On April 4, 2022, the North Central Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops announced a change in episcopal leadership
for the Dakotas and Iowa Conferences.
On February 16, Bishop Laurie Haller fell on ice while running, fracturing her right wrist and knocked unconscious. She is on medical leave. Working with the NCJ College of Bishops, the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops approved Bishop Deborah Kiesey to provide episcopal leadership for the Iowa and Dakotas Conferences during Bishop Haller’s medical leave.
Elected to the episcopacy in 2004, Bishop Deb is no stranger to either conference. From 2004 to 2012, she served as the episcopal leader of the Dakotas Area.
“I fell in love with the people and the land of the Dakotas,” said Bishop Deb. “I was welcomed with open arms and grace.”
She was ordained an elder in the Iowa Conference. Upon ordination, she served the following Iowa churches: Richland/Ollie, Washington, Mt. Pleasant, and Iowa City. In 2001, she was appointed to the Waterloo District as district superintendent, and served there until her election.
“Iowa was my home growing up, and it remains my home in retirement,” said Bishop Deb.
She decided to retire in 2016 after serving in the Michigan Area from 2012 to 2016. Bishop Deb moved to Iowa City, Iowa, with her husband Brad, an attorney from Washington, Iowa, who passed in 2021.
“My mobility (as a child, she had polio) has become more restricted, and I need to watch my stamina. Retirement has allowed me to care for my body, soul, and family,” said Bishop Deb.
Bishop Deb is blessed with two sons, Aaron and Joel. Aaron works for Helping Hands for Habitat for Humanity in Iowa City. Joel and his wife Katja Kiesey, and their children Clara, six years, and Jacob, 2.5 years, live in Berlin, Germany.
“One of the joys in my life is visiting my grandchildren virtually and in person,” said Bishop Deb.
Recently, Bishop Deb’s father, Reverend Dr. Lyle Lieder, celebrated his 100th Birthday. Her parents, Lyle and Betty, live in Rochester, Minnesota.
“Dad and mom are doing well. Mom is 98, and Dad is 100. In August, they will celebrate 78 years of marriage. They live in Rochester, close to one of my siblings. But all my siblings, including me, have an understanding that we will help mom and dad.” said Bishop Deb.
She is the middle child of five. Her father, an ordained elder of The United Methodist Church, served many churches. Therefore, she lived in various places in Iowa, including Hornick, Sioux City, Odebolt, Eagle Grove, Spencer, and Mason City, where she graduated from high school.
She hopes to be present at meetings in both conferences as needed. She will work remotely from her home in Iowa City when possible. Bishop Deb plans to be part of the Iowa Annual Conference, June 3-5, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa, and the Dakotas Annual Conference, June 9-11, 2022, in Bismarck, North Dakota. She will have assistance from other bishops, as requested, during annual conferences.
“I promised my family that I would take care of myself as I take on this role. I am delighted to serve and look forward to connecting with new and old friends,” said Bishop Deb.
Read Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey's formal bio here