The following is a transcript of the Iowa Conference Conversations Podcast featuring Maggie Biggs, Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services, and Communications Director Rev. Dr. Art McClanahan.
Maggie Biggs is the Iowa Annual Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services. Maggie this third Annual Conference coming up to present the treasurer's report and the statistics to the yearly gathering. It's two days ahead of time now. How are you looking forward to the Annual Conference Session?
Maggie: Well I am looking forward to the Annual Conference Session, and yes I can't believe this is my third presentation to the conference. I'm looking forward to it and I'm hopeful. I hope everyone comes with the frame of mind of being the best United Methodists we can be, and hope that we can celebrate and learn together and do our business at the Annual Conference.
To listen to the full Iowa Conference Conversations Podcast with Conference Treasurer Maggie Biggs, click here.
Now there's a lot of preparation that goes into the Annual Conference on the part of a whole large group of people, but your area seems to be particularly busy as you have a lot of info to prepare that you present to the delegates as a part of a very serious discussion. Talk about how your team works together as you prepare for the Annual Conference.
Maggie: We, of course, had a hand in the Pre-Conference Manual in terms of the various ministry plans and the budgets that appear in that manual. Besides a presentation, we prepare to have our Treasurer's Office there at the Annual Conference so that we can assist in any items that might be purchased from individuals, and just be there to assist and help how we can.
And there are offerings that are taken during the Annual Conference so I imagine your team cares for those as they are received and accounted for.
Maggie: Yes, they do. We definitely make sure we are aware of what offerings we are going to have this year and where those offerings are supposed to go. It's a team effort when it comes to counting the offerings and keeping track of how much has come in so that we can let others know where we're at with things.
Now in the role that is now in its third chapter, presenting the Treasurer's Report and the statistics report to the Annual Conference, talk a little bit about what goes into the preparation for that presentation.
Maggie: It's my understanding that I am required as part of the Book of Discipline actually to give statistical information to the Annual Conference. Looking at various information, trying to decide what is the most important thing to let people know about, whether it's good or bad either way. Just presenting the information and showing in as good of light as possible, but just what the picture is, is what the picture is. My job is to just do that and inform.
To inform and to be concise and precise, and also to be a resource person as I imagine as questions come up and people are seeking clarification.
Maggie: Right, try to do that. That's one thing I want to make sure to let people know that when we're there that anytime there's a question during any of the sessions that I or John Disburg, that's the pres of CFA (Council of Finance and Administration) that we are available. Just let us know what those are and we will do our best to answer them.
Now when we gather for the Annual Conference session beginning Friday night with laity and clergy session, and then all day Saturday and all day Sunday into the evening both days, and all the way up until probably about just about Monday at dinner hour. That's a lot of hours to be together with clergy and elected reps from each of the nearly 770 congregations across the state of Iowa that are United Methodists. What do you do to prepare yourself as you look ahead toward not only the presentation but then being there for such long hours in such a concentrated way?
Maggie: Yes, it is a lot of long hours as it is for everyone who is there, but I do try to take a little bit of time before everything begins to kind of clear my mind. I've taken some time to reflect over the last year at the various things that are going on within the conference and just try to come in with a hopeful heart.
So you have some hopes as to where we are and a sense of realism as well that numbers are what they are, and without judgment and with evaluation as you present the numbers as they are. Then members of the Annual Conference will make decisions based on the facts that you and your team create. So there's a hopeful aspect, a realistic aspect, and at the same time, there's kind of looking in the rearview mirror of what happened in the past and at the same time looking toward the future.
Maggie: That's correct. There is a lot of information that you can look at, and we try to make use of it whether it's statistics or financial information to try to bring the information together to try to paint a picture of the conference finances. All the goings on that we have had in the last year, and try to be as accurate as possible in presenting it.
It sounds to me like you have a huge responsibility and not only on your shoulders but you have a wonderful team working for you to present the information in an accurate way at the conference session. To help all of us know who we are and how we are engaged in mission by the resourcing that we provide. So with that let me say thank you, Maggie, for your work and your team's work as we look forward in just a couple of days to Annual Conference. Thank you for what you'll bring to us and for what you have brought to us in the many years that you've been a part of the financial ministry of the Iowa Annual Conference.
Maggie: Thank you very much I am looking forward to it!