Thursday, July 31, 2008

Presbytery Day at the Ball Park was a Success!

As you can see in the photos below, everyone had a good time, despite the heat. Over 50 people attended the July 20 I-Cubs baseball game and contributed to the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry by bringing three food items to get into the game free. Best of all, the I-Cubs won!

Churches represented were:

1. First Presbyterian – Audubon (3 members)
2. First Presbyterian – Dallas Center (2)
3. First United Presbyterian – Atlantic (2)
4. Cottage Grove Avenue Presbyterian – Des Moines (21)
5. Park Avenue Presbyterian – Des Moines (8)
6. Westminster Presbyterian – Des Moines (6)
7. Trinity United Presbyterian – Indianola (13)
8. Covenant Presbyterian – West Des Moines (1)
9. Windsor Presbyterian – Windsor Heights (6)
10. Heartland Presbyterian – Clive (1)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2008 Flood Recovery Update

Volunteers are needed to help with mucking out homes in Iowa.

For One-Day Trips
If you are interested in one-day trips to Cedar Rapids, Iowa City or Louisa County, including the town of Oakville which was completely under water, the muck out is only 10-15% complete. The clock is ticking on these untreated homes, as the mold is advancing rapidly with the hot humid weather. Please contact Richard Teigs, Presbytery of East Iowa at 800-957-4389, ext. 201.

For Multi-Day Trips
If you are interested in a multi-day trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa City or Louisa County, including Oakville, please contact the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Call Center. They are also handling out-of-state calls and will be keeping a database of available teams, dates they are available and accommodations required. Contact Penny Noel, 866-732-6121,

Special Positions Available in Oakville, Ia.

  1. Volunteer Professional to analyze and give advice to shore up several small, single family homes that have some structural issues. Either a structural engineer, architect or builder with experience in shoring up, or replacing foundation members, and sagging framing members. They are looking for someone that can give them guidance in doing some remedial construction, they do not need someone to produce a certified set of plans. They are viewing this as a one-day time commitment so if you have the needed skills and you are interested in volunteering, please contact Stan Tate, site coordinator in Oakville, Iowa at 319-530-4701.
  2. Volunteer Home Inspector
  3. Volunteer Assistant to answer the phones, make appointments and help keep records.

Volunteers may also find the following site helpful, 2008 Flood Resource Center. It is sponsored by the Iowa Governor's office and has resources for flood victims and volunteer opportunities throughout Iowa.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

National Health Ministries MOM Visit a Success

The Health Mission on the Move van rolled into Des Moines June 15, and ‘set up shop’ in the parking lot of the Cottage Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church – the church attended by the majority of the areas Sudanese population. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, over 15 adults and well over 30 children were served by doing Health Assessments, blood pressure checks, and blood glucose testing, followed by a discussion of those findings.

Darlene Shepherd (Oskaloosa First) and Kim Coulter (DM Westminster) coordinated the efforts of our Presbytery volunteers. Those who helped were: Denise England RN (Audubon First); Melissa Schnucker RN (Clive Heartland); Rev. David Madsen, Jaden Oriho RN, Ikram Kachu and Batul Chol (DM Cottage Grove); Lisa Whitmarsh Peterson (DM Park Avenue); Rev. Adam Nardini and Sarah Mapes LPN (DM Union Park); Nancy Hampton RN, Karen Sanders RN and Jan Siwinski RN (DM Westminster); Dru McLuen (Indianola, Trinity United) and Judy Harvey.

The Sudanese population struggles to obtain adequate medical aide, as well as their daily needs. The Health Assessments done through the National Health Ministries and our area volunteers was an invaluable ministry.

Originally funded by the Birthday Offering of Presbyterian Women of PCUSA, National Health Ministries receives no direct support from congregations or offerings. The funding comes through Extra Commitment Opportunities (ECO).

To learn more go online to:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lectionary group discusses The Church Unbound @ 9am Tuesday, July 15

The Presbytery's Lectionary Study Group that meets weekly on Tuesdays, will be having a special discussion Tuesday, July 15, from 9-10 a.m. on the recent Montreat conference titled The Church Unbound. Pastor Mark Davis of the Heartland Presbyterian Church in Clive attended the July 1-5 conference and will give his reflections on the event.

The conference was based on a quote from Shane Cailborne, the author The Irresistable Revolution – Living As An Ordinary Radical, "Let's move beyond complaining about the Church we see, and start becoming the Church we dream of." (NOTE: New PCUSA 218th General Assembly Moderator the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow attended the Montreat event and took time to podcast with conference participants, Zach Sasser, Shawn Coons, and Carol Howard Merritt talking about church, technology and young clergy.)

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, thus says the LORD, 'Let my people go, that they may serve me.'" – Exodus 8:1 (RSV)

How can the PC(USA) become a church for the next generation? What will it take to bridge the boundaries of age, culture, gender, race, and theological differences?

What is the church you're dreaming of? Be part of this conversation from 9-10am and then stick around for the normal Lectionary Study from 10am-Noon on Tuesday, July 15 at the Des Moines Presbytery Office, 2400 86th St., Ste. 20, in Urbandale, Iowa.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

2008 Flood Response Update

A recent news article from the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program at PC(USA), [PDA-RIN] Iowa Clean-up Needs, states that PDA is sending volunteer work teams from across the U.S. to help in multi-day trips and relief efforts of recent storms and floods in Iowa.

Locally, Iowa volunteer opportunities for one-day trips are available by contacting the following site coordinators:
  • Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area - Contact Richard Tiegs Asst. to Assoc. for Communications is the Volunteer Coordinator at Presbytery of East Iowa. He can be reached at the PEIA office number 800-957-4389. Churches accepting overnight work teams are Westminster Presbyterian in Cedar Rapids, Christ Church in Cedar Rapids, and Christian Ed. Dir. Heather Woodin, 319-354-52534(h) 319-338-7523(cell) is the volunteer coordinator at Saint Andrew Presbyterian Church in Iowa City. They are about ready to start housing volunteers and are leading the housing preparation.

  • Cedar Falls/Waterloo and Parkersburg area - Contact Kaylene Hoskins with North Central Iowa Presbytery at 800-383-3617.

  • Des Moines area - Contact United Way or call 2-1-1 (This Wednesday, July 2, there is need for volunteers to clean up in public locations such as flooded city parks in Des Moines. Volunteers will report first to the Volunteer Reception Center at 1111 9th St. in Des Moines to receive identification, additional health and safety training and the volunteer location assignment.)
Volunteers must be current on tetanus vaccinations, 18-years or older. Minors must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian.

Immediate needs:

  • Prayers for victims and workers

  • Cleanup Bucket Kits (the Presbytery will help get these dispersed where they are needed) How to assemble and package Clean-up Buckets.

  • CROSS Ministries in Des Moines needs cleaning supplies. They recently depleted their supply to families of low income households who have experienced flooded basements. (supplies needed include: bleach, buckets, floor cleaner, laundry soap, etc.) Contact the Cottage Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church at 515-279-8877 or

  • Monetary donations are now needed. Send checks payable to Des Moines Presbytery, in the memo section write, "2008 Flood Relief" indicated where you would like the funds to go, tornado, flood, a specific presbytery, etc., and mail checks to the Presbytery of Des Moines, 2400 86th St., Ste. 20, Urbandale, IA 50322. (100% of donations sent to this Presbytery will be used for its intended purpose indicated by the giver. All administrative costs will be absorbed by the Iowa presbyteries.)

Long-term, volunteer work teams will be needed into 2010. So far, the following churches in our Presbytery are planning to send volunteer work teams: Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Indianola, Lenox United and Sharpsburg Presbyterian churches, Community United Presbyterian Church in Hartford and Heartland Presbyterian Church in Clive.

In addition, Highland Park Presbyterian Church and Park Avenue Presbyterian Church in Des Moines have offered up distribution services of cleaning kit buckets to those affected by floods waters in the Greater Des Moines area. Covenant Presbyterian Church in West Des Moines was able to send 30 buckets!

If your church is planning to take people for one- or multiple-day trips to the affected areas, please contact the Presbytery office with the dates and locations.

Thanks to everyone, our ministry in the midst of chaos, makes a difference where there is no hope.