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2014 Iowa Annual Conference

June 7-9, 2014 in Des Moines, Iowa

The exciting news from the 2014 Annual Conference session was that the Iowa Conference topped its $2 million goal in the Imagine No Malaria initiative. In the two years of the campaign $2,009,907 has been received, with nearly $75,000 received during the annual conference.

In his Episcopal Address, Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble emphasized, “We are one family,” noting that “our strength and source of power as a church or our stated beliefs, but in what God has done and Jesus has promised to continue to do through us.”

Bishop Linda Lee, bishop-in-residence at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, was the preacher for the service of Ordering of Ministry. In her sermon, she said, “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.”

Four people were recognized as course of study graduates, two as associate members, one commissioned for the work of a deacon, nine commissioned for the work of an elder, two ordained as deacons and nine were ordained as elders.

The ministries of 33 clergy were celebrated during the Retirement service. Some 30 clergy and 19 clergy spouses were remembered during the Memorial Service, including Bishop Wayne K. Clymer, who served the Iowa Conference from 1980 to 1984. 

The Strategic Priorities report highlighted world-transforming communities of faith. The Design Task Force report described an action plan for aligning and deploying the resources and staff of the conference with the priorities of creating world-transforming communities of faith and equipping transformational leaders.

During the Laity Session, the conference lay leader invited “each of you to reflect on your calling, something that reflects back to the time you decided to dedicate your life to Christ.”

Five resolutions were discussed extensively and passed:

  • Support for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to abolish corporate personhood
  • A call to reform immigration laws and stop deportations of anyone except convicted felons
  • Support for state and federal legislation labeling genetically engineered foods
  • Taking the call to repent of racism and sexism seriously
  • Affirming the ecclesiastical rights of all persons; declaring opposition to continued distinctions of church law restricting ministries to LGBT persons; acknowledging that leaders of the conference, while bound by the Book of Discipline, are also bound by the commandment of Jesus; acknowledging that clergy and congregations encountering institutional discrimination may feel bound by conscience to offer ministries of the church to all persons on an equal basis; the conference recognizing that pursuit of disciplinary action against any person providing equal access to the sacraments and rituals of the church may cause harm to LGBT persons.

A budget of $16,014,097 was passed, representing a decrease of $259,405 or 1.59 percent.

Membership stands at 168,720, a decrease of 2,878 (2 percent). Average weekly worship attendance was 53,449, a decrease of 1,221 (2 percent). The total number of congregations was: 788. Average congregation size is 217 — largest membership is: 2,734. Professions of faith: 2,239, a 9 percent decrease from 2012. Total number of baptisms celebrated: 2,053, a decrease of 4.5 percent. 

The Iowa Conference paid general church apportionments at 100 percent for the sixth consecutive year.

— The Rev. Dr. Arthur McClanahan, director of communications for the Iowa Conference