38th Annual Thanksgiving Ingathering site information

38th Annual Thanksgiving Ingathering site information

published 10/12/2017

38th Annual
Thanksgiving Ingathering

Saturday - November 4, 2017

Projects supported by Thanksgiving Ingathering donations include:

Click here for more information about the Thanksgiving InGathering.

NO cash, NO checks, and NO Remittance forms in the kit boxes.
Make checks payable to THANKSGIVING INGATHERING.

Any UMCOR Clean-up buckets and Hygiene Kits that didn't go on the shipments for Hurricane Harvey Disaster Response will go on trailers that will be at all of the In-Gathering sites. Hurricane Harvey disaster response information from September 2, 2017, click here.

Site Information:


Iowa Wesleyan College
Howe Student Activity Center
Broadway & North Main Streets
Mt. Pleasant, Iowa

Judy Brotherton, Chair, 563-264-5372,
Lucas Van Tol, Treasurer, 319-621-1933,
Jason Collier, Youth Event, 563.343.3390,

8:00 - 9:30 am: Check-in of bazaar and auction items
8:00 - 10:00 am: Check-in of kits outside Student Activity Center
9:00 - 11:00 am: Bazaar and mission displays open, coffee and rolls available
10:45 am: Praise Band Music
11:15 am: Celebration and Communion – music by IWU music students
12:30 pm: Professionally-called quilt auction

Lunch is available in the Iowa Wesleyan cafeteria beginning at 11:00 am. The cafeteria is located on the upper level of the Student Union.


Asbury United Methodist Church
921 Des Moines St.
Webster City, Iowa

Scott & Cathi Griswold, Chairs, 515-543-8165,
Tami Hejlik, Treasurer, 515-571-7858,
Jennifer Peterson, Youth Retreat contact, 515-832-5369 (Asbury Church)

Friday evening: Youth Retreat, grades 6-12. Join us for fellowship, swimming, and games at Fuller Hall. Food, fun, and rewarding hard work Saturday morning. Watch District newsletter for information or contact Asbury UMC.

8:00 - 10:30 am: Registration, check-in kits, funds and in-kind gifts Coffee and rolls available
SORRY, NO LATE KITS – the truck leaves at 11:00 am
8:30 am: Mission displays open outside the sanctuary
10:30 am: Worship Service
11:45 am: Luncheon


First United Methodist Church
718 Clay Street
Cedar Falls, Iowa

Jan Benson, Chair,, 319-268-9111
Kris Rash,, 319-984-5608
Chuck Norman, Youth Event,, 319-230-9489

7:30 - 10:30 am: Check-in kits, quilts, bazaar, and bake sale items
         Fellowship time with coffee and rolls
         VOUCHER room open
NOTE: All kits must be turned in by 10:30. The truck leaves promptly at 11:00.
8:30 - 10:00 am: Self-guided tours of kit packing area
          Mission Presentations in library
9:00 - 12:30 pm: Bazaar in Parlor
10:00 - 11:00 am: Worship with Communion, various mission speakers
11:00 - 2:45 pm: Hot meat sandwich lunch ($6-adults; $3-age 5-12, under 5 free)
1:00 pm: Quilt auction-large & baby quilts, wall hangings, table runners


Western Iowa Technical Convention Center
200 Victory Drive (Highway 59, across from McDonalds)
Cherokee, Iowa

Arlene Roemmich, Site Chair, 712-446-3352,
Sally Wilkie, Site Chair, 712-437-2519,
Pam Mitchell, Treasurer, 712-256-0001,
Judi Calhoon, Youth Retreat Contact, 712-732-0812,

8:00 - 10:00 am: Check-in of kits, quilts, bazaar items (NO FOOD ITEMS)    
          Coffee and rolls
7:30 - 10:30 am: Loading trucks
8:00 - 12:15 pm: Silent quilt and woodcraft auction
10:00 am: Program
11:30 am: Lunch
12:30 pm: Live quilt auction


Greenfield United Methodist Church
108 SW 5th St. or PO Box 92 641-743-2715 
Greenfield, Iowa

Jim McIntosh, Co-Chair,, 641-347-8863
Jim Tussey, Co-Chair,, 641-782-8704 
Marilyn Jensen, Treasurer,, 641-745-2923
Crystal Ellis, Youth Retreat Coordinator,, 515-981-4252

Youth Retreat registration 7 to 8 pm Friday. Please return registration forms so we can plan. Please send at least one adult per 10 youth; both a male & female adult, if both youth are in your group. Registration fee is $10 for grades 7-12. 

8:00 am: Kits, Bazaar, and Auction Check-in begins
8:30 am: Handmade Rolls & Coffee
9:00 am: Handmade Items & Baked Goods Bazaar begins
9:05 am: Mission Project Talks begin
10:30 am: Worship Service with CWS speaker, Chantal Boyd
(Lunch begins immediately following worship)
1:00 pm: Quilt Auction

Make checks payable to Thanksgiving Ingathering. Churches sending “CASH ONLY” (no kits) to the Greenfield Ingathering are requested to mail checks early the week of November 4th to Marilyn Jensen, Site Treasurer, 2706 Fallow Ave., Fontanelle, IA 50846.

Retreat lays fresh foundation

Retreat lays fresh foundation

published 9/13/2017
On September 8 and 9, a group of Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church leaders gathered at Honey Creek Resort in Moravia, Iowa to spend time reflecting and recreating together as a team. The mission of the Leadership Team Collaboration was to engage leadership staff in discernment and planning that builds trust and enables completion of important tasks while other healthy conference processes are underway.
In attendance were Bishop Laurie Haller; Bill Poland, Assistant to the Bishop for Administration; Karen Dungan, Assistant to the Bishop  for Connectional Ministries; Joni Mardesen, Director of Human Resources and Conference Benefits Officer; Maggie Biggs, Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services; Liz Winders, Associate Director of Communications; Bruce Wittern, Chair of the Standing Committee on Parish Development; Margaret Borgen, Iowa Conference Lay Leader; Dr. Mary Bellon, Director of the Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling; Bryan Johnson, Leadership Development Minister for Camping and Christian Formation; all of the District Superintendents and Field Outreach Ministers.
Bishop Laurie opened with devotions on Friday afternoon using scripture from 2 Kings 6:8-23. In the story, Elisha thwarts an attack on Israel by the army of the King of Aram. When the king of Israel saw that they were surrounded by the army of Aram, he asked Elisha, “Father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” Elisha answered, “’No! Did you capture with your sword and your bow those whom you want to kill? Set food and water before them so that may eat and drink, and let them go to their master.’ So he prepared for them a great feast; after they ate and drank, he sent them on their way, and they went to their master. And Arameans no longer came raiding into the land of Israel.” Elisha knew that the solution was in allowing God to lead them. Bishop Laurie’s emphasis was that now is the time to be adaptive in our leadership so we, with God’s help, can lead the change that is needed and invite all people to the table.
Revs. Bill and Sheri Daylong led the group on both days during times of contemplative worship and prayer that allowed everyone time to breathe and rest in God’s presence.
Bryan Johnson facilitated the group in a fun afternoon of reconnecting and “getting-to-know-you” activities using games and small prizes. Each activity was simple and showed attendees ways they can become more effective leaders by using icebreakers and creative games for small and large groups at the conference and in churches.
Saturday morning began with a time of centering and prayers and then Joni Mardesen and Karen Dungan moved into discussing the issues and tasks at hand.
The first topic was the Field Outreach Ministry team, now that it consists of six members instead of eight, and how to restructure that in the coming months. This included discussing how the Healthy Church Initiative process and churches will be affected by the restructuring of the FOMs. The group used the Six Thinking Hats method, developed by Edward De Bono, to help move quickly through the discussion. One of the benefits named in the group discussion was that ultimately leaving two FOM positions vacant has given the conference the opportunity to rethink and restructure that position.
The next topic discussed was the Director of New Faith Communities Director position that is currently being advertised. Joni Mardesen shared how the interviews were going and talked about how the newly created position would be structured.
Lastly, the group went over ways to integrate the Wildly Important Goal (WIG) conference-wide—that every church in the Iowa Annual Conference will develop a process for intentionally forming disciples of Jesus Christ by the year 2020. Ideas were formed on communication strategies for the WIG and looking into how other conferences carry out their goals.
The retreat concluded with communion and prayers led by Bill and Sheri. Collectively, as leaders in the Iowa Annual Conference there is plenty of challenging work yet to be done. The retreat laid a fresh foundation on how to work together as a team to accomplish the conference’s mission and vision.

Kids helping kids

Kids helping kids

published 5/25/2017

The United Methodist Church of LeMars in Northwest Iowa has a special kids group. The Kids 4 Christ program is made up of children ages 3 to those in 5th grade. The group recently raised $1,050 to donate to other children through the Children’s Miracle Network.

“We don’t want to limit our ministry only within our building,” said Rev. Okitakoyi Lundula. “We make it so we are there for the community and beyond the local church.”

Kids 4 Christ meets every Wednesday with 45 children attending weekly. Many children aren’t church members but from the LeMars community. On Sunday, many of those children also attend worship service.

Once a month, LeMars UMC’s mission committee designates a special offering to give to groups outside the church through its Noisy Money Mission. The Noisy Money Mission gets its name from special collections made up of loose change from congregants. 

“We call it noisy money because the idea is to get loose money and when they drop that money in the can, it makes noise,” said Lundula.

Noisy Money offerings have gone to local, national and international groups in the past. This Lent, though, Lundula asked for a specific group of people to raise money.

“I requested, as a pastor, if we could use the season of Lent for children to do the mission work,” he said. “The idea was to make children feel like they can also be part of somebody’s life by helping strangers and somebody beyond the local church.”

So, it made the most sense for the group to help other children. The recipient of the money raised would be St. Luke’s Unity Point Hospital in Sioux City through the Children’s Miracle Network. The idea to help St. Luke’s came from one of  LeMars UMC’s own children.

A young church member named Marcus, 8, was in the hospital for many months after he was born and was helped by the Children’s Miracle Network. Marcus and his mother shared their story and photos of his journey during children’s time one Sunday.

“That was a motivation for the kids,” said Lundula. “If we can do something for the Children’s Miracle Network, many children will be blessed, just like Marcus.”

The two weeks prior to Lent and every Sunday during Lent, the children would collect noisy money from church members after the children’s time. Some members also gave “silent money” like dollar bills.

“The kids, they like when the money is making noise,” said Lundula. “They like to run up and down the aisle collecting the money.”

After the Lent season, the church collected enough noisy and silent money to present a check to the Children’s Miracle Network for $1,050. Lundula presented the money to the organization at their annual Radiothon fundraiser. The representatives with the hospital and Children’s Miracle Network were surprised to receive such a large sum.

“We told them before we were doing a mission project,” said Lundula. “They didn’t expect us to have $1,050.”

The donation from Kids 4 Christ helped St. Luke’s raise more than $120,000, a new record for the organization.

“They are very happy that it helped push them up to their goal that they were working on this year,” said Lundula.

Community of giving
“We are doing very well in the area of mission,” said Lundula. “Doing the mission is really part of the DNA of LeMars.”

An ongoing project for the church is working with Africa University. They support missionaries at the University and other missionaries in Africa. They have also helped raise money to provide clean water in South America. Next fall the church plans to collect books to give to students at an elementary school.

The teens in the church also got involved with mission work. This lat year, a group of seventh and eighth graders collected money to buy food for the needy in the community. They also go to different nursing homes in the area to visit residents. The high schoolers of the church bought Christmas gifts for nursing home residents as well.

“Every month we have something to fit the mission of making disciples for the world,” said Lundula. “That transformation comes through the love we share through the local church.”

That transformation and passion for helping others is evident as the LeMars church is seeing more people join them in their mission. They have had 13 new confirmations and 10 new members join.

“We really feel the spirit moving and we pray that God will continue to bless us in that way,” said Lundula.

Native American Sunday

Native American Sunday

published 4/11/2017

Native American Ministries Sunday is April 30, 2017. 

This offering is taken the third Sunday of Easter and funds urban ministries with Native Americans, scholarships for Native Americans attending United Methodist seminaries and annual conference Native American ministries. 

One half of the special offering received in April by United Methodist Churches across the nation is sent to General Board of Global Ministries for distribution. The other half remains within the Iowa Conference and supports Iowa’s only recipient, the Native American Child Care Center, held at Grace United Methodist Church in Sioux City, Iowa.

The Native American Child Care Center began over 40 years ago as a cooperative effort between leaders of the Native American community and local United Methodists. 

The philosophy and purpose of the Native Americans Child Care Center is to provide child care services and an early childhood education and development program primarily for, but not limited to pre-school children who identify with the Native American heritage. It is there to promote and foster the physical, emotional, social, cultural and intellectual development of children to help them realize their full potential.

This work, and hundreds of other ministries, are possible because you give.

Our Giving Allows Native Americans to Encounter, Worship and Serve Jesus

When you support Native American Ministries Sunday, you equip students of all ages to honor and celebrate Native American culture in their education and ministries. And you empower congregations that are finding fresh new ways to minister to their communities with the love of Christ.

One tribe in North America has told this story for centuries: when people “pale as birch” crossed the great water in large canoes, they brought with them “The Black Book.”  However, the bringers of the physical Book could not have known what it would mean and look like to be Native and a follower of Jesus.  

Today Native Americans—with many unique languages, many unique cultures—honor their heritage, and live as Jesus-followers, led by a rotation of primarily Native American pastors.

Most Americans today recognize that the history following the arrival of the large canoes bore little resemblance to the one all Christians identify as Creator. That’s why the people of The United Methodist Church, Native and non-Native, are creating a new history.

Dr. Richard Twiss, a member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate from the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, asked:

“Will we be allowed to develop new ways of doing church that honor God’s purposes for the creative expression of our cultures? Will new ministry partnerships and coalitions form? Will you help be a part of this wonderful process of reconciliation, restoration and release?”   

Say yes.

Your Gifts Matter

Your contribution supports aspiring Native American pastors and enriches outreach in their communities. Thank you for your generous gift!

Read more stories about the impact you are making with your gifts.

To Give by Mail

Send checks to:
P.O. Box 340029
Nashville, TN 37203
Please put "Native American Sunday" in the note section of your check.

For Worship Resources such as offering envelopes and posters—click here.