The 2013 Iowa School for Ministry convened in Des Moines on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Focusing on the theme, “Christian Identity in a Multi-faith World,” participants joined in worship, will experience two keynote presenters, and will gather for the Bishop’s Reception luncheon.
The School for Ministry began with worship that included a sermon by Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble. In his message, entitled, “Love Offering and Offering Love,” based on Romans 13:8, Bishop Trimble expressed the sentiment, “Jesus love offering for us compels us to offer love to others.”
“Jesus empowers us, as post-Easter people,” the Bishop noted, “to be holy people of God…and loving Jesus is the essence of spirituality.” He urged those gathered for the opening worship to follow Dr. Letty Russell’s guidance – “loving a stranger is more loving than loving our friends.” Bishop Trimble also observed, “We’re empowered by Jesus to offer love that looks like God’s justice gone public.”
Concluding his meditation Bishop Trimble declared, “God cares for you. God cares for me. God cares for you, right now, in this place! God’s love is for anybody, anywhere…for everybody everywhere!”
Brian McLaren, one of the two keynote presenters for the School for Ministry, is described in the event publicity. “A former pastor and college English teacher, he is an author, speaker, activist, and networker among innovative Christian leaders. His dozen-plus books include A New Kind of Christianity, A Generous Orthodoxy, and most recently, Naked Spirituality. "We Christians already know how to do two things well," McLaren says. "We know how to have a strong Christian identity that is hostile towards other faiths, and we know how to have a weak Christian identity that's tolerant towards other faiths." He will be lecturing on his new book "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?" He will be making five presentations over the course of the three days of the School.
The other keynoter is the Rev. Dr. Elaine A. Heath, the McCreless Associate Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology. An ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, she is the initiator of New Day and the Epworth Project, a growing network of missional, new monastic faith communities in the United Methodist tradition (www.peopleofnewday.com and www.missionalwisdom.com).?Elaine has provided retreat and seminar leadership in spiritual formation and leadership development for clergy for many years. Among her research interests are the new monasticism, the emerging church, spirituality and evangelism, and gender and evangelism.
Interest in the 2013 School for ministry is nearly forth percent greater that it was last year, with some 228 registered. Next year’s School will be held April 22-24, 2014 at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, West Des Moines. The web address for the School is: www.iowaschoolforministry.org