General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegates Report to AC2023

General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegates Report to AC2023

June 22, 2023

Lindsay Drake, Nitza Dovenspike, and Rev. LaTonya Calderon of the Iowa General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegation celebrated the election of Bishop Lanette Plambeck and Bishop Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai, shared what was done at Jurisdictional Conference, and facilitated a table discussion about the future of The United Methodist Church during Annual Conference.

During the North Central Jurisdictional Conference last summer, delegates worked to reinstate the NCJ Committee on Ordained Ministry; Celebrated, Lamented, and focused on Hope for the People of Color of the NCJ; a Leading with Integrity Resolution and Delegate Ethics Code; listened to a Queer Delegate’s Call to Center Justice and Empowerment for LGBTQIA+ People in the UMC; and declared their support for creating a U.S. Regional Conference.

In prefacing the table discussion, delegation representatives told the conference that the North Central Jurisdictional Conference "invites us to Build the Beloved Community."

"This is the work of all of us – lay and clergy," they said. "As we look to the future of the United Methodist Church here in Iowa, we want to invite you to consider how we are called to embody these ideas in our own ministry contexts."

The five questions were:
  1. Creating new Regional Conferences will make space for contextual ministry and regional self-determination. It is about the authority to make local decisions that reflect what is happening in your community or area. As we think about our unique contexts for ministry in Iowa, what is something exciting that is happening in your area that couldn’t happen somewhere else? What is different about the ministry needs in our rural areas vs. our urban areas?
  2. As we envision a more diverse church where everyone is welcomed, supported, and empowered, what do you need to feel like you truly have a home here? How will you in turn affirm and empower others in their life, mission, and ministry?
  3. How might your local church and community embody John Wesley’s call to do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God? 
  4. What does it mean, as disciples of Jesus Christ, for us to move forward in fairness and with integrity?
  5. What is your hope for the United Methodist Church five years from now? 
The representatives also read a statement from the delegation.

"Our current Iowa delegation is unanimous in our belief that the above actions of the NCJ are reflective of the spirit of how we are called to lead as we move towards the 2024 General Conference. We know that the election of additional delegates at this Annual Conference to fill open spots will be part of how you, as the Iowa Annual Conference, express your hopes and desires. But we also hope that your vote to receive and accept this report is an affirmation of this work and how we, as the people of the Iowa Annual Conference, choose to live into our future together.  

We believe that the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church can be a home for everyone and with God’s help can become the inclusive and diverse church God intends. We will work to empower contextual ministry while seeking to undo barriers that have caused harm. We commit to becoming anti-racist, anti-colonial, and to support and empower LGBTQIA+ siblings in the full life and ministry of our church."