New pastor leads the development of Iowa UMC's latest community of faith—Nourished

New pastor leads the development of Iowa UMC's latest community of faith—Nourished

October 19, 2021

Rev. Kristina Roth-Klinck, who splits her time equally between being an Associate Pastor at Lovely Lane United Methodist Church and Nourished, one of Iowa United Methodist Churches newest communities of faith, was interested in creative ways to do church differently even before going to seminary. 

Growing up as a pastor's kid (Rev. Jim Roth is her father), going to both small and large churches, and knowing how expensive it is for upkeep on older churches that sit empty most of the week, Roth-Klinck sees the future in relationship-based micro-churches that are more intentional in terms of relationships and authenticity. In partnership with Lovely Lane United Methodist Church and Matthew 25, Nourished is developing around that concept.

"I think the future church is definitely not what it looks like now. The whole model of church and Sunday morning, singing and listening to a 20-minute sermon, is not what people are attracted to anymore," said Roth-Klinck.

Roth-Klinck graduated from Perkins School of Theology in 2020 and, while there, was on the leadership team of a new church plant called Owenwood Farm & Neighbor Space. It is a dinner church that began out of the missional campus of White Rock United Methodist Church, where Roth-Klinck did her internship. Owenwood's dream is to create a community where their neighbors are known, empowered, and inspired to use their gifts to transform Far East Dallas. 

Being a part of Owenwood was impactful for Roth-Klinck in more ways than one.

The name Nourished comes from what Roth-Klinck explains brought her healing when recovering from an eating disorder while attending seminary: communion during dinner church at Owenwood.

"We started the time by taking the bread; then we had the meal, and the content and the conversation. We ended with the taking of the cup. It nourished my spiritual soul. Dinner church was the nourishment of body, mind, spirit, and I just began to think about my theology around communion is something that can reclaim the actual dinner table," said Roth-Klinck.

Worship to Roth-Klinck is where you experience God. For her, it is outdoors, hiking, gardening, and being in a communal gathering.

"I think the future is relationship-based churches that engage with their local neighborhood. And that might mean that churches aren't going to be as big as they might have been in the past. It might be more micro churches that are more intentional in terms of relationships and authenticity," said Roth-Klinck.

Roth-Klinck describes Nourished as a faith community that strives to be holistic, healthy, and growing in Spirit that serves in love and justice.

Nourished began last December in collaboration with Matthew 25, hosting a Longest Night virtual gathering on Zoom. Participants listened to reflective readings and gathered in small groups to share their experience having their first COVID Christmas and the losses they have been feeling. 

In January, they also collaborated with another group and had a reflective gathering and prayer service before the inauguration of President Joe Biden. 

On the Sunday before Easter, they hiked up Mount Trashmore, a former landfill with 6-million tons of garbage that is being transformed into a recreation site in Cedar Rapids, IA.

"On the way up, we reflected on what do we need to let go of, what do we need let compost for new life to birth, and then at the top we took communion, and we did an activity," said Roth-Klinck. 

They also had a service project at the Matthew 25 farm in May, went on a creek stomp in July at the Indian Creek Nature Center, and started moving into a pattern of social events or worship gatherings that are community-oriented.

Nourished has plans to settle into gathering three times a month; the second and fourth Thursday evenings for Thursday Centering, where they explore faith and spirituality in community together, and once a month on a Friday evening for Fork ‘n’ Folk, a potluck dinner around a bonfire singing folk songs. They meet at various community spaces, including Matthew 25's Urban Farm, Groundswell Cafe, other restaurants, breweries, and backyards.
 
For more information about Nourished and to watch them grow, visit and like their Facebook page.