Registration for Annual Conference - Deadline is April 1st
Lay members, clergy, and retired clergy should have received an email containing your link to register for Annual Conference. If you did not, please check your spam folder.  Please remember to "submit" your registration upon completion.  Those without email addresses were sent paper registration forms via the United States Postal Service.  If you have any questions about your registration, please contact the District Office.  For current details about Annual Conference, please visit the Conference website, here.

Childcare at Annual Conference
The Annual Conference Planning Team is considering the following childcare option for children 5 years of age and younger for the 2017 Annual Conference Session:

Location:  Lower level of Hy-Vee Hall
Hours:       Each day: morning start time to lunch break and afternoon start time to dinner break
Cost:         $5/hour per child

If you would utilize this service, please contact your District Office by April 3rd.  A minimum of five children will be required to make this a financially feasible option.  Thank you for your assistance.

Harry Denman Evangelism Award for Clergy, Lay, and Youth
The Iowa Annual Conference is now accepting nominations. To learn more about the award or to download a nomination form, click here.  Nominations must be received by April 1st to be considered for the 2017 awards.  Hard copy forms should be sent to: Iowa Annual Conference, Attn: Board of Discipleship, 2301 Rittenhouse St., Des Moines, IA 50321.

Central District Connectional Ministries Council Meeting - April 10th, 5 pm,
at the Conference Center

The Central DCMC will meet to review reports and prepare for the upcoming District Conference.  Not sure if this applies to you?  Visit the Committees page to see the list of those people on the DCMC.

Central District Conference & Pre-Annual Conference Gathering - April 27th, 6 pm,
at Staves Memorial UMC

Clergy and Lay Members to Annual Conference are invited to consider the following questions before gathering together:
1.  How can we develop leadership that revitalizes our struggling congregations?
2.  How can we create a new church ministry with strategic planning and accountability?
3.  How can we steward our limited resources to foster the sustainability of our shared ministry?
4.  How can we identify adaptive challenges and live in the the new reality so we can be transformed into a new being (church, system, organization, conference, community, etc.)?
RSVP to the District office by phone at 515-974-8918 or email.

District Disaster Preparedness Coordinator Opening
This person works with the Conference Disaster Response Team during times of natural disasters in our District and Conference.  Please contact Beverly Nolte by phone 
(515-266-4186) or email for further information.  We need YOU, so get involved!
Church & Society Committees
Rev. Josh Steward, the chair of our Conference Board of Church & Society, would like to know if you have a Church & Society Committee in your local church.  Please contact him if you do by email.
2017 Another Set of Eyes Clergy Evaluation - Due May 1st
All clergy appointed to the local church and their S/PPRCs are to complete this evaluation form and return it to the District Office by May 1st.  This includes those clergy who are retiring or moving this year.

Equipping Ourselves and Others as Transformational Leaders

Mindfulness for Ministers: A Class for Clergy - April 5th-May 24th
This eight-week class will help clergy focus on developing a mindfulness meditation.   Mindfulness is about cultivating the skills to pay better attention and deepen a greater awareness.  This class will meet on Wednesdays, from 2-3:30 pm, at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center.  Click here for more information.
Iowa United Methodist School for Ministry - April 18th-21st
The 2017 vision is a school that will be focused on the Psalms. Workshops and small groups provided will also include topics on praying the Psalms in daily life.  This year topics covered will include art, music, lectio divinia, labyrinth, meditation, prayer, yoga, spiritual directions, and corporate worship.  Click here for more information and to register

Directing Our Resources to Common Goals

Have you checked out the listings on our Classifieds page?  Be sure to share them with people you know who may be interested!
Free Mental Health Counseling Sessions at Grace UMC in Des Moines
In partnership with the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, Grace UMC will be offering free mental health counseling to individuals and families in need. Short-term counseling will be provided by student therapists who are supervised by licensed clinicians at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center.  Counseling sessions are offered in English and Spanish. Wednesdays, 2:30 pm - 5:30 pm, in the Library/Nursery.  Contact Nathan DeLange, L.I.S.W., at 515-577-0190 to make an appointment.
Mission Moment
Click here to view the latest Mission Moment from the Mission Education Committee, featuring UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing).
Emmanuel and Florence Mefor - UMC Missionaries
If your church may be interested in hosting the Mefors during their time in Iowa this spring, please contact Beverly Nolte at 515-266-4186.  There are still times available on May 12th or 17th.
Iowa Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW)
Find out more about the Iowa Commission on the Status and Role of Women on the Iowa UMC website: Click on "Connections, Ministries, and on the COSROW logo.  The Commission's work includes advocating for the full inclusion of women in the life of The United Methodist Church from local churches to the Conference level, providing a handbook for clergy spouses, supporting women clergy, monitoring participation of lay/clergy/men/women and ethnic groups at Annual Conference sessions and at other times.  As one of the advocacy agencies, COSROW members serve on Conference committees including Conference Connectional Ministries Council (CCMC), Human Resources, Nominations, and the Healthy Ministries Task Force.  An important resource is the General COSROW website, www.gcsrw.org and the email address to contact the staff: gcsrw@gcfa.org. This includes information for clergy families, studies to download, and other resources.  Also, part of the General COSROW is the United Methodist Sexual Ethics Ministry with Becky Posey Williams, Director.
Volunteer Opportunities
Can you help?  Visit our Volunteer Opportunities page for more information.  

Local Events

Conference Calendar
Don't forget to check out the other events listed on the Conference Calendar.
Bidwell Riverside Center's Pancake Breakfast - March 25th, 8 am - 12 pm, 
at Grace UMC in Des Moines

Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 years of age, and free for children 5 and under. Tickets may be purchased at the door.  Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, eggs, and beverages.  There will be a silent auctdion and quilt & bake sale.  All proceeds will benefit low-income children and families served by Bidwell Riverside Center.  For more information, please call 515-244-6251. Grace UMC is located at 3700 Cottage Grove in Des Moines.
Lenten Bible Study with Bishop Laurie Haller - Wednesdays through April 5th,
at the Conference Center

Join Bishop Laurie Haller for a noontime Bible study of Rob Fuquay's book, The God We Can Know: Exploring the I Am Sayings of Jesus.  Classes will be held from noon to 12:50 pm on March 29th and April 5th. If you aren't able to join in person, it will also be live streamed on the Conference website.  You may order the study book at the Upper Room or on Amazon.  
Annual Gathering of United Methodist Men - April 1st, 9 am, at Altoona UMC
Registration begins at 9 am with coffee time.  Keynoter Joe Kelley is the current UMMen National Prayer Advocate and has been active for many years in Louisiana and National UMMen.  Brief presentations about UMM, missions, the 12th National Gathering of UMM, and the Four Conference Rally will be made.  To ensure your lunch, please preregister by clicking here or calling 641-295-4918.  Registration is $20 and will be collected that morning. Fees include lunch and the UMM resource book Extending Our Reach.
The Crisis of Mass Incarceration Right Next Door: Becoming Stations of Hope
(A Right Next Door Workshop) - April 1, 10 am - 3 pm, at Collegiate UMC in Ames

America now incarcerates more of its citizens than any country in the world. That means incarceration affects all our communities and a large share of the families in our midst, although the challenges are rarely openly discussed and supported in the church.  To help us think about and tackle this deficit, nationally recognized speaker and author Harold Dean Trulear will offer his signature Healing Communities training, which lays out a framework for congregations in their ministry to families affected by incarceration.  Our goal is that church leaders will be inspired, empowered and equipped to build relationships of healing, redemption, and reconciliation in families and communities impacted by crime and mass incarceration.  Questions?  Please contact Pastor Lee Schott at 515-360-3977 or by email.  You can register online at https://uevent.com/registration?code=9UK6V4XXPC.  
House Concert with Trish and Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, The River's Voice - 
April 1st, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Wesley Hall, Collegiate UMC, in Ames

We'll gather for an informal concert celebrating ten years of vital ministry through Women at the Well. We'll have a dessert bar and an assortment of beverages, and we hope you'll come by for music, community, and some Women at the Well memories.  All are welcome.  You don't need to RSVP, but please contact Dan Schott at 515-822-4599 or by email if you have any questions.  We can't wait to welcome you to this time of music and celebration!
Last Supper Drama - April 2nd, 10:30 am, at Saint Luke UMC in Newton
Saint Luke UMC is pleased to host the West Des Moines United Methodist Men in presenting the Last Supper drama based on Leonardo DaVinci's painting.  A potluck meal will follow. The community is invited. There will be a free will offering to be given to the drama group to distribute to missions.
Women at the Well 10th Anniversary Worship - April 2nd, 2:30 - 4:30 pm,
at Collegiate UMC in Ames (with reception following)

All are invited to join in doing what we do best - worship together! - as a way of marking and celebrating the ten years of ministry we have done together through Women at the Well.  We are delighted to welcome Bishop Laurie Haller to open the Word to us, and will welcome other special guests including Mary Mortenson, Director of Prison Congregations of America. We will sing, and come to the Communion table, and delight in what God has done and will continue to do through this congregation behind bars.  Watch for updates at our Facebook events page. All are welcome. Bring a friend!

MFSA Spring Statewide Gathering - April 2nd, 2:45 pm, at Walnut Hills UMC
in Urbandale

The program will feature Randy Stone, Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester, who will address national/international security and terrorism issues.  Please put it on your calendars and plan to attend.

Palm Sunday Procession and Prayer Service for Peace - April 9th, 3 pm,
at Grace UMC in Des Moines

The Procession starts at 3 pm at Grace UMC (3700 Cottage Grove) and goes to First Christian Church (25th and University), where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke in 1959.  Participants are invited to carry placards with Dr. King's words calling for peace with justice.  The Prayer Service begins at 3:30 pm at First Christian Church. It will include Dr. King's sermon delivered at Riverside Church fifty years ago in April.  The call of the service will be to end "racism, militarism, and materialism" and move toward what Dr. King called the Beloved community.  People are invited to participate in the Procession, Service, and both.  For more information, contact Carmen Lampe Zeitler at 515-210-4400 or by email.
Retired Clergy Gathering - April 10th, 11:30 am, at Bonanza
Our guest speaker will be Dick Cobb, who will talk about "Witnessing through Leatherwork".  Bonanza is located at 5209 NE 14th Street in Des Moines.
Central District Connectional Ministries Council (DCMC) Meeting - April 10th, 5 pm,
at the Conference Center

The Central DCMC will meet in preparation for District Conference.  Those who are to attend are listed on the Central District Committees list, here.
Laity Day with Bishop Laurie Haller - April 22nd, 9 am - 3 pm, at First UMC in Indianola
This year's special feature will be Bishop Laurie's presentations.  Bishop Laurie is a prolific writer, including a weekly blog "Leading From the Heart" and her book, Recess: Rediscovering Play and Purpose.  Her book, and two books by Rev. William Cotton, will be available for purchase. Rev. Cotton's books fit the 2017 Laity Day themes of "Making a Difference" and "Spiritual Growth".  There will be lunch, worship, hymns in addition to opportunities to look at the displays and visit with Mission, Cokesbury, and Iowa Religious Media Services representatives.  Laity Day is free.  Register here.  
Central District Conference and Pre-Annual Conference Gathering - April 27th, 6 pm,
at Staves Memorial UMC

All Clergy and Lay Members to the 2017 Annual Conference should plan to attend.  Gathering will begin at 5:30 pm with light refreshments.  Staves Memorial UMC is located at 2747 East Madison Avenue in Des Moines.
Central District United Methodist Women Mission Study: Climate Justice - April 29th,
|8:30 am - 2 pm, at Polk City UMC

Climate justice focuses on transforming every person into a steward of the Earth's resources.  A sacred trust was given to humans to care for what God created.  United Methodist Women acknowledges the connecdtion between the overdependence on fossil fuels from developing countries and its effect on the poor, women, and children who bear the burden of starvation, disease, sickness, unemployment and death because of global warming. Learn more at the UMW mission study, open to everyone. Bring a salad to share for lunch. RSVP to Nancy Stockdale by clicking here.
Homecoming Weekend - June 2nd-3rd, at Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat Center
All former Camp staff are invited to attend the festivities of the Summer Kick-Off by coming a day early and joining in a time of fellowship.  All former staff are welcome, with special emphasis on those serving in years ending with a 7 (i.e. '67, '77, '87, '97, '07).  Arrive any time after 4 pm. Limited overnight lodging is available. Call 515-961-4523 to reserve by
May 1st..  Dinner: Packout Hot Dog Roast/S'mores Kit will be available - reserve ahead ($5/person). Saturday: Breakfast on your own. 10 am - Clergy Coffee. Noon: Sandwich Bar Lunch (free-will offering)
Summer Kick-Off - June 3rd at Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat Center
Events begin at 1 pm. Bring the whole family to start the summer off with a bang! Enjoy games and camp activities, including inflatables, canoeing, archery, high ropes, zip line/rock wall, swimming, a slip-n-slide, horseback rides, wagon tours, and more.  There will be a BBQ dinner from 4:30 - 6 pm (free will donation) and a silent auction supporting camperships.  The day will close with a worship service led by our 2017 Summer Staff and the announcement of the 2017 Volunteer of the Year.  Questions?  Call 515-961-4523.
9th Annual Men at the Woods - June 17th, 8:30 am, at Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat Center
This is a free day for boys and men of all ages to come together at camp for fellowship.  Activity choices will include fishing, wagon rides, archery, swimming, the mini-blob with trampoline, the iceberg, horse rides, inflatables, pontoon excursions, and more.  Watch the Camp website and May newsletter for more details.  The day will finish with worship and a hog roasted in the ground!