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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 Empowered from St. Mark’s, the Asbury International French Fellowship, and the St. Paul’s African National Ministry. Click to listen to Dr. Jill ...

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers changes volunteers from thrive

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers changes volunteers from thrive

7/25/2016
thrive UMC board member, Kris Bush and Rev. Jennifer Hibben accept the Volunteer Impact Award from Iowa Homeless Youth Center.

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 from Altoona and Grimes UM Churches and other Central District friends.    Many of the congregation was garbed in colorful African dress and after the ...

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 our worship attendance is 25 to 32 on any given Sunday. So we see a lot of people come to our events, we see people come to our special things at the...

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 focused. That’s where First UMC was at when they began the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI), a process which Marva has been closely involved with. “I ...

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 Greenfield United Methodist Church, with its free health clinic and another ministry called Fields of Faith. Free Clinic Ministry  The church’s health ...

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 touching hearts and helping to repair lives in its congregation and the broader community, in a team effort that has flourished for years between the...

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 finding his mother and younger brother in South Sudan but this did not happen as people were not allowed to travel from North to South Sudan due to ...

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 UMC follows four “prescriptions” to get the focus it needs There was a feeling of uncertainty at the Sheldahl United Methodist Church. “The ...

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). Upon completion of his four year study he was given a certificate. It was later in Syracuse, NY that Aaron studied to receive his GED. The Sudan ...

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. Prescriptions for a Better Church Mt. Ayr’s pastor, Rev. Charles “Skip” Rushing, praises the HCI process. “As the process goes along, and the more intense...

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 smiles, sounds of laughter, and more than a few tears, was the culmination of a ministry that began “with five people present to pray and listen to my ...

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, who are said to control 42% of the area of South Sudan, with 12 of the 28 states of South Sudan under Dinka control.  Next largest in the Nuer people,...

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 was open to anyone with an interest in the Healthy Church Initiative and in attendance were coaches, pastors, lay people, consultation team members, ...

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 Church (Mabaan) at the Epworth United Methodist Church in Des Moines.  In 1983, Rev. Limmo was one of the thousands of children who became separated ...

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 a great fun 5k to benefit the community, to benefit the Iowa Homeless Youth Centers, and to give these awesome food trucks a great venue to see their ...

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 a run in, then you get to eat right afterwards,” explains Rev. Jennifer Hibben of Thrive UMC, which is hosting the event. She also notes that “This is...

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 who they are and what they value so they can come together as a church, serve and change the community they live in. Jeremy is one of the pastors at ...

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 preached a message entitled, “Live Like Jesus.” He shared the importance of growing beyond Believing In Jesus to Living Like Jesus. He recognized in ...