Social Justice

An Open Letter to the Design Task Force

To: The members of the Conference Design Task Force
From: Rev. Scott Grotewold, Collegiate UMC & Wesley Foundation, Ames
Re: The Information Sharing and Gathering (“Town Hall”) Meetings

Dear Friends:

It was with great interest that I attended a couple of the Town Hall meetings scheduled by Conference Treasurer Terry Montgomery and including a presentation by the Conference Design Task Force. One of these meetings was held at Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation in Ames (where I serve) on the evening of December 16. About seventy people from the congregation were in attendance, attesting to their understanding of the meeting’s importance with
regards to possible proposals impacting the future of our Conference. . . . (Read More)

Social Justice

B & A

Among the many assets the United Methodist Church has are a number of what we like to call Boards and Agencies. Yet, often, the conversation is not one about how the Boards and Agencies are assets, but how they are unnecessary baggage.

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I think one of the ways we can turn that perception is to stop thinking that our Boards and Agencies are objects, and start acknowledging that they are actually groups of people.  They are laypersons and clergy.  They are, for the most part, volunteers, and they are fellow United Methodists. They are nominated to serve out of every district in the state, and they come with a variety of gifts and passions. They step up and give from their own unique faith journeys, and they act out of their own expressions of the deep love they have for God, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, the church, humanity, and the world.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to spend time with one of those groups of people: the Iowa Board of Church and Society. This group of people has been asked by you and me, members of the Iowa Annual Conference, to hold us accountable to the resolutions we pass at Annual Conference.They are also responsible to help educate, support and develop United Methodist ministries and disciples through the lens of the United Methodist Social Principles.

Their names are Brian Carter, Cherie Miner, Jim Posz, Taylor Gould, Mark Young, Paul Linn, Sarah Rohret, and Jane Edwards. They are a small, but dedicated group of folks and bring diverse skills to their work. Here are a few of the skills they bring:

  • freelance writer
  • school board member
  • church trustee
  • clinical psychologist
  • seminary degrees
  • Mobile United Methodist Missionaries director
  • artist
  • former Peace Corps volunteer
  • international education services program coordination, Iowa State University
  • years of cumulative parish ministry experience in Iowa
  • years of peace advocacy
  • University student heading into seminary
  • social media marketing
  • minor graphic arts design
  • teaching
  • facilitating
  • ability to build agendas
  • team coordination
  • blogging
  • local political organizing
  • news journalism
  • preaching
  • certification as a lay minister
  • grant writing

I think I am going to stop there, not because I have run out of skills, but because I have not scratched the surface; and aside from the people resources,the Board also stewards money which is given out in grants and scholarships to fund, support, educate and develop ministries rooted in the Social Principles, or targeted toward meeting the goals our Conference sets via its resolutions.

This group is one of several groups of volunteers who do their best to grow our connection-to provide support, companionship, direction and aid when it comes to pursuing the ministries and spiritual goals which we have set for ourselves.

As you start looking at the ministries of social transformation which are calling you out of your pews, I hope you will keep in mind this rich resource, this dedicated team of people who are no farther away than an email or phone call; and if you have gifts, skills and passions which align with theirs, I hope you would consider offering yourself to work with them at the local, district or conference level.