2023 Iowa Annual Conference

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Name of conference: Iowa Annual Conference

Location of conference gathering: MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex, West Des Moines, Iowa.

Dates of conference gathering: June 2-4, 2023

Conference theme: Remembering Who We Are

Officiating bishop: Bishop Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai

Guest speaker: The Right Rev. Betsey Monnot, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa.

Main actions enacted by the conference: 

  • Combined the functions of the Rules and Resolutions committees into the Sessions Committee.
  • Approved the ministry plan for the conference missions programming and administrative agencies.
  • Approved the ministry plans for clergy and congregational support committees.
  • Approved a budget for 2024.
  • Elected new members to board and agencies.
  • Affirmed the remaining delegation members and elected members to join the delegation and fill jurisdictional and reserve delegate roles. This election is pending further guidance from the general church.
  • Approved new members of the board of pension and the foundation board; and the retirement and health benefits presented by the board of pensions. 
  • Passed a resolution that calls for the protection of the right to peacefully address injustice.
  • There was a motion to rename the districts based on geographical locations. A motion was made to refer that to the Communications Committee to study the effects and to report back to the Iowa Annual Conference next year.

Did any churches disaffiliate or leave the conference?

A Special Called Annual Conference Session was held May 23, 2023. You can find a list of churches and the resolution here: https://www.iaumc.org/newsdetail/17439581 

The conference had one church, Everly United Methodist Church, that was closed during the regular AC session due to “the unauthorized intent to transfer the real and personal property of The United Methodist Church to another entity.” 

The conference also voted to discontinue its relationship with the University of Iowa Wesley Foundation, now called the Wesley Center, per their request. A new Wesley Foundation will be held in partnership with Iowa City First United Methodist Church. 

Number of churches that closed because no longer sustainable:

12 — Davenport, Grace; Fontanelle; Fostoria; Hastings; Henderson; Iconium; Marathon; New Albin, Grace; Pleasant Valley; Reasnor; Silver Creek; Unionville.

Any special annual conference set: 

Another Special Called Annual Conference to focus on disaffiliations will be held Nov. 18, 2023.

What budget did the conference pass and how did it change from last year? 

See https://www.iaumc.org/files/websites/www/2023+PCM+FINAL.pdf,  Page 15

“This budget is a slight increase over 2023’s budget by 2.8% or $236,768 increase. This increase is largely due to an increase in General Church apportionments that will be voted on at the 2020 General Conference to be held in 2024,” said Conference Treasurer Emily Graber.

Other resolutions adopted by the conference: 

Protecting the Right to Peacefully Address Injustice: https://www.iaumc.org/files/websites/www/2023+PCM+FINAL.pdf, Page 26

Did your clergy session approve any openly gay candidates for ministry? No.

Did the conference have to elect replacement delegates due to the General Conference delay?

Yes. Some of our delegates transitioned out of the conference, others changed status (became clergy) and others dropped due to the time commitment.

2020/24 General Conference delegates:

Clergy delegates: Katie Dawson, LaTonya Calderon, Chad Jennings, Nathanial Nims, Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz, Andrea Kraushaar. 

Lay delegates: Lindsay Drake, Erica Shannon Stueve, Angela Hansen-Abbas, Nitza Dovenspike, Alex Johnson, James Baty.

2020/24 Jurisdictional Conference delegates:

Clergy delegates: Frederick Lewis, Melissa Warren, Barrie Tritle, Amy Johnson, Matthew German, Scott Kober. 

Lay delegates: Rebecca Nims, Kae E. Tritle, Kathi Mitchell, Anne Marie Webb, Shannon Meister, David Dovenspike

Clergy alternates: Brian Oliver, Alexis Johnson, Timothy Bonney, Brian Williams, Karen Dungan, Medea Saunders. 

Lay alternates: Mike King, Nancy Steckelberg, Martha Chancellor, Susan Wright, Phyllis Warren, Joseph Steckelberg.

Number of people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership: 

Three ordained, four commissioned, four transferred in, 11 Course of Study grads. 

Number of clergy retired: 34

2022 stats vs. 2021 stats:

  1. Membership stands at 132,750, down 3,561 (2.6%) from the previous year.
  2. Worship attendance stands at 29,476, up 1,501 from the previous year. If you include online worshippers: 54,290, down 21,308 from the previous year.
  3. Church school attendance stands at 8,354, down by 725 from 2021. 
  4. Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2022 were 8,884, up 950 from 2021. 
  5. Adults and young adults in small groups for 2022 was 2,382, up 41 from 2021. 
  6. Worshippers engaged in mission for 2022 was 536,659, up from 2021 by 85,384. 

Courtney Levin, Iowa Annual Conference communications officer

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