Bishop Laurie Haller has announced that Rev. Dr. Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon will become the next Senior Pastor of Collegiate UMC in Ames. Her appointment becomes effective on July 1, 2020.
For the past nineteen years Dr. Bellon has been the Director of the Office of Pastoral Care (OPCC) and Counseling of the Iowa Annual Conference. In that role she has offered care to clergy, ministerial professionals, and their families. She has worked with congregations and has led workshops and study abroad experiences. Prior to coming to Iowa in 2000 she served appointments in the former Troy Annual Conference (now part of the Upper New York Annual Conference). She was granted an M. Div from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Claremont School of Theology in addition to numerous other certifications.
“The Iowa Conference has been extremely fortunate to have Dr. Mary Bellon as our Director of the Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling,” said Bishop Laurie Haller. “Dr. Bellon’s compassionate care for our pastoral leaders and their families, as well as her graceful presence in difficult circumstances has been a blessing to many. We know that she will bring that same spirit to her new ministry at Collegiate UMC,” Bishop Laurie added.
In the context of changes impacting The United Methodist Church and a reorganization of the Iowa Annual Conference because of significant financial constraints, it’s important to emphasize that despite Dr. Bellon’s transition from the Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling, there is a strong and continuing commitment to provide support for ministry professionals and their families. Several groups, including the board of the OPCC and the Joint Task Force for clergy care, will be working to shape a care plan for the future. In addition, Dr. Bellon will continue to offer care and engage a network of referrals over the next five months.
“Support for our pastoral leaders and their families is a high priority for all of us,” Bishop Laurie noted. “We will build on Dr. Bellon’s excellent leadership as we move into the challenges of the future. While pastoral care may be offered in a new way, we will offer the support necessary for those who faithfully lead our faith communities across the Conference.”