Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As promised, I will share with you some of the highlights of the 172nd session of the Iowa Annual Conference which was held June 6-9 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. The theme this year was “Therefore, Go and Make Disciples”, based on Matthew 28:19-20.
The Service of Gathering and Remembering was held Saturday afternoon. It was a service of gratitude towards those who had passed away in the last conference year and also a call for those who remain to look beyond death. It was a beautiful service. Nancy Young was one of those who was remembered.
Bishop Julius Trimble in his Episcopal Address reminded us that “Jesus has extended to us an invitation. Jesus invites us to come close and then go out. RSVP, saying yes is not always easy, but absolutely necessary, if we profess Jesus Christ as our Savior and put out whole trust in his grace.”
During the Sunday morning Service for the Ordering of Ministry, the IAC celebrated 21 individuals in their next level of ministry. Jonathan Heifner (Hancock, Silver Creek, Shelby) and Christopher St. Clair (Broadway Methodist) were two of the 21 individuals. The message for those being recognized was, “Love the People, Don’t Spend Time on Hopelessness.”
Pastor and author Adam Hamilton , senior pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas presented a three session program , “Leading Beyond the Walls.” Session one was about leaders – qualities of leaders people will follow and unleashing the power of the laity. In session two, Hamilton shared effective worship and preaching practices. And the third session was about mission and evangelism.
Conference Treasurer Terry Montgomery reported some good news – the financial health of the Iowa Conference has made marked increase in the last year.
A representative from Heifer International expressed her thanks to Iowa United Methodists for their generous support of Heifer International. In recent years Iowa United Methodists have given more than three million dollars to the efforts of Heifer International. The generous support of HI has helped thousands of families and their communities to move beyond hunger. (Thank you to Oakland UMC for your generous giving to Heifer International).
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the partnership between the Iowa UM Conference and Nigeria. A time was set aside at the IAC session to celebrate this partnership. A great dancing processing brought offerings forward to celebrate the partnership and to show continued support. Bishop Trimble called the partnership “one of the longest running partnerships in the church.” (Thank you to Oakland UMC for your donations that make it possible for us, as partners in ministry, to send layette kits to Nigeria).
“Sometimes, when you are living in a rough situation or going through a rough time, you need a good story to take you away, to give you power, to help you dream about changing your own story. The Iowa Conference hopes to help thousands of children do just that through a reading initiative called Change a Child’s Story”
Clint Twedt-Ball of the Poverty to Opportunity Task Force told about an initiative that aims to reach out to every one of the 8,000 kids who are living in poverty in the state of Iowa who are not reading at grade level. Clint announced that our goal as Iowa United Methodists, during the next year, is to give away half a million books, and during the next two years, is to give a million hours of time to support kids and reading.
(Please read article in this newsletter titled Change a Child’s Story to see how the Oakland UMC will be helping to accomplish that goal).
If you would like to learn more about what went on at the 172nd session of the Iowa Annual Conference and/or watch the annual conference videos of the Adam Hamilton’s teaching sessions and the special services, you can log on to iaumc.org.
And All God’s Children Said,