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African Cultural Festival

African Cultural Festival

8/25/2016

On Saturday, August 27 from 1pm to 4pm, on the spacious and welcoming grounds of Salem United Methodist Church (3715 33rd Avenue Southwest), the people of Cedar Rapids will have an opportunity to take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of multiple African cultures thanks to a partnership of local congregations and ministries, notably African Women ...


Iowa Homeless Youth Centers changes volunteers from thrive

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers changes volunteers from thrive

7/25/2016

On Thursday, July 21, 2016, thrive United Methodist Church received the Volunteer Impact Award at the Iowa Homeless Youth Centers' 2016 Youth Achievement Tea. Rev. Jennifer Hibben, co-pastor accepted the award on behalf of the church.  Iowa Homeless Youth Centers (IHYC) offers a variety of programs and facilities that teach homeless youth, ages ...


A Day Sprinkled with Love

A Day Sprinkled with Love

5/5/2016

May Day was spectacular for the South Sudanese Congregation of Mabaan people at Epworth UMC in Des Moines.  They held their first baptismal service with members from Storm Lake, Omaha and Texas along with Bishop Julius Trimble, Central District General Superintendent Dave Weesner, Field Outreach Minister, Karen Nelson along with representatives ...


Bertram UMC and HCI Builds Strength

Bertram UMC and HCI Builds Strength

4/22/2016

Just outside of Cedar Rapids is the small township of Bertram, once a railroad town and now the center of a sprawl of new housing developments. “The church in the town is the only institution,” says Bertram UMC pastor Jenny Seylar. “And part of being the only institution is that a lot of people in the town claim the church as their church, although...


First UMC in Ottumwa and HCI Expands Reach

First UMC in Ottumwa and HCI Expands Reach

4/22/2016

Marva Philipsen and her husband have been attending First United Methodist Church, located in downtown Ottumwa, for about five or six years. They found it friendly and warm, and small groups helped them to get involved and connected. But it’s an older church, with an aging membership, and, she explains, it has perhaps tended to be a bit too inward ...


Greenfield UMC and HCI Revives Ministries

Greenfield UMC and HCI Revives Ministries

4/22/2016

While the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) has been in place in the Iowa Conference for four-plus years, many congregations were putting elements of the initiative that equips clergy and laity to reach new people into practice prior to its official inception, and sometimes since without having fully implemented the program. One such church is ...


Manning UMC and HCI Focuses on the Mission

Manning UMC and HCI Focuses on the Mission

4/22/2016

An already fruitful and thriving ministry at the Manning United Methodist Church was blessed to grow and reach more people through the work of church members and pastors involved in the ministry, aided in part by the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) process. With The Source worship service and its parent Recovery Bible Study ministry, Manning UMC is...


The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - April 6, 2016

The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - April 6, 2016

4/6/2016

The Story Continues   April 6, 2016 The story of the Mabaan people from the South Sudanese continues in Ethiopia due to Sudanese leaders’ single-minded quest for power and authority. To escape fighting, persecution, rape and death, many Mabaans’ fled across the border to Ethiopia.  Aaron Limmo completed his studies in Khartoum with the intent on ...


Revitalizing a congregation

Revitalizing a congregation

3/28/2016

Sheldahl United Methodist Church is living into their Healthy Church Initiative prescriptions by trying new ways to build relationships with their community. This piece, written by Dawn Sargasso Pauls, appeared in the March issue of North Polk Iowa Living magazine. Click here to read this article on page 18.  Revitalizing a congregation Sheldahl ...


The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - March 21, 2016

The Story Continues of the South Sudanese UMC - March 21, 2016

3/21/2016

Written by Judy Marnin and Beverly Nolte Pastor Aaron Limmo completed Grade Eight while staying with an uncle in Khartoum, then capital of the Sudan. Because of high grade scores and excellent study habits, he passed over high school to attend Gideon Theological College, the only high level theological school of the Sudan Interior Church (SIC). ...


HCI brings ‘amazing changes’ to Mt. Ayr UMC

HCI brings ‘amazing changes’ to Mt. Ayr UMC

3/14/2016

Founded in 1856, Mt. Ayr UMC is a rural southern Iowa congregation. It’s a friendly, welcoming church that cares about its relationship with the community. And as such, Mt. Ayr welcomed the opportunity to be one of the pilot churches for the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI), a program designed to help strengthen leadership and grow churches. ...


Fe y Esperanza – ‘growing’ church

Fe y Esperanza – ‘growing’ church

3/8/2016

As nearly a hundred people gathered in a circle of prayer, the growing ministry of the Fe y Esperanza moved into a new chapter.  In a “sending service,” held at Broadway UMC, Council Bluffs, the nearly old faith community celebrated its ministry there and began to look towards reaching out to new areas of that city.   The service, filled with ...


Getting to know you...the MABAAN story continues

Getting to know you...the MABAAN story continues

3/2/2016

Written by Judy Marnin and Beverly Nolte One of the ways in which Africans in South Sudan find their identity is through their tribes. It’s instructive to know the names and locations of some of the tribes, though there are too many to examine. The largest tribe is the Dinka, 35.8% of the South Sudan population. President Salva Kiir is a Dinka, ...


Healthy Church Initiative—Outward focus brings church to the community

Healthy Church Initiative—Outward focus brings church to the community

1/22/2016

On January 21, 2016, the Rev. Bob Farr, Director of the Center for Congregational Excellence and a member of the appointive cabinet in the Missouri Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, held a lively question and answer workshop at the Iowa United Methodist Conference Center on the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) process.   The workshop...


Determination and Faith Changes Lives

Determination and Faith Changes Lives

12/21/2015

New Southern Sudanese (Mabaan) United Methodist Church—Where Determination and Faith Changes Lives From the newest African nation, South Sudan, to a new home in Iowa, Rev. Aaron Limmo along with his wife, Helen and four children (Meeko, Ciimban, Diengke and Bwanne) are establishing a new community of faith, The Southern Sudanese United Methodist ...


Thrive UMC 5K gathers community, helps homeless youth

Thrive UMC 5K gathers community, helps homeless youth

9/28/2015

  Three hundred runners and walkers made their way around a 5k (3.3 mile) course in West Des Moines to help homeless youth in the Greater Des Moines area.  The Food Truck 5k was also an opportunity to gather a community on a picture-perfect early fall afternoon. Rev. Jennifer Hibben, one of Thrive’s pastors, told the crowd, “We’re out here doing ...


Thrive’s Food Truck 5K to support Homeless Youth Center

Thrive’s Food Truck 5K to support Homeless Youth Center

8/10/2015

Do you love 5K runs? Do you love food trucks? Do you love to help a good cause? Then you’re in luck, because on Saturday, September 26 at the Valley View Aquatic Center in West Des Moines, all three come together in one great event with The Food Truck 5K. “It’s a 5 ‘o’ clock race, so it’s going to start in the evening. Right before dinner you get ...


Thrive Lives Like Jesus

Thrive Lives Like Jesus

11/14/2014

Click to listen to Jeremy Poland talk about Thrive in a conversation with Dr. Art McClanahan Click here to watch the Thrive promo video By Liz Winders* Pastor Jeremy Poland has the energy it takes to show a new community of faith how to live like Jesus. He says that Thrive is a place where people can enjoy community, ask questions, and explore ...


LET the children come

LET the children come

11/4/2014

Rebecca Fisher LDM for Evangelism and New Ministry Development "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" Matthew 19:14 On Sunday October 19, 2014, I attended Thrive which is a new church located in West Des Moines led by Jeremy Poland and Jennifer Hibben. Jeremy ...