Hispanic Ministry, Broadway United Methodist Church, Council Bluffs

The Broadway United Methodist Church in Council Bluffs recently celebrated its sixth anniversary of Hispanic Ministry, which was begun with the support of apportionment gifts from local churches across Iowa.

The congregation has a mission to be “ever seeking, serving, and growing as the family of God with unconditional love and acceptance.” This sense of purpose led them to reach out in new ways to Latinos in their area with the leadership of their associate pastor, Rubén Mendoza.

The congregation worships in Spanish. They have small groups to serve the needs of men, women, children, and youth. In addition, their ministries have brought people together from different parts of Latin America and offered opportunities for cultural celebrations, such as the quinceañera, a celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday.

The church building is located in the heart of Council Bluffs, and Hispanic members participate in the outreach activities of the congregation “in the heart of the city with a heart for the city.”

Pastor Mendoza summarized the blessings of ministry with the Broadway congregation when he wrote, “These years in ministry have been the most important in my life and I thank God for always supporting us.” Learn more at their website www.broadwayunitedmethodist.com.



Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation

The Rev. David R. Hobbs supports the ministry of Christian education in local churches across the state as the Iowa Conference Leadership Development Minister (LDM) for Camping and Christian Formation.

His work supports of leaders in Christian education and spiritual formation. “I have found the quality and depth of our educators to be some of the best across the country,” he wrote after returning recently from a national gathering of Christian educators. Whether professionals or volunteer servants in local congregations, our teachers “are of critical importance to the [United Methodist] Church and how we see the future lived out for Christ.”

Along with his other LDM colleagues, he regularly writes articles in Stirrings, an online publication that features new resources and training events that are available for use by local churches as well as conference leaders. He also has related responsibilities with the Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries. He provides leadership for strategic planning and policy making to grow and strengthen the camping program as an essential part of the disciple-building work of the Iowa United Methodist Church.

Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant

Iowa Wesleyan College was recently recognized nationally for its emphasis on community service as it trains and develops young leaders.

The Washington Monthly ranked 352 colleges offering bachelor’s degrees. Iowa Wesleyan ranked sixth overall in institutional commitment to service, placing it in the top two percent nationally. The college ranked 18th nationally in the category of student service participation and hours served, placing it in the top six percent of colleges. The magazine noted that “students at our best colleges are taught by example and design to look beyond themselves and give back.”

For more than 40 years, all Iowa Wesleyan students have been participated in service projects. More recently, service-learning has been built into the curriculum, increasing the variety of service projects each student is involved in while linking service with academic course content.

“There are many college ranking systems, but this one focuses on how well colleges serve not just students, but the public good,” said Iowa Wesleyan College President Jay Simmons. “Iowa Wesleyan’s achievement as one of the top colleges in the country in such a measure recognizes our long-standing commitment to service and to meeting the needs of a wide variety of students.”

Iowa Wesleyan College is affiliated with and supported by the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Iowa School for Lay Ministry

Dave Decker, the new Lay Leader for the Iowa Conference, was prepared for his new role in part through his studies in the Iowa School for Lay Ministry.

His classes began at Morningside College in 2004, where the School for Lay Ministry has one of its three sites throughout the state of Iowa. Four weekends each year were dedicated to classes that introduced students to a variety of topics about the United Methodist Church and our beliefs and practices. The intensive three-year “experience gave me confidence in what I had to offer others.”

By 2008 he had become the District Lay Leader in the North Central District, which also began his work with the Conference Board of Laity as a representative from the district. Now, in 2012, he has begun his service as our Conference Lay Leader. He credits the knowledge he received from the School for Lay Ministry with enabling his to “deepen my faith and my love for Jesus Christ.”

The Iowa School for Lay Ministry is supported in part by apportionment dollars given by local churches throughout the state, which help to underwrite expenses beyond what student fees cover.