of women that we all new, there were two that were not so familiar. There is the story of the Exodus midwives and mothers. Shiprah and Puah were midwives during the time of Moses’ birth. They defied the order of the Pharoah to kill all new-born baby boys (infanticide) and even lied when they were challenged. The role of the midwife in early Hebrew times and the role of women who are working with the most vulnerable today are examined in the light of the role of women who honor God before any government edict. Give this book a try. You might like the story of Hannah, or Ruth, or Mary Magdalene, or the poor woman who went to Elisha for help.
The one I have picked out next is from Leadership Development is #Not Your Princess: Voices of Native American Women. It isn’t big by size but deals with an ongoing issue of Native American women as viewed by society.
Continue to read. Don’t wait two years to enjoy and ponder and cry and laugh. Get with a friend, a friend or friends you haven’t met and share these messages.
Much love and blessings,
A Random Act of Kindness
I am choosing to step back from social action and share a personal story. All of you have many stories as well about random acts of kindness of yourself and others. Here is my story.
My 41-year-old son, JR, and I have been to Disney World so many times we have lost track. J.R. was born with one empty eye socket, which caused multiple disabilities. He is the smartest 65 I.Q. person I’ve ever met. He is autistic with major social skill difficulties. He is also hemiplegic which is similar to cerebral palsy.
Our most recent trip was January 2020. The first day we chose Hollywood Studios. We rented a wheelchair for J.R., as always, and I pushed the 160 lb J.R. for five consecutive days in the park. Now, if I were to let J.R. tell the story, he would tell you in consecutive order what rides we went on each day for five days. But I will tell the story and hit only the very highest points. We rode ride after ride with only a break for lunch. We arrived at the Beauty and Beast show at 3:35 and went to the front row as always for a wheelchair spot. The usher asked J.R., “Do you want to transfer or stay in your wheelchair.” J.R. retorted very quickly, “Stay in my chair!” J.R. is very good at minimizing his efforts, so as usual, he stayed in the chair. It was 3:54 with a 4:00 start and another young boy appeared in his wheelchair. There were no wheelchair spots. I quickly walked over and told the usher that J.R. and I could transfer to a bench.
They responded, “We can’t ask you to do that.” I thought about what the usher said. It was a real quandary. Then I realized they couldn’t “ask” but we could just do it. I whisper to J.R., “This is the last show for the day. If we don’t move, the little boy won’t be able to see the show.” J.R. popped up and moved to a bench opening up a spot for our new friend. I again walked up to the usher and said, “There is an opening for a chair.” They hurriedly moved him with his mother to the open spot. Immediately after seating the boy, an usher delivered an artificial red rose to J.R. as a thank you. J.R. was thrilled and decided he wanted to give it to Belle after the show.
The boy’s mom had sat on the bench next to us and beside her son. He looked to be about eight years old. She handed us a small blue mesh bag with four pieces of candy in it and lipped, “Thank you!” J.R. and I don’t share food very well, but today I gave J.R. two Starbursts, and I ate the two Hershey’s Kisses. Good thing for J.R. that I don’t like Starbursts.
Back to the show, our very favorite show was about to begin, but I also kept my eye on the young boy. The young boy was severely disabled. Mom shared that he had a rare genetic disorder. She explained, “We have been fighting for him to improve for eight years. And this year, we got to bring him here for “Make a Wish” This is HIS trip!”
By this time, I had noticed a note in the small mesh bag. The note introduced us to Caleb. After we ate our candy, she told me, “We have lots of bags – obviously tokens of appreciation for everyone that makes Caleb’s day.” The note was also a message saying, “Thank you for your act of kindness.”
After the show, J.R. decided he wanted to give the rose to Belle. As the last song played, J.R. took two steps up to the stage. The curtain was already coming down. When Belle saw the rose, she began to wave to J.R. and kept throwing kisses as the curtain lowered. As J.R. turned back to me, I noticed one little tear (remember he only has one eye). The tear was rolling down his cheek. This was the first time I had ever seen J.R. show real emotion. This was the biggest wish that any mom could ever want – my autistic son had just expressed sadness. As he lifted his head, I saw the sadness all over his face, but it doesn’t take much to bring J.R. out of a moment like this. I quickly said, “Belle sure loves you. Did you catch all those kisses she threw you?”
J.R. answers, “She sure does love me just like all the women.” He has never had a problem with a low self-esteem. One little act of kindness recognized by this mom helped us to realize how small acts of kindness can change other people and maybe even the whole world. I know that J.R. and I are changed. We will never forget Caleb – our new best friend.
Social Action Coordinator email@example.com
|Education & Interpretation|
We made it - through an unsettling and unpredictable year, July 2020 – June 2021. In spite of the Pandemic, United Methodist Women have shown themselves to be faithful In Mission in many ways. Our Purpose asks us to do four things:
These are the four areas for which we asked units to report their 2020-21 activity, using a revised Mission Today Report Form. We are pleased to say that our District Coordinators for Education & Interpretation (E&I) have received reports from about half of our units, indicating that they found creative ways to support one another and contribute funds to support the larger mission of United Methodist Women. This we celebrate in a year of uncertainty and confusion.
As of July 1, 2021, United Methodist Women have started our new program year, hopefully with more clarity and ability to be involved in our traditional mission activity. Our Mission u events always start our year. What a privilege for those of us who were able to connect virtually during the month of July to study Finding Peace In an Anxious World with Rev. Laurel Capecius, and Pushout with Rev. Paul Witmer. These are the “Approved Mission Studies” for the coming year in which your unit should seek involvement, either by inviting a district officer or study participant to present a program for you, sharing this spiritual growth or social action focus from articles in our Response magazine, or even creating a multi-session study with the women of your church. You might even consider joining with other units in your new Circuit to share a study together.
The Anxious World study is available for just $10 through umwmissionresources.org. It is designed for four sessions, based on the Serenity Prayer and complete with spiritual exercises and small group questions. Pushout needs to be ordered through a bookstore. It will open your eyes to the abuse and misunderstanding that our young black girls experience in our schools. Hopefully, by becoming aware, we will change that narrative. The answer, according to the author, Monique W. Morris, is as simple as acceptance and LOVE.
May the year ahead be one of both growth and challenge for us as United Methodist Women. But above all, continue to support one another as together we seek God’s direction for our personal lives and the lives of women, children, and youth around the world.
Conference Coordinator for Education & Interpretation
319-377-5977 (h) or 563-542-3583 (c)
“But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (ESV)
United Methodist Women attended in virtual format to learn together for the transformation of the world! Thank you to Mission u 2021 study leaders Rev. Laurel Capesius and Rev. Paul Witmer along with technology hosts Crystal Wilken, Nancy Stockdale, Kathy Sautter, and Judy Wanned.
An average of 75 people attended each night of our four-week study of either “Finding Peace in an Anxious World” or “Pushout.” A consistent comment by attendees is the study book was brought to life through their teaching. The challenge to those who attended is to share the content of the studies with others. If you host a book club gathering, organize a small group discussion, write a blog, teach others the tools we learned, or any other creative way to spread the message, please let me know details so it can be part of the report to National Office the actions taken by Iowa Conference UMW.
Now we look ahead to Mission u 2022. Mission u 2022 will have a single study which encompasses both a spiritual growth and a social issue. The book has not been released at this time; however, the study will be based on Luke 13. Luke 13 contains the parable of the mustard seed. Details will be announced at a later time.
Linda Blazek Garvin
606 Phillips Street, Polk City, IA 50226
Mission u Dean 2021-2022
I’m happy to report that our archives are coming together! I now have most of the Iowa Conference UMW Directories back to 1970. Perhaps that’s as old as we can get. Thanks to all who contributed, especially Sandy Oswold, who had a huge file. But I don’t have all of them. I need the following hard copies: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017. Some of those I also have in digital format, but still need the digital versions of 2007, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2020, and 2021. I want to have both digital and hard copy of those, if possible, One never knows when even flash drives will become obsolete! If you have any of those, either digital or hard copy, please let me know!
Currently I also have program books going back to 1984, thanks to Mary Morris. I have compiled a list of titles of the program books, but don’t intend to keep all the actual books. The Historian’s collection will be limited to a rolling cart, so the program books will be recycled soon. But we will have a record of the programs that were featured for each year. The box also includes historical publications, files on Social Action and other miscellaneous materials.
Thanks to all who have contributed thus far: Jean Sheets, Jan Yungbluth, Barb Oakland, Sharon Boen, Becky Herron, Betty Smallen, Mary Morris, and Sandy Oswold. Please contact me if you have any of the above-listed Directories, or anything else you think should go in the box! I’m anxious to be able to share our Historian’s Collection!
1100 Brookridge Circle, Apt. 3B
Atlantic, IA 50022
|National UMW Program Advisory Board|
Keep on Moving Forward – Never Turning Back
My focus phrase of moving forward helps remind me that vision and change is something that will always be required of me—and that is also one of the spiritual themes of the coming Global Assembly of United Methodist Women next year, May 20-22, 2022, in Orlando, Florida!
"No one sews a piece of new, unshrunk cloth on old clothes because the patch tears away the cloth and makes a worse tear. No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If they did, the wineskins would burst, the wine would spill, and the wineskins would be ruined. Instead, people pour new wine into new wineskins so that both are kept safe." Matthew 9: 16-17 from the Common English Bible
Early-bird registrations open with a reduced price on September 1! Are you ready to TURN IT UP for spiritual healing and renewal, for rebirth in a new time, for women leaders, and for justice for women, children and youth? I’m personally excited to attend with my daughter from South Carolina! My prayers are that COVID & variants will be greatly decreased by that date so that all can gather safely.
New things are in store for UMW program resources for all of us! I am in the midst of joining others in testing a new platform that would allow greater use and more options for online sharing and learning materials like our yearly program book. Watch for future announcements!
Are you encouraging others to use www.unitedmethodistwomen.org for program planning and personal learning? Faith Talks is a regular podcast, but you can watch the interview as it’s recorded twice every month. If you miss, the recorded audio sessions are available on the website. The Faith Talks host, Jennifer R. Farmer, is now a published author of First and Only: A Black Woman’s Guide to Thriving at Work and in Life, which is now a Reading List book.
I have joined over 200 UMW viewers in viewing five racial justice themed videos during June and July—Asian Americans - Breaking Ground (episode 1); True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality (author of Just Mercy); Dawnland (Native American child justice work); Pushout (complements the book); and Race: The Power of an Illusion (part 3 - overview of race/citizenship issues and housing disparities). Small group breakout discussions were included, so it was a chance to listen to and share with others from across the US. Here are some books and other resources that will help in racial justice learning/discussions: Abridged Racial Justice Resource List (unitedmethodistwomen.org).
Please join UMW environmental advocates in “urging Congress to enact infrastructure and energy legislation that prioritizes climate justice through a just and equitable transition” now! If you know someone interested in additional climate justice work in Iowa, please connect with me—I’ve been attending most monthly sessions/discussions with learning opportunities (next on nuclear energy) and strategizing with other United Methodist Women who are working in their conferences. Funding will soon be available for local work on just energy for all (info session on Aug. 25 at noon Central Time).
On Aug. 13 and 14, I will participate in the World Federation of Methodist and United Women global online meeting. This is an organization I was not aware of, so I hope to learn some new things!
Finally, KUDOS to Linda Blazek-Garvin and her Iowa Mission u team and instructors for putting together a great online July Mission u experience this year! Those who missed this opportunity will never find a better chance for personal spiritual growth, learning about the challenges Black girls, in particular, face in our US educational settings, and discussions with other Iowa UMW members at no charge! I also want to highlight the excellent “Why Racial Justice?” session with Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. last May. Thanks, Iowa UMW Charter for Racial Justice Committee! We were reminded that becoming anti-racist is a goal/a mindset/a lifestyle that involves both saying and doing. Let’s all keep on moving forward!
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 & World Day of Prayer
Church Women United in Iowa Board, Dubuque St. Luke’s United Methodist Women, National Board of World Day of Prayer USA
District and Conference friends,
On June 23, I was able to link into a meeting between Susan Moberg, Corporate Secretary for United Methodist Women and several of us Conference Secretaries; there were 15 in all. As I don’t have a camera or the wherewithal to do it, I was not able to participate and could only listen. But it was interesting to hear how other conferences do their business. Later this summer I will share the agenda in detail with the District Secretaries.
This is the time of year when the Nominating Committees should be finalizing the 2022 ballot for the Annual Meetings in the fall. Be sure to include all information, especially an email address if available. This is a good way to communicate with other officers. This information will be passed on to me, so I can assemble the 2022 Directory. Hopefully, this can be distributed in November of this year, provided we meet in person.
120 Willow Lane
Rossie, IA 51357-7609
|Iowa Conference UMW Assembly 2022 Liaison|
Assembly 2022: Turn It Up!
Picture it: Orlando. Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Universal’s Island of Adventure. SeaWorld. Golfing. Gators. Gardens. United Methodist Women!
Several thousand UMW members and guests are expected to gather May 20-22 for Assembly 2022 at the Orlando Convention Center. It will be a time to worship, celebrate, learn and serve. Our theme is Turn It Up, and we hope you will be part of the excitement!
Assembly, held every fourth year, is open to any UMW member or guest. There will be options for in-person or virtual participation. Early registration at a reduced price ($330) begins Sept. 1 and runs through Nov. 30. There is a virtual option that costs $199. After Nov. 30 both fees go up by $35 to $40. There will also be expenses for travel and hotel and a few meals.
There will be an optional, pre-event Ubuntu Day of Service on May 19 for an additional fee.
Consider this my personal invitation to join me and other Iowans in Orlando, or at Assembly online. If Orlando’s warm weather and tourist attractions aren’t enough to catch your attention, investigate the unique experiences that Assembly offers.
You can expect to find spiritual healing, hope and renewal through impactful worship experiences, inspiring speakers, integrated performing arts and by lifting your voice in song. Workshops provide skills and tools to inspire leadership and make a difference in your communities. You can browse a fair trade marketplace, networking and gathering spaces, a bookstore and partners and sponsors areas.
Our conference UMW has reserved a block of rooms at Rosen Plaza Hotel. The cost is expected to be $158 per night plus 12.5 percent tax. Our conference’s block will be held until Dec. 1. Let us know soon if you are interested in one or the rooms, and whether you have a roommate. A deposit may be required for any reservation made after April 14.
Iowa Conference UMW will provide some financial assistance for Assembly attendees, but the amount for each person won’t be determined until we have a final number of participants.
For more information, go to assembly2020.org. Let me know if you are planning to attend, either virtually or in-person. I look forward to hearing from you!
Iowa Conference UMW Assembly 2022 liaison
|2022 Bible Verses|
John 14:1 - “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” (NIV)
James 1:17 - “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (NIV)
Hebrews 10:25 - "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (NIV)
1 Corinthians 15:57 - "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (NIV)
Ephesians 4:32 - "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
Romans 13:9 - “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (NIV)
Galatians 5:1 - “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (NIV)
Isaiah 6:8 - "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here I am. Send me.'” (NIV)
2 Corinthians 12:9 - “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV)
Matthew 5:44 - “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (NIV)
Deuteronomy 8:10 - "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.” (NIV)
Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (NIV)