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Nine workshops and teaching sessions were presented on Saturday afternoon.
Approximately 900 took advantage of the offerings that included Faith-based Community Ministry; School for Lay Ministry; EmpowHer; Navigating Your Benefits; Tiny House Homeless Project; Women at the Well Community Reentry Program; Mental Health Support and Advocacy; Immigration and Refugee Services and Making a Difference Through Prayer.
Faith-based Community Ministry, part of Cass Community Social Services, provides food, housing, health care and jobs for some of Detroit’s most needy people. This teaching session showed how the ministry’s 7,000 volunteers from faith based organizations, corporations and community groups do in the community. It also showed what their worship experiences look like and how they recruit, utilize, schedule and thank their volunteers.
Tiny House Homeless Project involved tiny homes built in unique styles and sizes ranging from 250-400 square feet. These are built on 30-by-100 lots where vacant houses once stood in low-income neighborhoods. The session taught how neighborhoods and formerly homeless or low-income seniors and students are changed by the development of Cass Tiny Homes.
Laity Development through the School for Lay Ministry Experience explored the role of lay persons in the ministries of The United Methodist Church as they are expanding. The session showed how participants in the Iowa School for Lay Ministry are prepared to fulfill a wide variety of roles in and beyond local churches, often based on their professional experiences in other disciplines.
Women at the Well Community Reentry Program shared how the program provides a support system to women as they transition back out into freedom. Participants learned how pastoral and spiritual care has helped women as they transition in society and back to normal lives and ways they can help and advocate for these women on the fringes of society.
Mental Health Support and Advocacy showed how Hillcrest Family Services enhances the lives of children, families and adults in need through teaching skills and providing information and resources. Session attendees learned how there is a need to advocate on the behalf of people with mental health needs, and how to work collaboratively with local communities to provide a range of quality and innovative services.
Immigration—It’s a Big Topic, Let’s Talk! Covered how Iowans are impacted by immigration rules and enforcement and how they as Christians respond. Facilitators shared Iowa stories and revisited Biblical stories of immigrants. Participants heard about Justice for Our Neighbors, and talked about how their church might respond to needs in their area.
Prayer—Making a Difference Through Prayer explored contemplative practices and their value in enriching and fortifying the spiritual lives of individuals and congregations. Participants were introduced to the sacred rhythms of the Upper Room Academy for Spiritual Formation.
Benefit Basics: Navigating Your Benefit Options - Have you ever wondered what the difference is between an HSA, an HRA, and an FSA? What about the difference in the DB portion and the DC portion of your pension benefit? Have you ever wondered why we use so many acronyms? This session offered the basics of the health, life and retirement plans offered to clergy appointed to a local church in the Iowa Conference.