The Iowa Annual Conference Session for 2021 is scheduled for June 4-6, 2021. It has not been determined if this will be a virtual or in-person event. Please mark your calendars and save those dates.
The 2020 Session of Iowa Annual Conference Report
The Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church (IAUMC) was determined to provide the safest experience for its members and staff. For that reason, the majority of the 2020 Iowa Annual Conference (AC2020) sessions were Zoom Webinars.
The AC2020 Clergy, Legislative, and Laity Sessions were Zoom Webinars and held throughout the summer months of 2020. There were two Ordering of Ministry Services held in person with limited attendance that followed social distancing guidelines. Both were Livestreamed through Vimeo and Facebook, so family and friends could watch online. Bishop Laurie Haller officiated all five.
The Memorial and Retirement services were prerecorded videos that premiered through Facebook and Vimeo.
Two Town Hall Meeting Zoom Webinars were offered before the Legislative Session. The purpose of those was to allow members to practice voting and to receive reports and presentations that would normally be in person during the Annual Conference Session. Each Town Hall contained different presentations. Both Town Halls were well attended, and feedback indicated that people would prefer to participate in future Pre-Conference meetings through a Zoom Webinar.
The Laity Session was held last through a Zoom Webinar also.
Most Memorable Speaker
The most memorable and impactful guest speaker at the AC2020 Legislative Session was Pastor Cephas Z.K. Davis of the Des Moines Easton Place United Methodist Church and chair of the Black Ministers Caucus of the Iowa Annual Conference. He spoke about racism in America.
Davis began his presentation with a video clip from the United Methodist Churches, “Dismantling Racism: A Service of Lament
“When I’m given the time and allowed 10 minutes to talk about the history of black and brown bodies in America, then I must echo the voice of our sisters and say, sometimes, I feel like a motherless child. When we know that during the formation of our country that, ‘all men are created equal’ was not meant for black and brown bodies and women—and the church remains silent—then I must shout in the voice of our sisters, and say, sometimes I feel like a motherless child,” said Davis.
Main Actions Enacted at AC2020
Action Item #404 updated the responsibilities of the Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence. The updates to that position recognize the impacts by COVID-19 and other current events, moving the focus from the 8-year assessment to developing transformational leadership teams to “facilitate the Bishop’s Anti-Racism Initiative” and “work with local communities/leadership in leadership development and alignment of supports and resources that will include addressing social services which meet immediate symptoms of need and injustice and underlying root systemic causes of social injustice.”
One of the priorities for The Iowa Annual Conference is to create an anti-racist conference. Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence, is leading this effort. This team has three primary tasks that were named at the AC2020 Legislative Session:
- Build compassionate relationships that facilitate honest and courageous conversations about our racial identities and experiences.
- Equip our clergy, laity, and congregations to do anti-racism and equity work within their communities.
- Deepen our understanding of our own (individual and corporate) complicity in systems of oppression, and cultivate spaces and opportunities for learning, confession, and action.
Action Item #701 was approved at AC2020. This item reduced the number of districts serving the churches of the Iowa Annual Conference from eight (8) to five (5). The reduction in districts will take effect on July 1, 2021.
Simultaneously, as the IAUMC voted to reduce their districts from eight to five, they also stepped boldly into the future by setting an exciting new direction with circuit ministry. IAUMC will initiate a rolling implementation of circuits starting October 1 and will begin a new set of circuits every three months.
Those working on guiding this process include Rev. Bill Poland, Director of New Communities of Faith; Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence; Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson, Director of Congregational Excellence; Rev. Paul Wilcox, Transitional Superintendent; and Rev. Ryan Christenson, Associate Director of Congregational Excellence.
The AC2020 body also approved Action Item #105. Beginning with the 2021 budget, there will no longer be an allowance for unpaid apportionments. This allows the IAUMC not to be bound to pay 100% of General Conference (GC) apportionments. This change means that the primary decision to pay GC apportionments is up to the local churches of the Iowa Conference. All GC apportionment payments by local churches will be sent by Council on Finance and Administration to the General Church (CF&A). CF&A and the Cabinet are committed to paying 100% of the IAUMC’s GC Apportionments, but this will require all of the Iowa Conference local churches and pastors to be equally committed to 100% payment.
The IAUMC budget for 2021 was approved and included eliminating a line item for “uncollected apportionments.” This has the potential to lower apportionments for all local churches in 2021. However, the closure of churches and any local church decline in giving in the past year will affect how apportionments are shared among the Iowa Annual Conference. The adoption of the 2021 budget also included additional reductions in Conference mission and ministry expenses while attempting to recapture the depletion of the spent reserves of 2019 and 2020.
The total for the 2021 budget was approved at $9,724,498. It reflected a reduction of $3.4 million or a negative 25.9%.
At the two Ordering of Ministry services Elad Shapira, Elizabeth Ann Bell, Courtney Renee Dake, Lisa Donita Schroeder, Derrick Festus Nii Okai Okine, and Benjamin Alan Wedeking were ordained as elders. Keith Orland Pitts, Melinda Sue Stonebraker, and Melody June Williams were commissioned as provisional elders. Patrick Henry Mulloy was commissioned as a provisional deacon. Danielle Marie Musselman and Catherine Amanda Stokes were commissioned as provisional members preparing for ordained ministry as elders. Nathanael Tabelisma was recognized as a member of the Iowa Annual Conference by transfer from the Philippines Central Conference. Rebecca Lazarte Tabelisma was recognized as a Deaconess in the Iowa Annual Conference by transfer from the Philippines Central Conference. Douglas Lee Amis and Jennifer Lynne Seylar were recognized as Associate Members. And Kim Annette Dewey, Steven Glen Swenson, Christy Lynn Ehrle, Neil Everett Hofer, and Mark W. Morehouse were recognized as Course of Study Graduates.
Thirty-four clergy retired and were recognized in the Retirement Services video.
Twenty-eight clergy, twenty clergy spouses, and five closed churches were recognized in the Memorial Service video. None were the result of the COVID-19 pandemic or General Conference 2020.
We did not have elections at AC2020. Those elected in 2019 are:
1. Lanette Plambeck
2. Katie Dawson
3. LaTonya Calderon
4. Chad Jennings
5. Nathaniel Nims
6. Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz
7. Andrea Kraushaar
8. Frederick Lewis
9. Tyler Schwaller
10. Joshua Steward
11. Sean McRoberts
12. Melissa Warren
1. Barrie Tritle
2. Amy Johnson
3. Matt German
4. Scott Kober
5. William Ranney
6. Brian Oliver
1. John Rothlisberger
2. Lynn Calvert
3. Lindsay Drake
4. Erica Shannon Stueve
5. Angela Hansen-Abbas
6. Nitza Dovenspike
7. Rachel Hollingsworth
8. Catherine Rohret
9. Alexe Johnson
10. James Baty
11. Michael Serface
12. Sally Hoelscher
1. Rebecca Nims
2. Kae E. Tritle
3. Patrick Mulloy
4. Kathi Mitchell
5. Anne Marie Webb
6. Prudence Klinger
In 2019, five young adults and two youth laity were elected. Of the clergy elected, three are under 35. The Iowa Annual Conference also elected their first clergywomen of color to the 2020 General Conference, Rev. LaTonya Calderon.
Iowa Annual Conference Statistics for 2019
- Membership for 2019 stands at 150,732, down 3% from 2018.
- Worship attendance for 2019 stands at 44,453, down 5% from 2018.
- Total professing members reported at the close of 2019 stands at 150,732, down 3% from 2018.
- Total Christian Formation Group Participants for 2019 stands at 39,862, down 1% from 2018.
- The number of children who were Christian Formation Groups (CFG) participants and leaders (ages 0-11) for 2019 stands at 12,834, down 3% from 2018.
- The number of youths who were CFG participants and leaders (ages 12-18) for 2019 stands at 6,912, down 1% from 2018.
- The number of young adults who were CFG participants and leaders (ages 19-30) for 2019 stands at 1,659, down 8% from 2018.
- The number of other adults who were CFG participants and leaders (ages 31+) for 2019 stands at 18,457, down less than 1% from 2018.
- The number of persons engaged in missions for 2019 stands at 26,945, up 10% from 2018.
Please go to www.iaumc.org/ac2020
for additional information about the AC2020 Sessions.
Director of Communications
Iowa Conference | United Methodist Church
2301 Rittenhouse Street
Des Moines, IA 50321