A community coffee group and garden ministry provide mission partnerships with local communities

A community coffee group and garden ministry provide mission partnerships with local communities

August 06, 2021

In the fall of 2017, a store in Floyd, Iowa, closed that had been a local gathering spot for people to have coffee, refreshments, do puzzles, play cards, and just socialize. Members of Floyd, Grace United Methodist Church realized that many of those people who came to coffee would miss the socialization time it had provided.
 
“They were elderly people, recently widowed, those who couldn’t drive out of town or had experienced the loss of family. They enjoy these times together,” said Wynona Stewart, member of Floyd, Grace. “We realized that by starting a community coffee at our church, we’d be able to reach not only our church family but also members of the community.”
 
The idea was approved, and for the next two and a half years, the community coffee group met every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning in the social hall at the church. 
 
“We played a variety of card games, put puzzles together, brought knitting or crocheting to work on, had coffee and refreshments, and celebrate birthdays every month,” said Stewart. “You just had a great time.”
 
A one-dollar donation covered expenses and any money left over went back to the church. 
 
Floyd, Grace UMC community coffee group also sponsored and participated in a trunk-r-treat in October of 2019, with over 100 children from various neighboring communities attending. 
 
“It was a great opportunity to witness,” said Stewart. 
 
Stewart said the Floyd, Grace community misses the social times together during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they hope to reopen the community coffee gatherings soon.
DID YOU KNOW? In Mission Together replaced Rainbow Covenant in 2019? In Mission Together encourages United Methodist Churches to support United Methodists on a local, conference, national and international level, through giving and sharing in a relationship, that fulfills Matthew 25 “Whatever you did for one of least of these, you did for me” and Matthew 28 “Go into all the world and make disciples.” Learn more about In Mission Together, how to report your support, and who to contact for more information at https://www.iaumc.org/inmissiontogether

In the fall of 2010, the late Kathy Lamb of St. Luke’s United Methodist in Dubuque, Iowa, saw online a way to create urban gardens using children’s wading pools and thought, “This is something we can do.” 
 
In their first year, the Wading Pool Ministry distributed 35 gardens. People started adding more plants to other containers or made raised bed gardens through the years, and now St. Luke’s has a Garden Ministry that’s not specific to wading pools. This year they had over 70 gardeners on their roster.
 
Every year since then, the St. Luke’s Garden ministry has continued to flourish, and in 2021 grew 700 tomato plants from seed. They intentionally support local vendors for nursery supplies and materials and partner with a local rescue mission. They had no idea that it would develop this large. 
 
The pandemic added another layer of challenges, but with some adjustments, the St. Luke’s Garden Ministry not only provides new gardens, plants, and seeds to support the people in their community, it has built community and developed relationships, too.
 These two stories illustrate how churches can play an essential role in their communities and significantly impact those they serve. The Iowa United Methodist Church’s In Mission Together team would like to celebrate these connections and partnerships. If you would like to share a story of how your United Methodist church and congregation are engaged in God’s work by providing mission and ministry to your community, email Sue Hattel, IMT’s Mission Education chair, at shattel220@aol.com and tell her your story! We will continue to share those stories in the Weekly 360 e-newsletter. Don’t receive our newsletter? Subscribe today!