Beginning January 1, 2023, Rev. LaTonya Calderon began serving half-time at Windsor Heights UMC and half-time as the Interim Director of Leadership Excellence and Inclusion.
With the election of Bishop Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, Calderon will take on some of the responsibilities of the prior Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence role around leadership development while adding to it the Ministry of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Accessibility. She will collaborate with and resource the Cabinet, Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, Circuit Ministry, Antiracism Team, and the Iowa Commission On Religion & Race.
“Rev. Calderon is well-respected as a leader in this annual conference,” noted Bishop Bigham-Tsai. “She will bring much wisdom and passion to this role. I look forward to continuing to work with her.”
Calderon has served the Iowa United Methodist Conference for 20 years in five appointments: Calvary/Raymond/St. Marks UMC; Wesley UMC; Center Chapel/Farmers Chapel UMC; Stuart-Mt. Vernon UMC; Windsor UMC. She has served on the Board of Ordained Ministry around Support & Accountability, Examinations, and the Personnel Availability Review Committee. She served on the School for Ministry, the District Operational Team, the Circuit Development Team, and the Ezekiel Team. She was elected as a 2019 General Conference delegate.
Calderon explains her call to ministry is to invite people to fall in love with God and live life full of “Jesus Joy.” She attributes her Joy of following Jesus to her Baptist upbringing and her deep spiritual grounding to her relationship with the Creator God. As a servant leader, she has focused on developing leaders to address the adaptive changes needed to lead in times like these. She takes seriously that “ALL” should be invited and welcomed in their fully beloved embodied selves to be a part of God’s work in this world through the United Methodist Church. She has loved her work over the past year and a half of being welcomed at the table to be an ear and a voice of diversity within our conference and being trained to help others work on increasing their intercultural capacity.
“I am excited for this opportunity to bring my voice and experience to the work of the Interim Director of Leadership Excellence and Inclusion for the conference,” said Calderon. “For me, it is the culmination of two great passions. To be able to walk with pastors in becoming great leaders and to continue to address the long-held system of racism that continues to be a wall between becoming the fully inclusive church of Jesus Christ. What a joy it is for me to be able to be about “Good Work” and “Good Trouble!”
Calderon is married to David Calderon Jr. and lives in Urbandale. She has two daughters, LaQueysha and Jasmine, a son David Michael III, and a grandson, Riley.