The 2014 Annual session of the Iowa Conference formally opened on Saturday, June 7, at 9:30 am. “Imagine: A Faithful Church – A Healthy World” was the theme. I would like to share with you some of the highlights of this year's Conference.
Excerpt from Bishop Trimble's Episcopal Address – We Are Family
“Do you know why we are here,” asked Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble as he began his Episcopal Address. “We are here because Jesus is Lord! This is our annual Christian Conference, our big family meeting in Iowa. We are here because we are family; and when we gather as family, God is always with us, stirring our imagination, moving our hearts and freeing our lives from the bondage of our sins and fears.”
“Our strength and source of power as a church is not our budget or our stated beliefs, but in what God has done and Jesus has promised to continue to do through us. The work of the Holy Spirit is everywhere and for everyone.”
Quoting the Common English Bible, vs. 26, the Bishop said: From one person God created every human nation to live on the whole earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands.
“We are one family. We are his offspring.”
“We can imagine a faithful church at its best when people on the outside can't wait to come in and experience radical hospitality and meaningful, moving worship; and people on the inside can't wait to get out to share the love of Jesus in neighborhoods all over the world.”
“As a bishop of the church, privileged to serve in Iowa, I am going to pray, preach and push, as hard as I can, to promote the unity of the church.” When we get to heaven, there won't be a section for different religious denominations and political ideologies.”
“We are family,” he concluded “Let it be so.”
Imagine No Malaria Excites the Conference
Iowa Field Coordinator for Imagine No Malaria, Rev. Katie Dawson, began her address of the Conference by detailing the 2010 statistics of exposure to and death from malaria. At that time one million people were dying each year.
“We decided that is unacceptable,” Rev. Dawson said. “And so we decided to do something about it.”
Imagine No Malaria was established in the Iowa Annual Conference in 2012 with the goal of raising $2 million by 2015 to fight malaria deaths in Africa through communication, education, treatment and prevention. Rev. Dawson displayed a map of churches in the Iowa Annual Conference that have participated in Imagine No Malaria (the Oakland UMC was one of those churches -thank you for giving to this mission).
The tally for Imagine No Malaria Iowa as of Rev. Dawson's report was $1,956,304. “That's 195,630 lives saved,” she said.
*At 2:45 pm in the Monday afternoon session (after taking an offering at the Conference for Imagine No Malaria) Rev. Dawson announced the new total topped 2 million -$2,009,907.
Sunday Ordering of Ministry Service
The service for the Ordering of Ministry for the 2014 Annual Conference Session celebrated the recognition, commission and ordination of 26 individuals (Congratulations to Rev. Brody Tubaugh, Pastor of Carson and Mt. Hope United Methodist Churches. Rev. Tubaugh was ordained as an elder during this special service).
Bishop Linda Lee, Bishop-in-residence at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, offered the sermon for the service .
Excerpt from Bishop Linda Lee's Sermon
“We honor that day when the comforter Jesus promised and the power he told the disciples to wait for, were poured out into the world.”
“The world is in need today of undeniable verification that God is indeed in our midst and that God's power is still at work.”
“We are living at a time when a new depth of witness to the power of God's presence in the work is deeply necessary. There is hope that the church will be a place where people work together even when they disagree or have different cultural backgrounds or different theological understandings. It's important to hold on to hope for what God is doing and about to do in and through us.”
“We are called to pour out our gifts because in doing so the power of God is made known and people hear and understand in their own language. They understand what is possible for them, for their loved ones, for all people. This is what Jesus did. He poured out all he had.”
“Pour out the gifts God has given you. Don't worry about trying to do it like anybody else. Pour out your praise and your love to God, and others will be inspired to stand up and to offer their little light to the world.”
“Your are the light of the world. Pour it out! Let it shine! This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.”
Thank you to Dick Merkle, Lay Delegate to IAC, and Louise for attending IAC.
If you would like to read more about the 2014 IAC and/or read the sermons in their entirety, please go to iaumc.org.