Simpson goal: Strengthen ties with Methodist Church

Without the United Methodist Church, Simpson College would not exist.

In 1860, just 12 years after Iowa became a state, a handful of leading citizens in Indianola gathered at what was then known at the Methodist Episcopal Church, where they heard the local pastor talk about establishing an institution of higher learning.

That institution would eventually be known as Simpson College.

Simpson President Jay Simmons and Mara Bailey, the College’s chaplain, are relatively new to their jobs. Both decided as one of their first goals that they wanted to strengthen the ties between the Methodist church and Simpson.

As part of that effort, College students, staff and faculty members contributed to the worship services at 13 United Methodist Churches on Sunday, Nov. 24.

They showed a video that describes Simpson’s historic ties to the Methodist Church and depicts some of the many ways students today enrich their faith on campus through the Religious Life Community.

“We want churches to keep Simpson in mind as their youth prepare to go off to college,” said Mara Bailey, the College chaplain. “We want to tell them that Simpson is a great place for them to continue in their faith tradition, but specifically in their United Methodist/Wesleyan tradition.”

“Simpson Sunday in the Central District” began as a suggestion from President Simmons, who encouraged a similar program when he was president of Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant.

Simmons and Bailey both have said that their goal is to strengthen the bond between Simpson and the Methodist Church.

That Sunday also marked the United Methodist Student Day offering, in which a special offering was taken for Methodist-associated colleges, like Simpson, and for Methodist students who attend other colleges.

“We have a good number of students at Simpson who benefit from that scholarship,” Bailey said. “We want to raise awareness and encourage people to contribute to that.”

To see the video that central Iowa churchgoers will be viewing this weekend, go here:

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