Bishop Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai and the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church announce the following leadership staff transitions.
Rev. Bill Poland:
Rev. Bill Poland will retire on June 30, 2024, after 42 years of service to the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He will continue to serve as the Director of Connectional Ministries until his retirement next year.
Poland is a graduate of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He is currently the Director for Connectional Ministries and Interim Assistant to the Bishop. He just recently served as the Director of New Communities of Faith for the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church.
He previously served as the Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, District Superintendent of the South Central and Dubuque Districts. He started Community of Joy, a new church in the Quad-Cities, and served Iowa churches Wesley and Grace in Mason City, Salem in Council Bluffs, Center Grove and Rockdale in Dubuque, and the Greenfield UMC.
“Rev. Bill Poland has served with integrity and compassion in multiple roles in the Iowa Annual Conference,” said Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai. “It has been a blessing to work with him. He has been such an asset to the annual conference.”
Bill and his wife, Judy, have two children who are members of the Conference: Andrea Severson (Adam Severson) who is serving as a mental health therapist at the Mind and Spirit Counseling Center, and Jeremy Poland (Kristin Poland) who is serving the Panora United Methodist Church. Bill and Judy have four grandchildren: Alexa Severson (14), Alayna Severson (12), Katryna Poland (11), and Eli Poland (9).
As Bill and Judy approach retirement, they hope to enjoy more time traveling, camping in their travel trailer, trips on their motorcycle, and most of all time with their grandchildren.
Rev. Ron Carlson:
Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai will be appointing Rev. Ron Carlson as Director of Connectional Ministries on July 1, 2024.
“Rev. Ron Carlson has served the church well during his many years in ministry,” said Bishop Bigham-Tsai. “It has been a joy serving with him on the cabinet, and I know that he will serve the annual conference well as Director of Connectional Ministries.”
Carlson will work alongside Rev. Bill Poland as he transitions into the role over the next year.
“I am honored to be selected by Bishop Kennetha for this important position; I have some big shoes to fill, but working with Bill for the next year should ease the transition.”
Carlson graduated from the Saint Paul School of Theology in 2008 and has served as Associate Pastor of Lenox – Clearfield – Sharpsburg - Mercer Center; Associate Pastor of St. John’s UMC, Davenport; and Pastor of Eldridge - McCausland. Ron was appointed District Superintendent of the Northwest District (now Camp Clear Lake District) in 2018 and currently serves as District Superintendent of the River View Park District and Dean of the Appointive Cabinet.
Ron and his wife, Beth, have four children, Ben (Moline, IL), Michael and his wife Rachel (Cherokee, IA), Trent and his wife Lauren (Brookfield, WI), and Mackenzie (Des Moines, IA). They have three grandchildren with a fourth on the way.
Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson:
Bishop Kennetha appointed Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson as the Director of Congregational Excellence & New Communities of Faith beginning January 1, 2023.
“Rev. Johnson will continue to bring his expertise and passion to our annual conference as we find ways to grow the church,” said Bishop Bigham-Tsai. “I am very grateful to have him as a part of the team.”
He was. previously appointed as Director of Congregational Excellence in 2018 after serving as a Field Outreach Minister since 2013. Prior to coming on conference staff, Johnson served churches in Sidney, Thurman, Riverton, Muscatine, Grand Mound & Calamus. Johnson assumed the responsibilities of New Communities of Faith when Rev. Bill Poland stepped back into the Interim Assistant to the Bishop role after the election of Bishop Plambeck.
“Bill and I have always believed that redevelopment and new ministry are two sides of the same coin,” Johnson said. “We have always worked closely together.”
He started serving as a student local pastor in 2001 and was ordained elder in 2008. He graduated in 2004 from the University of Dubuque with an M-Div. In 2012, he earned a D-Min from the Saint Paul School of Theology focusing on Leadership and Congregational Development. And Johnson notes, because of a lifelong joy of learning, he is currently studying Organizational Leadership in a Ph.D. program at Indiana Wesleyan University.