An Invitation to North Central All-District Reads

An Invitation to North Central All-District Reads

October 10, 2019

The North Central District is hosting an All-District Reads and discussion of Foolish Church by Rev. Lee Roorda Schott.  All churches of the District are welcome to attend book discussions with the author. Please encourage members of your church to read the book, participate in the discussions and dream of a new vision for church communities.

- Rev. Carol Kress, North Central District Superintendent


We hope you'll join in one or more of these events that will give us a chance to go deeper with the ideas of Foolish Church and connect with the author:

November 15-17: A Foolish Weekend, hosted at Ames First UMC and sponsored by Iowa CEF (Christians Engaged in Faith Formation). Join us in Ames for a weekend of activities exploring what it means to be the church, foolishly present with neighbors we’ve been taught to overlook. Author and pastor Lee Roorda Schott will build on her book, Foolish Church: Messy, Raw, Real, and Making Room to share what we churches outside can learn from the church she has led for eight years, Women at the Well, inside the Iowa women’s prison in Mitchellville. We’ll consider welcome, authenticity, boundaries, relationship, accountability, and reconciliation. We’ll dare to believe that when we bring our whole selves to church, and allow others to do the same, we find ourselves living the gospel in ways we didn’t know we were missing.  Approved for clergy CEUs.
November 24: Faith Parish, Humboldt Center – Book Discussion with Author 1:00- 2:30 PM  and Preaching at Faith Parish for morning services.
March 28: Mason City, Grace Church – Book Discussion with Author at 1:00-3:00 PM - Lee will be at Wesley UMC for worship Saturday night (5:00) and Sunday, March 29 morning (at Clear Lake UMC).


North Central District Reads - Foolish Church from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.

About the book:  Messy, raw, and real aren’t the words most of us use when we say what’s good about our churches. But what if they were? Author Lee Roorda Schott found out, serving Women at the Well, our United Methodist church inside the Iowa women’s prison. A lifelong church person, she discovered more church, and greater faithfulness, in this most unlikely setting, with room for people the church has often overlooked. Foolish Church shares the lessons she has learned there, with the hope that church leaders outside of prison might be inspired, equipped and encouraged to the kind of foolishness that allows the church to live out its call. We’ll explore church characterized by honest relationships, protection of the vulnerable, radical welcome and healthy boundaries. Practical application for the local church context and discussion questions for group study are included throughout.

Just released is a companion volume, The Fool's Manual, a study and practice guide intended to help readers and small groups practice what Lee described in the book. It's set up in six sessions with discussion questions and prompts for those who want to practice the ideas of each chapter.These "
foolishness prompts" range from thought experiments to leadership discussions; some are simple and others will push you out of your comfort zone. You'll also be invited to join a community of folks working with these ideas, using the hashtag #FoolishChurch to connect on social media. 

Both books are available through Amazon and through the publisher, Wipf & Stock. If you are interested in ordering at least ten books (any combination of the two books), please be in touch with Lee at for a discounted price ($15 & $8, respectively, plus shipping).