Retiree Reflections

Retiree Reflections

May 29, 2018

Some of the 2018 retiring clergy reflect on their time in ministry. A Retirement Celebration will be held during Annual Conference on Saturday, June 9 at 1:30 p.m. in the Iowa Events Center. The service will be led by Rev. LaTonya Calderon with an offering giving to Nigerian Students studying at Iowa colleges.

Barbara Krueger

"My road to becoming a pastor began by serving as secretary for my local church. My pastor recommended my services to the District Superintendent, which led to working with three district superintendents, two field outreach ministers, district administrative secretaries, conference staff, many wonderful pastors and lay persons in the Muscatine District. God was allowing me to view ministry from many different viewpoints!  

I attended the School for Lay Ministry, completed the candidacy process for pastoral ministry, and was appointed to the Donnellson and Embury United Methodist Churches in November of 2001. They were very patient with me as I learned the new responsibilities of being a pastor.  

I completed the five years of Course of Study at Saint Paul School of Theology and in December of 2009, the Cabinet appointed me to the Mechanicsville and Morley United Methodist Churches. In every place I have served, there have been very kind and loving people excited to be in ministry together.  

I have been blessed and humbled to serve God in these many ways. I am looking forward to this time of retirement, spending more time with family and friends and discovering new ways to serve God."


Beverly Marshall-Goodell

"I begin my reflection on twenty years of pastoral ministry with a grateful heart. First, I am grateful to my friends at Iowa City First UMC and the Cedar Rapids Emmaus Community for recognizing my potential to serve God as a pastor. I humbly confess that I would never have accepted this calling without the encouragement and support of friends who nudged me forward. 

Next, I am grateful to the four congregations I was privileged to serve: Aroma Park UMC, in Aroma Park, IL as student pastor, Ankeny First UMC as associate pastor, Tiffin Grace UMC and Panora UMC as solo pastor. Each location welcomed me before they knew me, and nurtured and supported me through the inevitable ups and downs of church life. We prayed together, studied together, and served in the community together. I was honored to baptize children and new believers, to bless marriages, to sit with the sick and the dying, and to celebrate the lives of those among us who passed on to their heavenly home. 

Finally, I give thanks for my husband and two sons, who tolerated my challenging spiritual journey with grace and compassion. God is good, all the time."


Bruce Hauswirth

"As one of those who have been called into the ministry at a later age I truly have been blessed. In the beginning being a certified lay speaker, then later feeling the need to go to School of Lay Ministry at Morningside and later called as a local licensed pastor, God has placed me in front of and alongside so many great people who have helped me in my faith journey. Having been blessed with the opportunity to be able to go to the Holy Land with friends and Bishop Trimble was a turning point for me. Those people through their encouragement helped me grow personally.  

I cannot say enough about the churches I have served, for the Farragut, Summit and Riverton churches have blessed me, as I journeyed in ministry with them, because of their love for God and each other. With them I have learned and with them I have grown. So, I want to say, THANK YOU" to them and the leadership within the southwest district, and to all of those who have in their part participated with me in this journey. Our God is indeed a gracious and loving God!"


Bruce Ursin

"I have had the privilege to serve as a pastor in the Iowa Conference for 38 years. I served churches in Asbury Webster City Kamrar; Gowrie — Callender; Sheldon; Cedar Falls First; and Wesley in Muscatine.

My primary goal in each church was to share a simple message: "You Matter to God". Each church I served had their own uniqueness with strengths and weaknesses. I worked with many wonderful laity in every church I served. I served in a number of roles in the conference but always felt the local church was my primary responsibility. I am grateful for the District Superintendents that I served with, they were always affirming. My wife Susan has been a wonderful support and faithful companion for the last 42 years.

I look forward to the next chapter in ministry. I will continue to train for more triathlons and assist my son in his evangelistic crusades in third world countries. The best is yet to come."

Carl Phillips

"My reflections on my years in ministry have to start with all the memories of the many wonderful people that I have met over the years. I remember the advice that Rev. Mike Metz gave me as I anxiously anticipated going to my first appointment. Mike simply said ,"Be yourself and don't make promises that you can't keep." I remember all of the mentor sessions with Rev. Wally Paige when he was at Clarinda UMC. Those sessions were always learning experiences that were heavily sprinkled with Wally's theology of Mel They were never boring!  

The members of my congregations were there for me when I had two open heart surgeries in 12 years. They filled the pulpit while I recuperated and cared for our personal needs as they arose. had the pleasure of watching kids in my congregations grow from youth to married individuals with families of their own. prayed with a community when one of their leading citizens committed suicide. I have celebrated the many weddings, baptisms, and confirmations in these churches over the years, and reminisced with those who have lost loved ones. I feel God has blessed me in my ministry to have interacted with so many wonderful people in many places."


Carol Sundberg

"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!  
Serve the Lord with gladness! 
Come into his presence with singing! 
Know that the Lord is God! 
It is he that made us, and we are his;  
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, 
and his courts with praise! 
Give thanks to him, bless his name! 
For the Lord is good; 
his steadfast love endures for ever, 
and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100 (RSV) 
This was the scripture that we committed to memory in Confirmation class as 8th grade students. I fell in love with the words, “come into God’s presence with singing.” It is not difficult to remember the places of my experience where the gathered people of God have sung hymns of faith and joy and longing. Some nurtured a growing and deepening faith, an understanding of justice and service, and a group of followers that lived into the promise of Christian community – Christ UMC in Belle Plaine and Lovely Lane UMC in Cedar Rapids; and others that opened their hearts and doors to a newly appointed pastor – St. Paul’s UMC in Cedar Rapids; New Horizons UMC in Coralville; St. James UMC in Cedar Rapids; Cooperative Parish and then the merged congregation of Trinity-St. James UMC in Cedar Rapids. I remain grateful for the many relationship that have formed me, and I pray that the blessings that I have received have been blessings given."
Dennis Bailey

"I received the call to ministry at the age of 17. Went to college at Simpson and then to seminary in Dallas, Texas at Perkins School of theology. My first appointment was at Charter Oak Iowa in 1978. 

It has been 40 years since then and as I get ready to retire, it seems like just yesterday.  

I believe we, as pastors, have one of the most blessed occupations there is. We are privileged to be with people in their most intimate times; sometimes grief and tragedy and other times great joy. We can love them through times when they just needed someone there. We get to love them, serve them, and lead them in their own service to others. What a great life!

Yet it is not without stress and strain and we learn to depend on God through it all. In all of this I am happy to have served the churches in my appointments, to be a part of the Iowa Annual Conference, and most specially to love and serve the people God has put in my care."


Henrietta Klarenbeek

"Reflecting upon my life as a UMC clergy person is a daunting task! Remembering my ordination and the words of “take thou authority to preach the Word….” felt ominous at the time and still does. To know I was answering the call is one thing but actually listening to the words spoken by Bishop Job, feeling the hands placed upon me and the task before me, I knew I would need God’s help every day to do what I could to fulfill that call.

After 15 years as a parish pastor I had the privilege of serving the next 15 years as a hospital and hospice chaplain, becoming endorsed by the UMC and board certified by the Association of Professional Chaplains. Coming along side those in crisis, those making life and death decisions, standing with families saying good bye to their child or parent, was an honor, offering prayers of blessing and thanksgiving for the life that was shared. I learned a great deal from those of differing faith traditions from people I served. I returned to the parish in a part time capacity where I have served for the last four years. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend many years focusing on what I consider my passion, pastoral care, and believe I may retire, but my call will not!"

Judy Wadding

"Pastoral ministry set my life on cherished, holy, arduous ground and has been an extraordinary privilege. I am completely grateful to God for the call, the molding, informing, protecting, the keeping and guiding my every moment in the work!  And I am richly grateful to the United Methodist Church for every appointment along the way.  

I will cherish the holy moments: when leading worship and the Holy Spirit takes over the place, speaking comfort to grief, declaring God’s acceptance to the disenfranchised, affirming welcome to the stranger, private prayers with the dying, extending comfort to the discomforted, sharing laughter in those joy-filled moments, working with youth (at-risk and otherwise) whose hearts are hungry for the Word, for personal moments when a heart receives God’s salvation and everything is new. So many holy moments: these and many more linger as most deeply cherished in this retirement time.  

I feel an inexpressible gratitude to God for my call to ordained ministry, for those who helped the way forward to accept that call, and to the United Methodist Church for places and spaces to live into it faithfully.  I pray that God is not displeased with my service and that a heart or two I encountered along the way embraced for themselves the rich and transformative presence of God’s amazing grace: God’s amazing grace that changes us and if properly rooted, inevitably inspires us to go out and share it abundantly in our broken and needful world."

Kathleen Moore

"Ministry is never done; that is a mixed blessing, because we all can learn to love more fully, and that is amazing! The hundreds of Christian sisters and brothers I have known, worked with, and ministered to in the past 30 years have brought joy and satisfaction to a “sometimes frustrating” calling. The joy of being with these people, coupled with the joy of serving God through my passions, give me a great love for ministry. 

My passions in ministry include the proclamation and inspiration of preaching. I am passionate about studying the Bible and teaching others.  I am passionate about missions and social justice, as well as finding those moments when people are open to God, especially at times of illness, death, life changes and reaffirmation of faith.  I am passionate about the music of the church, and I have many hymns within me yet.   

I will miss the preaching the most, I suppose, because along with writing some books and a lot of hymns, I can take part in those other passions within my local church.  What I have loved the most is feeling God walking with me.  Now the journey takes a new turn."


Martin Schuhmacher

"I have been blessed to serve four loving, caring, compassionate, and devout churches.  Each one has served the Lord Jesus in their own unique way.  Planting Living Water and witnessing there is my biggest ministry highlight.   

Reflecting on the best things I have experienced is the transformation of lives not previously touched by the grace of God through Jesus Christ.  I have been fortunate to work with the mentally challenged, people recovering from drug addiction and alcohol addiction.  I have dealt with domestic abuse situations, committal processes, and taking in a foster child.   

In all these situations, God has been faithful.  It is through the power of the Holy Spirit working in people who choose to receive the Lordship of Jesus that lives have been changed.   

I have also been blessed to be part of Summer Games and the work they have done to bring  pre-teens and teens to the Risen Jesus Christ.  Walk to Emmaus and Academy for Spiritual Formation have given me opportunities to help many people discern their calling in life. 

I have experienced the Risen Jesus Christ, and been blessed that He choose me as an instrument of his peace."


Michael Metz

"As I look back over my years in ministry, it is people I most remember. Shy or assertive, caring or self-centered, retiring or domineering, kind or apathetic, ready-to-help or in-need-of-help: all kinds of people have been part of my ministry as we touched one another’s lives. Many became friends. Many served God in wonderful ways. All of us came together in our shared journey through this miracle of life. I am thankful for having known them.  They added so much to my life.

This is especially true of my wife, DiAnn, who was always not only the light of my life, but also played an active ministry role, herself, in teaching and music. Farmers, townspeople, or city folks: I found each person to be unique, even as we are all the same, no matter who or where. No surprise there, since we are all children of God, created in the One image. It has been a privilege to share in the life of Christ’s church, wherever it has been incarnated in all these lives. It has been a privilege to minister in Christ’s name with them all."

Shurmaine McAlpine

"My first Sunday as pastor was on World Wide Communion Sunday in 1986. I had my college degree, my lay speaker's license and 14 years experience as a pastor's wife. I was called to serve the United Church of Christ in Riceville, Iowa. My husband was serving the United Methodist Church in Riceville. 

My Riceville congregation was very tolerant as I learned how to be a pastor. I was blessed by their encouragement and support and served them for 4 1/2 years. I started the process of Course of Study and was appointed to the church in Doon. I served Everly/Spencer Zion, Woodbine, Lenox/Clearfield/Mercer Center/Sharpsburg a 4-point charge and my last church Centerville First. 

I am thankful for each church I have served. Every charge had it's joys and every charge had it's challenges. I have learned so much from the mission trips to West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Parkersburg and Des Moines. I am thankful for churches that have funded wells, mobility carts (P.E.T.S), UMCOR and many other important ministries. 

The Sunday after Easter at the Centerville UMC 10 confirmands were welcomed as members of the church. Teaching confirmation classes over the years has been one of the greatest blessings of ministry. Helping youth accept the gift of grace is a great joy. 

I look forward to retirement because I know God still has ministry for me."


Full list of 2018 Retirees

Ann Donat
Barbara Krueger
Beverly Marshall-Goodell
Bruce Hauswirth
Bruce Ursin
Carl Phillips
Carol Sundberg
Constance M. Thayer
Craig Peters
Daniel Jenks
Dennis Bailey
Fred Lewis
Henrietta Klarenbeek
James Schweizer
Jay Turner
Jill Leveck
John Augspurger
John M. Caldwell
Judy Wadding
Karmen Jamison
Kathleen Moore
Kirk Seagren
Larry Allen
Lee Webb
Lexie Kirkpatrick
Linda Butler
Marilyn Winch
Marty Schuhmacher
Mary J. Mack
Michael Metz
Nickie Steffes
Pam Deeds
Robert Abbott
Shurmaine McAlpine
Steve Williams
Vickie Steffes