By Rhoda Barnhart

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Phillippians 4:6*

It almost seemed like an adventure—and I prayed for safe travels as I headed for Mt. Vernon. From there I’d ride with my brother and his wife to Delhi where I grew up. It was mid-March of 2017— I’d been limiting my driving to daytime and local destinations for quite some time but the weather was good, and there had been no problems with my car. I really wanted to go to the funeral of a friend who grew up across the road from our farm.  All went well— so later that week I again prayed for safe travels as I drove to Anamosa to help celebrate the 90th birthday of a long-time friend from my Iowa State University Extension days.

A few days later I prayed for safe travel while driving to Iowa City for a 7:45 A.M. eye appointment. My daughter Diane had taken me every time since my December 2015 cornea transplant, but she had to work that morning. After a brief exam—“come back in three months” (I was a slow healer). So I got groceries and headed home.

After the groceries were put away I got back in the car to take some papers to son, Bruce.  The car wouldn’t start! — made funny noise. I called Bruce and let him hear the noise—he said “sounds like the battery. I’ll come and jump it.” It took him no time to get it started. He called the garage — explained that he was jumping it —would follow me— we’d be there soon. Sure enough they tested it and the battery was done for. Soon I had a new battery and was good to go.

To have my battery fail while in my own garage—and have Bruce only a few blocks away———Some people would say I was lucky. I’m inclined to believe it was the blessing of answered prayer.

It’s true that not every prayer is answered in the way or time that we had hoped for. I find that study notes in my Bible help guide my thoughts after reading scriptures. A couple examples follow:

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

Study notes from Matthew 21:22 “This verse is not a guarantee that we can get anything we want simply by asking Jesus and believing. God does not grant requests that would hurt us or others or that would violate his own nature or will. Jesus’ statement is not a blank check. To be fulfilled, our requests must be in harmony with the principles of God’s kingdom. The stronger our belief, the more likely our prayers will be in line with God’s will, and then God will be happy to grant them.”

Jesus in Mark 9:23: “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Study notes from Mark 9: 23 – “Jesus’ words do not mean that we can automatically obtain anything we want if we just think positively. Jesus meant that anything is possible if we believe, because nothing is too difficult for God. We cannot have everything we pray for as if by magic; but with faith, we can have everything we need to serve him.”

Study notes from Philippians 4:6,7  … Paul’s advice is to turn our worries into prayers. “Do you want to worry less? Then pray more! Whenever you start to worry, stop and pray.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father help us learn to turn our worries into prayers and trust You; may your will be done. In Jesus’ name, AMEN

*Scriptures are from the Life Application Bible—New International Version.


RESERVE THE DATE – April 11, 2018 for “The Church Basement Ladies in Rise Up, O Men”

This is the newest installment in the side-splitting Church Basement Ladies musical-comedy series. Hilarity ensues when the kitchen needs some fixing up and the furnace needs repair.  In trying to help, the hard working men of the church unintentionally cause disruptions, as the Church basement Ladies try to keep order in their kitchen.  Enjoy an all-new musical comedy at Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse featuring the men of the church and your favorite Church Basement Ladies who serve them.  See what happens when the roosters enter the hen house!

Contact Ruth Farmer at 319-643-7377 by March 25th to reserve your seat.  Tickets will be $52 or less depending on how large our group is.  Doors open at 5:45 pm with dinner being served until 7 pm and then the performance.  The 5 entrée buffet also will have gluten free items available if need be.  We will meet at the church to car pool at 4:45 pm April 11th.

SUMC Ad Board Minutes-1/31/18

Springdale UMC Leadership Board

Minutes for January 31, 2018  

The SUMC Board met Jan. 31, 2018 with the following present: Steven Grace, Jim & Ruth Farmer, Deborah & Jim Schoenfelder, Dan McElderry, Nicki Brick, Rhoda Barnhart, Austin Richards, Jo Leighty, Diane Heick, Pastor Kamara, and Saffi Kamara.

Opening Devotion & Prayer by Jim Farmer began our time together.

Trustees: Dan reported that no action has been taken on the doors yet. He said two new furnace filters need to be purchased. He can do so with the funds coming from General Maintenance. Dan has been replacing the light fixtures in the Upper Room as the bulbs burn out. It was noted the new ones provide considerably more light than the old ones.

Stewardship: Copies of the Treasurer’s report were distributed. The report showed the ministry Spending plan for 2017–and all the income & expenditures for the entire year.

It is encouraging that we’re in the black for 2017. The 2017 Income was $45,699.12 and expenses were $43,464.01


  1. Licensing School for Pastor Kamara. He’s doing the paperwork to participate in the school in May. When completed he will be qualified to perform Communion, Baptism, and Weddings. Many thanks to Rev. Paulus who has been helping out with Communion most months since Momodu arrived last July.
  2. Contact with members: there was lots of discussion about updating the mailing lists and making sure the baptisms, weddings, funerals, etc. are being recorded properly.
  3. Lenten Services-This year WBARC is planning to offer Lenten Services twice for each service. Bethany Lutheran will host the Ash Wednesday services at Noon & 7 pm. on Feb. 14. Maundy Thursday services will be held at Springdale UMC on March 29, and Good Friday Services will be at the West Branch UMC on March 30.

2018 planning:

          Pastor Kamara shared questions & ideas for the Springdale UMC. He’s currently using the Lectionary for messages, but has been contemplating other options such as a series with a theme or concept..

As he’s getting to know our congregation Momodu feels we could reach a higher level of focus. His challenge to us is to raise our discipleship experience.  HOW?  Pray for God to guide us. As Believers we have the Holy Spirit within us. Be attentive to possible nudges as to ways you can help make disciples.

Next meeting: Match 28, 2018 6:30 (SPRC); 7 p.m. (full board)

Closing prayer—Jim Farmer       Secretary, Rhoda Barnhart

Thanks to Saffi for delicious pizza as we concluded our meeting.

COME Minutes from January 14, 2018

MINUTES: Outreach/Mission/Evangelism (COME) Team of Springdale UMC

January 14, 2018

In attendance: Rhoda Barnhart (Chair), Julie Mather, Jo Leighty, Pastor Momodu Kamara

Minutes of October 9, 2017 were distributed for review. Julie moved, Jo sec. Motion carried.

Joys and Concerns were briefly shared.

2017 Worship Attendance: Jim Farmer compiled the 2017 worship attendance report and provided copies for the team to review. The report showed a monthly average of 35. An adjusted monthly average is 38 when including attendance at once monthly Coffee & Devotions at Crestview.

2018 COME goals: Copies of 2017 Goals were distributed with suggested changes from Rhoda and Deborah. Those present discussed possible revisions. For the most part changes were minor and the group approved them. The revised goals will be presented for approval at the next COME meeting.


After considerable discussion the team selected three special offerings for 2018: 1) UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)-March 11; 2) Disability Awareness-April 29; 3) United Methodist Student Day-Nov. 25


Jo Leighty reported the contact persons for upcoming months: Jan. Rhoda; Feb. Jim & Deborah; March, Jo; April, Jo; May, Theresa Mayhew.

The Thanksgiving Ingathering 2017 report was detailed in the agenda—Total value of donations was $798.00.


Upcoming Family Bowling Night: January 27, 6 pm, Tipton (contacts Jim and Ruth Farmer)

Next COME meeting:  April 22, 2018 following worship.

Pastor Kamara closed the meeting with prayer.

Thanks to Jo for taking notes at the meeting.

SUMC Bowling Party

Join us this Saturday, January 27th for a BOWLING PARTY! We will meet at Cedar Lanes in Tipton (605 E. 7th St.) at 6 p.m. (or come any time after!). The alley has food items, so plan to pick something up for supper. All are welcome–young or less young; members or non-members; anyone! Invite your friends and neighbors and come enjoy an evening of fellowship and, if you would like, bowling!


Baby Steps
By Deborah Schoenfelder

“For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.”
Psalm 18:31-33

“For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
Do not fear; I will help you.”
Isaiah 41:13

“I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step, You’ll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days.”
From the song: Step By Step, Rich Mullins, 1991

Our granddaughter Cali didn’t walk until she was 18 months old. From the time she celebrated her first birthday, we all cheered Cali’s every effort to stand and walk as her twin sister ran circles around her. Any little hint that she would walk on her own without the assistance of others was a victory. As time went on, there was no doubt we were all concerned as we saw that little girl working so hard to stay on her feet. Cali was especially responsive to her Papa Jim’s soft spoken encouragement. And then eventually, Cali walked independently and there was no turning back. I could see the joy in her face-being on her feet was thrilling-and a lot more fun than crawling. Now, Cali runs like the wind, keeping us all on our toes.

As I look back and reflect on Cali’s effort to walk, those baby steps ring true in my faith journey. Maybe yours as well? There was no momentous “Aha” experiences for me. Over the years, it has instead been a life of taking a few steps forward and then a step or two back. And there’s also been times when I’ve hesitantly taken little wobbly steps in my spiritual growth, and then I would end up sitting down with a thud after losing my balance. Those “thuds” might have been a broken marriage, a lost relationship, or a deeply disappointing outcome at work not getting something for which I had put out so much effort.

What I have discovered over the years is that the steps backward and the falling down have made the forward movement all the sweeter: Times like trusting another person enough to marry again, reuniting with a loved one after years of painful separation, and being recognized publicly for a job well done. These steps forward help blunt the not-so-sweet moments that are sure to come along the way. Then at some point in one’s life if we keep searching and trying to grow our faith, there’s the thrill of understanding the joy of a loving relationship with our parent God. It is so freeing that we feel we can run like the wind! The refrain of the 2008 song “By Your Side” proclaims we are never alone, whether we are on our feet striding with ease or we are just stumbling along:

“I’ll be by your side wherever you fall,
In the dead of night whenever you call,
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you,
My hands are holding you.”
(Performed by musical group Tenth Avenue North)

Have your travels in faith been slow and steady with some back and forth like mine? Or can you point to a specific event or moment in your life when you knew there was no turning back from a life with God at the center? Have you been excitedly cheered on as you question and nurture your faith, or has there been a steady reassuring “Papa Jim” type there to offer you a gentle hand? Whatever your experience, and wherever you are now, the Good News is that we are loved completely-just as we are. Hallelujah!

Prayer: Loving Father, we are humbled and amazed by the unfailing strength of your arms that guide us in our journey of faith. When we take hesitant baby steps, you are there. When we stumble and fall, you are there. And when we run with joy, YOU ARE THERE! For all of this and more, thank you. AMEN.

Selected songs that speak to the strength of God:
Take My Hand, Precious Lord, Thomas A. Dorsey, 1932
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, Anthony J. Showalter and Elisha Hoffman, 1887
Standing on the Promises, R. Kelso Carter, 1886
Just a Closer Walk with Thee, Author unknown
Strong Enough, Matthew West, 2011
I Will Follow, Chris Tomlin, 2010
By Your Side, Tenth Avenue North, 2008



By Rhoda Barnhart

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40.

“Ouch! How can it hurt so much?” I thought; I was merely getting out of the guest room bed. My lower back was so painful I could not find any way to move without it hurting. When occasional minor back pains got worse I thought maybe I needed a different mattress. Obviously that wasn’t the answer—at least not this one. Before the day was over I had my diagnosis. After an x-ray, I was told “You have a lot of arthritis in your lower back.”

Now I knew what I was dealing with. Arthritis in my hands was severe at one time, but now it isn’t often painful. I asked my doctor if she thought physical therapy would help in this case. We both thought it was worth a try, and she wrote a prescription. Since I participate in Senior Exercises at the local physical therapy facility, I knew who to ask. Corey assessed my situation and proceeded to teach me exercises to try. After 2 or 3 appointments, I had 5 exercises that I continue to do faithfully every morning.

“Exercises?–too much of a bother” was a response when I suggested it to a friend having back pain. What could be easier and cheaper than to spend 15 minutes exercising on my bed to start the day? It has kept my back pain at bay for over 2 years now—with no need for Tylenol.

Jesus healed folks “on the spot.” Though he doesn’t walk the earth these days, He has provided options for the pain and struggles we experience in our lives. I have said many a prayer of gratitude for the doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and caregivers that have kept me going. I think of them as being the hands and feet of Jesus in their chosen profession. However, it doesn’t take a diploma for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our daily lives. Seeing a need, and finding a way to address it was demonstrated recently by a friend of mine. Upon learning of one child’s hunger she teamed with others to supplement not one, but a dozen children’s’ diets.

Scripture reminds us that there are many ways to serve the Lord. Acts 20:35, Paul: “I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

“Come, you who are blessed by my father; take your inheritance,…For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’   “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:34-40

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Help us see, and act on the opportunities around us where we can be the hands and feet of Jesus. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Thanksgiving Ingathering–2017

2017 Thanksgiving Ingathering–We will bless the items on October 29th during worship at 10:30 a.m. Please bring to the church before then!

Important! Purchase exactly what is asked for.

School Kits


3 Notebooks, 8 ½ x 11    (total of 210-250 sheets)

1 2 1/2 “ eraser                                                                         1 blunt-end scissors (metal blades)

1 30 cm metric ruler                                                               1 hand pencil sharpener

1 box of 24 crayons                                                                 6 unsharpened pencils

All items are placed in a school bag. Already cut school bags are in the church office for those who wish to sew some.

Health Kits

1 new hand towel (15”x25” to 17”x27”)                                  1 new washcloth

1 bath-sized bar soap (3 oz or larger, no Ivory or Jergens)

1 large sturdy comb                                                                        6 Bandaids

1 adult toothbrush in package

1 nail file or finger nail clipper (no emery boards or toenail clippers)


Cash/Check donations can be made to SUMC for Self-Help International for Quality Protein Maize or for shipping costs. Please specify Ingathering on the memo line on checks.


COME Minutes

MINUTES: Outreach/Mission/Evangelism (COME) Team of Springdale UMC

October 8, 2017

In attendance: Rhoda Barnhart (Chair), Deborah Schoenfelder, Jim Schoenfelder, Julie Mather, Rachel Richards, Pastor Momodu Kamara, Ruth Farmer (guest).

Minutes of July 9, 2017 were distributed for review. Joys and concerns were briefly shared.

Ruth Farmer described the backpack food project she has undertaken at West Branch High School. The committee agreed that we as a church will support this project, following Ruth’s lead as to what food items are needed and when. Ruth will write an informational piece about the food project to be submitted to the church blog.

The COME members decided to keep the COME Ministry Spending Plan for 2018 the same as it was in 2017:

WBARC                                                                     $150.00

Church brochures                                                          50.00

Community Visibility Activities                                        75.00

Committee supplies                                                       25.00

Evangelism resources                                                   150.00



There are currently no Family Nights scheduled for the remainder of 2017


Contact persons for upcoming months (Jo Leighty, Coordinator): No report, ongoing

Updated church brochures and pew bookmarks (Jim Schoenfelder)

  1. Jim S. has updated the church brochures and keeps a supply available in the entryway of the church
  2. Pew bookmarks: Jim S. received no suggested changes to the bookmarks, so he will go ahead and update the bookmarks with Pastor Momodu’s contact information and then get them printed and laminated at a printing house in Iowa City


Special offerings

  1. Report for Rural Life Sunday (May 7): Total giving=$138.00
  2. Report for World Communion Sunday (October 1): Total giving=$96.00

Continued planning for 2017 Thanksgiving Ingathering (Rachel Richards, Coordinator)

  1. Promotion
  • Children’s messages: Rhoda will do a message that focuses on Self-Help International (Quality Protein Maize) on Sunday, October 15; She will also mention the UMCOR Health Kits and the UMCOR School Kits

2. School kit bags: There is cut fabric available in the Upper Room for anyone interested and willing to sew bags

3. Dedication of monetary donations and kits will take place at worship service on Sunday, October 29, 2017

4. COME members who are available on Sunday, October 29 after worship will finish out and pack kits

5. Delivery of kits, money, postage, completed form(s) to Mt. Pleasant on Saturday, November 4, 2017: Possibly Jim and Ruth Farmer will do the delivery; otherwise Rachel Richards will make the delivery

Next meeting: January 14, 2018 following worship.