Lake View now has a youth center on Main Street thanks to the people of the United Methodist Church and support from a Matthew 25 grant from the Northwest District.
They wanted to give children and youth a place of their own where they can talk, play games, or just “hang out.” No space was available in the church building, so they looked elsewhere to help to retain current participants in their ministries. Furthermore, “having a separate facility dedicated to our kids and youth will enhanced the church’s opportunity to reach all of our community’s youngsters,” wrote Pastor Dave Schumann.
The center provides a safe place for teens to be together with adult supervision. It can also be a location for special events, such as Christian band concerts.
They are currently exploring expansion of the ministry to serve 30- to 40-year-olds in the area. Activities for these younger adults would be designed especially for them on Friday nights.
The youth center’s physical presence is good exposure for Lakes United Methodist Church in the community. “More importantly it speaks about our church’s commitment to our kids and youth, and positive words like that spread like wildfire!”
Hawthorn Hill provides shelter to homeless mothers with children in the Des Moines area. Executive Director Tim Shanahan addressed a gathering of United Methodist Women over the weekend. He reported that 153 homeless families were served in 2012, including nearly 400 children — and 51% come from outside of Iowa. To highlight the urgency of the need, he reported that from May to September in 2013 demand for their services was so high that Hawthorn Hill had to turn away 498 families, affecting almost 1300 children.
Their ministry works to move families toward self-sufficiency in order to break the cycle of poverty. The group learned about a woman named Eve, who arrived at Hawthorn Hill from Chicago in August of 2012. She was escaping an abusive relationship in order to protect her four children. In the first month, she received support that enabled her to write a resumé and get a job. She also found childcare for her children and received bus tokens to get to work. In the last year, she has earned a high school diploma and a CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) degree, which led to a job at Broadlawns hospital.
The Hawthorn Hill website reminds us, “Every family deserves a home.” Our shared gifts in partnership with several community organizations help to make this vision a reality for many lives.
Vibrant Latino ministries are developing in Iowa with the support of training underwritten in part through apportionment gifts. Emerging Latino communities of faith are located in Muscatine, Council Bluffs, Oakland, Perry, Des Moines, Corwith, Iowa City, and North Liberty — and the list is growing!
The Instituto Latino, the leadership development arm of the Hispanic/Latino Standing Committee of the Iowa Board of Global Ministries, has offered lay leadership training for the last several years at Wesley Woods, typically starting on a Friday night and ending late Saturday afternoon. This year several different ministry sites took responsibility for planning events in their own communities.
San Pablo United Methodist Church in Muscatine hosted “Lider Cristiano en Este Tiempo (Today’s Christian Leader),” which was presented by Dr. David Aguirre last April. A weekend retreat in May at Broadway United Methodist Church in Council Bluffs focused on leadership training for Latina women with the Rev. Awilda Noya of the Wisconsin Annual Conference. The Rev. Oscar Ramos Gallardo spoke at a September event hosted by Vida Nueva (New Life) in Corwith, addressing evangelism from his perspective as a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries in New Orleans.
All events were presented in Spanish and featured inspiring music offered by participants. The Instituto Latino’s ministry is one response to a strategic priority of the Iowa Conference to equip lay leadership to disciple others and transform the world.
The University of Iowa Wesley Foundation celebrated 100 years of ministry over the weekend. Students, staff, alumni, and friends gathered for a series of events, including an open house, a tailgating party in conjunction with Saturday’s football game, and worship on Sunday morning at First United Methodist Church, which is located right next door to their facility.
Paul Shultz, the campus minister and executive director of the Wesley Foundation, was interviewed for a feature article by the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Campus ministry, he suggested, sits at a unique placed between childhood and adulthood, nurturing spiritual, emotional, and relational life transitions. “We deal with all of those issues with students.”
Mission and service in the community has been a theme of the Wesley Foundation’s ministry in Iowa City over the years. Several social service institutions can trace their roots to the Wesley Foundation building itself, including the Crisis Center of Johnson County, the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic, and the Free Lunch Program. In addition, social justice issues and related mission work have provided opportunities for students like senior Taylor Gould to travel to Washington, D.C. and El Salvador, among other places, as witnesses to the gospel.
Conference apportionments given by local churches across the state of Iowa help to support the ministries of the Wesley Foundation.