Easter Music Opportunities

Easter is coming up quick – April 9. There are three services on Easter: 8:30/9:45am traditional and the 11am. I have a couple of different music and worship opportunities I want you to plug into!

SANCTUARY CHOIR – 8:30/9:45am
The choir will be singing on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday at the 8:30 and 9:45 traditional services. Choir rehearses on Wednesday nights immediately following the Lent service, around 7:05pm in the Teal Room (where Journey youth meet). For more information on choir, contact Stuart Geiger.

The Worship Jam is for any and all musicians (including kids!) who want to help fill the stage at the 11am service – current worship team members and any others who wish to join. We will practice Monday, April 3 at 6:00pm, and then a warmup Easter Sunday at 9:55am in the Journey classroom. Please kindly RSVP here for the Jam so I know who to expect for setup and music. If anyone you know is curious about 2nd service worship teams, this is also their first step in exploring the team. All the music and some simple practice recordings are available here. Paper copies also available ahead of time. Just let me know and I’ll get copies to you. Otherwise, I’ll provide all the music on the rehearsal day.


Nanci Iiams – Funeral Details

Please continue to pray for the family and friends of Nanci Iiams as they grieve her passing.

The visitation is Tuesday, March 14 from 5-7pm at Cedar Hills. And the funeral is Wednesday, March 15 at 10:30am, followed by a luncheon at the church.


Nanci Viola Iiams, 75, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, passed away surrounded by her loving family, Friday, March 10, 2023, at Hiawatha Care Center, Hiawatha, Iowa. Visitation: 5 – 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at Cedar Hills Community Church, Cedar Rapids. Funeral Service: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at the church. Burial: Linwood Cemetery, Cedar Rapids. Murdoch-Linwood Funeral Home & Cremation Service is assisting the family with arrangements.

Nanci was born on November 22, 1947, in Des Moines, Iowa to Frank and Mary (VanHaaften) Johnson. She married Russell Wayne Iiams on May 9, 1964, in Peru, Iowa. The couple was married 44 years before Russell passed away in 2008. Nanci made custom draperies for 42 years. Faith, family, and friends were always very important to Nanci. She loved to entertain, and everyone was always welcome. She was a very active member of the Cedar Hills Community Church. Nanci will be missed by everyone who knew and loved her.

Survivors include her son, Terry (Teresa) Iiams; daughter, Stacy Iiams (Stephanie Robertson); son, Dustin Iiams; grandchildren, Jenifer (John) Christopherson, and Katie (Domingo) Vega, Megan Iiams, Joshua Iiams (Bailey Main), and Josh (Madi) Allen; great-grandchildren, Joslyn Christopherson, Jax Christopherson, Carson Vega, Reese Vega, and Aria Allen; sisters, Darlene (Gene) Miller, Joy Miller, and Rosemary (Kerry) McDaniel.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Russell Iiams; beloved father and mother, Frank and Mary Johnson; and brother, Tom Johnson.

Nanci’s family would like to thank everyone at the Hiawatha Care Center and Milestones Adult Day Care for their compassionate care.

Memorials may be directed to her family.


“Hey YOU! Be Quiet and Calm Down!”

“Hey YOU! Be Quiet and Calm Down!”

Back in my seminary days I had to take an introductory class on the spiritual disciplines.  We followed a well-known book by Richard Foster on the different disciplines called “Celebration of Discipline.  It was a great eye-opening class on the different disciplines Christians can and should undertake and the ways each discipline invites us into a deeper faith.

I think it was probably the first time I had heard about fasting as a regular ‘discipline’ that Christians are called to.  Until this point, I only knew of fasting for a few passages in Scripture here and there that I largely overlooked.

As part of this class, we had to create a year-long plan of how we would try out the different disciplines and implement them.  Bible reading, worship, solitude, worship, simplicity… they all sounded easy enough. But fasting? BUT FASTING? Ugh. I wasn’t so sure about that one.

But I included in my plan.  My ambitious goal:

One day a week.

One week a month.

One 40-day fast a year.

Everything I read said to train up for it.  So I used my one-day-a-week days to teach my brain that it is actually okay to feel ‘hungry.’ Like seriously. It’s okay.  You just tell your stomach, “Hey you, be quiet and calm down.  You can make it a day,” while also telling the Lord, “I hunger for you more than that food. Be my bread.” 

My one-week-a-month became great training in planning for a fast.  I learned to look ahead at the calendar, not buy groceries and try to use up food in the fridge that might go back during the week.  I also learned that physical hunger pretty much subsides by day 3, followed by an amazing amount of energy.  The first 3 days were always the hardest!! After that, easy.  All the while saying, “Lord, I hunger for you more than that food. Be my bread.”

But I still had that 40-day fast lingering over my head. Could I do it???  After almost a year into my little experiment, I official made the plans for the BIG ONE.  Lent.  Only, I learned that for Lent, it’s actually 47 days! And Sundays are free.  Any fast taken on, you get to break on Sundays.  So that’s what I did.  Six days of nothing, and eating on Sundays.

I made it through (barely), but I learned a few great lessons in the midst of it:

1. It is doable. Seriously.

2. In my fleshes weakened state, God REALLY DOES make His great strength known—just like His Word promises to.  HE DOESN’T LIE.

3. It takes some planning and some practice.

4. I don’t know if I’d do it again, but…

That brings me to this year.  I haven’t done a long fast since then—just random two- or three-day stuff here and there when I need to hear from God.

I feel wimpy.

WHAT IF God doesn’t give me strength to do it again?!

I sound like the Israelites, fresh out Egypt, right after crossing the Red Sea, whining for food because they don’t believe God will follow through with His promises (EVEN THOUGH THEY JUST SAW THE MIRACULOUS).

Anyhow, I’m thinking about it for Lent.  My amazing husband has been regularly doing 40-day fasts yearly and I think I might join him this year. 

Leah Carolan
Director of Worship & Media


Did you enjoy this article? Did you laugh, cry, or learn something new?  Let Leah know.

    Puke and Friendship

    Puke and Friendship

    I got puked on recently by a child in our Children’s Worship Class. The picture below shows the location of the incident.

    I know it was meant to be because I was filling in for someone else that day. I had followed the very last child from the sanctuary to make sure everyone made it safely into the teal room. As I was walking into the room, this particular child was running out of the room crying. He ran directly into my loving arms…and proceeded to release the contents of his stomach on the carpet and also on my hair, shirt, jeans, and boots.

    It was meant to be. I’ve retold this story several times now. It always ends in laughter and smiles. These stories have great shock value, but also they bond us together as something we can laugh over.

    The carpet squares had to be changed out. Even though we did our best to clean it in the moment, or should I say AFTER the moment, the carpet was very brown.

    Telling stories that create laughter are a great way to help connect people. I’m not perfect at creating conversation or even knowing what to say, but I sure do enjoy helping people to build friendships.

    Friendships are built on trust. If we can all laugh at a newly shared memory, connection starts to form and grow into trust.

    From nothing more than a funny story, you can see a connection that leads all the way to friendship.

    Also, thanks to the person who changed out the carpet squares.

    Lindsey Ungs
    Connection & Communication Architect

    Did you enjoy this article? Did you laugh, cry or learn something new? Let Lindsey know.



      Nobody likes pain. A splinter makes us flinch. Sickness brings misery. Broken relationships hurt. Losing a loved one breaks our hearts. Pain comes in many ways but our reaction is always the same – we want to avoid it.

      When we can’t avoid pain, one response is to whine about it. The technical word for whining is lament. A lament expresses the frustration, confusion, and suffering that comes with pain. Lament is the opposite of another common response to pain – denial. Are you more prone to lament your pain or deny it?

      The Bible is filled with lament. God’s people cried out to God when they were in pain. More than one-third of the Psalms include lament. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!” (Psalm 130:1). The book of Job is filled with lament. “Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?” (Job 3:11). One whole book, Lamentations, expresses the confusion and suffering of God’s people.

      In the New Testament people who are afflicted cry out to Jesus for help. Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, shouts out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” (Mark 10:47). Jesus himself laments in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me.” (Mark 14:36). On the cross Jesus repeats a lament from Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

      I’m not usually a fan of whining but during Lent this year I will be encouraging it. I’m going to focus on the practice of telling God when something is not the way it is supposed to be. I’m going to cry out and ask God to help. Lament helps us focus on the truth. “We are powerless before this vast multitude that comes against us. We are at a loss what to do, hence our eyes are turned toward you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

      As kids, when we were hurt we cried out for a kiss and a band-aide on our booboo. Lamentation cries “Ouch!” and hopes that God will hold us in our pain and bring healing.

      Kent Landhuis
      Pastor of Teaching & Leadership

      Did you enjoy this article? Did you laugh, cry or learn something new? Let Kent know.

        Colene Brewer – Funeral Details

        Colene Kay BrewerColene Brewer passed away on Tuesday, February 21. Please pray for her family in their time of grief.

        Funeral Arrangements

        Saturday, March 4 at Cedar Hills Community Church  |  map  |
        • 9:15a-10:45a Visitation
        • 11:00a Service
        • Luncheon to follow in the Gathering Space at Cedar Hills
        *If you would like to join the Hospitality Team in helping in the kitchen or providing bars/cookies or a salad, contact Jennifer in the church office. 319-396-6608 or Email


        Colene Kay Brewer, 84, of Cedar Rapids died Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at Unity Point St. Luke’s Hospital. Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 4, 2023 at Cedar Hills Community Church. Friends may visit with the family after 9 a.m. on Saturday at the church.  Burial will be in Oak Shade Cemetery, Marion.  Teahen Funeral Home is caring for Colene and her family.

        Colene is survived by two sons, Michael E. Van Dee of Williamsburg and Marc A. (Julie) Van Dee of Marengo; seven grandchildren, Cody (Maliah) Van Dee of Ely, Kala (Kody) Miller of Webster, Samuel Van Dee of Cedar Rapids, and Joshua, William, Madaline and Zachary Van Dee all of Parnell; two great-grandchildren, Tucker and McKinley; two step-daughters, Debbie (Roman) Routhe of Cedar Rapids and their daughters, McKenzie (Brady) Anderson of Fort Meyers, FL and Katie Routhe of Cedar Rapids, and Christine (Randy) Kray of Lisbon and their sons, Michal (Sammy) Kray of Mount Vernon and their children, Theo and Liam, Marshall (Nichole) Kray of Marion; sisters, Patricia Ritchie, Cindy Van Dee and Diane (Bill) Glenn; and brother, Dennis (Carman) Van Dee.

        Colene was preceded in death by her husband; parents; and brothers, Kenneth and Ronald Van Dee.

        Colene was born on February 16, 1939 on the family farm in Iowa County near Millersburg and was the first child of Charles and Marjorie Van Dee.  She attended a country elementary school and graduated in 1957 from English Valley High School, where she was active in music and cheer leading.  Colene attended Ottumwa Heights College and received her Teacher Certification in Elementary Education. She began her first teaching position at the BGM Elementary School. Colene then obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Drake University, Des Moines while teaching.

        Colene married Ronald Brewer in Cedar Rapids and after retirement they purchased a Class A Motor home, and began going south in the winter.  She and Ronald loved camping in the summer with family and friends. Colene will be missed.

        Memorials may be directed to Cedar Hills Community Church in memory of Colene Brewer.

        Turning Off My Cell Phone And Logging Out Of Facebook During Lent

        Turning Off My Cell Phone And Logging Out Of Facebook During Lent

        Growing up, Lent was not a part of my faith experience. It was not a tradition really practiced in my church or my family. Actually, if I am honest, I probably even felt judgmental about it. My unspoken thoughts were; “It’s just something those weird catholic kids do!” They get ashes on their forehead and then quit eating meat on Fridays. Why? Honestly, most of my catholic friends didn’t understand it either. It was just a ritual.

        At Central College I was introduced to the practice through Lenten breakfast times of prayer. I enjoyed this practice and now regularly practice fasting from something during this time of year.

        There are some traditional spiritual disciplines protestant Christians have focused on during these 40 days leading up Easter and Jesus’ resurrection. These disciplines are prayer, fasting, and generosity. One of the best ways is to ask God what He wants for you during this time.

        Last year I was doing some reading about how addicting social media is, and how it rewires our brains. I was convicted about my own compulsive use of social media at times. I committed to fasting from Facebook and to fast from my cell phone at night. The flipside of this fast was to use that time to pray and read. I wanted to break some bad habits and build some better ones. This was good. I read some books and prayed more.  I was not perfect. It was difficult at times, but I did find less of an urge to do those things at the end of Lent. I think I may repeat this fast again this year.

        So, as we enter into Lent 2023, are you feeling led to be intentional about changing your patterns of prayer, fasting, and generosity?

        Steve Poole
        Director of Youth & Young Adults

        What did you think of this article? Did you laugh? Cry? Learn something new? Let Steve know below.

          Cricut Workshop – March 25

          Do you own a Cricut but haven’t quite figured out how to use it yet? Saturday, March 25 Hailey Griffin will be holding a free workshop to teach you how to use your Cricut machine and software.

          We’ll go through your machine,  accessories, materials, Cricut Design Space and answer any questions that you may have. Then we will go through an Easter project with the things that we have learned.

          Sat., March 25th @ 9am-11am

          Cricut machine, tools and cutting mat. Laptop or tablet, scissors,
          power cord, and cardstock in 4 different colors (Spring colors).

          In the Teal Classroom at Cedar Hills Community Church

          If you’re interested, please RSVP by March 15th by emailing Hailey Griffin with subject line “Cricut Class” (You should receive an email back from Hailey in a couple days with some follow up information. If you don’t, please resend the email. Thanks and hope to see you at the workshop.)

          Lent at Cedar Hills

          The season of Lent begins Ash Wednesday and runs until Easter Sunday.

          During Lent, we will gather on Wednesday nights for a meal (5:15-6:15pm) followed by a short 30-35 min time of worship in the Worship Center.

          Please kindly RSVP for the meal weekly in the Sunday bulletin using the bulletin response form.

          During Holy Week, we will gather on Thursday evening instead of Wednesday to celebrate Maundy Thursday together.

          Easter services will be 8:30, 9:45 and 11am.  There will be no Sunday classes on Easter Sunday.

          Love. Belong. Serve.