May 21, 2020
The Weekly Wind
News and Updates from Polk City United Methodist Church
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Dear Friends,

How are you doing? Really?? I have to confess that working from home and recording worship in my living room is getting old! I miss our worship together, I miss singing, and I miss YOU!

It feels like we have entered a new phase of this pandemic. The novelty of staying home has worn off, and we are growing tired and restless. Believe me, I am ready for this all to be over. Sadly, it is not over yet.

While many of our businesses and services are reopening, there are differing opinions over whether or not it is safe to do so yet, and how it is safe to do so, and I hope you will join me in praying for every single employer and employee who is having to make such difficult decisions right now. I know this includes some of you, and I am praying daily for the care and safety of us all.

I'm sure you are wondering when and how our church will begin reopening.

Last week, I sent out a survey to gather feedback from you, our congregation, on how you are feeling. If you have not completed the survey yet, please do so now. The survey will close at 11:59 PM on Sunday, May 24. Take the Survey .

Along with your feedback, we have been given guidelines from the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church . Earlier this week, I participated in a Zoom Town Hall meeting held by the Iowa Bishop and her Crisis Operations Team for all Iowa United Methodist Clergy. In that call, we reviewed these guidelines and were given the task of assembling a Congregational Re-Entry Team , who will be meeting over the next few weeks to make a plan for our congregation.

Read the Iowa UMC Plan for Reentry here . This plan 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.

Our Congregational Reentry Team will review these guidelines, the guidelines from our church's insurance, as well as your responses to the survey, in order to make a decision about when and how our church will resume in-person gatherings and building/property use.

At this time, we are officially in the Red phase of the pandemic which means no in-person gatherings at this time. The Bishop and her Crisis Response Team will communicate with us when it is time to shift from the Red to Yellow phase - that is the point at which our congregation's plan would go into effect.

I understand that this may not be the answer you are hoping for. Some of you are ready to resume to in-person worship right away, while others of you have made the decision that for the safety of yourself or someone you love that you will not return to in-person worship at all until there is an effective treatment and/or immunization. And many more are somewhere in between.

Please know that as your pastor, I respect all of your feelings and opinions, and that I will be weighing every consideration for both ends of the spectrum as I meet with the re-entry team.

This is a time when our congregation needs your prayers. Please pray for me, and for our reentry team. Please 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 pray for all those who fall into categories of high risk in this time of pandemic. Please pray for all those who are working in healthcare, and food supply, and cleaning services. Please pray for our farmers. Please pray for the unemployed. Please pray for the lonely, and those who are dealing with depression and anxiety. Please pray for the single parents and for the family relationships that are even further strained while everyone is staying home. Please pray for our youth who are struggling to finish the school year well while losing milestone celebrations and social connection.

We are all experiencing various stages of grief during these unprecedented times. And we may even find ourselves cycling through anger, denial, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance over and over again. We have never lived through a time like this before. This is not normal. So be gentle with yourself, and offer grace to everyone else. We will not have the same responses to this time in our collective history, and we cannot expect perfection from anyone.

As we are waiting for our congregation resume in-person gatherings, there are still many ways to stay connected to God and to one another.

This Sunday, May 24 will be the last week of our #SomeGoodNews Series - have some good news to share? Send it to me! We'll also be celebrating our Graduates!

Sunday, May 31 is Pentecost Sunday - read below about our Pentecost Parade and make plans to join us!!

Beginning Sunday, June 7 we will be changing up our online worship to include more of our own congregation who will be helping to lead worship and share their music and art. We'll do this as part of a 6-week series called "Searching for Beauty - Returning to the Heart of Worship." See more information below.

I'll be launching a 6-week Online Study with the new worship series which will explore six spiritual practices that can nourish your soul.

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 gatherings. Join a Life Group here .

And to be part of our church's vision for feeding hungry souls in every season, keep the donations coming for our church's NP Comet Cupboard food pantry ministry and for the DMARC food pantry network in the greater Des Moines area.

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

We have created a short survey to get your feedback about worship and other ministry opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have worshiped with us 3 or more times in the past year (in-person OR online) please take a moment to tell us what you think.

Your feedback to the questions in this survey are important in helping us discern what ministries are essential to your faith during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as our church's next steps for when and how we resume in-person gatherings of any size. (One response per person)
On Sunday, May 24, we'll have a special moment in worship to celebrate all those who are graduating from high school and college this year! Please send us some photos of your graduating student for a worship video we'll be putting together.

To have your photos included in the video, email them to no later than Friday, May 22!
Our holy and gracious God, help us to remember.

Help us to remember the sacrifices bravely made in which one has given life for another and for all.

Help us to remember those that stand in the breach where there is trouble and in which conflict threatens to undo your good creation.

Help us to remember that we look for the day when every sword will be replaced by a plow, that all may be fed and live in your peace.

Forgive us every sin that makes for division and for war, and bring us all into your kingdom on earth as in heaven. 

This we pray in Jesus’ name. 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.
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 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, 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 - 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: .
ONLINE STUDY: TUESDAYS AT 2:00 PM (begins June 9)
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 a special worship service led by the Iowa Conference of the UMC on May 17, 2020.
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 17.
NP Comet Cupboard Tiny Food Pantry
On Saturday, June 8th, 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 April 2020 update for the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Warehouse shows that 12,091 unique individuals were assisted. 1,500 of those used the pantry for the first time. The Mobile Pantries served over 2,000 individuals with another 10,000 assisted through DMARC's network of partner pantries.

Only two-thirds of the people visited the pantries in April 2020, though, compared to the beginning months of 2020.The reasons for the April decrease were increases to SNAP(government food assistance) and people receiving Economic Impact Payments and great assistance from private companies, faith communities and other sites developed to assist those with increased hunger needs in outlying communities. Regular pantry users are forgoing the use of the pantries and taking only the food they need to make sure there is enough to go around. DMARC WANTS TO REASSURE ALL THAT THEIR FOOD SUPPLY IS SOUND AND THEY HAVE PLAN CONSTANTLY. Sadly, as said before, DMARC was seeing increased use before this Pandemic hit too.

DMARC continues to rely on its generous community to help us through this time. If you would like to donate, please consider writing a check to Polk City United Methodist Church and in the memo put DMARC Food Pantry and please mail to Polk City United Methodist Church, 1421 West Broadway, Polk City, Iowa 50226. If you wish, you may use the church's electronic site Thank you to our wonderful, giving congregation!

If there are any questions, please contact Linda Pennington Thank you, again, to everyone for all that you do!
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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