The 2022 Iowa Annual Conference Session is being presided over by Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey (retired bishop for Michigan and Iowa resident) and Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble (Indiana's resident bishop, formerly Iowa's), while Iowa resident bishop Laurie Haller is on medical leave. Bishop Kiesey called the session to order at 9:00 am on June 4, 2022.
The Waukee United Methodist Church Worship band provided fun and uplifting music, and youth Paul Anthony Conner of Burns United Methodist Church in Des Moines read Jeremiah 29:10-14.
"I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me," said Conner.
In the Episcopal Address, titled "Hope is a Good Thing," Trimble reminded the session members that their first step is always prayer.
Bishop Trimble borrowed a story from Indiana's lay leader, David Johns, who was asked, "Why are you United Methodist?"
David Johns answered that he liked that the laity could partner with the clergy; liked that he is bible guided without being bible bullied; that grace leads to faith, faith leads to passion, and passion leads to action; the Three Simple Rules (Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.); and finally that he happens to like the people in his local church because they have stood by each other in good and bad times.
Trimble said that Jeremiah 29 is a letter to the Exiles in Babylon during the reign of King Zedekiah, saying that their restoration was on the other side of exile. That encouragement came to prepare the Israelites for a long exile. A reminder that when you do not see immediate results or relief, God's promise has not changed.
"Covid-19 did not kill the church," said Trimble. "Those looking for a new church option do not change the promise God makes through the prophet Jeremiah...that our future has been stamped with hope! Characterized by people who seek God and love God. Not a taste of hope...but filled with hope!"
Trimble quoted author Barabara Kingsolver, saying, "The very least you can do in your life is figure out that for which you hope. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof."
"Beloved Iowans, hope is a good thing," said Trimble.
Bishop Trimble concluded, "At my lowest, God is my hope. At my darkest, God is my light. At my weakest, God is my strength. At my saddest, God is my comforter."
Opening worship continued with prayers to the people and the passing of the peace. It ended with Rev. Ronald Carlson introducing a video from the Board of Global Ministries showing the humanitarian relief in Ukraine and then an offering for United Methodist Committee on Relief for Ukraine. To watch the video and make an offering, please go to the AC2022 offerings page
Watch Bishop Trimble's Episcopal Address