This Sunday we’ll gather together as a full church community for our Annual Celebration. A potluck will immediately follow the 2nd worship service at 12:15pm, followed by the congregational meeting at 1pm. (If your last begins with A-N, bring a main dish. O-T, bring a salad. U-Z, bring a dessert.) Child care will be available at 1pm for children 0-2yrs.
Attending is important to active participation in the life of our church in numerous ways:
How is God at work?
We’ll hear stories of how God is at work within our church community and celebrate what He is doing. We have a lot for which to be grateful and will hear highlights from the year including the “State of the Church Report” from Pastor Kent.
United in Worship
We don’t often have opportunities to worship as a full church with members from both services. What blessing to be able to gather together in one place! We’ll open with a short time of worship and prayer as a full church body.
We’ll elect elders and deacons to serve on Consistory (the RCA name for the church board). This matters because God will use these newly elected leaders to lead our church Body for a three-year term. For more on the roles of elders and deacons in the Reformed Church and our structure of leadership, there is a brief write-up on the RCA website here. We’ll also celebrate the consistory members who have completed their three-year terms.
We’ll vote on next year’s budget and learn together how we are doing financially.
Hope to see you there!
Wednesday morning at the church started with dumpster-diving to find a kid’s lost clothes. Not a normal activity. Of course it was not a normal week because we were in the middle of the Flood of 2016. Our response as a church was to partner with the American Red Cross as a shelter.
As the flood waters crested we celebrated a flood of generosity. People donated clothes, provided rides, did laundry, made food, played with kids, and loved our community. The Red Cross provided volunteers from around the country. Our volunteers came from our own neighborhoods.
Richard spent the week living in our church building. He is a chef. He said, “On Friday, the water was coming. I needed a place. I made plans to come to the shelter.”
Richard moved in on Saturday. The Red Cross provided a cot and food. People donated pillows. When the buses stopped running, we provided a rides. Others spent time chatting with Richard to offer encouragement.
“I see the hand of God in this,” Richard explained, “The church responded as described in the Bible. When you did see a need, you did something about it.” He is deeply grateful that he had a place to go and people who cared. “Watching people come short-circuited me. Car, after car, after car arrived to make a donation.”
Because of the generosity, compassion, and love of our community, Richard’s experience at the shelter was very good. He was “pleased and impressed” in a situation generated by a natural disaster.
Cedar Hills continues to be the home to about 70-80 residents displaced by the Flood 2016 evacuations. Some families have had a chance to go home while others are just now leaving hotel rooms and just joining us today.
AN update from Cedar Hills,
2:00pm, THURSday Sept 29
We have been flooded with donations from the community! Many have been contacting the office via phone and Facebook asking how they can help at this Red Cross location. Here’s what we know (and are updating this list regularly):
- *FULFILLED* Men’s shirts and pants, size 32×34 and large and XL shirts. We have two new guests who just joined us after staying in a hotel and literally came with nothing. We’d love to help them out. Almost all the clothes we’ve received are women’s and children’s sizes.
- *FULFILLED. Thank you for the great response on this! As of this afternoon, every driver had been paired up with a need! If you are willing to transport our guests to and from work, appointments, and other needs, please call the church and give a time frame and the number of people you are able to transport. As needs arise, we will match a guest with you and let you know. We expect this need to increase as more guests move in. Call the office 319-396-6608.
- *FULFILLED* Volunteers – Wed at 9am: Wednesday morning we will be sorting all the supplies and donations that have come. Come help out! This will help us be much more efficient in getting the right supplies to the right people.
- *UPDATED*Activities for kids. The biggest need is in the evenings after supper, 6:30pm. Can you come read a book? Bring a craft? Just come and play. It’s hard to be stuck in a building all day. The weather is nice and we have a large grassy area perfect for sports like kickball, etc. Come and check in the office and let us know you’re here.
- *FULFILLED* Semi-Trailer. We were put in contact with CRST and currently have a trailer for 10 days. We’re following up on another possible lead for month-long storage. With the sheer volume of donations, we anticipate working with different community organizations and helping to distribute to those in need well beyond this week. As major supplies continue to arrive, we need space to store them. This was highly effective during the flood of 2008 during the long post-flood recovery months.
- *FULFILLED* Feminine hygiene products. We won’t need a ton, but some more on hand would be great. Red Cross Health services was running low this morning.
- *FULFILLED* Baby Supplies: Carseats, diapers, clothing…You may have seen this post on Facebook – currently all these needs are met! There is a truckload coming courtesy of Kennedy High School.
- *OKAY FOR NOW* Trash removal. Our dumpsters are full and we are unable to secure another dumpster. Would you be willing to swing by and pick up a bag of trash to put out in your own trash this week? We’ve started a stack near the front doors. Grab what you can.
- *FULFILLED* Pillows: New, in-the-package pillows are needed for guests staying at the church. We’d love to provide everyone with a pillow and have a need for bunch more.
- *FULFILLED* Gatorade and Power Drinks: We received word that a couple palettes of Gatorade are on their way to be delivered. This request has been fulfilled.
Have a group meeting at the church?
Check for Ministry Cancellations (for groups who use our building)
Open Hands Food Pantry
The Cedar Hills’ Open Hands Food Pantry will be open for their regular hours. Mondays 5-6pm, Wednesdays 10am-1pm, Fridays 10am-1pm. The food pantry IS accepting non-perishable food items. The biggest need is proteins–peanut and other nut butters, canned meats, etc. We have plenty of snack-type items on hand and carbs/breads.
ImOn just upped our internet to super fast speeds to fulfill the high demand on the internet in the building. Thank You, ImOn for offering this much needed service for no charge! Send them some thanks.
Shower trailers have arrived, thanks to Joe’s Wet Shack and Bunkhouse out of Manchester, along with a donation from Walmart of 200 bath towels.
Monday and Tuesday mornings, Hy-Vee provided 150 sausage, ham, bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches. Thank you, Hy-Vee!
Monday, a load of pizzas arrived from Dominos on 16th Ave – an anonymous donor had these delivered. Our staff and guests are quite thankful. While the Red Cross has strict guidelines for food donations, this was a nice treat. Right now, we are not able to accept baked goods.
CVS on 16th Ave and Edgewood Road has kindly offered to fill the prescriptions of any of our guests and also deliver them to the church. Thank you, CVS!
To donate money to the Flood Relief cause, visit the Red Cross Donation page or give online to Cedar Hills via eGive.
Due to our building housing a Red Cross Shelter, events and groups scheduled to meet at the church have been adjusted. Here’s what we know for this week:
Noah’s Ark Preschool – in session. No change to the preschool schedule.
Open Hands Food Pantry – open for their normal hours of operation. Mondays 5-6pm, Wednesdays 10am-12pm, Fridays 10am-12pm.
Elders Meeting – meeting as scheduled.
Leadership Network – meeting as scheduled.
All Stars for Jesus – cancelled.
Choir Rehearsal – cancelled.
Boys Scouts – cancelled.
Worship Ministry teams – cancelled. Meeting early Sunday morning for rehearsal. Details to come by email.
Stoney Point Condo Association – meeting postponed to October 10.
Cedar Rapids Strings – rehearsal (9/26) cancelled.
Saturday the American Red Cross set up an official evacuation site at Cedar Hills Community Church for victims of the 2016 Cedar River flood. Residents of Palo and Cedar Rapids needing shelter after evacuating their homes are invited to come stay at the church.
Please pray for all those who are calling our building ‘home’ during this time. As specific needs arise, we will do our best to get the word out via social media and church-wide emails.
Red Cross Flood Disaster provides the following services (from redcross.org):
- Provides safe, dry shelter until families can return home
- Serves water and hot meals
- Plays with kids staying in shelters
- Ensures people with disabilities get the help they need
- Provides first aid
- Gives comfort and emotional support
- Distributes clean up supplies like mops, gloves and tarps
- Assesses damage in impacted neighborhoods
- Meets with families to prepare recovery plans
For more information or to donate to the Red Cross visit http://www.redcross.org/local/iowa
A couple weeks ago, I noticed all the people serving us in our Sunday Morning services. Greeters, ushers, musicians, vocalists, tech crew, announcement makers, pray-ers, communion servers, offering collectors, coffee makers… preachers. I counted 26 individuals serving in each service—52 people throughout the whole morning. What a blessing to have so many people who step up to use a gift to serve us so that we can enjoy warm hospitality and inspiring worship.
Many congregations in the world are less than 50 worshiping people and we have that many serving people. What a blessing! I love our Sunday Celebrations because it reminds me just how much God loves me and how God sought me and is still seeking me today. I also love all the volunteers who serve so that I can receive this reminder every week. Thanks for serving.
One of our goals as a congregation is to create simple, functional structures that make it easy for people to engage in loving God, growing faith, and serving others. Love. Grow. Serve. Our strategy to live this out is Cell and Celebration. Cells create safe places for relational connections in small groups. Celebration inspires people in larger gatherings through proclaiming God’s Word and sharing in the Sacraments of Communion and Baptism. Cell and Celebration is the heart and soul of our ministry. Healthy hearts and souls are inspired and connected by the proclamation of the good news of the gospel in both small and large groups. Cell and Celebration. A simple strategy inviting each of us to love, grow and serve. The Lord be with you.
~ Pastor Kent
2016 VBS is in the books!
Wow! What a year!! Those kids are amazing. The massive group of people who all came together to work for the same goal impressed me so much! The 4 crew members who came in to feed all of us workers and our families each night, the 2 crew members who took care of our worker’ babies, the crew of 2-3 who feed snacks to 170 each night between the kids and helpers, the 30 crew leaders of children ages 3-12, the 3 teachers, 4 scallywag band members, 2 tech crew, 1 graphic designer, 1 extra printer and secretary,1 medical, 1 security, 4 floaters who did all kinds of odd jobs, 4 games leaders, 3 craft leaders, 2 front desk people, 7 crew who came in to transform our building into a pirate world, 7 clean up crew and the 143 kids who came to learn about God’s planned, resurrecting, outrageous, overcoming and forever Grace!” ~ Kristin and Otto Getz, Directors of Children & Family Ministry
“I had two people stop me after the concert Thursday and tell me how this was one of the best VBS experiences their kids had been to. It was such a God-filled week! I loved being a part of it!” ~ Danielle
“It did as much good for me as it did for all those awesome kids! I was definitely moved by the Holy Spirit and it was OUTRAGEOUS! “ ~ Kelli
“The energy Kristin and Otto brought to coordinating and building this VBS week and their ability to gather such a great team to support the effort was amazing. We are so grateful that God has put them in a leadership role with our Children’s Ministries! “ ~ Scott
“Every child had a smile on his or her face when playing outdoor games.
It was great!” ~ Paul
Johnson Ave Hy-Vee donates three shopping carts.
A huge shout-out to the Johnson Ave Hy-Vee and manager KC Lyons for responding to our call for help when we needed new shopping carts for the Open Hands Food Pantry. Each week, many of our pantry visitors need assistance getting their groceries to their cars. When a few of our carts disappeared, we were in dire need of some replacements. KC responded quickly to our request for help and we now have three new carts for our patrons to use.
We love our neighbors at Hy-Vee! Thank you, again KC and Hy-Vee stores for your great generosity.
The Open Hands Food Pantry supports 150+ families a month with food and basic toiletry supplies. The pantry is open Mondays 5-6pm, Wednesdays 10am-12pm and Fridays 10am-12pm and staffed by loving volunteers. Patrons receive a bag of non-perishable groceries based on their family size and any perishables on hand (milk, cheese, meat, etc.) We are grateful for the support of our church and local businesses who help us make a difference in our community.
Loading the carts came with another story… A woman who saw us loading the carts was convinced we were stealing them. Being a good Samaritan, she flagged us down, standing in front of our truck so we couldn’t move while she began to call the police. Luckily, we convinced her that the carts had just been donated! We had a great time laughing with her and thanking her for looking out for her community.
We are blessed to have so many great teachers and volunteers who lead in the Cross Training and Discipleship ministries. Sunday August 21 we had teachers gather across the stage in both services to be commissioned, encouraged and prayed over by the congregation. The line of teachers extended from one end of the stage to the other and included adult , junior/senior high, elementary, preschool, Journey and All Stars for Jesus teachers.
Cross Training classes are available for ages 3yrs to adults. Classes are in between Sunday worship services at 9:45am during the school year. (Nursery available for ages 0-2).
Cedar Hills supports a number of missions and missionaries around the globe, often serving in countries where it is too dangerous to use their names in any of our social media.
At a recent mission meeting, we heard a first-hand report about the reach of our impact as a congregation in one of these places. Our missionaries serving in Turkey have counseled, coached and equipped other missionaries from over 50 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Many of the countries are Muslim, and some are closed to missionaries.
This same missionary pair also recently counseled and encouraged a couple living in a closed Muslim country. They are able to shine the light of Jesus in a community where Christian Missionaries are not permitted to go.
The Voice of the Martyrs website reports: “About 20 evangelical churches in Turkey have received threatening messages from the Turkish branch of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The messages, which have been sent via Facebook, text and email, often include threatening videos and pictures. They state that they are tired of waiting for the Christians to return to Islam, and they threaten to “implement Quranic commandments that urge us to slay the apostate like you.” The churches have reported the threats to authorities. Please pray for the churches’ protection and guidance.”
From Cedar Rapids to Turkey, we have brothers and sisters who are sharing Christ with their Muslim neighbors. Persecution is a real threat to our brothers and sisters around the world. Continue to pray for all of our missionaries who are dedicated to bringing the Good News to people around the globe.
Major Religions: Islam 96.5%, Christianity 0.3%
Prevalent Ideology: Islam
Leader: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
This secular republic is now ruled by an Islamic party, and some are concerned by the growing authoritarianism of the prime minister. Turks are proud of their culture and history.
Life for Christians
Turkey remains one of the least evangelized countries in the world. More than a century of missionary work has yielded little fruit. Active Christians face hardships ranging from job loss to physical violence and even death. All religious communities are subject to state controls, which limit the right to own places of worship, train clergy and offer religious instruction.