The Board of Ordained Ministry has a “responsibility for every moment when someone senses a call from God,” says Rev. Deborah Stowers, the Board’s chairperson, “until the time when their ministry is recognized, after their death, at the Memorial Service.”
“A group of wonderful people,” she observes, “who have been elected by the Iowa Annual Conference upon the nomination of the resident bishop,” the Board is involved in recruiting, setting education requirements, dealing with matters of accreditation and credentialing, reviewing “fruitfulness,” and discerning readiness for commissioning and ordination.
Click here to listen to the “Iowa Conference Conversation”
with Rev. Deborah Stowers
“There are clergy members and lay members,” she notes. “They serve for usually a quadrennium. They can repeat for another quadrennium.” A committed group,
“they feel very passionate about the future of the church and those who are going to be leaders of the church.”
The Board is funded through apportionments and the Ministerial Education Fund. Some 25 percent of the offering Conference churches give to the MEF Special Sunday collection comes back in the form of financial support for clergy during their education, for continuing education opportunities, and underwriting their work to improve their ministry. Apportionments designated for the Board of Ordained Ministry, in part, support the work of Lisa Steel, the Director of Ministerial Services. “Lisa helps people to have the right and necessary information and tracks their progress through the process,” Rev. Stowers adds.
Maintaining contact with Iowans during their theological seminary years is important to the Board, a responsibility it takes very seriously. “The Board is making sure that all the United Methodist Seminaries are visited, both the ones where Iowa students are enrolled and others where there are possibilities for recruiting qualified persons for ministry in Iowa,” she reports. “We want our seminarians to be fully prepared to serve here in Iowa.”
Rev. Deborah Stowers has been a member of the Board for several years and is serving her second year as chairperson. Reflecting on what it means to her to be on the Board she says, “Truly I would like to have our process be clear and concisely worded, and carefully monitored. We don't want people to get stuck or go down the wrong path at a particularly crucial time.” She hopes for excellence –
“I want us to do the very best we can for the people who have received a call from God that they might be faithful to their call.”