Statement from Iowa United Methodist Laity & Clergy to the Bishop & Appointive Cabinet
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The undersigned Laity, Deacons, Elders, and Local Pastors of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church are called and compelled to act, to join in the movement of the Spirit that Jesus proclaimed, quoting from the prophet Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me.
[God] has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
to proclaim release to the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to liberate the oppressed,
and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19 CEB)

The appointive cabinet wrote that they, “confess and grieve that great harm has been done and continues to be done to the LGBTQIA [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual] community, families, friends, and our communities of faith.” This harm is being continued and perpetuated by legislative inaction and inept statements that lack the liberation of the Spirit of God.

We, the signed clergy and laity who are self-avowed and LGBTQIA, have experienced the violence inflicted by the church and continue to be harmed.

We, the signed laity and clergy who are straight, confess to the harm that we have caused and been complicit in. The closed doors, hearts, and minds, that we have held shut for far too long, must be opened to the full grace of God. We sign this statement as the first step in the ongoing work of reconciling ourselves and our church with God’s love.

In this season of Lent, as we confess our sins and prepare for death and resurrection, we admit our sins and commit our lives and churches to God’s boundless love and justice.

Our church must confess and make amends for the ways our continued failure to acknowledge the sacred worth of our LGBTQIA kin has done harm. These members of the family of God have been talked about, and not with, for far too long. The LGBTQIA members of our church have been offered an inclusion that lacks acceptance or justice. We confess that another statement is not enough. As such, we covenant to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves, even, and especially, when they present themselves in our beloved church.

We lament the special conference of The United Methodist Church in St. Louis. Instead of presenting a way forward, The United Methodist Church took multiple, aggressive, vindictive steps backward. We admit and grieve that our legislative system is broken and does not witness to the justice of God. As such, we must find a better way forward and covenant to be in just, loving, and grace-filled ministries whose impact and importance cannot be legislated away.

We confess that our leaders have not been able to lead. The Council of Bishops was entrusted to this important, and necessary, work on behalf of our church, and yet much of their work was ignored and cast aside for the sake of an angry and punitive petition, paired with exit plans. The special called General Conference seeks to impose an unjust law which is no law at all, and we implore our Bishops stand against this injustice.

Therefore, as we witness to the sacred worth of all God’s children, we refuse to accept the harmful and unholy United Methodist stance that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. As members of The Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church, we witness to the prevenient grace that is with and for all persons.

We admit that our congregations, filled with diverse laity and clergy, are seeking to witness to the grace of God. This grace cannot be constrained by heights nor depths, let alone the flawed legislation of the special General Conference. As such, we will no longer abide by the restrictions the Book of Discipline has placed on the inclusion of LBGTQIA people in the full life of the United Methodist Church.

As clergy, we will take the authority to perform marriages, with respect to our consciences and not the Book of Discipline.

We implore the District Committees on Ordained Ministry and the Iowa Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry to recommended qualified candidates for ministry, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We encourage the Bishop to dismiss charges against LGBTQIA clergy, specifically the current charges against Rev. Anna Blaedel. We further encourage the Bishop to use her authority to consecrate, commission, and recognize the call of all qualified and elected candidates for ministry: Deacons, Elders, Local Pastors, Deaconesses and Home Missioners, as well as Missionaries, without regard for sexual orientation or gender identity.

In this season of Lent, we look forward with anticipation to resurrection, and commit ourselves and our churches to the necessary and ongoing work of reconciliation and justice. Together, we will witness to the grace of God that is available to all persons. We invite you, as laity and clergy in the Iowa Annual Conference, to join us and this movement of the Spirit of God that makes all things, even The United Methodist Church, new.

Rev. Nate Nims
Waterloo First UMC

Rev. Wil Ranney
Trinity UMC, Waverly

Lindsay Drake
Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation, Ames

Lauren Wise Loonsfoot
Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation, Ames

Deaconess Irene DeMaris
Waterloo First UMC

Rev. Katie Z. Dawson
Immanuel United Methodist Church, Des Moines

Rev. Chris St. Clair
Calvary United Methodist Church

Rev. David Glenn-Burns
Threehouse: A Wesley Foundation

Rev. Bill Daylong
St. Paul's UMC, Cedar Rapids

Rev. Brian Williams
Indianola First UMC

Rev. Arnette Pint
Polk City UMC

Rev. Clint Twedt-Ball
Matthew 25

Rev. Ryan Russell
First United Methodist Church, Iowa City

Rev. Alexis Johnson
Broadway UMC, Council Bluffs

Rev. Jaymee Glenn-Burns
Trinity-St. James

Rev. Beverlee Bell
Walnut Hills United Methodist Church

Rev. Scott Grotewold
(Retired) Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation, Ames

Rev. Scott Lothe
Co-Chair Order of Elders

Rev. Medea Saunders
Center Chapel UMC

Rev. Jonathan Heifner
St. Paul's UMC, Cedar Rapids

Rev. Gary Nims
Grace UMC, Des Moines

Rev. Linda Butler
Trinity-St. James

Rev. Jerry Avise-Rouse
(Retired) Fairfield First UMC

Rev. Leigh Brown
Coralville UMC

Rev. Jim Shirbroun
Grace UMC, Sioux City

John Rothlisberger
St. Timothy's UMC

Rev. Chris Langrehr Humrichouse
Chair, Order of Deacons, St. Marks, Iowa City

Rev. Scott Keele Kober
Cedar Falls First UMC

Eloise Cranke
First United Methodist Church, Des Moines

Rev. Jen Hibben
Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation, Ames

Adam Stone
Polk City United Methodist Church

Jean Swenson
Co-Chair, Iowa MFSA; Walnut Hills

Rev. W. Michael Biklen
Mussserville/San Pablo UMC

Rita Carter
Aldersgate UMC, Urbandale

Rev. Jon Bailey
Aldersgate UMC, Urbandale

Rev. Mara Bailey
Simpson College

Kris Meinhard
Collegiate United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation, Ames

Rev. Denny Coon
Walnut Hills, Urbandale

Rev. Alex Bruening
Jesup First United Methodist Church

Rev. Leigh Brown
Coralville United Methodist Church

Rev. Andrew Bardole
Corning United Methodist Church

Randy Blackford
Cedar Falls FUMC

Rev. Deborah Coble
Extension Ministry

Dr. John Caldwell
Retired elder, Iowa Annual Conference

Local Pastor Melody Webb
Maple Grove UMC

Dale Schoening
Napier UMC

Loreena Hucke
First United Methodist Church of Fairfield

Sharon Miller
Waterloo First United Methodist

Sally Thurman
Waterloo First UMC

Rev. Elizabeth Bell
West Burlington/Asbury UMC

Rev. Steve Williams
Collegiate UMC/Wesley Foundation

Local Pastor Sara “Jan” Garza
Burlington Spring Grove UMC

Dr. Barrie Tritle
Iowa City First United Methodist Church

Kassandra Gordon
Immanuel United Methodist Church, Des Moines

Rev. David Morris
WInfield/Mt Union UMC

Karen E. Keele Kober
Cedar Falls First UMC

Rev. Joey Podhajsky
Extension Ministry

Local Pastor Alaire Willits
Epworth UMC

Kate Pauly
Ankney First United Methodist

Allison Steuterman
Immanuel United Methodists Church

Rev. Kay Hooper
Collegiate UMC -Wesley Foundation UMC

Janice Roseland
Weat Union First

Coreen Witke
Grace Des Moines

Donn Harris
Waterloo First UMC

Bryan Bruening
First UMC, Jesup

Rev. Chester Guinn
Trinity Las Americas United Methodist Church

Lori Schippers
Collegiate United Methodist Church Wesley Foundation

Rev. Brian Carter
Aldersgate United Methodist

Rev. Darwin Moore
Lovely Lane UMC

Dr. Karry Sonner
Grace Des Moines

Rev. Diane Eberhart
Walnut Hills United Methodist Church

Rev. Larry Sonner
Grace. Des Moines

Judith Keele
Lovely Lane UMC/Cedar Rapids

Peggy Palmer-Johnson
Walnut Hills United Methodist

Matthew Johnson
Walnut Hills United Methodist

Kathy Breckunitch
First United Methodist, Waterloo, IA

Susan Pratt
West Burlington United Methodist Church

Roy Johnson
Walnut Hills UMC

Pamela Schneider
Walnut Hills UMC

Carl Varley
Walnut Hills United Methodist Church

Judith Brotherton
Wesley UMC, Muscatine

Melanie Nollsch
St. Paul’s UMC, Cedar Rapids

Monique Shore
Grinnell UMC

Susan Terry
Des Moines, Grace and Former Conference Secretary

Tricia Ingram Williams
Indianola FUMC

Arlene Heng
Walnut Hills UMC

Wendy Potter
First united Methodist

Rev. Scott Meador
Lovely Lane UMC

Rev. Diane McClanahan
Trinity/Las Americas

* For a list of current signatories:
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