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2017 Conference Minister Report to the Churches

Iowa Conference
United Church of Christ

Report of the Conference Minister to the Churches
2017

The Iowa Conference stands on the brink of a fascinating organizational experiment! Together with our covenant partners in the South Dakota and Nebraska Conferences, we will join together on January 1, 2018, in creating and supporting and being served by one conference staff for three conferences.

The intent of this experiment is simple – to provide the very best quality of resource support for local churches and authorized ministers in these three conferences.

The fact is, casual observers won’t notice much that differs from the current status quo. But in several important (though not very visible) ways the change is significant and holds real potential for benefit across all three conferences.

I am pleased that one of my current associates – Rev. Brigit Stevens – has been chosen as the Executive Conference Minister for the one staff. Rev. Jonna Jensen will continue to provide support for search and call across all of the Iowa Conference and will relate in a relationship of primary care for congregations and clergy in the Northeast, Eastern Iowa, and Southeast Associations.

Brigit is already at work with the Tri-Conference Board to hire an interim ACM to fill the position she will vacate at the end of 2017. Please pray for those who are engaged in this search process!  That new ACM will support the processes of authorizing ministry across the entire Iowa Conference and will relate directly with churches and clergy in the Central, Southwestern and Northwestern Associations.

Eventually, as the one staff is fully completed and the variety of gifts and graces characterizing the ACM’s is more fully realized, there will be ways that the ACM’s based in Iowa will support ministry in the two conferences to the west, and ways the two ACM’s in South Dakota and Nebraska will support ministry here in Iowa.   This new way of approaching conference work holds promise to enrich ministry for the entire region.

This cooperative ministry on behalf of you and your church is only possible because of your generous financial support of the Iowa Conference. Whether through OCWM or by a direct gift to the conference, YOU make this work possible.  I am grateful!

I have been blessed to have served you these 12+ years as Conference Minister. I’ve always tried to give it my best and I leave with very few regrets.  Yes, there are things that might have been done better, but given my own limitations and imperfections, it’s gone pretty well.

As I leave at the end of the year, I will carry with me – for as long as I live – a deep affection and love for the state of Iowa and for the various ways UCC congregations here seek to serve Christ. I have come to love you.  To paraphrase an old saying, I may be removed from Iowa come the end of the year, but Iowa can never be removed from my heart.  I will miss you and I will keep you in my prayers.  Thank you for the way you embraced me when I came here back in 2005.

With Great Hope!

Rich Pleva
Conference Minister
United Church of Christ in Iowa