The memorial service for Ann Harris is Saturday, Jan. 23 at 10:30am at Cedar Hills Community Church.
A visitation will be held prior to the service 9:30-10:15am. Please keep the Harris family in your prayers as they continue to grieve the passing of Ann Harris. Ann was the sister of Mark Espe and Mary Landhuis.
Ann Marie (Espe) Harris, 63, of Cedar Rapids, IA died from complications of COVID-19 pneumonia on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at St. Luke’s Hospital, Cedar Rapids. Ann’s daughter, Sarah, and sister, Mary, were able to be with Ann as she passed peacefully and comfortably. Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Ann was born November 14, 1957, the oldest daughter of Arnold and Irene (Kruse) Espe. She graduated from Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School (‘76) and went on to complete her bachelors of arts degree in Sociology at the University of Northern Iowa (‘80). Later, Ann continued her studies and completed a bachelor’s of arts degree in Social Work at Mt. Mercy University (‘06). During her 35 year career in social services, Ann worked with disabled adults as a direct care provider and case manager.
Ann had a deep passion for and knowledge of living history interpretation, historical costumes, and preserving Iowa’s history. Ann was especially proud of her 22 years of volunteer work at Ushers Ferry Historic Village which included developing programs like the Prairie Girl Primer and the Oak Hill Cemetery Tour.
Ann’s parents instilled in her a strong sense of civic duty and pride in service to others. She served as a candy striper as a young adult, her uniform is now proudly on display at St. Luke’s hospital, and found many ways to engage in the community throughout her life as a volunteer, blood donor, and as a member of her local chapter of P.E.O.
Ann’s personal faith in God was an important part of her life from her childhood spent at First Baptist (Marion, Iowa) to her time in the faith community at Cedar Hills Community Church. Ann left to her grandchildren a last note that encouraged them to “Look for where God leads your heart and He will never let you down. Make a difference for Good”.
Survivors include her two children; Sarah (Josh) Wilson and Kyle (Taira) Harris; three grandchildren; Calvin Wilson, Kester Wilson, and Tamsyn Harris; a brother, Mark (Cindy) Espe; a sister, Mary (Kent) Landhuis, a niece Casey (Nathan) Cooper and nephew Ryan Espe; and extended family. She was preceded in death by her parents; Arnold and Irene (Kruse) Espe.
Services for Ann will be held on Saturday, January 23rd, at Cedar Hills Community Church in Cedar Rapids at 10:30. There will also be a live feed on the Facebook page of Cedar Hills Community Church. Prior to the service there will be a visitation from 9:30 -10:15. A private burial will occur at a later date.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the staff of Unity Point St. Luke’s Hospital MICU and their tireless efforts every day to care for Ann. You gave us an invaluable gift of comfort and peace.
Memorials may be directed to Brucemore the Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), and the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.
Ordering is closed! There *may* be extras available to purchase Sunday morning.
Inquire in the Gathering Space.
It’s that time of year! The Journey youth invite YOU to enjoy some wonderfully delicious game-day subs, made fresh the day of the big game. Your purchase of subs helps support and fund the ministry trips and activities of our youth as they continue to grow in their relationships with Jesus.
Subs can be ordered using the online form or filling out a this paper form available at the Hub in the Gathering Space. Paper forms should be returned to Steve Poole in the church office by Wednesday, Feb. 3 at noon. Checks can be made out to Cedar Hills Community Church.
I grew up involved in the church. My dad was vice president of Consistory and an Elder for many years. Before I went to college, I felt a need to make it official. I attended Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls and was the Youth Group President. My goal is to do daily devotions. My day goes so much better when I focus first on Him. I am in a Women’s Bible Study called “Listening to God’s Voice.”
I have served at Cedar Hills as Preschool Sunday Class Teacher, Elder on Consistory, Clerk, Membership Class Teacher, Nursery Coordinator, and on the Global Leadership Summit Team.
I grew up in a Christian home and always attended church with my family. My faith became my own the summer before my junior year of high school when I attended Rocky Mountain High in Estes Park, CO. It was then I realized being a Christian meant living for God in a way that meant I have “nothing to hide, nothing to prove, and nothing to lose.”
I think it is less about my efforts and more about just being open to how God can use me. We had an opportunity to be surrogate parents to an 18-year-old friend of our sons this summer when he asked if he could live with us. God was preparing us to open our home and hearts to this young man.
Thankfully, I am blessed to have been brought up in a Christian home. Regular worship, adult Sunday School, and weekly Bible study/small group gatherings help me stay connected to Christian friends and grow in my faith.
Service as a past Elder, Vice Chair of Consistory, Sunday School Teacher and various ministries over the years has also helped me to grow in Christian maturity and has allowed me to put God’s gifts to good use. Currently, I serve on the Cedar Hills Human Resource Team and Welcome Team, and look forward to serving the church as a Deacon.
I grew up in a Presbyterian Church where my parents were Youth Leaders and my father was a Deacon. I have been a believer in Jesus Christ for as long as I can remember. My faith has grown as I have gotten older, realizing more each day that His way is “The Way.” Giving things up to the Lord has not been easy, however. I remember during a difficult time, about 10 years ago when I had lost my job and thought I could find my own way without help from God. After many weeks of being turned down, I came to church service on one Sunday feeling defeated. As I stood and sang with the congregation, I began to weep openly, asking God for help, finally lifting my burden to Him. God delivered in a big way with a new job within weeks.
My prayer life has grown and allowed me to have a closer relationship with God. I pray in the car on the way to work and in the evening when I have quiet time to myself. I feel closer to God when I sing as well. He has given me many talents musically and I feel blessed to share those gifts with others. I have been serving the church for many years on the Worship Team. I’ve been able to learn guitar and lead worship on many occasions. I look forward to serving as a Deacon to spread the Word of God to others.
BECOMING A BIBLE READER
Paul writes in his letter to the Roman church, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Paul is addressing sin here, but I think we can also apply this principle to spiritual practices. As Christians, I firmly believe we have the DESIRE to do the things we believe we are called to as people of faith: prayer, Bible study, good works, tithing, meditation on the Word. But the actual execution of these things in a regular and diligent manner is actually much harder.
Authenticity is the degree to which a person’s actions are congruent with his or her beliefs and desires. I WANTED to be an authentic dig-into-the-Word-daily Christian, but for most of my Christian walk, Bible reading and study just didn’t happen regularly. Not to mention, I felt like the biggest hypocrite! I love the Lord! Why couldn’t I get into this very necessary habit??!!
Until one day near the end of 2019, a friend of mine posted on Instagram about a daily Bible study/podcast that she was completing, talking about the great growth that had happened in her life over the last year, her failures of not always getting it done daily, but her determination that got her caught up and back on schedule to finish the study by the end of the year on time. Looking at her life, we have much in common—married, three kids, doing the mom thing while being a work-outside-the-home parent. She had no excuses and I decided it was time for me to hang up mine as well. I wanted my desire to be a lover of God’s Word to line up with my actions.
So January 1, 2020 I began a year long journey of reading through the entire Bible, word by word, line by line, following a reading plan inside the YouVersion app called “The Bible Recap”. It was tough at first. I hadn’t made room in my schedule to fit it in every day. Something had to change! It was stressing me out to find time in the day to get this thing done without interruption from the kids and noise and TVs and conversations. So I began to wake up earlier. And earlier. And earlier. 6am became 5:30am became 5…5:30… 4:30am. Yes, you read that right! 4:30am! It became my new wake up time to spend the time I need to properly digest God’s Word slowly, meditate, complete the daily readings, and listen to a short podcast that accompanies it to help me gain understanding. It was so hard at first!!! I have never in my life been a morning person, but over time it became my new normal.
So what changed along the way?
- I don’t stay up late. I can’t. I’m too tired. I go to bed and get a good night’s rest (minus kids getting up at night!)
- I gave up TV all together. Except for an occasional look at the news, I don’t have time for it anymore and find nothing edifying from it.
- If I sleep in and don’t make time for reading the Bible, I am grumpy all day. Time in the Word sets my day off to a great and peaceful start.
- My heart. Scripture has come alive—even the ‘boring’ sections of genealogies or Levitical law. The accompanying podcast that goes with this particular Bible study has really helped me understand what I just read and make me look forward to the next day.
Can I challenge you to join me Jan. 1, 2021 for my next journey through the entire Bible? It requires change. You can’t just squeeze it into your schedule. Some other things have to go. It’s going to cost you something… time, sleep, activities. But it is so worth it to make an action match the desire.
- Download the App – The YouVersion Bible App
- Join the study in the App – The Bible Recap Bible Study
- Or print off the plan and use your own Bible –The printable chronological reading plan
Director of Worship & Media
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MOVING TOWARDS AUTHENTICITY
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” – Brene Brown
Letting go of who I think I’m supposed to be means letting go of my perfect parenting notions in favor of parenting the child I was given, with the skills I currently possess.
My six-year-old and I are in conflict as I write this. She has the exact same anger and rage issues that I had as a six-year-old girl. When she and I are at odds, she hits, kicks, and screams. I say too much, cop an attitude, and hold a grudge which can be felt in my body language.
When we are in a season with this kind of behavior, my inner critic shows up and says I’m not “good enough” as a parent.
We have all wrestled with the thought of not being “good enough.” So, why bother to share this internal battle with anyone? It feels safer to pretend these thoughts never existed.
But, Brene Brown says, “If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.”
Letting go of who I’m supposed to be means sharing the hard stuff with a few of my Christian friends in a small group. In my case, my small group of women I study the Bible with. It means letting them in on the inner struggles, my own bad behavior, and the difficulties of parenting.
Authenticity is not about sharing an open wound on social media. It’s not about shouting to the world in anger. Those things are easy to do.
Authenticity is about letting a few Christian friends see what’s really going on in your heart, and letting them speak into the mess and the brokenness and the shame. This path of sanctification also leads to growth in faith.
Being authentic is messy and hard and requires the grace of God.
For the body of Christ, practicing authenticity is a way of strengthening our muscles. These are the muscles that allow us to glorify God as we move towards others in love.
Connection & Communication Architect
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“That a staff signifies power, is because it is a support; for it supports the hand and arm, and through them the whole body; wherefore a staff takes on the signification of the part which it immediately supports, that is, the hand and arm, by both of which in the Word is signified the power of truth.” from www.biblemeanings.info
We had a pretty significant change in our staff this year. Prior to this year, most staff had been here for over 10 years. This year all staff are new to Noah’s Ark except one with a partial year under her belt. Change like this can be very difficult for a preschool program, but NOT ours!
We have been incredibly blessed with new teachers that are supportive and strong and bring the truth of Jesus to our students. Our program hasn’t missed a beat this year. They have been able to adapt to a new environment and expectations. COVID-19 changes were implemented and not one teacher complained of all the extra time and effort it took to make those guidelines work for our school. We added in the derecho and had to postpone one of our classes for a week, then start in different rooms that had to be set up/taken down every day. Nope, even then, not one complaint. School has been closed for 3 ½ weeks so far this year and they still came in to do packets and videos. They lost income due to the closures and still….no complaints.
These teachers certainly have supported our school and are an example of the ‘power of truth.’ I thank the Lord each and every day that He brought these wonderful women to Noah’s Ark Preschool. May the Lord bless and keep them always!
Director of Noah’s Ark Preschool
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Prayer Meeting – Wednesdays at 7pm
During Lent, our prayer meetings will be immediately after the Lent worship service, around 7pm. We will meet in the back of the Worship Center.
These meetings are for anyone! Even if you are uncomfortable praying out loud, come and just agree with us in prayer. You are welcome here.
At Cedar Hills, the health of everyone is of utmost importance to us. With the increasing concern about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), here are some the steps we have implemented at the church as we return to worship together:
Masks are now REQUIRED for those in attendance at Cedar Hills.
- We have increased cleaning measures throughout the church (including nursery and classrooms), wiping down frequently touched surfaces using cleaners designed specifically to kill the Coronavirus.
- Our Student and Children’s ministries are being diligent in their precautions, similar to above, and will still be meeting. Children appearing sick will be asked to remain in their parent’s care.
- We have adjusted our communion serving practices to include distancing and individual servings of the elements.
- Our staff and volunteer teams will wash their hands often and stay home if they are sick.
- Our greeters will be opting for a smile and a wave, rather than a handshake. We encourage everyone to do the same as they greet people in the Gathering Space and during services.
- There is a new check-in process for children’s Sunday classes. Classrooms have been setup to allow for more distancing. Smaller classes/groups are expected to also minimize risk. Cleaning will be done regularly, hand washing will be encouraged, and we will do some activities outside to limit the risks.
We will continue to make sermons available online at: https://cedarhillscr.org/worship/listen-online/
(Also available on iTunes, Spotify, iHeartradio and your favorite podcast platforms.)
Our God is sovereign and knows all the details of what is going on. Our King is on the throne. We will seek His wisdom and discernment to make the best decisions for the safety of our church body, and praise Him for the protection that He will grant us along the way.
Cedar Hills Leadership
SPECIAL UPDATE FROM CONSISTORY:
The Consistory (our church board) convened a special meeting this week to discern our congregation’s response to the current COVID-19 surge. We are deeply concerned about the health and well-being of our community. In compliance with the latest governor’s proclamation, we added mandatory mask wearing to our mitigation response. Also, please follow these guidelines:
- Wear a mask for all group gatherings.
- Maintain distance in all group gatherings.
- Wash hands frequently.
- Do not attend if you are sick or have been exposed to sickness.
- Do not attend if you are vulnerable.
We believe in the value of in-person gatherings for offering hope and encouragement. We will continue to evaluate our ability to meet in-person safely. We will make changes as necessary to help us carry out our mission of sharing the love of God and also protecting staff, volunteers, and attendees. We invite your prayers for our congregation and community in these challenging times.
The Lord be with you,