Joe Marnin of Anita, Iowa, is a difference maker who was featured in the Southwest District newsletter earlier this fall. Some years ago, he met Mel West, the founder of the P.E.T. (Personal Energy Transportation) Organization, and his life was transformed.
The faith-based, volunteer-driven ministry, recently renamed Mobility Worldwide, builds and distributes hand-cranked wheelchairs with solid rubber tires for persons who suffer from mobility issues due to polio, landmine explosions or other afflictions.
Joe converted an old hog house on his farm into a workshop where he and his volunteers sort, cut and make eleven different wooden shapes and parts for the vehicle. He purchases 10′ pieces of 1’x6′ treated yellow pine. It takes 512 of these 10′ boards to make 35 P.E.T.’s for one shipment.
When all of these pieces are ready, Joe hauls them to Hawarden where another crew assembles the cart. The Mobility Worldwide program is a United Methodist Church Advance Special: #982665. It is an Iowa Advance Special (in the Blue Spectrum): #386, with funds going to the Hawarden affiliate.
The Southwest District shares monthly stories of mission like this one to help our churches be more aware of the impact we have together in meeting the needs of our world. In 2017 their district ministry budget of $12,749 is funded through the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches of Iowa.
St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Iowa City has just completed a series of workshops as participants in the Healthy Church Initiative. They received support for this purpose from the East Central District, which has earmarked funds in their annual budget to purchase books for such studies.
The congregation’s leaders have committed to continuing their monthly studies together as they pursue God’s mission in their community. Now they are offering their gently used books to other potential HCI groups as a way of paying the ministry of their district forward.
The East Central District is pleased to have piloted HCI in the Iowa Conference. They are seeing the fruits of their labors as congregations and individuals are enlivened for Christ and engaging their communities and growing disciples.
District leaders are also working together to strengthen a variety of ethnic communities of faith in their area and to guide new and existing churches towards health and vitality through spiritual leadership and organizational transformation. They are encouraging all clergy and laity to practice healthful leadership through fellowship, spiritual guidance and attention to self-care.
The Iowa Conference has earmarked $19,500 for the ministries of the East Central District in 2017. These funds are made possible through the apportionment gifts of the United Methodist churches across the state.
The Northeast District sponsored a training event last month at First United Methodist Church in Jesup. Jackie Bradford, the superintendent, announced that Dr. Lilian Gallo Seagren and Dr. Gideon Gallo, a sister and brother team, would be coming to the district on Saturday, October 14 to “help us explore the Gospels to discover what we can learn about making disciples.”
The Iowa Conference has embraced a Wildly Important Goal (WIG) to see that “All United Methodist churches in Iowa will have a process of intentionally forming disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by the year 2020.”
Fifteen leaders attended the event in Jesup. They focused on what a disciple is, in order to help their churches design a process for developing their members more and more into the likeness of Jesus. A disciple, their presenters noted, is a learner who has a confession and conviction about who Jesus Christ is and a commitment to the mission of the church in a community of faith shaped by the example of Jesus.
Leadership development is a major focus of the Northeast District budget in 2017. Apportionment gifts of $13,400 are dedicated to the district from the apportionment gifts of the United Methodist churches of Iowa.
Mobile United Methodist Missionaries (MUMM) finished its summer season with JOY Camp at Wesley Woods during the last week of July. JOY stands for “Jesus, Others & You.”
In her blog, Allison Engel, the Senior Summer Assistant for MUMM, tells about a tradition at the camp that keeps the schedule a mystery each day. Campers are puzzled to learn that everything starts at 7:47!
Alison was feeling rather glum in the middle of the week until she found a camper who was searching through his Bible to find 7:47. Another curious camper came over, and they wound up reading Matthew 6:34.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.” Or as The Message paraphrases the same passage, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now.”
Alison wrote, “So what was God doing right then?” Her post continued, “Using two middle school boys to remind me that there is still good in the world, that’s what.”
Fifty at-risk young people attended JOY camp this year, and their camping fees were covered through scholarships. In 2017 MUMM is receiving $37,000 in conference grants from the apportionment gifts of the United Methodist churches of Iowa to support its outreach throughout the southern half of the state.