People like “Marcie” receive the support of Christian community through the ministries of Women at the Well, a United Methodist church located within the walls of the prison in Mitchellville just east of Des Moines. Marcie has repeatedly told her pastor, Lee Schott, that she regrets “the tragedy that I brought upon my family” which led to her imprisonment.
“You need not be defined by the worst fifteen minutes of your life,” Pastor Schott recently told Marcie and others at Women at the Well. As United Methodist churches everywhere often say, God’s grace is available to all who repent and seek newest of life through Jesus Christ. This message of redemption is at the heart of the ministry of Women at the Well UMC.
Pastor Schott’s work takes her outside of the prison regularly to build relationships with local churches who share a passion for the ministry. She can be found preaching in pulpits across the state. Groups from these partner churches are often guests for worship on Thursday evenings at the prison. They also support Women at the Well ministries both financially and through volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
Women at the Well UMC receives support from Matthew 25 grants from several districts. Those funds are made possible by apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches across the state of Iowa. Learn more at www.womenatthewellumc.org.
Students at Iowa State University are invited this semester to Refresh! Collegiate Wesley, a ministry partnership between Collegiate United Methodist Church and the Wesley Foundation Student Center in Ames, is offering students a sampling of different spiritual disciplines, Bible study techniques, styles of prayer, and meditation practices to help them make stronger connections with God and others by nurturing their minds, bodies, and spirits.
Last week they began with a Myers/Briggs personality sorter to understand unconcious practices for processing information as well as relating to others. They will use what they have learned throughout the semester to figure out which spiritual disciplines enhance different facets of their personalities—what styles of worship, prayer, Bible study, and devotional practices work best for each individual. Week by week on Tuesday evenings they will focus on a different practice, beginning by learning and discussing the basics, then taking time to try it out and, finally, wrapping up every session by discussing what students think about it.
Collegiate Wesley is a center for spiritual growth where persons grow as disciples of Christ in a passionate, thinking, inclusive environment to nourish spirits, explore beliefs, and serve their neighbors. Apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches across the state help to support this ministry.
The free clinic operating out of the Polk City United Methodist Church was able to enhance its ministry to marginalized persons with a Matthew 25 grant from the Central District. St. Luke’s Medical Clinic offers free and discounted health services to those who qualify for such needs as sports and school physicals, immunizations, and ill visits. They are a part of the Free Clinics of Iowa.
Internet access available with a new computer system provides information from the Iowa Registry of Immunizations System. Previously, Tess Young explained, they had to rely on each patient’s memory about “what immunizations had been received and what immunizations might be needed.” Now they can provide more timely service without delay. “This is extremely important in the free clinic setting” where many persons “face barriers to care such as language and transportation issues.”
Clinic staff, who are volunteer healthcare providers, are available on the first and third Wednesday evenings of each month. They are able to access the Internet from the examination room to find up-to-date information about prescription drugs, referral options, and notices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other government agencies related to health care.
Apportionment gifts from the United Methodist churches of Iowa helped the clinic purchase the computer, printer, router, and printer cartridges they needed for a two-year period. Remaining funds were used to finance immunizations and other medications for their patients.
Our Savior United Methodist Church has been reaching out to the children of Manson during the last two summers by hosting a Sidewalk Monday School. Last year’s events were every Monday from June 30 through August 18.
They invited all area children from pre-K through 6th grade to the lawn of the local Good Samaritan Home from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The format for the Sidewalk Monday School was much like a Vacation Bible School. Each week the kids gathered to enjoy a Bible story, sing songs, play games, and eat lunch together.
Matthew 25 funds from the North Central District, made possible with apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches across the state of Iowa, helped to purchase gifts for the Sidewalk Monday School. Church members supplemented the costs for this community outreach ministry, which provided such things as skateboards, balls, dolls, water toys, goggles, and sidewalk chalk to participating children.
The members of Our Savior UMC focus their efforts to create disciples for Christ through outreach and evangelism. They use the initials of their name to remind them of God’s calling on their lives: “One Spirit Uplifting Many by Sharing our Savior’s Love.”