Living Water United Methodist Church "The little brown church in the mall"
1155 Grand Avenue (at the corner of East Post Road and Grand Avenue)
Marion, IA 52302 Phone 319-368-6418
Our mission is to share the living water of Jesus Christ with a thirsty community!
Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
We begin the month of November with an attitude of gratitude and giving thanks! The first
snowflakes are falling as I write this letter and I start by giving thanks for the beauty of
God’s creation. The gentle snowflakes appear like tiny love letters from God with a backdrop
of the vibrant gold, orange, and red leaves of fall.
Scripture tells us that building the kingdom is hard work and it takes each one of us giving
all we are – our bodies, minds, souls and strength – as we learn to love God more each day
and love our neighbors as well as we love ourselves. We find ourselves weary at times and
need to take time to renew ourselves. New leaders and new energy are required to come
alongside those who have been leading us as we continue the faithful journey. We are
called to be faithful by our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.
Our name “Living Water,” reminds us that we all need to come to God on a regular basis
for some of the living water that renews our souls and minds, the words and practices that
nourish us and give us strength to continue the work of spreading the Good News of
God’s love to the world. We pray that you will consider being in worship every Sunday
that you can. Our hope is that you can participate in daily devotions and prayer that remind
you that God walks with you each day. We dream that each person might find a ministry,
mission or small group where they can continue their spiritual growth and faith formation.
The saints began this journey and serve as our inspiration. May we all run the
good race together and be found good and faithful servants of God!
From the Message version of Hebrews 12:1-3 we hear these words of encouragement:
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves lagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
See you in church!
October is here and the leaves are already turning into fall colors! The kids have been back in school for over a month and we are "fall"-ing into our fall routines. It is good to see everyone back from vacations and travels and filling our sanctuary every Sunday. We missed you!
September was a busy month with many activities. Thanks to everyone who decorated our float and took part in the Swamp Fox Parade! We were surprised by some unexpected showers that came up quickly, followed by sunshine that made it feel like a sauna! Thanks for sweating it out and passing out over 500 flyers to the onlookers and sharing candy and cookies with the crowd. We supported the Blue Zone emphasis in exercising our faith by worship, our mind by reading the Bible, and our body by walking and playing.
Over a hundred people attended our outdoor worship and Neighborhood BBQ the next day in the Living Water parking lot. Thank you for all who attended or helped.
Our Green Space Team marked the location of the six trees that are scheduled to be planted in October and we are excited about making the church property an inviting place that allows people a chance to appreciate God's creation. Pray for rain in the next couple of months to overcome the dry, hard ground. Please call us if you have any ideas or questions. We have scheduled tree planting events for the Youth on October 23rd at 5:30 p.m., and the congregation on October 27th at 11:00 a.m. following worship.
As we look forward tro October we have important ways to connect to the community and make a difference. October 4th is scheduled to be our first Weekend Food Backpack distribution to the local elementary and middle schools in the Marion Independent School District. Over forty children will be receiving packs of food. On October 6th we are invited to Prairiewoods for a Blessing of the Animals - bring your pet and have them blessed, or just come enjoy the beautiful Prairiewoods campus.
We continue to grow our faith and follow a path of discipleship by participating in worship, bringing food for the food pantry, serving the meals at Green Square Meal site, teaching our children, studying God's word and spending time in prayer, using our gifts to do God's work. As we consider how much we've yet to do to build God's kingdom, we look to God's word for encouragement:
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a
harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
See you in church!
September is here and the fall routines begin! I pray that attending worship every Sunday
is right at the top of the list! God commands it! But did you know that it is also good
for you and adds years to your life! Research studies show that people who belong to a
faith community and attend church regularly add four to fourteen years to their life expectancy!
Isn't that amazing!
On Saturday, September 7, Living Water UMC will participate in the annual Swamp Fox
Parade. The theme of the parade this year is "Blue Acres . . . is the place to be." This
theme focuses on the designation of Marion as a "Blue Zone." The Blue Zones Project is
based on a movement to make a community a happier, healthier place to live, work and
play. Communities work hand-in-hand with experts to develop and implement a Blueprint
for making permanent environmental, social and policy changes that help nudge
people towards healthier behaviors, making positive changes in their lives that can lead
to greater well-being.
This project is based on nine pillars: 1. move naturally - physical activity, 2. family first -
establish regular family activities, 3. know your purpose - put your strengths into action
every day, 4. wine at five - happy hour (with or without alcohol), 5. downshift - adequate
sleep, 6. right tribe - a group that lifts you up, 7. plant slant 80% rule - stop eating when
you are 80% full, 8. plant slant - food that strengthens your immune system, 9. belong to
a faith-based community - sharing common belief of faith in a higher power. As a church
in the Marion community, we already fulfill several of the nine pillars for good health in
the Blue Zone Project and hope to continue to incorporate more as we move forward
with the project.
Learn what the United Methodist Membership vows mean as we discuss a Disciple's Path
in our sermon discussions following worship during September and October. Join a small
group - youth meet on Wednesday nights at 7 PM, men's group and women's group on
Tuesday nights, praise band on Wednesday nights, church school for children during worship,
fellowship and treats following worship. Participate in a ministry - Green Square
Meals, Operation Food Backpack, Green Space Project, In-Gathering Kits, Food Pantry,
Prayer Team. Make a commitment to join a team, participate in a ministry, find your
purpose and live a longer, healthier life! I'm so glad that the world is finally buying into
God's plan for your life!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Find your purpose, make a plan, that brings hope -- and live a healthier and happier life -
heaven on earth - building God's kingdom together! Won't you join us in making our
own Blue Zone!
See you in church!
The coming of August signals the ending of summer. Summer vacations draw to a close
as kids go back to school. Summer jobs end as young adults head to college. Summer
leisure ends as fall schedules fill our calendars again. We enthusiastically celebrate the
return of the travelers who have been away for a few months. We begin planning our
fall line-up of small group studies, church school activities and a return to a more structured
routine. We give thanks for God's protection and safety during the busy summer
months and we transition into fall.
The fall season is one of my favorite seasons. I look forward to more cool breezes after
suffering from the intense heat and humidity of July. Things seem to "settle down" a bit
after everyone has been going so many directions and traveling a good part of the summer.
We celebrate coming back together as a church family and renew our enthusiasm
to be faithful disciples on a faith journey together.
We also look back over the summer months and remember our week in June at Adventure
Island as children learned God's word and lessons at Vacation Bible School. We
look forward to the beginning of church school and hearing more stories from God's
Word. During July we collected school supplies for fourteen children in Marion schools
through the Marion Cares Backpack Program. We pray that our effort will help children
and youth begin with a positive foundation for the coming school year. Our mission
team spent a week-long rebuilding effort in Joplin, Missouri. We give thanks for their
safe travel and find encouragement from their efforts to help rebuild homes and lives, as
we continue mission by supporting local and global needs.
As we move into fall, I invite you to be intentional about making plans for your continued
spiritual growth. During the month of August, the sermon series will focus on the
Book of Colossians, Paul's letter to the people of Colossae, which focuses on how to "be
the church" God wants them to be. There is encouragement and lessons for us all to
learn from Paul's words.
We will continue planning our Green Space Creation Care Project which will rely on
grant monies and volunteer labor. We received a $500 grant to begin a weekend FOOD
backpack to area elementary children for approximately 98 children each Friday during
the school year. This could be done by several different teams.
As the summer draws to a close, we are reminded that a new season begins and God
continues to invite us to draw near and hear the voice of God calling us to love God and
love one another, as we learn and grow in God's love serving God in new ways, in new
places and to new people.
So if you're serious about living this
new resurrection life with Christ,
act like it. Set your minds on
things above, not on earthly things.
Look up, be alert to what is going
on around Christ -- that's where
the action is! Colossians 3:1-3
See you in church!
Here is July's Newsletter
We are in the middle of the year - of summer - of celebrations! Summer brings
so many opportunities to celebrate! This month we also celebrate FREEDOM!
The Fourth of July - Independence Day - celebrates our freedom as a country and
as individuals. We celebrate through parades, picnics, concerts and fireworks. We
sing the "Star Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America!"
Be sure to get your tickets for the Praise in the Park on July 6. The concert will
feature five Christian musicians/bands: Big Daddy Weave, Jeremy Camp, White
Ribbon Day, Zach Svoboda, and Bob Colquhoun. What a line-up! The Veterans
Memorial Stadium will open at 3:00 pm, opening prayer at 3:45, raising the flag and
the three opening acts. Big Daddy Weave at 7:00 and Jeremy Camp will close the
concert. Ending with fireworks around 10:30.
In all of our celebrating, let us remember that our freedom has been paid for
through the lives of many who have fought wars and continue to serve in our military
service and political office. We pray for their wisdom, knowledge, safety and
protection. Our freedom is also a gift from God and we ask for God to continue
to bless us in our freedoms. One of those freedoms includes our freedom from
being slaves to sin, a freedom won through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the
cross. The scene at the Lord's Supper reminds us of a sacrifice given where life
triumphs over death, love overcomes hatred, mercy overcomes guilt, and reconciles
all people in peace, in Christ's name.
As we choose how to use our time and money we remember that God has called
us to serve others. Bring cans of food for the local food banks to the concert or
to church for our food pantry. Make PBJ sandwiches after worship on July 7.
Volunteer to serve at Green Square Meals on July 8. Come cheer on the softball
team on Tuesday evenings. Join us in commissioning the Youth mission team on
July 14 and be in prayer for their safety and ministry July 20-27. Collect school
supplies for Marion Cares - filling backpacks instead of buying them.
One of the freedoms we take for granted is the freedom to worship. We can
openly proclaim we are Christian and worship without fear. As you are traveling,
if you can't worship at Living Water, don't forget to take time to worship wherever
In all of our celebrations, let us not forget to express our gratefulness for our freedom,
how much we love our country, and the hopefulness we have because of the
opportunities we have been given and the hope we have in Christ. Pray the Litany
for Independence Day as you gather together with friends and family
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Use your freedom
to serve one another in love." (from Galatians 5:1,13 The Message)
See you in church!
“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens!
Praise him from the skies! Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling
stars! Praise him skies above! Let every created
thing give praise to the Lord, for he issued the command,
and they came into being.” Psalm 148:1-6 NLT
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior." John 3:16-17 The Good News Bible