Pictured Rocks Camp and Retreat Center

Camping experiences help young adults grow in their faith as they work with children and youth. Each year the summer camp staff at Pictured Rocks includes young people who are just emerging into adulthood. They get to explore their faith and hone leadership skills while enjoying God’s beautiful creation with energetic campers from all around eastern Iowa.

Fun is a recurring theme of camp. Lauren Foxwell was a frequent camper as a young person, who returned to Pictured Rocks as a counselor. “Working there tested my patience and really made me question how far I was willing to go to serve God.” Despite the challenges of the work, it “was by far the best summer I have had yet!”

Jordan Sprunger, who returns for a second season as a camp counselor, wrote about developing “new devotional habits [to] better understand my relationship with God.” Meeting new people is another highlight of the experience. “I am excited to work with the campers again and to see how God will work in the lives of both the staff and campers this summer.”

Learn more about the Pictured Rocks Camp and Retreat Center, a ministry supported with apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches across the state, at www.picturedrocks.org.


University of Northern Iowa Wesley Foundation

The UNI Wesley Foundation supports the ministries of local churches by connecting with students both on and off campus. David Glenn-Burns, the campus minister at the Wesley Foundation at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, received a note recently, confirming the important connections they make with students.

“On behalf of the Reinbeck United Methodist Church, I want you all to know how grateful we are for the ministry of the Wesley students and Rev. Glenn-Burns. The relationships you have established with the youth will be life shaping relationships for them. The relationship you have established with our church is certainly a witness to the Body of Christ at work through the connection. I was moved by the depth of respectful, thoughtful reflection that was just hanging in the air in the library last night when I so rudely interrupted you. Great Job!!”

UNI Wesley offers a variety of ways for students to connect with each other through worship, Bible studies, book clubs, service projects, meals, and much more. This summer, for example, they are providing a community meal at the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church on the 3rd Thursday of the month. Read more their ministries, which are supported with conference apportionments, at www.uniwesley.com.


Children and Family Urban Ministries, Des Moines

The Haven is an after-school program that offers literacy enrichment and homework help along with recreational and creative activities for grade-school children just north of downtown Des Moines in partnership with the Moulton Extended Learning Center.

The Kindergarteners and first graders are establishing and improving a reading routine in addition to working on basic writing and math skills.

Students in grades 2-3 are continuing to enjoy their Tuesday afternoons with reading mentors through Everybody Wins Iowa. They also are working to establish habits for a good homework routine.

In addition to working on maintaining their homework routine, which is a critical factor for a successful transition to middle school, students in grades 4 and 5 are participating in a money and banking workshop.

Wednesday Clubs for a variety of interests are offered during the school year, such as Food Club and Knitting Club. A new Computer Club is covering some computer basics, presenting methods for doing research and finding information on the Internet, and introducing a few new computer games.

The Haven is a program of Children and Family Urban Ministries, a mission agency of the Iowa Conference located in Des Moines. Learn more at www.cfum.org.

Strategic Planning

The Iowa Conference received support from two general church agencies in developing a strategic plan for creating world-transforming communities of faith. Apportionment gifts from the churches of Iowa help to support the work of these agencies.

The Council of Bishops commissioned the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) and the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) to partner in providing the Iowa Conference with a Financial Advisory Consulting Team—known as FACT. Bishop Donald Ott led the FACT team as they worked with Iowa leaders in July through September of 2012.

Three strategic priorities for ministry in Iowa have been identified for the Iowa Conference session to consider when it meets next month in Des Moines. All three priorities focus on supporting local, face-to-face ministry, where the best opportunities are for cultivating disciples of Jesus Christ.

Communities of faith include local churches as well as emerging experiments to bring people together in small groups for devotional life as well as service to the world around them. The Iowa Conference supports communities of faith by equipping transformational leaders, both lay and clergy, and directing our resources to our common goals for the sake of our shared mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. More details can be found on the conference website at http://www.iaumc.org/pages/detail/2178.