Friends and Co-workers in Christ,
As the days and weeks unfold, we will know more about whether the 2020 Iowa Annual Conference session will or will not be held as planned on the first weekend of June. As you know, the timing of everything in our lives, including our conferencing, depends on the spread/containment/regression of the pandemic and making sure everyone is safe and well.
There have been a few questions raised about the status of the 2020 Iowa Annual Conference session as well as the district conferences. Most have been asked after it was announced the 2020 General Conference was being postponed, now likely to meet in 2021. What follows is a summary of the conversations of the Administrative Team (Bishop Laurie Haller, Maggie Biggs, Joni Mardesen, Rev. Harlan Gillespie, Rev. Arthur McClanahan, and Rev. Bill Poland).
There is deep gratitude for the leadership and spiritual guidance of those persons who chair the agencies, boards, committees, all local pastors, extension ministry leaders, and the lay leadership of our local churches and ministry areas across the Conference and within every District. They are bearers of the light of Christ, even more so in the times in which we are living today. The most important thing for everyone and our blessed neighbors who God calls us to love, is to live each day caring for the well-being of ourselves and everyone. All other matters fall away.
We want to encourage you, along with all of the persons to whom you relate in leadership, to continue to prepare for the 2020 Iowa Annual Conference. This means filling nominations in districts and conference leadership, preparation of reports, etc. We’re investigating various ways that the business of Annual Conference and Clergy Session might be completed in a timely fashion. We are also in the process of checking in with our vendors who support our Iowa Annual Conference work (venue, electronic voting, multimedia, catering, etc.) so that we know what timeframes might be needed for alternative ways of meeting.
We also want you to know that we are very mindful of the need to reduce as much of the financial costs as possible for the meeting of the Annual Conference. While health, safety, and well-being (physically, mentally, relationally, spiritually), are primary, financial responsibility is important as well.
We appreciate your partnership, your prayers, and your suggestions.
Rev. Dr. Harlan Gillespie
Assistant to Bishop Laurie Haller