July 2, 2020
The Weekly Wind
News and Updates from Polk City United Methodist Church
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FROM THE PASTOR'S PEN
You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. - Galatians 5:13-14

On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

We'll celebrate the 4th of July holiday this weekend, juxtaposed between a global pandemic that is causing a huge divide over the very issue of personal freedom, and a social uprising that recognizes that Black Americans have still not been granted the same level of freedom as their fellow white Americans.

As you make your plans for the weekend, I want to ask you to try to hold these tensions in mind.

First of all, our church is planning to begin offering Outdoor Worship the following weekend on Sunday, July 12.

Bishop Laurie Haller and her Crisis Response Team have sent a pastoral letter (read below) to remind congregations to follow best practices for reducing the spread, especially as confirmed cases in Iowa begin to rise again. As Christians, our personal freedoms end at the point that those freedoms put others at harm.

I heard a new term this week in regards to the novel coronavirus: "suspect positive." Because we now know from the CDC that there are likely 10 more people infected or carrying the disease for every one case that’s confirmed, we must all assume that we are "suspect positive."

We also now know that a person without symptoms or whose symptoms are extremely mild can still spread the virus, especially if they are not wearing a mask.

And we now know, too, that an infected person is most contagious for up to 5 days before they develop symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging people to take necessary safety precautions  this Independence Day. Addressing the recent spike in coronavirus cases, Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said, "For the Fourth of July, which is a family event, we want to emphasize that it’s really important that we get back to being vigilant as our collective commitment ... to protect vulnerable friends, family, community."

So, how will you choose to celebrate this weekend knowing that you will be gathering with your church family one week later?

Next, as we celebrate our independence as a country, keep in mind that those held in slavery were not counted as a full person, and therefore, were not included in the declaration that "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." As a result, Black Americans have suffered for centuries in this country under racist systems that have perpetuated the idea that they are "less-than." If our black and brown siblings do not celebrate this holiday in the same ways, and for the same reasons, that you do - do not take offense.

I've been using this space all during the month of June to encourage each of us to do more listening, more educating, and more understanding of the plight of those who suffer from racism in our country. The United Methodist Church held a Town Hall yesterday which explores these very themes. (click the link to watch and listen)

So, what does it mean to celebrate the Fourth of July when we haven't yet realized full equality and justice for our black and brown fellow Americans?

Our family has made the decision that we will not gather with friends this year, as much as we will miss doing so. Instead, we will have our own family backyard BBQ.

We've also made the decision that we will not watch fireworks in person, even though that has been part of our tradition. Instead, we will watch the Macy's Fireworks Celebration on NBC , which will pay tribute to the America's frontline workers who have served our country tirelessly during this time.

While staying safely at home, we'll also be watching (and rewatching, and singing along...) the premiere of the musical Hamilton on Disney Plus , which uses a diverse cast to tell the rags-to-riches story of how a Puerto Rican immigrant became one of our nation's founding fathers.

However you choose to celebrate this year, may it be safe, may it be blessed, and may we all continue to give thanks to our Creating and Redeeming God for giving us all true freedom in Christ!

Pastor Melody

UPDATES FOR RE-ENTRY
From Bishop Laurie to the Clergy and Laity of the Iowa Annual Conference:

July 01, 2020

Greetings friends, and Peace in the name or our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
We of the Appointive Cabinet and the Crisis Response Team continue to hold you, the laity and clergy, of the Iowa Conference in our hearts and prayers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As you undoubtedly know there has been an uptake in the number of cases here, in Iowa, and around the nation. Many of you have expressed concern for your churches and for the safety of members as some of our congregations begin to gather again for worship, study, service, and fellowship. 

We wish to remind you that we remain in the  Yellow Light Status .
Information and recommendations on re-entry can be found at:  https://www.iaumc.org/123churchreentry .

While the largest number of new cases are reported among younger adults who are at a lower risk of life-threatening complications and death, they can spread the infection to older adult and those with underlying medical conditions. We all want our churches to be places of safety and “watching over one another in love” is at the heart of our Christian responsibility and tradition. Please take time to review the safe practices that have been passed on from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others as we guard one another’s health and safety. 
 
While Intinction (dipping the bread in the cup) is one of the meaningful ways the celebrate Holy Communion, it is not the only way and is not to be used during the pandemic. Singing and liturgical responses in the gathered space of the sanctuary greatly multiplies the risk of transmission. Wearing a mask greatly decreases the likelihood of us transmitting the virus to others. These are strong recommendations you have received from us, and they are worth repeating. We all want our churches to be places of love and compassion. These values must be demonstrated by our actions. We all want to move beyond the virus but wishing it will not make it so. The current surges amid reopening’s across the United States bear witness to this. 
 
Please accept our encouragement in the spirit of love. In the second chapter of James letter we are reminded  “What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.” James 216b-17 CEB . Let us be faithful in our care of each other as an important part of our worship of God. 

NEW! SUMMER WORSHIP
This Summer, we're offering Worship in a NEW way at a NEW Time!!
BEGINS JULY 12!

Make plans to join us outdoors or online for worship at 9:30 AM beginning Sunday, July 12. As we wait for a time when it is considered safe to gather indoors, we are excited to offer an outdoor worship option. The outdoor worship service will be livestreamed to our facebook page, and then made available as a recording on our website at a later time so that those who feel safer at home can still worship with us online.

Next week, we'll be sharing safety protocols for the outdoor services so that you can know what to expect. Meanwhile, note the change in time to 9:30AM for live worship!

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
GROWING TOGETHER

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.




CHURCH-SPONSORED GROUP WEDNESDAY EVENINGS
  • 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

ORGANIZE YOUR OWN!
  • Gather with friends or neighbors in lawn chairs around a driveway or firepit
  • Gather some friends for an outdoor adventure: kayaking, hiking, birding or geocaching
  • Gather safely by wearing facemasks and observing 6-ft of physical distancing

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: 
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

 St . Luke's Free Clinic will reopen July 15, 2020   from 6-8 pm
with restrictions
 
Patients will enter from the second door on the east side of the Church, marked Clinic. Entrance. Masks are required. If you do not have one, we will provide one for you. Patients will be screened outside that door and temperatures taken.  

We will not see patients with known Covid exposure, with respiratory symptoms, or that have temperatures of 100.4 or above. Only one patient will be allowed in clinic at a time.  After screening, patients will wait in their vehicles until called.  

We will continue to see patients the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month from 6 - 8 pm. If you have questions, you may call Tess Young at 515-238-6425.   

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 Products Available

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.  
 
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
515- 984-6563
Updates from the DMARC Food Pantry
UPDATES FOR THE DES MOINES AREA RELIGIOUS COUNCIL (DMARC) FOOD PANTRY WAREHOUSE

As previously mentioned, food assistance benefits are increasing with the present Pandemic situation. Students eligible for free and reduced school meals will each receive an additional $279 in Pandemic EBT benefits. In Des Moines, the community eligibility for free and reduced school meals allows each eligible student in the school system K-12 to receive the benefit.

Due to these food assistance benefits, DMARC has seen decreases in the May use of the pantries compared to April. This is allowing DMARC pantry visitors to return for a three-day supply of food on a weekly basis, than a monthly one. On the other hand, the use of the Mobile Pantries has picked up. DMARC is preparing for when the benefits are gone and people return to the original pantries increasing their use once again.

I have mentioned before, also, the partnering of DMARC and Capital City Fruit to distribute produce boxes through a USDA program. The distributions are taking place July 10,17, 24, 31, and August 14, 28 from 10 am until gone. DMARC has distributed over 6,300 produce boxes through this network and 6,000 through free public giveaways. 1,200 cars have been showing up at Southridge.

The most needed food items for the DMARC food network are consistently whole grain cereal, peanut butter and fruit canned in its own juice. Why the three?
Whole grain cereal is the healthiest form of cereal, peanut butter is a good source of protein and an expensive buy, and natural fruit is a great source of vitamins.
DMARC can purchase 1 box of cereal, 1 jar of peanut butter and 1 can of fruit for $2.50/ $10= 4 cereals, 4 peanut butters and 4 fruits. This is why the number one donation they appreciate from us is money. 

If you wish to donate and help the hungry, please write a check out to Polk City United Methodist Church and in the memo write DMARC food pantry. Please mail your check to Polk City United Methodist Church, 1421 West Broadway, Polk City, Iowa 50226 or use the Church's electronic site polkcityumc,org/give.

THANK YOU FOR REMEMBERING TO HELP YOUR NEIGHBORS! any questions, please contact Linda Pennington, DMARC Delegate,  penningtonl@q.com

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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