Ministry Together

Clergy Resources from the Christian Church in the Upper Midwest

June | 2022

We Appreciate You

Rev. Joshua Patty

Regional Minister and President

Earlier this month, I came across an interview with Scott Thumma. He is a key leader in the massive Faith Communities Today surveys who is currently conducting a 5-year study on the effects of the COVID pandemic on religious communities. You can read the interview or watch it here.

While the entire conversation is valuable, one thing about clergy jumped out at me. First, his research suggests that only about 3% of clergy have left or have seriously considered leaving ministry. As I've written before, this percentage seems much lower than in other professions. Thumma adds intriguing context -- most of these ministers were serving challenging congregations that had significant conflict or financial challenges even before the pandemic began.  

My experience as regional minister supports this too. Through challenges that have demanded quick adaptation by the church and which have caused personal strain, our ministers have continued to serve faithfully. You have been resilient and persistent in representing God's love and inviting others to share and experience God's presence in ways old and new.  

A benefit of regional ministry is the opportunity to see bigger trends than might be obvious in our day-to-day ministry work. What you have done collectively is remarkable -- a testimony to your integrity and faithfulness. It's easy to overlook or minimize, but I hope you recognize this invaluable way we have been Disciples Together -- leading God's people through these challenging times. From time to time, I hope that those in your ministry context continue to find ways to show appreciation too.  

Thank you for your persistent and faithful devotion to God and God's people -- especially in those times when you have felt inadequate or wondered what you should do. I am humbled and honored to serve alongside you.

Regional Calendar


For more details go to the Regional website:

Now through Aug 7 Summer Camp Season!!

Save the Dates!

September 26-28, 2022

Pastor's Camp

October 15, 2022

All Congregational Gathering

January 30-31, 2023

Minister's Institute

Clergy Book Study Resumes in August

Clergy Book Study will return the fourth Thursday of August and continue on the fourth Thursdays of September and October. The next book for study is Walter Brueggemann's book The Prophetic Imagination. If you have a recommendation for upcoming months of book study, please submit the recommendation to Liz Woodward:

Clergy Chats with Josh Resume in September

Dates will be announced in the August Ministry Together.

Important Updates and News

Regional Minister's Parental Leave

Rev. Joshua Patty has now begun his parental leave. He is away full-time until July 9. Then he will serve part-time through August 20. During this time he will not schedule any 1-on-1 meetings and may be slower to return emails and phone calls. He will have a limited travel until after Labor Day, but hopes to resume worship visits in August within a small travel radius.

If you have urgent pastoral needs before July 9, please contact Rev. Liz Woodward. Other official matters can be directed to our regional office.

After July 9, you can email Josh on any matters, including scheduling activities, congregational visits, and meetings in Fall 2022 and beyond.

DHM Education Resources

The Christian Education Ministry and Ministries Across Generations of Disciples Home Missions have created a free educational resource for congregations. "Forward to Freedom" is designed as a VBS resource, but can be adapted for other needs and age groups. Learn more here.

Congregational Pride & Concerns Responses

The 2020 Faith Communities Today survey gleaned responses on what congregations feel is their greatest sources of concern and pride.  You can read a summary of the findings here.

Transitions and Prayers
Please submit your celebrations and personal prayer requests to Liz Woodward,


Suzie Moore is retiring as pastor of Stanhope Parish, Stanhope, IA, at the end of June.  Rev. Josh Patty presented Suzie with the Honored Minister Pin during worship on June 19, pictured below.

Prayers for Clergy Colleagues

Prayers of joy and celebration for Josh and Sara Patty on the birth of daughter Elizabeth Ann Rebecca Patty on Thursday, June 23. Big brothers Caleb and Isaiah welcome their little sister to the family.


Prayers for Jim Wakelin on the death of his brother Cecil in Florida.  Obituary

Prayers for Lynda Carlson on the death of her mother, Velma Carlson. Mrs. Carlson was a long-time member of Coldbrook Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Cameron, IL.  

Prayers for congregations, pastors and chaplains as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect life.

Looking to Serve?

Each month, we list the congregations in the Upper Midwest who are in the search and call process. It is challenging to identify enough pulpit supply, interim, and settled ministers for these many congregations to consider.

Please contact Josh, Tiff or Liz to learn more or share your ideas.

Congregations in Transition

Friends, you will see listed below the congregations in the Upper Midwest in the search and call process. Gratefully many of these congregations have interim leadership, equipping the congregation to move through transition with hope and grace.

However, several of these congregations are small which impedes the search process. If through prayer and discernment you would be ready to serve one of the smaller congregations, please let one of the Regional staff know.

  • Noelridge Christian Church, Cedar Rapids is in the search and call process.
  • Mitchellville Christian Church is in the search and call process. Alice Bolen begins serving as interim in July.
  • Altoona First Christian Church called Lisa Grace as interim.
  • Albia First Christian Church is in the search and call process.
  • Newton First Christian Church is in the search and call process. 
  • Oakland Christian Church is in the revitalization process, using regular pulpit supply for Sundays.
  • Indianola Heights Christian Church is seeking pulpit supply.
  • Waukee Christian Church is in the search process.
  • New Disciples Christian Church, Cedar Rapids has called Sherry Schwab as interim.
  • Park Ave Christian Church, Des Moines is in the search and call process with Tim Johnson serving as interim.
  • Lennox Christian Church is in the search and call process.
  • Trinity Christian Church, Bridgewater, will enter the search and call process.
  • First Christian Church, Hampton is exploring regular pulpit supply.
  • New Beginnings Christian Church, Urbandale, is in the search and call process, with Nick Green as the interim.
  • Central Christian Church, Boone, is in the search and call process, with David Clark as the interim.
  • Hedrick Christian Church is seeking pulpit supply.
  • Carlisle Christian Church is beginning the search process and seeking pulpit supply.

Continuing Education Opportunities

Digital Ministry Summit
June 27-July 1
Online, free & pay options

Multiple speakers will address issues of digital engagement, online worship, and more.

Louisville Institute

Pastoral Study Project

applications due Aug. 1

Grants of up to $15,000 to support study projects by pastors in 2023 & 2024.

More info about program.

Continuing Education Requirement

All Upper Midwest clergy are expected to complete continuing education each year in order to be granted ministerial standing in the following years. Details on our regional website.
Resources and News
Clergy Sermon Resources

Sermons by Mission Co-Workers, offered through Global Ministries

Mental Health Sermons, prepared by Mental Health taskforce of National Benevolent Association

Fourth Sunday Sermons, recorded and offered by AllianceQ for Disciples congregations to use

Helpful Articles

Your financial gifts to the Christmas Special Offering and Disciples Mission Fund
support Disciples Together and other publications from the Christian Church in the Upper Midwest.
Support Regional Ministries

Wider Church Positions

Other Resources

Children Worship & Wonder trainings, offered by Ministry Across Generations

Disciples Tech Corp, technology guides for congregations

Mental Health Resource for all active ministers and families

Important -- you do not need to be a member of Pension Fund to access this service, but only active minister of a DOC church

Free Stewardship campaign materials

Pension Fund - The Gathering 2022 

Event just after Labor Day

Regional Newsletters

Stay up to date! Click here to sign up for any of our regular regional newsletters.

Click here sign up for Disciples News Service newsletters from the general church.
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