2020 Annual Conference Session to be Postponed and Held Electronically

2020 Annual Conference Session to be Postponed and Held Electronically

April 16, 2020

The 2020 session of the Iowa Annual Conference will be postponed due to the current Coronavirus health crisis. Bishop Laurie Haller made the decision with the full support of the Cabinet and the Annual Conference Session Planning Committee. 
 
Preparations are underway for a one-day electronic Annual Conference Legislative Session via the Zoom platform. It will be held later in the summer or in early fall. Secure remote electronic voting by the elected lay members and clergy members of the Iowa Annual Conference will be utilized, again in accord with the Book of Discipline.    
 
“It is our intention to have an electronic town hall pre-Conference session,” reported Rev. Harlan Gillespie, Assistant to Bishop Laurie. “We will share information and also practice how to vote electronically.” Dates are being considered currently.
 
People who made hotel arrangements for their stay during the previously scheduled Annual Conference session should cancel their reservations prior to May 4 to avoid incurring charges.
 
“I know that many will be disappointed to hear that our Iowa Annual Conference will not be able to be held at the Iowa Events Center on June 5-7,” Bishop Laurie said. “However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our laity, clergy, and those who serve us is of paramount importance.”
 
“We are looking at the possibility of having several regional Orders Worship Services (ordination and commissioning) in different locations around the conference later in the summer,” Rev. Gillespie added.

Clergy Session and Laity Session

Each year’s Iowa Annual Conference gathering includes both a clergy session and a laity session
 
This year’s Clergy Session will be held electronically, through Zoom, on the morning of June 5. The Book of Discipline requires that the status of clergy persons be determined prior to July 1. Consultation with the Conference Chancellor has confirmed that an electronic meeting, with a secure means of voting, is in keeping with proper procedure. 
 
Plans for a postponed Laity Session are being developed by the Board of Laity
 
The Iowa Conference is not alone in postponing its annual session.  Several other conferences in the North Central and other Jurisdictions have made the deliberate decision to convene at a later date out of concern for the health and wellbeing of their members.
 
Holding the 2020 Annual Conference “will not be the same as seeing one another in person, but we can be assured that God will be with us as we worship and do the necessary business of the Iowa Annual Conference,” Bishop Laurie said.
 
If you have questions about the postponed Annual Conference Session or the clergy or laity sessions, please send them to iaumccares@iaumc.org.