AC2017 Celebration of Ministry — Graduates & Award Recipients

AC2017 Celebration of Ministry — Graduates & Award Recipients

June 10, 2017

View an album of images from the awards banquet

At the Celebration of Ministry awards banquet, 39 people from the School for Lay Ministry were awarded for their 2017 graduation.

From Cornell College where Lynn Calvert is the dean, the graduates were: Margaret Adams, Uyntha Duncan, Patty Ferrel, Steven Grace, Jessica Lake, Eileen McPherson, Sue Ney, Jolyn Richards, Kristine Rodney, Steve Schmudde Harry Stimson, Deb Streff, and Christine Werling-Witkoske.

From Morningside College, the graduates were: Miles Brown, Kelsey Callens, Amanda Gerodias, Mary Green-Warnstadt, and LeAnn Robine.

From Simpson College where John Rothlisberger is the Dean were: Bruce Baker, Mary Baker, Kris Baumgart, Martha Chancellor, Linda Datwyler, Bill Howell, Katherine Howell, Charity Johnson, Kathy Kirby, Kathi Mitchell, Billy Nuzum, Sandy Oswald, Mary Patterson, Karla Wheeler.

And from the Simpson College Hispanic Class where Rev. Alejandro Alfara-Santiz is the Dean were: Norma Cabezas, Eileen McPherson, Alfredo Mendoza, Rosa Mendoza, Martha Olague, J. Omar Paz, Maria Roldan.

The School for Lay Ministry (SLM) program was created some years ago as a program to facilitate the growth of Iowa United Methodist Churches and their Christian ministry by providing an alternative, supplemental source of educated leadership to local congregations and communities. The SLM identifies, trains
and nurtures lay persons who meet entrance criteria and who have the desire to serve in, through and beyond the church in various ministries.

Some of the goals of the SLM are to provide trained and motivated laity to contribute to the fulfillment of the mission of the Annual Conference to prepare leaders of the church for the transformation of the world; lay persons to serve with ordained clergy in complementary ministries of various kinds; spiritually nurturing experiences for persons wishing to further their faith pilgrimage and explore their Christian vocation; and lay leadership to assist with programs and ministries pursuing Christ’s mission.

Twelve class sessions are designed to provide a comprehensive background and training for students. These classes are taught by recognized leaders who give the knowledge and background needed to serve in many fields. The topics for the 12 sessions during the three years are:

  • Introduction to Lay Ministry & Spirituality
  • Worship
  • Care & Nurturing
  • Proclamation & Sharing the Faith
  • Stewardship, Christian Ethics & Conflict
  • Developing Theological Perspectives
  • Nurturing through Christian Education
  • Mission & Social Concerns
  • Church History
  • Church Leadership, Doctrine & Polity
  • Methods of Biblical Interpretation
  • Strategizing for Church Growth

A Spanish speaking class is also offered at the Simpson location.

Some of the ways graduates of the SLM are serving with ordained clergy in Iowa include ministering with local churches in leadership capacities, volunteer management, Christian education, care-giving ministries, program staff positions, visitation ministries, youth programming and District ministries and

Beje Clark Award
The Beje Clark Award was bestowed upon Rev. Lee A. Schott. Rev. Schott, as pastor of Women at the Well United Methodist Church at the Women’s Correctional Institution (prison) in Mitchellville, ministers to the inmates in supportive and compassionate care to help restore these women to wholeness and community. Many of the women are mothers separated from their children, have drug addictions, and mental illness. To all she offers grace and love, enabling them to find healing and hope during the most stressful times of their lives. In addition, she takes her ministry beyond the prison walls to challenge the injustices many of these women are facing and to educate and challenge United Methodist Churches to join in the search for justice for these women, by changing their attitudes about the women—from criminals to victims and children of God.

Rev. Lee Schott during the past year has taken the following actions beyond the prison to encourage the church to join her in the work of restorative justice:

  • Organized and led two “Right Next Door” Conferences at Aldersgate UMC in Urbandale and Collegiate UMC Ames to help local church pastors and laity learn to see the women of her church as brothers and sisters in Christ, understand their needs, and help restore them to their communities.
  • Organized and led a conversation on Mental Illness and Caring for the Mentally Ill at Immanuel UMC in Des Moines. A large majority of the women at Mitchellville prison had mental illness and had not been getting care before they went to prison.
  • Advocated on behalf of the women at the state legislature, sharing her experience and reminding legislators of the needs of these women.
  • Preached at other United Methodist Churches and shared the need for restorative justice for the women she pastors and all the women in the prison. Her passionate preaching encourages others to reach out in love and seek justice for the women.

Rev. Lee Schott also received the Denman Evangelism Clergy Award. 

The Harry Denman Evangelism Award program honors United Methodists in each annual conference whose exceptional ministry of evangelism – expressed in Word (what), Sign (why), and Deed (how)—brings people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.

Francis Asbury Award
The Francis Asbury Award was given to Kathy Martin, who was nominated by the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry. This Award is given each year in recognition of service to and support for campus ministry.

Kathy’s time as a Chaplain at Morningside College was marked with a deep care for the students, faculty, and staff with whom she worked. She is known by her students as a mentor and a compassionate advisor that they can trust. She invested in collegial relationships throughout the annual conference and other campus ministries, and advocated for strong connections between United Methodist-related colleges and local churches. She was passionate about
raising up leaders for the church, and providing ways for students to engage in the needs of the world through service and mission opportunities.

Although Kathy retired from full-time ministry in 2014, her true heart for this work was shown through her willingness to step back into the role as interim Chaplain at the college for the 2016-2017 school year. She continued her work seamlessly and as she moves back into retirement, will continue to advocate for the role of higher education ministries in our annual conference.

The BHECM is grateful for Kathy’s life of witness to the importance of this work and the ways that our collegiate ministries are raising up leaders in the church for today and for the future.

Student Day Merit Scholarship Awards
Jonathan Cox, Leandra Martins, and Annika Wasson were granted the Student Day Merit Scholarship award. 

Jonathan Cox is a member of Salem UMC in Council Bluffs and plans to prepare for a career in youth ministry. He will be a Freshman at Simpson College.

Leandra Martins is from Cedar Rapids and a member of First UMC in Marion. She will be a second-year divinity student at Duke.

Annika Wasson is a member of St. Mark’s UMC in Iowa City and is majoring in Elementary Education. She will be a senior at Simpson College.

Each year United Methodist churches in the Iowa Conference are invited to nominate one student from their congregation to be considered for a United Methodist Student Day Merit Scholarship. Iowa United Methodist students who will attend in the coming fall or currently attend a United Methodist college, university or seminary are eligible for nomination. Awards are for merit in terms of academic performance; church, campus, high school and community involvement; financial need; and special vocational preparation for ministry or other service.

The number of $1000 scholarships available each year is based on the amount raised in the preceding year by the Iowa Conference from the United Methodist Student Day Offering in November. Ten percent (10%) of the total amount raised is rebated back to the Iowa Conference. The other 90% of what is raised goes to support scholarships across the United Methodist connection.

The next Student Day Offering will be on November 25, 2017

COSROW Ambassador Award
The purpose of this award is to recognize the efforts of a United Methodist person who exemplifies the goals and values of COSROW to serve as a catalyst and monitor to empower women and to transform the Church so that as inclusive people of God we might be in ministry and mission to a hungering and
hurting world.

The person selected to receive the Ambassador Award for 2017 from the Iowa Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women is Rita Carter.

As part of her work with United Methodist Women, she has served as Social Action Coordinator and in other roles. Her heart is in social justice.

She has also been dedicated regarding needed legislation related to social justice issues through the Legislative Action Alerts for individuals, the United Methodist Women and the Methodist Federation for Social Action. Another action for her has been organizing the Legislative Advocacy Days to provide training for people to contact legislators and to go with the group to the State Capitol. She has advocated for Justice for Our Neighbors for just immigration laws with prayer and rallies with immigrant neighbors. She has worked tirelessly on human trafficking and promoted needed legislation. As part of her dedication to racial justice, in 2014 she traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in a prayerful witness and civil disobedience to urge then President Obama to protect unaccompanied children entering the United States.

Rita has always led with a positive attitude in challenging women and men to become involved in social justice issues as people of faith and shared her thoughts by saying, “Let’s do what we can to shine some light.”

Healthy Church Initiative
The following churches were recognized for going through the Healthy Church Initiative process. 

East Central District 
Coralville UMC
Epworth UMC
Iowa City, First
Marion, Christ Community
Solon UMC

Northeast District:
Oelwein, Grace

Southeast District:
Muscatine, Wesley

South Central District:
Moravia, Grace
Centerville, Faith
Earlham UMC
Pella UMC

Southwest District:
Manning UMC

The Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) is a multi-year process of local church revitalization and renewal. Begun in this form in the Missouri Annual Conference in approximately 2006 and now being lived out in a variety of ways in 30+ conferences of the United Methodist Church, HCI follows the process of Paul Borden, as identified in his books, Assaulting the Gates and Direct Hit. Each local church chooses to be part of HCI, at each of its various steps. Basic elements include engaging pastors and laity in continuous learning communities with other churches, together studying a variety of core themes; weekend consultations; and coaching churches to live out the prescriptions that come from the consultations.

In Iowa, HCI began in 2012. To date, we have had over 200 churches involved in some level of the HCI process, with 70 churches having gone through consultations.

The 12 churches recognized today are making a difference in their communities thanks to their hard work, the Holy Spirit, and the HCI process.

Special Recognition
Barb Mann, registrar for the School for Lay Ministry was given a special recognition for her years of service.