May 27, 2020
The Weekly Wind
News and Updates from Polk City United Methodist Church
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WHAT ARE YOU GROWING THIS SEASON? Like many of you, I spent much of my childhood summers helping my parents and grandparents with the family garden on my grandparents' farm. Raking, hoeing and planting. Weeding, picking, shelling, snapping, shucking. When I was 13 we moved to the "city" and I had my first summer without purple thumbs! (If you've ever shelled purple hull peas, you know what I mean!)

As an adult, I've tried to have at least a small vegetable garden each summer. For me, there is something sacred about putting my hands in the dirt, working the soil, pulling the weeds and preparing the earth for planting and growing. The past few summers were busier than usual and I wasn't able to start a garden.

So this year, I have been grateful for having both the time, and the help from my own family, in expanding our backyard garden. I've spent the past two weekends on this project and it has been a spiritual practice for me to dig in the dirt again. It has brought me back to a more conscious recognition of the work it takes to prepare and grow anything. And that is certainly true for faith and discipleship and church.
These days of not meeting physically together are strange. They are days of exile, days of wandering in a wilderness, in a desert. It has disrupted part of our sacred rhythm of life. How can there be a community of faith when there is no community?

I have been spending much time praying about this. And I want you to know that as I meet and plan with the congregational reentry team and our worship planning team, that we are having these conversations too. We understand that there is something missing in our life of faith right now. I feel it like I did those days and years when I wasn't able to dig in my garden. And I want you to know that we are praying and exploring new and creative ideas for gathering safely as a community.

Our congregational reentry team met virtually on Tuesday evening to review the Iowa UMC Plan for Reentry (see below) as well as the results from our congregational survey. And we have decided that for the months of June and July, we will continue to offer weekly online worship, with the addition of some opportunities for outdoor and drive-in worship. As the worship planning team meets next week, we will develop these ideas further.

The first opportunity for such a gathering will be this Sunday, May 31 for a driving Pentecost Parade - read all about it below, and make plans to join us!

On Sunday, June 7 we will begin a new online worship series "Searching for Beauty - Returning to the Heart of Worship." We want to include more of our congregation to read scripture, offer prayer, and share their music and art. Email Pastor Melody if you'd like to participate! And as we're focusing on the beauty of creation, there will be lots of opportunities for taking our worship outdoors!

I'm also launching a 6-week Online Study with the new worship series which will explore six spiritual practices that can nourish your soul. Those of us who take this study together will have the benefit of gathering virtually over zoom.

To further nourish your spirit and stay connected to spiritual friends, I'm encouraging everyone to join a Life Group so that you will be joined with others in a similar phase of life who can call or text or video chat with each other. And as you feel comfortable, maybe even plan some (socially distanced) lawn chair or front porch gatherings. Join a Life Group here .

We know that our efforts to create a system of care calls is not working. Partly because we assigned this task to our church leaders, many of whom are also trying to manage working from home as well as new responsibilities at home, on top of their other church leadership responsibilities. And the truth is that I KNOW there are many of you who have the spiritual gifts of compassion and hospitality who are looking for ways to use them. So I'd like to recruit a new group of Care Callers ! If this feels like something you would enjoy doing, please sign up here !
This can be a season of cultivating faith, of planting seeds for a Kingdom of heaven on earth, and of growing our relationships with each other and with our God. BUT - it takes work. It will not happen without each one of us doing our part. So take some time this week to think and pray about what you are cultivating and planting and growing during this season of physical distancing, and wearing masks, and staying home.

Things have certainly changed for all of us, and we may not be able to worship safely in a building right now. BUT - God's Holy Spirit is as close as our very breath, and can blow us in new directions with creative and new ways to devote ourselves to prayer and to praise!

Please continue to pray for me, our worship planning team and our reentry team. Please continue to pray for all of our church leaders, many of whom find themselves in times of high stress while working from home and managing new responsibilities for family, yet still give their time and energy to leading the ministries of the church. Please continue to pray for all those who fall into categories of high risk in this time of pandemic. Please continue to pray for all those who are working in healthcare, and food supply, and cleaning services. Please pray for our farmers. Please continue to pray for the unemployed. Please continue to pray for the lonely, and those who are dealing with depression and anxiety. Please continue to pray for the single parents and for the family relationships that are even further strained while everyone is staying home. Please continue to pray for our youth who are struggling to finish the school year well while losing milestone celebrations and social connection.

We all miss seeing each other, and we continue to pray for the day when we can safely gather in-person again. But for now, we stay home so that when we do gather again, no one is missing!


Pastor Melody

I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow. Because of this, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but the only one who is anything is God who makes it grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together, but each one will receive their own reward for their own labor. We are God’s coworkers, and you are God’s field, God’s building.
~ 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 (CEB)
The Iowa UMC Plan for Reentry is guided by John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules , which provides a message and methodology of how to approach our strategic and compassionate plan to care for our churches and communities through COVID-19. Wesley’s rules have been placed within a stoplight framework to guide us as we move through a graduated 3-Level reentry process from red to yellow to green status in an intentional and careful model of care and mutual accountability.
May God’s blessing rest on each one of you.
May God’s light shine on you, and make your path clear.
May hope carry you through the challenging times,
and gratitude be your response when life is good.

May your days be filled with curiosity and adventure,
and may you discover the incomparable joy
of living lives that bring honour and glory to God. Amen.
In order to provide a sense of togetherness and give deeper understanding of the movement of the Holy Spirit, we invite everyone to gather on Sunday, May 31 , to form a driving Pentecost parade!

The day of Pentecost has come to symbolize the birthday of the Church (you can read all about it in Acts 2 ) . What better way to celebrate than with a safely distanced event that reminds us and our community that while our building may be closed, the Church is very much ALIVE and the HOLY SPIRIT is moving in Polk City!

To participate, we're asking everyone to wear colors of red, yellow or orange, and to adorn your vehicles with balloons, streamers, banners or other decorations of those same colors.

We will meet in the church parking lot at 10:30 AM for a "Honk & Wave" and brief time of prayer (you'll stay in your vehicles) . Then we'll parade through the town. You'll also be provided with a Grab-n-Go Pentecost Blessing Bag which will include a prayer for our community, to pray as you go, and a home worship kit for Celebrating Pentecost.

We will also be livestreaming this gathering to Facebook - so if you aren't comfortable joining us physically, you can join us online! We'll post the video to our online-worship website by 5:00pm.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. ~Psalm 27:4

Make plans to join us online for a 6-week worship series, June 7 - July 12, which explores the beauty of the Earth, the beauty of God's goodness, and the beauty of God's beloved children. With a focus on creation and spiritual practices, we'll be invited to return to the heart of worship.

We want to share the art and music of our faith community during this series, as well as words of welcome, scripture reading and prayers - so if you would be willing to contribute your gifts in any way, please email Pastor Melody so we can include you in the planning. Email: .
Do you long for a deep, fundamental change in your life with God? Do you desire a greater intimacy with God? Do you wonder how you might truly live your life as God created you to live it?

Sacred Rhythms is a curriculum designed to help you arrange your life around a regular pattern of spiritual practices that God can use to nourish your soul and transform your life.

To participate in the study, you will need to purchase a copy of the Sacred Rhythms Participant Guide .

Note: the participants guide is different than the original book, and is all you will need for this study; the videos will be provided.

We will use the Zoom platform to share the video sessions together, then engage in discussion. You can listen to the session and participate by audio only by dialing in by phone, or you can access both audio and video using your smartphone, tablet or computer and clicking the link to Join the Zoom meeting at the start time for each session.

Register for the study below, and you will receive the information to join.

If you have questions or concerns about Zoom, feel free to call or email Pastor Melody.
We are continuing to provide online worship each Sunday morning at 10:30 AM.

DID YOU KNOW: you can worship LIVE with us on Facebook even if you don't have a Facebook account! All you need is a mobile phone or computer with internet access!

Simply go to this website in your browser at 10:30 AM on Sundays:

If you ever have a problem accessing worship on Facebook, or if you want to worship at another time, you can find a recording of our worship service by 5:00 PM on Sundays: Watch on our Website
In case you missed it, here's the link to last week's online worship service
Launching Life Groups at Polk City UMC
We believe that God created us for relationship - relationship with God, and with each other! Simply stated, life is better together.

During the time when it is not safe to gather for in-person worship, we want to find a way to help each adult to connect to a small group of spiritual friends so that everyone is connected to community in a way that nourishes our need for connection and belonging.

To do this, we're encouraging ALL ADULTS to join a Life Group - a smaller group of people with whom you can share the ups and downs of life.

All we're asking these groups to do is touch base with each other every other week or so, either through calls, text messages, emails, Facebook, zoom or whatever is easiest for you and your group. Once people have signed up, Pastor Melody will give each group a QuickStart Guide to help you get going.

To get connected, fill out the form below and choose your preference for a group type.

If you're willing to be a leader for a group, let us know that in the form, as well.
Youth Group at Polk City UMC
WEEKLY YOUTH ZOOM: The youth group is meeting online every week through Zoom: Wednesdays, 6:30 - 7:10 PM!

Please encourage your youth to join in as we play games, catch up, and pray together. We send out and email each week with the link to join, and post it in our Facebook group as well.

Also, please feel free to email prayer concerns that the youth can pray about together on Wednesdays ( ).
Children's Ministry at Polk City UMC
DID YOU KNOW: We have a Children's Corner on our website each Sunday with videos, bible lessons and activity pages just for kids!

Go to each week to see the new resources!

One of our Sunday School teaching teams, Emily & Justin Young, with help from their assistant Parker, make a Sunday School video each week , just for our church! We add links to a Bible Lesson and a worship coloring and activity sheet, as well as a way to put what they've learned in action with a suggested family activity.

In case you missed them, here are the Children's Corner resources from Sunday, May 24.
The Summer of 2020 is just around the corner and with it comes opportunities to connect in different ways than ever before. Iowa United Methodist Camps are proud to announce “Backyard Camp”, a one-of-a-kind summer program offering from the combined staff at Wesley Woods and Okoboji United Methodist Camps. 
Registration for Backyard Camp can be found at .
NP Comet Cupboard Tiny Food Pantry
On Saturday, June 6th, the North Polk Comet Cupboard will offer another Bag of Food Distribution.

The following non-perishable food items are needed and can be dropped off at the church; look for the plastic bin outdoors.

  • Pancake mix
  • Pancake syrup
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Loaf of sliced bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned chicken
  • Canned tuna
  • Mac-n-cheese
  • Canned fruit/fruit cups
  • Canned vegetables
  • Brownie/cookie mix

We'll also be including eggs and baby carrots in each bag.

If you can help, we're filling each bag with $25 worth of groceries and a $10 milk card. Your donation of $35 can fill one bag, which will provide a week's worth of meals for a family of four! Our goal is to provide 100 bags of groceries for individuals/families in need!

For more information, or to volunteer, contact Dixie Bequeaith:
In the memo line of your check, or from the online giving menu, use "NP Comet Cupboard"
If you or someone you know would like to request a bag of food,
please fill out the request form below.
Cards, Letters and Other Acts of Connection and Kindness
Several weeks ago, we encouraged everyone to send a card, letter, drawing or photo through the mail, through a text or email, or through social media to connect with those who are lonely, and to show encouragment and appreciation for those working to keep us safe and at home.

We think it's time for Round Two!

The Polk City Nursing and Rehab Center is requesting cards, letters and artwork for their residents.

Their address is:
Polk City Nursing & Rehab
1002 W. Washington Avenue
Polk City, IA 50226

Help brighten someone's day!
The month of May includes International Firefighter's Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, Nurses' Appreciation Day and EMS Appreciation Week ! You might also want to thank grocery clerks, pharmacists,
mail carriers and other essential workers during this time!

Use the links below to download addresses and templates for writing a letter of thanks & encouragement.
Updates from the DMARC Food Pantry

The news, everyday since COVID 19 began, tells our society that we are living in a "new normal." The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Warehouse was experiencing a "new normal" before the emergence of the virus. 

There was a reality that more people were being assisted by DMARC"s Food Pantry Network than at any other time in their history. With this, there were many first time users. 
In our present day world, this confronts DMARC with an even more challenging "new normal."


If you wish to donate money, please write a check out to Polk City United Methodist Church and in the memo write DMARC food pantry and mail to Polk City United Methodist Church, 1421 West Broadway, Polk City, Iowa 50226. If you wish, you may donate on the church's electronic site

Any questions, please contact Linda Pennington,

In the midst of pandemic and economic slowdown, we are not alone.
God is with us.

Here are some resources to help you create and maintain spiritual wellness during these anxious times.
The Upper Room May/June Issue Available Free as Downloadable PDF

Since churches are unable to meet and gather safely in their buildings during the pandemic, The Upper Room is offering the May/June 2020 issue, both in English and Spanish, as a free downloadable PDF.
Pray with the Upper Room each morning on Facebook Live

The Upper Room is committed to praying with you during this season of uncertainty and isolation. They will be hosting Morning Prayer on Facebook Live daily at 11:00 AM Central Time.
Pandemic Prayer Practices for Children, Youth, and Families

If you are a parent with children or youth, try this list of simple prayer practices you can do as a family during these times of social distancing.

Seven Suggestions for Healing and Renewal in the Midst of Stress and Anxiety

God longs to heal us and renew us in these difficult times. Here are some suggested ways by which we can be fed by God at a deep level.
First quarter giving statements were sent out last week, which reflect your giving through March 31, 2020. If you have questions about these, please contact Rhonda George, Finance Secretary, at .

Year to date we have done a very good job managing expenses and our on-line giving has been a blessing to us all. Overall our giving is above our expenses by $722 through the first quarter. 

With that said, our budgeted giving is $6,765 below budget. We did anticipate this to be a possibility given that we are currently not meeting in person for worship. In anticipating this decrease in our general offering, the leadership team decided to temporarily stop paying apportionments to the denomination, which has contributed to our giving being above expenses right now. YTD we owe $7,621 in apportionments which is almost perfectly in line with our decrease in budgeted giving. 

So, please continue giving as your are able and the finance team will continue to manage expenses as we continue virtual worship from home.

Thank you!

Doug McKinstry, Chair of Finance
Contact Us
Christine Perry
Administrative Assistant
Lauren Wilken
Director of Children/Youth Ministry
Melody Webb
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