Category Archives: Uncategorized

Escape the Tomb! Easter Program

Escape the Tomb!

Calling all actors and wanna-be-actors!  Now’s your chance!  We need actors of all ages for an Easter program.  The program will be presented Easter Sunday, during the 9:45am and 11:00am services as a children’s worship option during those two services.

Practices will be Wednesday evenings and/or Sundays after 2nd service.  No memorization is required. If you an interested click here to sign-up to get more information.

Ash Wednesday – 6:30pm

Ash Wednesday – Feb. 17

The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday.  We will gather for worship at 6:30pm and continue to meet weekly on Wednesdays for a short 30min service throughout Lent.

These midweek lenten services are small, reflective, and short! Families are welcome.  They run about 30 minutes and have plenty of room to space out and maintain distancing.

There will be no Lenten meals this year. We will also not be broadcasting these services live online to maintain the intimate nature of these services.

During Holy Week (the week between Palm Sunday and Easter), we will meet on Thursday for the Maundy Thursday service instead of Wednesday.

Wednesday Prayer Meeting

During the Lent, the Wednesday Prayer meeting will be in person, right after the services, starting around 7pm.

Parent’s Night Out – Feb.21

Sunday, February 21, 6-8 PM, bring your kids (birth-5th grade) to the church for an evening of kid fun, while you enjoy an evening to yourselves!  Kids will be served supper, play games and watch a movie with popcorn.  Registration in advance is preferred, but not required.  This is a ministry to bless our families, sponsored by the Journey Youth group.  

Register now.

Have questions? Contact  Cathy Poole using the form below.

George Milligan Memorial Service

Please continue to lift up the family of George Milligan.  Funeral service is Monday, Dec. 28 at 10am. The service will also be live streamed on our Facebook page.

George William Milligan, 90, of Cedar Rapids, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, at Mercy Hospital.

George was born April 9, 1930, to McKinley and Elsie (Wertz) Milligan in Grinnell. He graduated in 1948 from Montezuma High School, then enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War aboard the USS IOWA. When George returned home, he attended Iowa State University and graduated with a degree in civil engineering. June 19, 1954, George married Marlene Watson at the Little Brown Church in Nashua. Together they raised their family in Cedar Rapids. George began his career as a civil engineer with the City of Cedar Rapids and then with Howard R. Green Engineering. In 1969, he was appointed as director for the Water Pollution Control facility. In 1990, his position expanded to superintendent for Water Purification and Water Pollution Control, retiring at the age of 70, in 2000.

George was a member of many groups and associations: Elks Lodge, American Public Works Association, Water Pollution Control Federation, Friendship Force, and took an active role in volunteering for Muscular Dystrophy Association and Habitat for Humanity. He was a charter member of Cedar Hills Community (Reformed) Church, where George and his family actively worshipped for 61 years.

He was an avid mushroom hunter, enjoyed playing church softball, loved the outdoors and had a passion for his grandchildren’s activities and Iowa State sports. George also loved to travel, especially enjoying his trip with his son on the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight in 2014. He was a kind, hardworking and humble man. He deeply touched the lives of many and left this world a better place. He will be missed. We love you Papa.

George is survived by his wife of 66 years, Marlene of Cedar Rapids; children, Steve and Jody Milligan of Wister, Okla., Sheri and Jim Smith, and Cindy and Mark Espe, both of Swisher; grandchildren, Aricca Smith (Brian Heacock), Trevor (Katie) Powell, Spencer (Ashley) Powell, Courtney Lamb, Casey (Nathan) Cooper and Ryan Espe; and great-grandchildren, Kaylee, Ashlyn, Kharington, Emmalyn, Landon, Emerson, Adelyn and Autumn.

He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Lori Powell Seivert; grandson, Brady Smith; siblings, Mildred Peterson, Doyle and Delmar Milligan.

Memorial Service is 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 28, at Cedar Hills Community Church, with Kent Landhuis officiating. The service will be livestreamed A private family burial will take place at Anderson Cemetery, Swisher, with military honors.

Visitation will be 3 to 5 p.m. at the church Sunday, December 27. Memorials may be directed to the church or Matthew 25. Online condolences can be sent to the family at

Atmosphere Team Joy!

Has this year’s Christmas atmosphere brought you joy? We are so blessed by this group of talented ladies who have given much leadership to the redesign of the building with carpet, painting and design input, as well as their efforts and work on creating a Christmas stage spending ZERO dollars. Amazing!

May you be blessed this Christmas Day with great JOY!

The Worship Atmosphere team dreams, designs and creates our stage concepts for Christmas, Easter, and the major church seasons as well as other creative projects around the church.

Urgent Budget Needs


On behalf of the Deacons, we want to give the congregation another update on the current budget. As Alan said last week during our annual meeting, our congregational giving is historically the highest in November and December; which we typically rely on to get us through the first few months of the new year.

After Sunday’s annual meeting, we received the accounting reports for November and unfortunately, we did not receive increased giving in November, as in previous years. In fact, we are $100k under our giving levels compared to this same time last year. This is concerning as we head into our historically slower giving months and leaves us with our reserve funds lower than we would like to see.

That being said, we do not want it to be lost on the congregation that we fully understand & have also felt the trials 2020 has thrown — whether it has been the pandemic, employment loss, derecho storm damage, political divide, racial injustice and overall world unrest.

We also want to point out all the BLESSINGS our church building and family continue to provide for our community like the recent drive-up events like Salvation Army’s Coats for Kids, Families Helping Families Christmas Toys, our Open Hands Food Pantry, offering our facility to other church families after the derecho and on and on!

Today, we come to you in the spirit of being fully transparent and communicating the most updated state of the church’s financial position. As we enter this season of giving and reflect on all of the blessings we have received, we remain prayerfully hopeful that by God’s grace our church family will help us meet our financial needs so that we can continue serving our congregation, our community and our missions.

On behalf of all the Deacons,
we thank you.

Thoughts on Our Core Values

Greetings!  This is Gary Sager writing you this month.  My “official” title is Ambassador of Care, but I usually don’t introduce myself that way because…well let’s just say that an image like this…

…pops into my ADHD brain.

So I am, sitting here at the keyboard, on the day that this article is due, not really knowing what to say.  I have only been on staff for five or six months, in the middle of a pandemic, derecho, and much social unrest.  People are in need of care.  Thank God for His love and care.

If you have been around Cedar Hills for a while, you will see the words:

Love, Belong, and Serve.

These words are our Church’s mission or vision.  The other day, Pastor Kent and I were discussing what mission or vision actually means on a day to day, feet on the ground level.  Kent really helped me gain clarity by explaining that our mission/vision is really just asking ourselves, “What do we want to do or be?”  Kent stated “We all want to love and be loved.”  He then asked me, “Doesn’t everyone want to have a sense of belonging?” Pastor Kent concluded by pointing out that, “People also want to have a sense that they are contributing to or serving a greater cause.”  We want to be a Church that Loves, and make others feel loved.  We want you to feel like you Belong here, because you are family.  We want to minister to you through acts of Service, and we want to help you find a place to contribute.

There is a second part to helping us carry out the “what we want to do or be” cause.  This “How” is accomplished through our “Values.”  If you were would peer into the classrooms and offices in the building, you would see other words that accompany Love, Belong, and Serve.  We have come with four or five “Core Values” or means that enable us to work through or carry out “How” to Love, Belong, and Serve.  Pastor Alan taught me that our “Values.” Form the acronym GRAHF, (think Graft for the purposes of this article. Graph works as well), the words are as follow: Gratitude, Restoration, Authenticity, Hospitality, and Forgiveness.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing rootof the olive tree. ~Romans 11:17

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ~John 15:5

Jesus has grafted us onto Himself (the Vine), and if we abide (remain, rely) on Him, and Him alone, we will see the “Fruit” of Love, Belong, and Serve come about. Applying the Core Values of GRAHF can help us with “How” to stay grafted to our source (Jesus), or they can guide us in “How” to plot out or graph our journey toward Loving, Belonging, and Service.

Let’s move through a brief example:

I am personally Grateful for the Pastors, Elders, Staff, Consistory, and General Community at Cedar Hills Church. Thanking God for His love and kindness has opened my heart to all sorts of new opportunities.

This Church Community has been a place for personal Restoration for me.  I have also seen others being restored though the ministry and care of this Community.  The Church has been a place for healing and renewal.  This has created a deeper connection with Jesus (the Vine), and it has created connection/relationships with others.
I have been part of and witnessed many open, honest and Authentic conversations and relationships in this Community. This Authenticity has facilitated genuine relational interactions.

This Community has exhibited Hospitality through its ministry and small groups and by individuals either opening their homes or giving their time and attention.  It was the Hospitality of a small group of people that motivated my wife and I to get more involved in the Church.

I have both observed and experienced the freeing power of Forgiveness.  This happened in Community, by prayer, listening, and the presence of others through the entire process.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” ~John 8:36

These “Values” often build on one another.  Through the act of Forgiveness, Restoration occurs.  Commitment to Hospitality has often led to Authentic relationships.

I pray that you and I, through Jesus’ (the Vine) power continue to exercise and implement our Values of Gratitude, Restoration, Authenticity, Hospitality, and Forgiveness (GRAHF) in all of our interactions.  I also pray that, through this process, we would grow into a body that both acts and feels deeper Love, foster and experience a true sense of Belonging, and discovers and develops a passionate and effective ministry of Service.

Mid-Week Updates


Join us every Wednesday at 6:30pm in the Zoom app for a time of prayer.  Come and go as needed.


Did you know Sunday is “Joy” Sunday? Which also means Ugly Christmas sweaters and your favorite and best Christmas attire.


We will have Christmas Eve services on Dec. 24 at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm. The 5pm service will be also broadcast live on Facebook.

Staff Ugly Sweaters


One rule this year: Must be homemade.  And let us say… wow… there are some super detailed and creative ones here!!  You can vote for your favorite staff ugly sweater by giving to their virtual Salvation Army Red Kettle online or on Sunday, Dec.13 in the Gathering Space by placing your donation into the red kettles on site.

Lindsey – Connection & Communication


Hailey – Nursery Ministry


Cathy – Children’s Ministry


Kris – Noah’s Ark Preschool


Jennifer – Office Manager


Gary – Care Ministry


Kent – Teaching & Leadership


Steve – Youth & Young Adults


Leah – Worship & Media