St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Dubuque

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Dubuque reaches out in ministry with Prescott Elementary School. The neighborhood school has been working with area organizations to improve its student achievement. St. Luke’s UMC is one of their business partners that have made visual and performing arts “programs possible at no cost to the students or their families.”

A Matthew 25 grant from the East Central District went to St. Luke’s for neighborhood ministries to Prescott Elementary School. The funds are made possible through apportionment gifts from local churches throughout the Iowa Conference. The grant helped to encourage ministries such as a Saturday meal and praise service, funds for emergency needs of individuals, emergency health kits, transportation and laundry vouchers, health assistance, weather protection items, and garden projects.

The congregation has a mission “to feed souls, grow faith in God, and make a difference in the lives of our congregation, our neighbors, and our world.” They are embodying the vision of the Iowa Conference to respond to God’s call, going “outside of our churches and into our wider communities to build relationships with new people, reaching out especially – as Jesus did – to persons living on the margins of society.”

Churches United of the Quad Cities

An ecumenical ministry in the Quad Cities raises awareness about poverty in America.

Approximately 46 million people, 15% of the U.S. population, live in poverty, according to the 2011 U.S. census. In the Quad Cities, almost 20% of children (under 18) live in poverty. Additionally, another 50 million Americans live in “food insecure” households, meaning they are unable to consistently access the food they need for a healthy life.

Churches United of the Quad Cities Area operates 24 food pantries and 3 evening meal sites on both the Illinois and Iowa sides of the Mississippi River. They recently celebrated 50 years of service through a variety of outreach programs, including their hunger ministry to those in need.

Next month they are sponsoring a Poverty Simulation Experience to help participants understand what it is like to struggle to meet basic human needs week after week. The event will be held on Saturday, October 12th, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at St. Pius Church, Farrell Hall 2502 – 29th Avenue in Rock Island, Illinois. Registration is free and available online through the University of Illinois Extension at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hmrs.

Churches United is supported in part through a Matthew 25 grant from the Southeast District made possible with apportionment gifts from local churches. Anne Wachal, a staff member for Churches United and a member of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Bettendorf, writes that their partnership with the United Methodist Church makes a statement that “Church United is valued as an ecumenical organization.”

Standing Committee on Parish Development

Demographic resources help congregations and their leaders identify opportunities for outreach. MissionInsite is a Web-based tool dedicated to providing accurate, up-to-date information about every ministry area served in the Iowa Conference.

Sponsored by the Standing Committee on Parish Development and supported with apportionment gifts from local churches, MissionInsite provides instant access to community information. Users can find data for particular zip codes, census tracts, cities, counties or even customized regions using roads, streets and landmarks near the church.

MissionInsite provides both current figures and projections for the population, households and families in the study area, as well as age, income, ethnicity, religious values and more. Several styles of reports can be generated on the Web site to present data as graphs and maps with accompanying text descriptions and analysis. United States census and American Community Survey data are among the sources of information used by MissionInsite.

For an additional fee, congregations can get even more specialized information such as current names and addresses of potential visitors to their churches. Learn more about this resource at http://www.iaumc.org/pages/detail/2078.

Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry

Four college students from Iowa are receiving $1,000 scholarships to support their studies this fall. Molly Cox of Salem UMC, Council Bluffs, attends Nebraska Wesleyan College and studies anthropology and sociology. Laurel Fraser of Walnut Hills UMC, Urbandale, attends Cornell College and studies English, Spanish and civic engagement. Kaitlyn Louk of Salem UMC, Cedar Rapids, is beginning studies at Simpson College in art education. Stephanie Tener of Coralville UMC is a senior at Iowa Wesleyan, studying elementary education.

Iowa United Methodist students who attend a United Methodist college, university or seminary are eligible for nomination for a United Methodist Student Day Merit Scholarship. Criteria for the awards include academic performance, financial need, special vocational preparation for ministry or other service, and church, campus, high school and community involvement.

The number of $1000 scholarships available each year is based on the amount raised in the preceding year by the Iowa Conference from the United Methodist Student Day Offering in November. Ten percent (10%) of the total amount raised is rebated back to the Iowa Conference. The other 90% of what is raised goes to support scholarships across the United Methodist connection. The next Student Day Offering will be on November 24, 2013. The Iowa Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry oversees this scholarship.