The 2017 Laity Day with the Bishop provided an opportunity for members of Iowa’s nearly 770 communities of faith to discover new ways to make a difference…in their own lives and in the experiences of others.
Held at First United Methodist Church in Indianola, this year’s event was Bishop Laurie’s first since coming to Iowa in September 2016. She was joined on the program by Ann Naffier and Brynne Howard from JFON and Jill Eichner Brow and Colleen Petaros, representing the School for Lay Ministry and Lay Servant Ministries of the Conference.
Margaret Borgen, the Iowa Conference Lay Leader, opened the day with a welcome and invitation to the laity of the Conference to value their ministries and know that they can make a difference in the lives of others. She suggested that in an effective partnership with clergy Iowa’s faith communities can be stronger and more faithful to the commission of Jesus to make disciples, an understanding that echoes the United Methodist Church’s mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
After a welcome to First Church by Joyce Godwin, the congregation’s lay leader, and Rev. Phil Webb, its pastor, and opening worship that featured the music of Myung-Ji Lee, the church’s music director, and members of the Iowa Board of Laity, Bishop Laurie focused the gathering’s attention on a time “When Justice and Peace Kiss.” Incorporating the cooperative moment of warring factions depicted in the movie War Horse
and the John August Swanson’s Seriograph
of Psalm 85 asked the Laity Day attendees to think of a time when “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss”
(Psalm 85). When that happens, “Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from the heavens. The Lord will give what is good.”
And in those moments “Justice will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.”
In her message, Bishop Laurie said, “Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus gave his disciples the courage, compassion, and energy to act.” She assured the laity,
“each one of you is an infinite succession of compassion and courage. That’s because your life is a social act, too. God created and called you to be persons in whom kindness and truth meet, in whom justice and peace kiss, in whom truth springs out of the earth and justice looks down from the heavens.”
Further, she asked the group, “Knowing that God never forces the heart, will you claim for yourself the energy of the Holy Spirit to live in such a way that an earth crammed with heaven can be a more Christ-like place?”
The afternoon session with Bishop Laurie focused on “The Gift of the Bird” and was followed by some time for conversation with Iowa’s United Methodist episcopal leader. The day concluded with worship themed around “Seasons of Creation” and the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Great thanks to the people and pastor of Indianola’s First United Methodist Church, the Conference lay leader and members of the Board of Laity, and the nearly 1000 people who were reached by Facebook Live and the video livestream.
The morning and afternoon sessions of the 2017 Laity Day with the Bishop are available to watch in the Livestream archive
. They are also available on the Conference Facebook page: morning session
and afternoon session