Devotion

Devotion

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.

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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

Total=$450.00

EVANGELISM

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

OUTREACH

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

MISSION

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.

 

 

 

World Communion Sunday is October 1, 2017

WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY-OCTOBER 1, 2017

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”  (Luke 6:38)

On Sunday, October 1 during worship, we will be collecting monetary gifts for World Communion Sunday. On World Communion Sunday, we celebrate unity and togetherness with all God’s children, regardless of our differences. The special offering benefits ethnic national and international United Methodist students pursuing various avenues of ministry. Together, we provide financial support for future leaders and scholars who might otherwise be forgotten.

Students who receive scholarships through contributions from World Communion Sunday study in a wide variety of fields, including ministry, family pastoral care, clinical psychology, peace and governance, crop production, law, health, rural development, and more. Average scholarships range from $500 to $12,500 a year and cover tuition and fees, books, room and board, daily transportation, medical expenses, and more.

We encourage you to join thousands of other congregations and consider giving generously on October 1 when we observe World Communion Sunday. Our gifts empower tomorrow’s leaders TO CHANGE THE WORLD.

ONE UNITY. ONE MISSION. ONE SPECIAL SUNDAY.

WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY 2017

 

 

Camp Opportunities

Here are two opportunities for youth to attend a fall retreat this fall at Pictured Rocks. Contact Ruth Farmer (643-7377) with questions or to sign up your child!

For 3rd-5th Grade students (Deadline to register is Monday, Oct. 2nd):

For 6th-8th Grade students (Deadline to register is Monday, October 23):

Devotion

I am not the judge of you!

By Deborah Schoenfelder

“The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.” (Proverbs 22:2)

“For there is no partiality with God.” (Romans 2:11)

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man,there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

“But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:11)

My daughter Sarah, who lives on the west coast, had her cell phone stolen, and she called me distraught about the theft. She had dozens and dozens of photos of her twin daughters on her phone. Her personal information stored on the phone made her feel vulnerable, and the worst part was that it was taken from a place where she meets regularly with others for an exercise class. Hearing my voice, she burst into tears needing solace (what is there about a parent’s voice that can trigger tears, no matter what our age?).

By means of technology, Sarah and I were able to track where her phone was, and the police helped her eventually recover her phone. It wasn’t only the police that helped Sarah. Once the phone was tossed onto the ground a few miles from where the theft took place, a young man who was out on his skateboard found it and called the number on the screen that pleaded the “finder” to do so; it was my home number here in Iowa City.

Having shared the above, I want to set up the following scenario: “A young woman loses her cell phone. Two people are involved in this situation: One, a fellow exerciser at a local health club; and the other a young skateboarder. Who would you predict stole the phone, and who went to great effort to see that the phone was returned to its rightful owner?”

I am embarrassed to say that if given this scenario, I would most likely think the young man on the skateboard was the offender, and the person at the health club was the rescuer. WRONG! It was of course just the opposite, and a great reminder for me to take pause. First to say a prayer of thanks for the kind young man who helped Sarah, and second to confess my prejudicial thinking and utter a promise to once again work on my judgmental thoughts and ways.

Does any of this way of thinking sound familiar to you? It seems that it is prudent to do our best to be safe when we are out and about, and sometimes that means making judgements about who might or might not be trustworthy. But it does not give me license to judge or even condemn others who think or act differently than I do. Most of the time, I truly believe, looking or acting differently than me means just that: We are different, period, end of sentence. And no judgement about whether someone is good, bad, better, or worse need take place. Maybe even a prayer that includes gratitude that we are not all alike might be the next step. Praise God for our differences!

As with many hymns “In Christ there is no East or West”, is timeless, attesting to our similarities that outweigh our differences:

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North;
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.

In Him shall true hearts everywhere
Their high communion find;
His service is the golden cord,
Close binding humankind.

Join hands, then, members of the faith,
Whatever your race may be!
Who serves my Father as His child
Is surely kin to me.

In Christ now meet both East and West,
In Him meet North and South;
All Christly souls are one in Him
Throughout the whole wide earth.

(Music: Alexander R. Reinagle, 1836; Words: William A. Dunkerley, 1908)

Incidents like the one I described about the stolen phone remind me I am never too old to learn and to change my ways. In particular, I’m going to continue working on my thoughts that are based in nothing more than outward appearances. As I’ve often said, I’m a work in progress and with God by my side, I can do this!

Prayer: Gracious God of love and acceptance, thank you for being my steadfast friend and guide. I find myself slipping into ways of thinking that can put hurtful labels on others. I need to stop that and ask what you want of me in my daily doing and thinking, that will put me back on course in a life that reflects your unconditional grace and mercy. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! AMEN.

 

 

 

COME Minutes

 

 

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

July 9, 2017

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

Minutes of April 2, 2017 were distributed for review. Joys and concerns were briefly shared. Rhoda shared a piece titled “Here I am, Send Aaron” with related scripture, followed by prayer.

EVANGELISM

There are currently no upcoming Family Nights scheduled, but interest by the group was expressed to have a Family Night this fall. Pastor Momodu encouraged having Family Nights as a way to be more intentional and deliberate in reaching out to the community, offering ways to socialize and have fellowship.

OUTREACH

Contact persons for upcoming months (Jo Leighty, Coordinator): Ongoing.

Jim Schoenfelder regularly checks the Joys and Concerns card basket at the front of the church, making sure there is an ample supply for use by our faith community to follow up with joys and concerns voiced during worship services.

There will most likely not be an SUMC food booth at 2017 Hoover’s Hometown Days.

Rhoda raised the question about the possibility of an SUMC float at 2017 Hoover’s Hometown Days. There has been no discussion at this time about a float, but the subject will probably be raised at the Administrative Board meeting scheduled for July 26, 2017.

Church brochures and pew bookmarks: Jim S. reported that no brochures have been used in the past year. Pastor Momodu would like to have some brochures in hand as he plans to do visitation in the Springdale community. Members were in agreement that the pew bookmarks are helpful and should be continued. Jim S. asked Pastor Momodu and COME members to look over the brochure and bookmark, getting suggestions and edits to Jim so that he can update the documents.

MISSION

Special offerings

  • Report for Rural Life Sunday on May 7: Not available
  • Planning for World Communion Sunday (October 1)
  1. Rhoda will place a flyer on the bulletin board in the back of the church
  2. We have World Communion Sunday offering envelopes available in the COME file drawer in the Upper Room
  3. Jim F. will look for videos to promote World Communion Sunday
  4. Rhoda will prepare a promotional piece to submit to the church blog

Jim and Ruth Farmer recently traveled to the Midwest Missions Distribution Center (MMDC) in Chatham, Illinois to participate in the work being done there. Others in the congregation have expressed interest in volunteering at MMDC. Jim F. will write and submit a piece to the church blog describing MMDC and the opportunities for volunteering at the Center. 

2017 Thanksgiving Ingathering planning (Rachel Richards, Coordinator)

  • Selection of projects

The group was in agreement with Rachel’s recommendation to feature two UMCOR kits and one cash donation opportunity:

  1. Health Kits
  2. School Kits
  3. Self-Help International
  • Receptacles for donated kits and kit items: Julie has two containers, Jim F. will also bring some
  • Promotion
  1. Rachel will create two documents: An instruction sheet to submit to the church blog, and a shopping list to have available at church
  2. Children’s messages: Jim F., Steven Grace, and Pastor Momodu will plan and do messages for the Health Kits and School Kits. Rhoda will do a children’s message for Self-Help International
  • Dedication of donations and kits will take place at worship service on Sunday, October 29, 2017
  • Finish out and pack kits: COME members who are available will do this after worship on Sunday, October 29
  • School kit bags: Rachel will contact Jo Leighty to see if there will be a team making bags this year
  • Delivery of kits, money, postage, completed form(s) to Mt. Pleasant on Saturday, November 4, 2017: Who will do this will be determined closer to the date

Next meeting: October 8, 2017 following worship.

 

 

Devotion

What a Mess!
By Deborah Schoenfelder

“I trust in your unfailing love; My heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5

“I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; Even at night my heart instructs me.” Psalm 16:7

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

“Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” Psalm 55:22

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

There’s no way around it: Life is messy. We spill, we stain, we track mud into the house, and when the light is just right, we see windows and other glass surfaces covered with finger and nose prints (where did those come from?). I freely admit I am a “neatnik”, but the advent of having children and then a couple of feline companions helped me to ease up on my supposed need for neatness. I quickly figured out a little peanut butter on the sofa was not a problem. And a kitten swinging from the drapes? Oh well, she gave us all a good laugh and a warm memory that has lasted beyond her lifetime.

At times I feel like I am a mess. I’m anxious about having to confront someone about a sensitive situation, or I wish I could undo something I said or did, or I wonder why someone felt it necessary to say something that was hurtful to me. The list of times that I feel like a mess are endless! These can often be times that I want to retreat from others and spend time in the safety of my home. There’s no doubt life is “cleaner” if we don’t get too close to people. Indeed, relationships are complicated and can be messy. But I try not to remain in my safe shell for too long and venture back out to be among others.

On one of my recent visits to the memory care facility where my dear mother resides, a woman at the next table was concerned that she had spilled something onto her clothing (I’ll call her Joyce, not her real name). A staff person eating with her said without hesitation “The spill is hardly noticeable, and I think life is too short to worry about spills.” Immediately Joyce started laughing and replied “You know, you’re right.” Lunch continued with no further worried remarks about the spill that might turn into a stain. My thought was how profound to say that life is too short to worry about spills. They happen, and they happen a lot: The spills that come about because of errant food or drinks ending up where they shouldn’t; and the spills that happen in our mental, emotional, social, and spiritual lives.

So when spills happen and my life feels messy, I think the real question for me is what am I going to do about the spills, especially the messy ones. Am I going to worry about them, am I going blame someone, and maybe even get angry? I may go as far as question God’s presence as I struggle with my mess, much like these Bible verses lament:

“Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Psalm 10:1

“Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” Psalm 13:1-2

Rather than worry, blame, get angry, or question God’s presence, maybe I can work at cleaning up the mess as best I can and move on. I don’t find it easy to fix messes I’ve made, or to move on when I have felt slighted by someone. But God did not promise me an easy life. What he does promise is to take my hand along this life journey, and if necessary carry me at times when I feel particularly downtrodden and weak.

In addition to God’s promises that are there if I open my heart, I can find strength and solace in folks I have come to trust. And worshipping with others, as well as turning to scripture and Christian music is empowering and soothing for me. For example, Francesca Battistelli sings the song “This Is The Stuff” (2011), proclaiming “In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I’m blessed.” The refrain of another song “Beautiful Mess” (2015) performed by Meredith Kinleigh, goes like this:

Once again I’m reminded, I’m not perfect-I’m a beautiful mess that’s at my best-I am broken just like the rest-I’m a beautiful mess-Yes I confess I’ve done things that make no sense-But if I failed to see the imperfection in me I wouldn’t get to know the Savior who sets me free-So I accept that I’m a beautiful mess.”

Life is messy, I am messy, but I’m a work in progress guided by His unconditional and all-encompassing love. Join me?

Prayer: God of love and life, I need to remember life is messy and that you are with me as I navigate the waters of my life journey. I want to trust your promise to be with me as I work on my messes. I know I won’t get it right all the time, but by leaning on your everlasting arms, I can lead a cleaner life. Thank you for your constant presence! AMEN.

Rural Life Sunday–May 7

May 7 Rural Life Sunday

“Giver of Life, We thank you for those who are a part of putting food on our tables. We lift up those in rural areas who are struggling with the loss of family farms, low wages and lack of employment. We pray for your mercy and justice. Amen.” (Prayer from the Iowa Annual Conference website)

We will be observing Rural Life Sunday on May 7, which celebrates the church’s rural heritage, recognizes the ongoing crisis in rural areas, and affirms the interdependence between rural and urban communities. On this date, the money collected will be sent to the Iowa Annual Conference where 100% will be retained to fund grants to enrich ministries in rural areas. Please give thanks for our blessings and consider giving generously on Rural Life Sunday.

April Devotion

What’s So Funny?

By Deborah Schoenfelder

“He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”

Job 8:21

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens;

A time to cry and a time to laugh . . .”

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”

Psalm 126:2

This summer, I flew to Washington state to care for my twin toddler granddaughters. But it was no easy feat getting out to the great Northwest. I dutifully arrived at the Eastern Iowa Airport well ahead of the scheduled departure time, and went through the security drill: Shoes and jacket off, gels and liquids crammed into a quart bag, other items into a bin, my carry-on bag and purse onto the conveyor belt, and I proceeded through the scanning area with my hands over my head. All was good and I was soon at my gate with up-to-date information indicating my flight was on time. So I was expecting a long but uneventful day to get to Washington. Then the delays started, first to Denver because of severe thunderstorms. When I did get there, I had missed my connection with no more flights to my final destination that night. So for the first time in my life I slept in an airport, something I hope to never repeat. Add to that the experience of waking up in the middle of the first night at my daughter’s home on an air mattress, realizing I was again sleeping on the floor because the mattress had a slow leak. My luck didn’t change on the flight home due to inclement weather and a major mistake on the part of the airline, so instead of returning home late Thursday evening I arrived mid-morning on Friday.

I shared all of my airport mishaps as they unfolded via text messages with my daughter, and I clearly remember her response when I was finally home safely: “Wow, Mom, you’ve really taken all of this so well, much better than I would have. How did you manage to stay so positive, and even make it funny?”

As I thought about her question and all that had transpired, I wondered the same thing: Why wasn’t I mad at the world? Then it hit me that first of all, I wasn’t alone: Not on the airport floor that was my bed for one night, and not when I looked at the airport monitors countless times only to see that yet another flight had been delayed or cancelled (many others were also stranded). In addition, I had my husband and daughter to share my traveling woes with by phone and text messages. And most importantly, I had my faith that kept my nerves fairly steady and I had my sense of humor that I chose to engage.

Can calling on our sense of humor be part of our faith? Yes, I believe so. In fact, I think it is a requirement of our faith. There are many instances in the Bible where laughter is referenced, such as those I selected and shared above from the books of Job, Ecclesiastes, and the Psalms.

Humor and laughter is a way to cope in circumstances far less annoying than my recent travel experiences, and also in situations far more traumatic than what I endured. Laughter, when not at the expense of others, can release tension and put what’s happening into its proper perspective. We often hear pastors use humor in worship services. It helps us relate to the intended message, and it reminds us we all have more in common than we think. Put simply, I think humor that is used in a gentle and kind way, is healthy for us and just plain feels good. Here’s the words to a contemporary Christian song that celebrates laughter:

“I shake my head at my good fortune As I shake the dust off of my boots Yesterday I was an orphan Somehow today I belong to You Somehow today I belong to You

(Refrain): Ha ha, don’t it make you wanna laugh out loud? Ooh ooh, and shout, “Hallelujah!” Oh yeah, if you got joy go and let it on out Ha ha ha ha, laugh out loud

I was alive but I wasn’t living A prisoner of my fear and shame But when you find you’ve been forgiven Laughter will rise like a holy kind of praise So I throw my head back and offer up my thanks!

(Refrain)

He said bring to me your heavy heart Take my hand and we’ll go whistling in the dark Here we go now!

Ha ha, don’t it make you wanna laugh out loud? Ooh ooh, and shout, “Hallelujah!” Oh yeah, if you got joy go and let it on out Ha ha ha ha, laugh out loud

Ha ha ha ha, laugh out loud”

(Laugh Out Loud, Jason Gray, 2014)

So when troubles seem overwhelming-maybe, in addition to using other healthy coping strategies, we should draw upon and even cultivate our sense of humor-to help us weather storms that are sure to come our way. It’s a gift from God that can help us through the most trying of times. Good news indeed!

Prayer: God of life and laughter, I think I need to lighten up and have a good laugh more often. You gave me this gift of humor, and using it wisely and on a regular basis can help me find joy in the everyday rhythms and mishaps of life. I will try harder to make use of humor in a way that lifts me and others up, and is pleasing to you. Thank you and AMEN!