Laity Day with the Bishop's programming focused on the goal of the Iowa Annual Conference to become an anti-racist conference. Hosted by Aldersgate United Methodist Church and held on April 15, 2023, this was the first time since 2019 that the annual event has been held. Bishop Kenntha led the morning worship and started off by asking those gathered to raise their hands if they had served communion before.
"I want you to imagine being at your church or in a gathering like this and serving communion. You hold the bread or the cup, and members of the congregation come, then someone comes to you who is of a different race or ethnicity, and you say to that person, as you pull off a piece of the bread, 'This is the body of Christ broken for you. This is the cup of salvation poured out for you.' You break that bread, depending on the size of the body, into multiple pieces, maybe 100 pieces, and you pour out that cup," said Bishop Kennetha. "Now we know that in communion, we remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sin; his body was broken so that ours might be whole, his blood was poured out so that we might be saved. But my question this morning, for all of us is, saved from what?"
She said, "Now we know that in our current day, in the midst of rising extremism and hate of all forms, all of us as human beings need salvation—from broken relationship, from broken relationship with God and with our fellow human beings. And racism, in particular, is the breaking of our relational bonds with God and with one another."
The learning segment of the morning was led by Rev. LaTonya Calderon, Director of Leadership Excellence & Inclusion. It was followed by Rev. Abraham Funchess with information about the 2023 MLK Freedom Bus Tour
and Gladys Alverez, President of the Iowa United Women of Faith, and their emphasis on anti-racism.
Watch a recording of the full day.
After lunch, Bishop Kennetha took questions from the audience; there were presentations from Camp Clear Lake Lay Leader, Ann Trimble Ray about the #BeUMC campaign
, Marsha Gerot, School for Lay Ministry Commission Chair, about the new format of School for Lay Ministry,
Nancy Stockdale about what's new with Mission U
, and information how the Iowa United Methodist Foundation
makes us stronger from Executive Director, Katharine Yarnell.
See an album of images from the day