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March 2023 Newsletter

Lifiting Up Rural Iowa Summit - December 8, 2022

Director, Dr. Trisha Wheelock

On December 8th,  2022, the Moses Project was pleased to host the first annual Lifting up Rural Iowa Summit at Luther Memorial on Grand View University's campus. Statewide leaders from business, tech, education, healthcare, government, and workforce development gathered to discuss collaborative opportunities to help rural Iowa flourish. Synod leaders Rev. Lorna Halaas (Northwest Iowa) and Rev. Erika Uthe (Southeast Iowa) were among the attendees. Remarks from Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg made the event a special opportunity for conversation, engagement, and connection. Special thanks and congratulations to Grand View President Dr. Rachelle Keck, Rev. Dr. Russ Lackey, Jacobsen Institute Executive Director Dr. Lynn Burks, and Moses Project Director Dr. Trisha Wheelock on a successful event.


The event featured remarks from Iowa’s Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, a presentation from Moses Director Dr. Trisha Wheelock, and SWOT analysis led by Rev. Dr. Russ Lackey. See below for a summary of strengths and threats facing rural communities and how partnerships can strengthen our communities.

A thriving rural Iowa is an important part of a thriving Iowa. The Moses Project has a proven track record of working with rural pastors to help them flourish.

Rural Iowa has numerous strengths and opportunities:

  • Resilience

  • Connectedness (to people, places, and the land)

  • Family values

  • Stewardship of resources

  • Tradition

  • Remote work is creating new economic options

  • Church as a hub for learning, co-working, and start up

  • Regional or micro regions

  • New workforce demographics


Threats and Weaknesses for Rural Iowa:

  • Fear of change, identify, lost tradition

  • Polarization

  • Infrastructure

  • Access to culture, resources, and education

  • Flight of talent

  • Food dessert

  • Housing

  • Childcare

Collaboration offers new opportunities to meet the needs of rural Iowa. We can accomplish more together than alone. The church can be a connection hub.

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