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Bishop Laurie Haller announced today that she will name the Rev. William W. Poland to the newly-created position of Director of New Faith Communities. He will begin his new responsibilities on January 1, 2018.
“Our first strategic priority in the Iowa Annual Conference,” said Bishop Laurie, is “‘creating world-transforming communities of faith.’ Because we believe that Jesus’ mandate to his followers to ‘go and make disciples’ applies to us as well,” she added, “we have been seeking a full-time director.”
The position Rev. Poland will assume emerged from a vision of new faith communities springing up all over Iowa as clergy and congregations that are inspired to creatively reach new people with the gospel message of grace and hope.
Applications were received and interviews were conducted with several highly qualified individuals. After some reflection, “the interview team realized that the very best candidate was in our midst,” Bishop Laurie noted. “Rev. Bill Poland has experience starting a new church, has served a variety of appointments, has been the Superintendent for the South Central District, currently serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, and most important, Bill has a passion for sharing Christ’s love with those who have no church connection.”
“I am excited to assume the position of Director of New Faith Communities for our Conference,” said Rev. Poland. “I am looking forward to working with clergy and lay leaders in local churches and around the Conference to discern the creation of new places to engage with people who are not yet part of the church. We are already seeing fruit in congregations that are adding special worship times for new people and the new congregations that are being planted to reach new neighbors and younger generations.” He strongly believes that the “life God has for us is beyond the walls of our church buildings.”
In announcing his new appointment, Bishop Laurie said, “Bill is a creative thinker and strategist, a trusted colleague, and has the unique ability to see the big picture as well as care for details. From the moment I met Bill at the consecration service for new bishops in Peoria, Illinois last year, I realized how very blessed I would be to work with him. In his new role, Bill will remain a member of the appointive cabinet.”
A plan is being developed for the transition of Rev. Poland from the office of Assistant to the Bishop for Administration to being the Director of New Faith Communities.
Bishop Laurie invites all “to keep Bill and his wife, Judy, in your prayers during this time of change.”