A personal passion for fitness helped to inspire Brady and Maddie Tubaugh to develop an outreach ministry in their southwest Iowa community. The Carson United Methodist Church was featured in the January/February 2017 edition of the United Methodist Interpreter.
In the last few years, a Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) team from Carson has been learning and praying about ministry in the 21st century. They are responding to God’s call for ministry in a variety of ways, building on the passions of church members as they share the love of Christ with the people of their community.
Brady, the church’s pastor, says that “being physically active is our way of being stewards of what God has given us so that we can better serve God in the world.” One member reported in the Interpreter article that he lost 65 pounds as a participant in the workout group during Lent last year.
United Methodist Communications is the agency responsible for the publication of the Interpreter magazine and other resources to extend the reach of the Church throughout the world. Just over 20% of the Iowa Conference budget, made possible through the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches across the state, helps to support the General Church ministries whose stories are told in the Interpreter.
Iowa Religious Media Services (IRMS) recently added some great new resources to their collection of adult Bible studies. Among the DVDs and related print materials are the newest Adam Hamilton study, Moses: In the Footsteps of the Reluctant Prophet, and a new women’s study, Listen, Love, Repeat, by Karen Ehman. IRMS Director Sharon Strohmaier reminds local church leaders that periodic announcements about new resources is a “personal service we provide to churches wanting to do advance planning” in their educational ministries.
IRMS is an ecumenical lending library with over 10,000 DVD, VHS, audio, book, and other resources available for use by subscribers and renters. The ministry provides religious media resources to assist with faith formation and growth of the whole person, including exploration of the Bible and contemporary religious issues.
IRMS staff can provide guidance to you and others in your congregation when you have questions about the various resources they have to offer. Their experience and expertise can significantly increase your satisfaction with the resources you receive. They are there for you to facilitate a successful use of every product they have in their library.
Apportionment gifts of $75,000 from the local United Methodist churches of Iowa helped to support IRMS in 2016. Visit their website to learn how your church can become a subscriber.
Members of the Solon United Methodist Church gathered last month to celebrate the movement of the Holy Spirit in their outreach to the community. Two years had passed since their Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) consultation, during which they discerned God’s direction for their future ministry.
They expressed a hunger to help people encounter “the power of a life-changing faith experience.” The resulting focus on building relationships with their community has produced significant fruit.
The number of children in faith formation groups nearly doubled in the last two years. They are especially pleased with the increased involvement of middle school and high school youth.
At the end of April they confirmed thirteen youth as new members of their community of faith, and three new families are joining the church in May. Easter Sunday they enjoyed a 12% increase in attendance from 401 in the previous year to 452 persons in 2017.
“From its beginnings over 175 years ago,” they explain on their website, “our congregation has shared the love of Christ with the world and supported one another in our journey of faith.” Recently, for example, twice as many people are engaging in mission activities than in the previous year.
HCI consultations are supported in part with the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches around the state of Iowa. This year $15,000 is earmarked for this purpose in the Iowa Conference budget.
As a teacher, Colleen Petaros thought that a natural use of her God-given gifts would be to pursue some sort of ministry related to education in her retirement. Indeed, she accepted a ministry assistant position with her local church in Maquoketa and oversaw the educational needs there for children through adults. Her classes in the Iowa School for Lay Ministry helped her feel confident in the role.
However, she found herself restless. She had a feeling that God had something else in mind for her. She discovered that a hospice chaplaincy position had opened up, so she applied. She found that caring for persons who were nearing the end of their lives was very rewarding. The work also led to a relationship with a local funeral home to preside at memorial services. “I found a paradox,” she said, “that in emptying myself, I was filled.” Her ministry with grieving families continues to this day.
The School for Lay Ministry is a three-year experience for lay persons to explore their Christian faith and further discern how God is leading them into a wide range of ministry, both paid and unpaid. The Board of Laity is designating $9,600 in scholarship support for students this year. These funds are made possible with the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches throughout Iowa.
The Rev. Dr. Joel M. LeMon from Candler School of Theology in Atlanta approached the podium and began to sing the opening verse of Psalm 133 in Hebrew. He taught participants at the School for Ministry the words and melody, phrase by phrase, until the whole room was singing it together.
Only then did he reveal the meaning of the Hebrew text. “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” The text is a Song of Ascent which was sung by worshipers as they traveled to Jerusalem to attend one of the annual festivals of the faith.
The Iowa United Methodist School for Ministry is a continuing education event for pastors. This year the event was held in the week following Easter at the Honey Creek Resort State Park outside of Moravia on the shores of Lake Rathbun.
The multi-day event centered around the Psalms. Worship, meals and recreation offered opportunities in addition to the lectures for each participant’s growth and learning in the company of ministry colleagues. The Iowa Conference Board of Ordained Ministry provides $10,000 annually to help support the School for Ministry. These funds are made possible from the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches across the state.