Open Churches-2017

Dear Clergy in the Iowa Annual Conference
For several years, we have joined other conferences in posting open churches when announced and approved retirements were known. Our intention is to invite pastors to prayerfully discern if they have the gifts and graces to serve in particular communities and churches. This gives valuable input to the cabinet appointment process.
The Iowa appointive cabinet affirms the following principles in making appointments:

  • Our first priority is to make appointments that will further the mission of The United Methodist Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the church.
  • The appointive cabinet seeks to balance the needs of the context and mission field of each community along with the needs of the pastor and congregation.
  • Since past performance of both clergy and congregations (through collected data and direct observation) is a strong indicator of potential, we will give most of our attention to matching highly effective clergy with high potential congregations.
  • Salary level is a consideration in appointment-making but is not the only criterion. The financial needs of clergy families and experience and skill needs of the congregation will both be taken into consideration. Therefore, not all moves will involve an increase in salary.
  • Clergy appointments to local churches are for one year at a time and are fixed by the Bishop at Annual Conference. Our goal is to continue moving toward longer-term appointments. However, there are times when the missional needs of congregations and the conference may necessitate a change that is not requested.

Please indicate where you feel your gifts will best match a particular church by sending an email by January 5 to the superintendent listed as the contact person for each congregation and your current superintendent.
The appointive cabinet of the Iowa Annual Conference seeks to be as open and transparent as we can in making appointments that demonstrate John Wesley’s hope that we “do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.” We pray for each one of you and all of our congregations during this holy season of Advent, that the peace of Christ will fill you with hope and joy.
Rev. Jackie Bradford, Dean of the Appointive Cabinet
Bishop Laurie Haller, Resident Bishop



Central District

Ankeny First United Methodist Church

Ankeny First UMC is the largest UMC congregation in the Iowa Annual Conference. With many gifted pastors and staff members, the church has been able to successfully reach out to the third fastest growing area in the nation. The city’s current population of 60,000 is projected to grow to 120,000 in a generation. Many young professionals and their families are moving into the community. They are looking for excellence in their schools, workplaces, and churches. This extraordinary development is accompanied by “growing pains,” as some current residents are experiencing the increasing economic pressures of rapid growth.
Ankeny First UMC has strong lay leadership and an excellent staff. They are seeking a senior pastor who is willing to continue this effective ministry with creative and courageous leadership that will make more disciples, develop more lay leaders, and cultivate more vital ministries. Their senior pastor must have excellent communication and relational skills, strong preaching capacity, and effective management ability for a large staff (approximately 50). The senior pastor will be a visionary leader, inspiring teacher, able to encourage faithful stewardship, and adept at conflict transformation. The church is also asking their senior pastor to continue to lead, develop, and implement their "Discipleship Pathway" within all facets of the life of the church, including dynamic small group ministries. 
Conference Superintendent for the Central District at and copied to your present superintendent. 

West Des Moines UMC

West Des Moines UMC is a historic downtown church surrounded by the vibrant West Des Moines area. More than 100 different languages and dialects are spoken in an area that is primarily non-Hispanic caucausian (84%). The church is a Christ-centered community of faith that is ready to purposefully live into the mission of the United Methodist Church to “make disciples for the transformation of the world.”  The pastor will be a creative spiritual leader who will work with the congregation to develop a visionary invitational, multi-generational ministry to the neighboring diversifying  community.  The pastor will be a dynamic preacher and excellent communicator.  The pastor will engender an environment of trust and respect and be able to confidently lead a significant staff. A significant group of lay leadership, with whom the pastor will work collaboratively, is well-equipped to do hands-on ministries and missions and engage in strategic community involvement.
Conference Superintendent for the Central District at and copied to your present superintendent. 

Grace United Methodist Church in Brooklyn

Grace United Methodist Church in Brooklyn, Iowa (town population: 1,500) is a small church with whose congregation has diverse age groups. The church has been a strong rtradition of engaging the community by reaching out to many young families and community leaders. They have led a successful collaborative ecumenical youth program with youth from a variety churches and some who are unchurched. The pastor will be able to connect with children and youth and also bring pastoral care and visitation to the congregation’s older members. The pastor will be a dynamic preacher who inspires persons to grow in their faith.  The pastor will work with the laity to develop an effective way of communication for all aspects of the sministries. Lay leaders are committed to grow together and work collaboratively with the pastor to develop and engage in the mission of the church.
Conference Superintendent for the Central District at and copied to your present superintendent. 

Woodward United Methodist Church

Woodward United Methodist Church, Woodward, Iowa (population: 1,500) has been slowly growing over the years and has greater potential to grow and to be connected to the neighboring communities. The church has well-equipped lay leaders who are committed to the church's mission and outreach programs. The pastor will be an inspiring preacher, provide quality pastoral care, and bring leadership to youth programs. The pastor will also work with church leaders to develop a more connectional ministry with neighboring United Methodist churches and pastors. The pastor will also work with the laity to reach out to the growing neighboring communities and interact with community leaders.
Conference Superintendent for the Central District at and copied to your present superintendent. 

South Central District

Lacey, Eddyville, Beacon United Methodist Churches

This is a three point charge that needs an adaptable leader that can help bridge the gap between a changing community and the church.
Community information: Lacey UMC, is basically an open country church, in a town that once was incorporated. Eddyville UMC, median age is 40.9, median household income approx. 38,500. Population is 1,106 with 96% white, 20.1% is mainline denomination with 55.6% nones.
Beacon UMC, located just outside of Oskaloosa, Iowa. Median age 42, Median household income is approx. 29,500. 20.1% is mainline denomination with 55.6% nones.
The Churches are looking for a conservative theological leader and preacher who is positive and upbeat and can handle the demands and strategy of a three point charge. Churches have lay people who leaders and who are faithful and caring for the community as well as for themselves. They want a pastor who values visitation and visibility in the community.
Conference Superintendent for the South Central District at and copied to your present Superintendent.

Northeast District

Grundy Center United Methodist Church

This major county seat church is seeking a pastor who has strong administration and communication skills, has a passion and commitment to community involvement, who will seek to develop and empower leaders, and strengthen the decision making structure. This intergenerational church seeks to meet the changing needs of all age groups, including mid-week programming options. Strong relational skills, the ability to engage the congregation in preaching and worship, and a passion for music will be important. At the heart of this church is its focus on community ministries to address the local needs, working with area ecumenical partners, and missions beyond the local church.  
Conference Superintendent for the Northeast District at and copied to your present superintendent. 

La Porte City, St. Paul United Methodist Church

Located in Black Hawk County this church is seeking a pastor with a strong passion for developing ministry with/for youth and young families. Empowering leaders with training and equipping opportunities will be expected. Established members are willing to support projects and missions. St. Paul has a strong UMW program with several circles.  Building a strong connection to the community will be important as this congregation continues to provide well attended community events and focuses on outreach. There is a desire for pastor-led, or pastor-equipping laity studies. Support and encouragement from the pastor will enable more people to find their way into serving. Meaningful worship experiences and sermons which relate the biblical story to contemporary times will be expected. 
Conference Superintendent for the Northeast District at and copied to your present superintendent. 

Rockford and Marble Rock United Methodist Churches

Located in Floyd County, these two United Methodist Churches desire a pastor who is collaborative in leadership style and willing to work in an established shared education ministry with the Lutheran Church in Marble Rock. The multi-aged Marble Rock congregation has people representing different age groups who reach out into the community with their ministries.  There are willing members who provide leadership in worship. A strong UMW group. This supportive congregation is willing to step up when asked to serve. A pastor who builds relationships and empowers laity will find this an advantage in serving this congregation. 
Rockford, a ten mile drive, is a multigenerational church with many children. Empowerment of laity, working collaboratively in decision making, and an openness to shared leadership will be important for the pastor appointed.  Relational, caring presence demonstrated by regular visitation, a strong listener and communicator will discover many people who willingly serve with passion and commitment. Administration and time management qualities are a plus. Both congregations expect engaging sermons and meaningful worship experiences. 
Conference Superintendent for the Northeast District at and copied to your present superintendent.  

Southwest District

Woodbine First UMC

Woodbine is a community of approximately 1,500, nested at the foot of the Loess Hills of Western Iowa. It is located approximately 35 miles northeast of Omaha, NE. The community has very low unemployment, with very few empty buildings in the business district. The school enrollment continues to increase. Woodbine is also known for their Apple Fest celebration that takes place in the fall.
Church membership is 385, with an average of 80 in worship. This congregation has active, gifted laity, who are willing to use their gifts in ministry both within the church and out in the community. They provide strong, faithful leadership with vibrant children and youth ministries, and participation with community organizations, such as 4H and Boy Scouts.  The youth are often involved in worship, and are celebrated for the gifts that they bring to the church.

Goals for the congregation include continuing to train the laity for using their gifts in service to the church and community, increasing small group participation, and continuing to grow the congregation in membership and attendance.
This is a congregation that is in the process of rebuilding. They are asking for a pastor who has the gifts of being able to lead and love the people, who is active in the community, and who celebrates the laity’s call to service by equipping and deploying them into ministry within and beyond the walls of the church. 
Conference Superintendent for the Southwest District at and copied to your present superintendent.  

Harlan First - Monroe Chapel

Harlan is the county seat of Shelby County, with a population of 5,000. The school system is strong, and includes much of Shelby County. There is a county hospital that has recently undergone a $16,000,000 renovation, as well as new medical and mental health clinics being added. Newer public projects include a community college satellite building, a primary school building, and a wellness and indoor aquatic center. This community is located approximately 50 miles from the greater Omaha area. Monroe Chapel UMC is an open country church approximately 17 miles southeast of Harlan. The school districts include the recently combined schools of Exira, Elk Horn, and Kimballton: Exira EHK, and Avoca, Hancock, Shelby, Tennant, and Walnut: AHSTW.
Church membership at Harlan 1st is 517, with a weekly attendance of 145.  This congregation has gifted musicians, and has an active chancel choir and praise team. They also have a strong midweek program, with 60 to 70 children and youth who are actively involved. The UMW is thriving, with four circles who meet monthly. Many in this congregation are actively involved in the various civic organizations in the community. 
Monroe Chapel has a membership 44, with attendance around 20. This congregation is prepared to begin a major renovation of their building this coming spring, making it handicap-accessible. Monroe Chapel also takes pride in being a third-mile giving church. They are a family church, with an agriculturally-based identity. Both of these congregations support and provide leadership in community and county organizations, such as Meals on Wheels and the local food bank.
These churches are seeking a pastor who has the gift of being able to lead a congregation in visioning, including outreach and discipling, and resourcing the laity to live into that vision. Strong preaching, teaching, and worship skills are attributes for the pastor to possess. Connecting with the children and youth, as well as the adults in the congregation, is important to these churches.
Conference Superintendent for the Southwest District at and copied to your present superintendent. 

North Central District

Renwick-Goldfield United Methodist Churches

The United Methodist Churches of Renwick and Goldfield make up a 2-point charge in rural Wright County on the NCD. Local employment is agricultural-based. A new pork processing plant will open in 2018 impacting the communities with new employment and potential population growth.
Renwick and Goldfield households with school-age children and youth attend the districts of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, Eagle Grove, Algona, West Hancock, and Humboldt. Many households are receiving free-reduced lunch programs through the schools. A significant number of families with young children are not connected to any of the churches of the towns. Crossroads Youth Ministries is in Goldfield and serves youth of surrounding towns. A number of Hispanic/Latino families reside the area.
Potential for mission and ministry is high for both churches, especially in the ways pastoral leadership may equip leaders for outreach to the community for spiritual and social needs. Pastoral leadership will be expected to provide excellent spiritual leadership, administrative skills, visitation programs, be a healer, effective at inviting and implementing change, and active in the communities. The churches have members who are active in significant missions. The congregations reflect their communities with conservative and traditional perspectives. The large parsonage is located in Renwick.
Conference Superintendent for the North Central District at and copied to your present superintendent.

Klemme-Thornton-Goodell United Methodist Churches

This new 3-point charge was formed July 1, 2016 because of ministry vitality work done by their memberships with district ministry staff guidance. They are served for 2016-2017 by an interim co-pastor team who have been assisting them in forming a strong and cohesive charge. The churches have some experience working with Healthy Small Church Initiative. The lay leadership is strong. They are committed leaders who will work hard to support the ministry of the parish.

The communities are located 30 miles SW of Mason City. They are rural, small towns, farm-based, and have a significant number of people working in nearby towns. They are moderate to conservative in their outlook. They value tradition, family life, and community well-being. Children and youth attend schools in the districts of West Hancock, Garner, and Belmond. Within the parish you will find a strong music ministry, active and growing children's ministries and active UMM and UMW groups.

Thornton UMC has grown with the close of its previous partner, Meservey Salem UMC. As a 3-point charge, the churches have a renewed sense of purpose, gaining some financial stability, and identity. Expectations for new pastoral leadership include: desire and calling to rural ministry; strong administration/organization, sensitive pastoral care as well as being present and visible in the communities; Biblical preaching; wisdom; follow through on parish event planning; be able to develop a strong partnership with lay leadership, community involvement, excellent worship/preaching leadership and provide energy for a new 3-point charge.
Conference Superintendent for the North Central District at and copied to your present superintendent.

Eldora United Methodist Church

Eldora is a vibrant community and the county seat for Hardin County. Pine Lake State Park is nearby. Despite the recent loss of one of its employers, the community is strong. Many persons commute to and from Eldora for employment. The population of the community includes a significant number of persons on the margins of society as well as the whole spectrum of life-experiences. The county jail located in Eldora houses immigrants whose status is undocumented. The State of Iowa has long maintained the Iowa Juvenile Detention Center in Eldora.
The Eldora UMC has a contemporary worship with praise team and a traditional service; Sunday school program; and VBS. It desires a stronger youth program. There are strong, passionate leaders in the church and many leaders from the church in the community. Local and world-wide mission is valued. The membership has completed received the Congregational Assessment Tool for diagnostic and visioning work of the church.
Expectations for pastoral leadership include: deeply held faith; an ability to nurture faith in others, biblical message/preaching; a developer of partnerships for ministry with lay leadership and within the community; strong yet flexible administration; a change agent who knows how to nurture and atmosphere for change while honoring tradition; a healer to nurture stability and a foundation for the future; a shepherd to oversee and equip the church.
Conference Superintendent for the North Central District at and copied to your present superintendent.

Algona First United Methodist Church

Algona is a regional hub community of about 6,000 residents in Kossuth County. It is home to excellent medical care, a strong and leading school district, a vibrant and diverse economic base, and is a community with many resources. The rural area is increasingly diverse and more transient. School consolidation is ever unfolding leading to a need for greater communication and healing between and within communities.
The church has a strong and large lay leadership with a good diversity of ages. There is a strong focus on mission locally and globally, especially in Haiti. The congregation, like the community, is generally moderate to conservative and includes some progressive/liberal perspectives. Three weekly worship services, Saturday and two Sunday services, involve three styles of worship with faithful attenders. Sunday school, weekly afterschool ministry, and VBS is led by very engaged and faithful lay leadership. Music ministry is a vital part of well-prepared worship with technology. Current pastoral leadership is provided by excellent interim ministers in partnership with lay leaders.
Expectations for pastoral leadership include; excellent communication; personable, strong faith in Jesus Christ and respect for the diversity of faith perspectives of others; biblical centered spiritual leadership and teaching; a healer for the congregation; willing to visit and develop visitation teams; connectional and missional. Congregational values include: discipleship; compassion, sharing Jesus with others, generosity and giving, understanding, grace, invitational hospitality, a closeness to God in all things.
Conference Superintendent for the North Central District at and copied to your present superintendent.

Northwest District

Spirit Lake United Methodist Church

The community of Spirit Lake is located in the center of the Iowa Great Lakes and offers a wide variety of community, recreation, employment and business opportunities. It is one of the healthiest, most beautiful and dynamic smaller cities in the Midwest. With a population of 4,840, Spirit Lake is the county seat of Dickenson County and is fortunate to have new people coming to the area. This includes both younger persons starting out with families and senior persons retiring to this area.
The congregation is blessed with strong lay leadership and two excellent worship services, (one traditional and one contemporary). The church has a long history of being strong in mission giving. It also has a unique situation as part of a resort community with an influx of people during the summer months. Membership at the end of 2015 was 717 with an average worship attendance of 221.
The qualities needed in a pastor include strong leadership skills with the ability to help others work together toward a common vision. Relationship skills and a heart for people are crucial. Visibility and participation in the community are important. Comfort with both traditional and contemporary worship services will be necessary. Congregational leaders are involved with a visioning process to prepare for the next chapter of ministry to the community.
Conference Superintendent for the Northwest District at tom.carver@iaumc.organd copied to your present superintendent. 

Conference Superintendent email addresses: