June 25, 2020
The Weekly Wind
News and Updates from Polk City United Methodist Church
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FROM THE PASTOR'S PEN
FROM THE PASTOR’S PEN
Once again, I am yielding this space in an effort to encourage all of us to become more aware of the racial injustices suffered by our black and brown siblings in Christ. May we be open to learning new ways to work for justice and mercy on our path of following Christ. ~Pastor Melody
United Methodists Stand Against Racism

We recognize racism as a sin.

We commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access.

We will work for equal and equitable opportunities in employment and promotion, education and training; in voting, access to public accommodations, and housing; to credit, loans, venture capital, and insurance; to positions of leadership and power in all elements of our life together; and to full participation in the Church and society.

What can you do?
 
Pray: We listen for the voice of Jesus in our private acts of devotion and our public acts of worship. 
 
Connect: We begin our work by joining hands and hearts to journey side by side. 
 
Show up: We seek to be present at the rally, to the pain of others, and for opportunities to use our voices for change.
  • Wednesday, June 24, Denominational Worship Service,12 noon CDT – Watch here
  • Wednesday, July 1, Denominational Town Hall,12 noon CDT – Tune in here

Act: Jesus calls us not only to speak, but to join in the work of liberating the oppressed.

Learn more: Find more information and resources on  our Racial Justice page .  

Blessings,

Pastor Melody
Updates From Re-Entry Team
STATUS: PHASE 2 YELLOW 

Even as we enter Yellow Light Status, high-risk individuals should practice sheltering in place. This would include people over 60, those with underlying conditions or other vulnerabilities, those who have tested positive, and those who have been exposed to someone COVID-19 positive in the last 14 days. This includes staff, volunteers, parishioners and guests. In the Yellow Phase, everyone is asked to observe 6 feet of physical distance and wear masks. 
 
WORSHIP
  • Online worship will continue each Sunday during the Yellow Phase
               10:30 AM – worship live at www.facebook.com/polkcityumc
                12:00 PM – recorded worship available at www.polkcityumc.org/online-worship
  • Outdoor worship will begin on July 12th (location TBD)

OUTDOOR SPACES
  • Outdoor green spaces are open for use by our sports and recreation partners, who will be limiting practices to smaller groups and promoting physical distancing.
  • Outdoor space is also available for small group gatherings for things like book clubs, bible study, connection groups, and worship.

INDOOR SPACES
The following have been approved to use the building in the following ways:
  • NP Comet Cupboard food pantry ministry: Designated volunteers are limited to the entryway and front office, and will use the main entrance only. Food donations should be left in the bins outside of the church entrance.
  • St. Luke’s Free Clinic: Clinic staff and volunteers are limited to clinic area and single restroom, and will use the East Hallway entrance only. Patients will wait in parking lot until cleared to enter.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous: group attendees will limit building use to the Wing in the Woods, using the North Wing entrance.
  • Office use is limited to church staff, church council leaders and designated ministry volunteers.              
  • In accordance with the reentry guidelines from the Iowa UMC, our indoor spaces may NOT be used for personal gatherings, i.e. graduation parties, baby showers, family reunions, crafting, etc. until we have reached the GREEN phase.
 
For the safety of our staff and volunteers – especially those and/or their family members with underlying health concerns – we are asking that church members refrain from entering the building during this time.  If you would like to drop off food donations for the Comet Cupboard, please use the designated bins outdoors. If you need access to the building for any other reason, please contact Christine Perry, administrative assistant:  office@polkcityumc.org  or 515-984-6274.
From Bishop Laurie to the Clergy and Laity of the Iowa Annual Conference:
I want to thank you for your faithfulness over these last months as we have had to learn a new way of being the church as a result of COVID-19. We have now entered a new phase where we are considering re-entry plans for in-person worship in our local churches. One of the questions we hear often is whether we have to wear masks to worship. 

Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, who is our Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence and leads our COVID-19 Response Team, has written an important article called, “To Mask Or Not To Mask: That is the Question.” I commend Dr. Plambeck’s article to you as we continue to put the safety of our most vulnerable people at the forefront of our coronavirus response.

Thank you,
Bishop Laurie Haller
To Mask or Not To Mask: That is the Question
By: Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck
With the questions regarding reentry and mask-wearing, Bishop Laurie and I thought it would be helpful to share with you what is influencing our decision-making process in the Iowa Conference. The purpose of this letter is to respond to four questions local church leadership is wrestling with around to mask or not to mask:

  1. Does mask-wearing help prevent contracting or spreading COVID-19?  

Our response is based on learnings from the medical webinars we are attending for the Crisis Response Team which is guiding the Iowa Conference reentry process and recommendations. These webinars are hosted by medical, epidemiological, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) professionals. One primary area they are currently aligned in is the importance of mask-wearing during the pandemic.
While medical-grade masks can be worn to   protect the wearer  from getting infected, unless there is a medical reason to do so, we ask that you do not use N95 or surgical masks as there is a critical shortage of these items for our healthcare workers and first responders. Those who are high risk may be advised by their physician to wear a medical-grade mask.

You may see several medical reports and epidemiologist updates on how cloth masks and non-medical grade masks can be worn to  protect others  from being infected by the wearer. When we talk about mask-wearing at church gatherings large and small, the mask donning is to prevent transmission to others, and this is their most important use whether in churches or your larger community. If we lower the likelihood of one person infecting another, we are actively engaged in the reduction of transmission.
When you are wearing a mask, your breath works in partnership with your cloth mask to trap a large number of these aerosols in the fabric, stopping the aerosols that carry the virus from being released into the air. When aerosols are in the air, they are so minuscule that when we inhale the fabric itself cannot prevent the Covid19 virus from getting through the fabric. Wearing a mask lowers the number of aerosols emitted into the air by the one exhaling who can unknowingly be an asymptomatic carrier or in the early stages of the disease. Wearing a fabric or non-medical grade mask is about caring for the other; when another wears a mask it is their care for you.

  1. Ugh!  Wearing a mask is uncomfortable and annoying. How does our Christian duty to one other intersect with the recommendation to wear a mask?  

“Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God.”  1 John 4:7 CEB   

These words, along with the Great Commandment, along with many other words of scripture call us to love and care for one another, even at the expense of our personal preferences or comfort. From the beginning of the Church, this has been understood as the duty of every Christian. This responsibility is important for us to remember amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The act of wearing a mask, combined with maintaining appropriate distance, is an act of love and Christian care. We wear masks not to protect ourselves, but to protect others in the event we might have contracted the virus. None of us would want to expose one of our family members when we can take precautions to prevent it. Even more so, we would not want to jeopardize the members of our congregations who are at greatest risk of the virus. This is a minor inconvenience when placed next to the sacrifice of Jesus, our Lord.

  1. Being told to wear a mask feels counter to my rights of liberty and freedom. 
 
As we have listened in on the debate on wearing or not wearing masks, the objections to wearing masks tend to be more ideological and emotional than scientifically driven. To not get caught in a debate that divides more than unites, we have leaned into what mask-wearing can mean as a spiritual practice in this unprecedented time of the pandemic.   
As a spiritual practice, to don a mask is to proclaim love of neighbor, especially our most vulnerable neighbors. In Matthew 25, Jesus implores us to care for “the least of these” and when we do so, we are caring for him. 

Wearing a mask has also become a Micah 6 moment. By humbling oneself and even risking critique or ridiculed by others, one can bear up under people’s stares or remarks knowing their mask has become an outward and visible sign of God’s grace working in and through us. Many have found that choosing to wear a mask as a spiritual practice has deepened their faith, has improved their listening, and increased their commitment to their neighbors during this time of the pandemic. 

Additionally, wearing a mask is a form of mercy and action in that since we do not know if we are asymptomatic or in early stages of the virus and since we do not know if those we are around will go home to people who are going through chemotherapy, are immunocompromised or are otherwise medically vulnerable, one’s choice to wear a mask is a way of extending care to those sheltering at home. We hope and pray for the time when wearing protective face masks is no longer necessary. But we also hope that these Matthew 25 and Micah 6 lessons God is teaching us through this practice of mask-wearing remain an integral part of our life of faith in the Iowa Conference.

  1. How do you respond to the “have faith not fear” dilemma? 

When I think of the “have faith not fear” chant, I think of the many times we read the words, “Do not fear” in Scripture. But I do not think mask-wearing is about fear over faith; it is more about loving our neighbor. The parable of the Good Samaritan comes to my mind in this question. This parable is about compassion and sacrifice. It is about the willingness of the Samaritan to go out of his way and do what others would not; a willingness to give of his resources to care for another; a willingness to sacrifice his own immediate needs and preferences to consider the good he can do immediately before him. 
 
Midrash Moment  
Hebrew Bible Scholar, Vanessa Lovelace defines  midrash  as "a Jewish mode of interpretation that not only engages the words of the text, behind the text, and beyond the text, but also focuses on each letter, and the words left unsaid by each line." 

In a Midrash Moment, one of our Ministry Directors turned to the story of the Good Samaritan and offered one group of folks a simple test: “Everybody wear a mask for 5 minutes. Now, remove them. Pass your mask down one person. And now put on your neighbors mask.”

There were looks of discomfort and hesitation.

The Director said, “We cannot see what we cannot see. We do not know what we do not know. If you are not comfortable wearing your neighbors mask, you should be as uncomfortable breathing their air. 
Also, were any of you worried about passing your mask to your friend, because you might have COVID-19, but don’t yet know it?  Then protect your friend and ask them to not put on your mask.”

They continued with the words, “To best protect those around you, you should be committed to wearing a mask every time you gather in public spaces. As we walk down the street, enter the public square, or come to church, we can easily forget that we are called to be God’s witnesses in the world. Wearing masks is one way of being a witness and looking after one another.’

At that moment in the meeting, as people consider their own and their neighbor’s mask, one of the older gents said, "I guess we are wearing masks people."  

To the people of the Iowa Conference, I commend to you the question of Jesus raised in this parable in this Midrash retelling of the Good Samaritan story, “How can we be a neighbor to one who could become a victim of this unseen threat?”   

Those in the room replied, “Be like the ones who show mercy and wear a mask.” Jesus told them, “Go and do likewise.”

Please send your questions to:  iaumccares@iaumc.org

NEW! CONNECTION GROUPS
As we move into a cautious phase for gatherings, we are encouraging people to gather in smaller groups outdoors, as they feel comfortable, for faith and life connections.

For those who feel more comfortable continuing to stay safer at home, we want to give you a way to enjoy some connections, as well.

WEDNESDAY EVENINGS – “Wednesday Night Live” Small Group
·          7:00 PM Outdoor in-person gatherings
·          Outdoor Patio behind the Wing in the Woods at Polk City UMC
·          Masks and 6-ft physical distancing encouraged

THURSDAY EVENINGS – “Music in the Park” with New Song
·          6:30 PM Bring Your Own Picnic
·          7:00 PM Music Rehearsal & opportunity to worship with the band
·          Shelter #2 at Jester Park
·          Lawn Chairs, Bug Spray & 6ft physical distancing encouraged
YOUTH GROUP MISSION-AT-HOME WEEK
YOUTH! We know you are missing your annual summer mission trip opportunity this year. So we’ve created a Mission-at-home opportunity for you!!

Make plans to join us for an outdoor mission work project Monday – Wednesday, July 13 – 15, from 4:00-9:00pm at the church. In addition to some outdoor work projects, we’ll be including a dinner and game break, and we’ll end each evening with devotions, worship and small groups. All youth in 6 th – 12 th grades are encouraged to join us – and bring your friends!! All activities will follow CDC guidelines for masking and physical distancing.

Let us know you plan to participate by signing up yourself and your friends here: 

WORSHIP AND ONLINE STUDY
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 spiritual practices that help us see the world as God sees it, we'll be invited to return to the heart of worship.

We want to include members of our faith community during this series, so that we can see more of each other and feel better connected. Here are some ways you can participate:

  1. Readers of all ages can read the worship leader script (fully-scripted Words of Welcome & Opening Prayer) OR read the scripture (also fully written out). Sign up here: WORSHIP READERS
  2. Families can take turns leading a fully-scripted Children's Moment! Sign up here: CHILDREN'S MOMENT VOLUNTEERS
  3. Individuals, Groups & Families can lead one of our congregational Hymns or Praise Songs - OR share a piece of special music or a dance! If interested, email Pastor Melody.

Even if you haven't been tuning in for online worship regularly, or have felt like online worship wasn't nourishing your soul.... we invite you to try it again.

Watch on Facebook Live at 10:30am : www.Facebook.com/polkcityumc

Watch on our website anytime after Noon on Sundays: www.polkcityumc.org/online-worship
WEEKLY GPS (GROW-PRAY-STUDY) GUIDE  

This summer we’re sending out a weekly GPS (Grow-Pray-Study) Guide with devotional resources that go with the sermon series.  Look for those to come to your inbox on Mondays. These contain a link to the previous Sunday’s worship service, video interviews with Spiritual Director Dr. Wendy Farley, reflection questions, and a spiritual practice to try throughout the week.
 
In case you missed it, here’s a link to this week’s GPS Guide.

IOWA UMC OFFERS BACKYARD CAMPS!
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  www.iaumc.org/camps .
MISSION & OUTREACH
NP Comet Cupboard Tiny Food Pantry
On Saturday, July 11th, the NP Comet Cupboard will offer another Bag of Food.
Because of the generosity of so many, we are able to add items beyond the basic bag.
Individuals can choose from an extra table of food to better supplement their family needs . The impact of both
programs (mini food pantry and the bag of groceries) rounds out our church motto of "Feeding Hungry Souls in
Every Season" in a much different level of commitment to our neighbors.

If you can donate food items, there are plastic bins outside the front
doors of the church. (Each basic bag is valued at $25.) 

For the Comet Cupboard mini-pantry kids items are very popular. SpaghettOs, drink packs, Nutella snack packs,
Mac-n- cheese microwavable single packs and snacks (that don't melt in the heat)

Thank you for your continued support! For information please contact Dixie Bequeaith  dbequeai967@msn.com .
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.
BAGS FOR BIDWELL
For the month of June and July, the Mission Committee would like to collect “Bags for Bidwell.” If you have
any plastic bags from the grocery store or any recycle or reusable cloth/plastic bags and not sure what
to do with it? Bring it to church and place it in our “Bags for Bidwell” bin. We will place a plastic tub
outside our church entrance for the collection, so you can drop your bags off anytime. Please contact
Mai Golbuff or Linda Pennington with questions or concerns, thank you and God bless
Equal Exchange Newsletter  

We serve Equal Exchange Fairly Traded coffee at our worship receptions and at our special events in the Church and The Wing.  This is a mission our church has supported for many years.
 
We also have Equal Exchange products for sale in a display in our narthex.  If you want to try the coffee, chocolate chips, or K-Cup products, please contact me and I will meet you at the church and get them for you.  (984-6563)
 
Why do we use Equal Exchange Fairly Traded products?

                    IT'S BETTER FOR OUR PLANET:
  1. Hard working third world farmers grow these products and care for their land.
  2. Shade farming preserves forest cover and protects the habitats of birds and wildlife.
  3. Diversified crop planting promotes biodiversity and improves the health of the soil.
  4. Most Equal Exchange products are certified organic and produced without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides.
 
Please help support this mission and buy Equal Exchange products.  Thank you,
 
Deanna Deason
Updates from the DMARC Food Pantry
FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS(from an article by Matt Unger, Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) CEO, June 2020)

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Warehouse continues to work tirelessly to meet basic human needs during this pandemic. They have been advocating for policies to help alleviate hunger and food insecurity in our communities.
There have been positive actions by state leaders in making sure that people have adequate access to Food Assistance(SNAP).In addition to recent financial investments in our state's food banks and Double Up Food Bucks Program, Iowa has been issuing the maximum benefit amount to Food Assistance participants in April, May and June. This benefit increased by 51% (or $58 in benefits on average) In May, over $11 million in Food Assistance benefits were issued in Polk County to help feed those in need. In the past three months, 10,000 people in Polk County have been added to the Food Assistance program, In May, nearly 67,000 individuals in Polk Country received Food Assistance. In May 2020 alone, DMARC assisted 10,580 individuals.

The need continues and is not letting up. I am so proud of our congregation for recognizing this! You are helping greatly! Remember $10=40 meals! DMARC's number one donation they prefer is money. They can buy 2 to 6 times more with our money than we can.
If you wish to donate please write a check out to Polk City United Methodist Church and in the memo write "DMARC Food Pantry" and mail it to Polk City United Methodist Church, 1421 West Broadway, Polk City, Iowa 50226 or use the church's electronic giving site  polkcityumc.org/give . THANK YOU!

Any questions please contact Linda Pennington    penningtonl@q.com    DMARC Delegate


Thank you for all that you do!
Linda P.

SPIRITUAL CARE DURING THE PANDEMIC
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.
Contact Us
Christine Perry
Administrative Assistant
Lauren Wilken
Director of Children/Youth Ministry
Melody Webb
Pastor
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