Iowa Conference creating bi-district offices

Iowa Conference creating bi-district offices

published 3/29/2019
As a result of the Budget Team’s recommendations, the Iowa Conference will be creating bi-district offices and reducing the number of District Administrative Assistants. Iowa will continue to maintain eight districts with eight District Superintendents. The locations of the bi-district offices will be announced at a later date.

"What is already happening is that we have been creative in realigning our resources in order to empower and develop more leaders. As a District Superintendent, I have been spending more time in connecting with local churches and pastors. That is one of the positive outcomes from the bi-district office structure," said Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon.
The districts that will be combining offices are as follows:
  • Central and South Central, Sue Booth
  • Southeast and East Central, Ann Zeal
  • Northeast and North Central, Alanna Warren
  • Northwest and Southwest, Judi Calhoon
The combination of offices will result in the loss of three respected employees, Jamie Newbury (Southwest District), Karen Wersinger (Northeast District) and Sherry Swanson (Southeast District). All eight of the current District Administrative Assistants will work together to complete this transition by Dec. 31, 2019.
"We have been intentional about creating a space of grace for flexibility and permission to give to each other." said Rev. Jeon. "Even though we don’t have a clear picture on what the transition looks like, it will take more time for us to adjust to the new reality with a bi-district office."

The current Central District Administrative Assistant, Wendy Lubkeman, has begun a new position as Executive Secretary of the Appointive Cabinet. In her new position, Lubkeman will take over some administrative work during the appointive process, arranging clergy housing moves, and releasing appointment notifications, and will report to Assistant to the Bishop Harlan Gillespie. Previously, this work has been done several persons throughout the conference staff, including the district administrative assistants and the former position held by Sara Carlson as administrative assistant to the assistant to the bishop.
These changes have been implemented due to the decline in apportionment receipts, the Iowa Conference must reduce the 2020 budget by 1.3 million dollars, an 8.5 percent reduction from the 2019 budget.
More information on the Budget Team recommendations can be found on the Iowa Conference Website.

District Fundraising Challenge

District Fundraising Challenge

published 11/12/2018


 Several weeks ago, a group of eleven clergy and laity from Iowa visited Africa University in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe. Africa University (AU) was founded in 1992 as a United Methodist-related university and draws students from countries all over the African continent. Several of our Iowa clergy are graduates of AU.

We stayed at the Ubuntu Retreat Centre, which was completed several years ago and was funded by United Methodists in the West Michigan (now Michigan) Conference. The Ubuntu Centre houses visiting professors, mission teams, AU board members, conference attendees, and other visitors. 

Upon our arrival, our team noticed that the room designated as the kitchen in the Ubuntu Centre was not finished, which means that all meals have to be transported from the main university kitchen to the Ubuntu Centre. We were so impressed and blessed by our time at Africa University and the hospitality of the Ubuntu Centre that we decided to challenge our eight districts in Iowa to help raise money to furnish the kitchen at an estimated cost of $40,000. We are inviting each district to raise $5,000 by the time of the Iowa Annual Conference in June. We will then offer our gifts together at one of our worship services. 

Please feel free to be creative in your fundraising! To begin our challenge, Gary and I have donated $1,000, which will be split across the eight districts. Thank you for your continuing support for AU.
Bishop Laurie and Rev. Gary Haller
Rev. Darline Balm-Demmel
Rev. Ron and Beth Carlson
Rev. Lilian Gallo-Seagren
Rev. Kiboko Kiboko 
Rev. Carol Kress
Rev. Ben Wedeking
Rev. Paul and Rev. Gayle Wilcox