The Columbus Junction United Methodist Church plays host to the Great Beginnings Preschool, which offers quality care and education to children from ages three to five in their community and the surrounding area. Kids from all walks of life share the benefits of their safe and learning-enriched environment. The ministry even offers transportation to and from the preschool for families needing that service.
Students from four different cultural backgrounds fill their classroom, and they all learn from each other as they learn together. “Many of our students are refugees or immigrants and all are learning to adjust to a new culture with new surroundings,” says Marsha Gerot. “Our preschool helps these families feel safe and comfortable in their surroundings.”
The church provides the facilities for the ministry as well as electricity, janitorial services and heat. They also provide paper for the preschool’s newsletters and correspondence. Their commitment to serving a diverse community of people is a special emphasis of this program, which is in line with the mission of the United Methodist Church around the world.
Great Beginnings Preschool received a Matthew 25 grant of $2,000 in 2017 from the Southeast District. These funds are made possible through the apportionment gifts of the United Methodist churches of Iowa.
The Greenfield United Methodist Church launched a new worship service earlier this month. Previously, the church had a service at 9 a.m. followed by a time of fellowship and Sunday school at 10:30. Now they are offering worship at 9 and 11 a.m. with Sunday school in between at 10 o’clock.
Church leaders have been engaged for the last two years in prayer and discernment about their future through the Healthy Church Initiative. First, a team of their leaders studied ministry in the 21st century. A consultation weekend followed to help them determine their future plans based on their gifts and graces as a church. They determined that God was calling them to experiment with ways to connect new people to God.
On the first Sunday the new service was offered, the church netted 17 new people in church attendance. “We welcome with open arms those seeking to understand what Christianity is about,” they say on their website, “as well as those who are yearning to deepen their discipleship and grow into the likeness of Christ.”
The ministries of the Healthy Church Initiative are supported in part with $60,000 from the Parish Development Standing Committee of the Iowa Board of Global Ministries. The funds are made possible through the apportionment gifts of local United Methodist churches throughout the state.
A narrative budget reflecting the ministries of the Iowa Annual Conference for 2018 is now available on our website. This collaboration of the Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) and the Communications Ministry Team was recently completed and published to help the members of our local churches know more about how we are investing in ministry across the state. The 24-page document describes conference missions and ministries as well as general church apportionments, which are invested in outreach efforts around the world.
The CFA is responsible for overseeing the financial health of the Iowa Annual Conference. Working with the Conference Treasurer and the Administrative Services staff, budget proposals from all boards and agencies are reviewed and recommendations for annual budgets and apportionment formulas are presented to each Annual Conference. Since the approval of the budget at the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference, the CFA has worked with the communications team of the conference to prepare a narrative budget that reflects all of the decisions related to our shared ministries throughout the state of Iowa and in the global United Methodist connection.
This year’s budget for the work of the CFA and related conference staff is $792,097. These funds are made possible through the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches of the Iowa Conference.
Jaymee Glenn-Burns, the Field Outreach Minister serving the Northeast District, has begun a new blog for United Methodist leaders called Bread and Wisdom: Seeking the Way of Jesus. “The United Methodist Church in Iowa,” she explains, “has set the ambitious goal of every congregation implementing an intentional discipleship pathway by 2020. This blog is an invitation to think, pray, discuss, and experiment our way to that goal.”
Each weekly blog centers on a discipleship question. The first installment asked, “Why all the fuss?” More recently, she posed the question, “What is a disciple?”
A Quote of the Week on the Northeast District’s Facebook page supplements the blog. One recent installment was from a new initiative called See All the People.
“For too long,” the website contends, “The United Methodist Church has looked for a quick fix to help guide our discipleship efforts.” We must nurture relationships “with the communities that surround our churches.”
All of this is offered to spur the imaginations of churches and their leaders to fulfill our shared mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The Iowa Conference is investing $13,400 in the ministries of the Northeast District in 2017. These funds are made possible through the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches across the state.