Healthy Relationships

Last week the Ministerial Ethics Committee of the Iowa Conference trained over fifty laity and clergy from across the state to lead district workshops on healthy relationships in the next several months. Miguel A. De La Torre, a professor of social ethics at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, shared highlights from his book Liberating Sexuality during his presentation to the group.miguel-delatorre

He suggests five principles for maintaining healthy sexual relationships. All relationships must be safe. As the apostle Paul writes, “Let no one seek their own advantage, but each that of the other” (1 Corinthians 10:24).

All relationships must be mutually giving, or consensual, which “presupposes that both partners are mature and equal in power” (Liberating Sexuality, p. 22). All relationships must be faithful, mutually pleasing, and intimate so that trust and vulnerability may be maintained respectfully and safely.

Dr. De La Torre’s lecture was recorded for use in the district events. Participants will gather for worship together and the recording will be shown in four separate parts with time in between for conversation in small groups.

Apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches across the state help to support this initiative of the Ministerial Ethics Committee in cooperation with other agencies of the Iowa Annual Conference.

Episcopal Fund

We welcome Bishop Laurie Haller to the Iowa Conference formally this weekend in A Celebration of New Beginnings. The service will be at First United Methodist Church in Des Moines on Sunday, September 25th at 3:30 p.m.

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Our new bishop comes to us from First United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Michigan, just outside of Detroit. She had been serving as senior pastor there prior to her recent election to the episcopacy at the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference in Peoria, Illinois on Thursday, July 14.

Her ministry is made possible through the Episcopal Fund. She and her colleagues around the world receive support from this fund, which pays bishops’ salaries, covers their office and travel expenses and provides their pension and health-benefit coverage. The Iowa Conference is contributing $367,572 in apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches throughout the state toward this global Episcopal Fund.

The bishops of The United Methodist Church are providing spiritual leadership to more than 11 million persons in a broad range of settings on four continents, including North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Their responsibilities range from prayerful attention to local church pastoral appointments to promoting Christ’s ministry in the world today through such efforts as disaster relief and education of leaders.

God’s Closet

The United Methodist Church in Sutherland has begun a new clothing ministry, inspired in part by their engagement with the Healthy Church Initiative process. Leaders have been praying and working on articulating God’s vision for the church since January. HCIlogo2016

Their pastor, Robin Thomas, says, “They’ve picked up on the fact that mission and ministry needs to be held up and examined” so members are intentional about reaching out to the people of their community.

One woman’s passion for mission has led to a new ministry, “God’s Closet.” The garage by the parish house has be converted to a distribution center for free clothing.

Jean Leonard “has become the initiator, team builder and head cheerleader” for this new outreach, said Pastor Thomas. The closet offers a wide assortment of sizes and styles of clothing.

A recent announcement on their Facebook page offered this invitation to their guests: “Are you in need of school clothes or shoes for your kids? For yourself? Then this is for you. God’s Closet is anonymous. Just come in and if something will help, it’s yours. If you later have something you could give, then pay the gift forward.”

The Healthy Church Initiative is supported in part with $19,200 in apportionment gifts to the Northwest District budget in 2017 from the United Methodist churches of Iowa.

Welcoming New Students

Collegiate/Wesley, our United Methodist presence on the campus of Iowa State University, greeted new students recently as they arrived on campus for the fall semester.CW-Logo

Students and their families received hospitality from Collegiate/Wesley on move-in days. Their parking lot was available to ease the burden of finding an empty space along the busy streets. They also served pancakes on their patio, allowing students, parents, siblings and roommates a chance to take a break from settling in the dorms—and enjoy some free food!

One family member expressed gratitude in the following note:

My daughter received your Wesley Foundation newsletter welcoming her to Ames. Thank you for your neat newsletter full of fun, safe events for the college kids. What a great outreach!

We took our freshman daughter to her dorm yesterday for move-in day. Having the offer to park so close in your Sheldon Ave. parking lot was a wonderful blessing for us middle-aged parents on a nice sunny and hot summer day. We used your parking lot for a few hours. It made our move-in experience even nicer.

I hope my daughter comes for your midnight pancakes in September. I’ll send her your website link. She loved pancakes. THANK YOU! 🙂

Apportionment gifts of $374,987 from the United Methodist churches of Iowa will help to support this campus ministry in 2017.