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Celebrating 15 Years of Ministry 2000 to 2015!
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


This is my final letter to you as your pastor. As we begin the month of June, we are busy packing boxes without knowing where we are moving or where I will be appointed. What a reminder that we need faith in God! We continue to rely on God’s courage and strength as we remain patient and confident that God has it all under control!

Every time we move, I realize how much stuff we have! In other moves, Scott and I have tried to reduce the clutter in our lives. This move we are SERIOUSLY doing so – as we downsize even more, as we look for a condo to eliminate the yard work and snow shoveling! We will probably be having several garage sales before we move!

As we leave behind some things, we are also reminded that the past four years at Living Water have been filled with wonderful memories that we will take with us. New friends made, exciting ministries started and an opportunity to learn about the city of Marion have continued to teach us that God is faithful everywhere and at all times! We have also experienced devastating heartache and loss, met several health challenges and faced the reality of aging! These have also taught us about God’s faithfulness through the caring and compassionate ways you have shared God’s love with us to support and encourage us as we face these things together.

The United Methodist denomination and Iowa Conference faces many challenges and changes, as well. Phil and I will attend Annual Conference June 3 to June 6 to celebrate ministries across the state of Iowa and around the nation and world. We will also learn more about the actions taken at General Conference which met in Portland, Oregon May 10 through May 20, ending with much tension and leaving many issues unresolved. We will learn what this means for us as Methodists and people of God.

As Scott and I face changes and transition to new places, Living Water welcomes a new pastor with new ideas and a willingness to serve in a new place. I know that you will welcome Pastor Brian and his family! As we face the future, the world around us continues to make us anxious and we cling to God as our anchor and rock that helps us find a sure foundation in turbulent times.

We continue to hold each other in prayer and in the hands of the Almighty God who has a plan for us and guides us to the place that brings hope, peace and joy!

"For I know the pans 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

May God’s love surround you and remind you how loved you are – no matter where you are or what you are going through! Amen!

See you in church!
Pastor Lisa


Spring is busting out all over! The trees are budding and blooming, spring flowers are adding color to the already greening of the grass and trees, and winter seems a long-ago memory. What beauty God has provided for us to enjoy in creation!

May is usually a month that also has activities busting out all over, as our calendars fill with events to honor our mothers on Mother’s Day, we celebrate those who are graduating from high school and college, and as we honor men and women who died serving in the US Military on Memorial Day weekend. Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. The gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery and around the US are decorated by U.S. flags on Memorial Day weekend. Many people still visit cemeteries and decorate the burial place of loved ones as they remember them. I hope that in the midst of celebrations, you will also pause to remember the sacrifice of those who have served and are serving in our armed
forces around the world.

Along with the traditional activities of May, we also anticipate the summer months by planning times of vacation and family get-togethers, as we take advantage of the milder weather and a good time to travel. Summer is also a transition time for Methodist congregations and pastors as appointment changes are made and pastors move to their new locations. Our congregation
will take part in this transition time as a new pastor is appointed to take my place and I move to part-time status in a new church, to find a new lifestyle and have more time to be kinder and healthier in light of new health challenges I face.

I pray that the services of April inspired you to consider the things we celebrate as a church in the film we viewed that invites us to “Celebrate What’s Right with the World.” I hope that experiencing the creative way to worship with Randy Davis (the chalk artist), hearing about the ministry of the Guatemala mission of ODIM, and honoring Earth Day by taking care of our building and parking lot by doing spring cleaning and planting seeds of flowers to be planted in our green space at a later time have inspired you to continue on the journey in finding ways to serve God and neighbor. As things continue to change, we also remember that some things stay the same -- we are reminded that God remains faithful!

See you in church!


The month of April is best known for April Fools’ Day, celebrated on April 1st every year by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. I did some research and found that April Fools’ Day was made popular in the early 1900’s and is celebrated around the world. The positive view is that April Fools' Day can be good for one's health because it brings all the benefits of laughter including stress relief and reducing strain on the heart. The negative view describes April Fools' hoaxes as "creepy and manipulative", "rude", and "a little bit nasty.” OUCH!

Along with people playing pranks on one another on April Fools' Day, elaborate practical jokes have appeared on radio and TV stations, newspapers, web sites, and have been performed by large corporations. Various April Fools' campaigns have been praised for their innovation and creativity. I’m not planning on playing any jokes; but thought it would be fun to spend some time thinking about how to include creativity and innovation in how we worship and function as a faith community. During the month of April, we will have the opportunity to experience
God’s word and work in new and different ways.

Randy Davis from “Drawing Closer Ministries” based in Ottumwa, Iowa, will lead worship on April 3rd. Randy has been traveling the country full-time since 1989 spreading the gospel message in an innovative way. Randy says, “Our ministry is a combination of visual Bible teaching, chalk artistry and music.” As Randy shares a Biblical message, as he begins drawing using colored chalk, with added background music which relates to the message he is giving. His presentation climaxes with the use of special lights that reveal a hidden drawing beneath the drawing he has just completed. Invite your friends and neighbors for this fun and
moving event!

To inspire us and get the creative juices flowing, we will be viewing a film from National Geographic which I experienced in seminary called “Celebrate What’s Right with the World.” This film created by National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones, has a powerful message of looking at our world through a more positive lens that guides and influences our everyday life by finding something to celebrate each day. The best part, is this film has changed the way people look at their own world, and inspired them to fall in love with their lives all over again
and make the world a very different place! We can sure use that!

During the month of April we will plan for a time to honor Earth Day and care for our property.
On Sunday, April 24th, Jeff Hassel, the Executive Director of ODIM, who has worked with our Guatemala Mission Team will be visiting and sharing his message.

Don’t miss out on seeing what new things God has planned for us!

See you in church!
Pastor Lisa

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isiah 43:19


The month of March is a special month in the church year this year with so many
special events in the life of the church! As the month of March begins, we
realize that we are nearly half way through the Lenten Season already. On the
20th we will remember Palm Sunday and the Triumphant Procession we witness
as Jesus rides into Jerusalem. Later in the week, we will remember the Last
Supper with the disciples and Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday. This year, we
will try something a bit different as we gather on Maundy Thursday to celebrate
both Maundy Thursday and Good Friday on the same day. I am hoping that
more people will be able to attend if we combine the service and you will be able
to get the “whole story” in one sitting.

We have been walking in the footsteps of Jesus since Ash Wednesday. Jesus’
ministry began with his baptism and temptation by Satan in the wilderness for
forty days. After being rejected by his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus chose his
disciples and set up his headquarters for ministry in the sea-side village of
Capernaum. The preaching, teaching and healing he accomplished there and in
other locations remind us of the mighty power of God that heals a broken world;
not only through Christ, but also through our hands, feet and hearts! We then
remembered the importance of the words Christ shared as we went to the mountains
and heard God’s kingdom proclaimed; a kingdom that begins on earth as
we live lives that reflect the concepts in Christ’s teaching from the Beatitudes. It
makes a big difference what you build the foundation of your life on – as we see
in the story of the foolish man who built on sand and the wise man who built on
rock. That’s why we want to say “On Christ, the solid rock, I st

In March, we will continue our travels as we remember the sea stories – stories
of Jesus calming the sea during storms, walking on the sea in the midst of the
waves, and the fishermen who were called to leave their nets and fish for people.
We will travel to Samaria as we remember how Jesus reached out to sinners,
outcasts and the poor – those who were rejected and alienated by society of the
day – reminding us of Jesus’ mission to the least and the lost. We will then remember
the final week of Jesus’ ministry which leads to Jerusalem and Jesus arrest, trial and crucifixion. But the story of Jesus doesn’t end there – as we witness his resurrection and are invited to continue his work and “go make disciples.”

Adam Hamilton says it well:

The message is clear: Neither sin, nor hate, nor evil, nor even death would have the final word. God, in raising Jesus from the dead, was shouting to the human race: Love has conquered hate, grace has conquered sin, hope has conquered despair, and life has conquered death! Love, grace, hope, life – these have the final word because of Christ’s resurrection. That is our defining story as Christians!"

See you in church!
Pastor Lisa

GREETINGS from February 2016

One month of February 2016 has already gone by. The Advent Journey and Christmas Story are maybe just a memory by now, as we begin a new journey – the Lenten Journey. This year our small group study and Sunday worship times will focus on a book that will bring us back to the Holy Land and walk in the way of Jesus that will empower us to leave fear behind and move forward toward the peace of God. Using historical background, archaeological findings and stories of faith, we will retrace the footsteps of Jesus from his baptism and temptations to the heart of his ministry; including the people he loved, the enemies he made, the parables he taught and the roads that he traveled as we watch a DVD that takes us to places in the Holy Land where he walked and we read a devotional based on the book: “The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of

As we begin the month of February, we think of the theme of “love” that the world focuses on. Mostly, that love involves a Valentine card, candy or a gift, maybe a dinner out with someone special. This year, I would also like you to remember the greatest love and greatest gift offered to all of us – the love of God through the gift of Jesus Christ. This love was  unconditional and this gift was for the world to receive and experience and then pass on. This is how Jesus talked about love (he called it a command):

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35

As we work together to become more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, let us transform the world through the love that was first given to us through Jesus Christ!

See you in church! Pastor Lisa

Letter from January 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR BLESSINGS! As we begin 2016, we remember that Living Water UMC has now completed fifteen years of ministry since the charter was written in January of 2000. I'm sure there are many highlights of these fifteen years that would give us reasons to celebrate the focus of the Advent and Christmas Season we just completed--that God has been, and continues to be, with us! As we begin another new year we wonder what the year will hold for us as a church and individuals. I hope those of you that have been part of Living Water for a number of years will come forward to help plan a celebration of the past and consideration of where God is leading us as we go forward.

The lectionary readings for the last Sunday of December include a passage from Colossians that tells us that we are God's chosen and we have been given the gift of Christ so that we might begin the year as thankful people. It uses the metaphor of clothing to describe our identify and character as we continue to learn how to look and act more like Christ. Just as we choose what to wear each day, we also choose what set of values and behaviors we will embrace in the new life we receive as Christ followers. We are called to cast off the old and put on the new--along with clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. This reminds us to forgive grievances we have against on another and start a clean slate (just like God does with us) and forgive as the Lord forgave us. Finally, we are told to put on the virtue of love, which binds us all together in unity. This is a traditional time to consider how we clean out the closets of our hearts and minds--making sure we are clothed with the right things in the coming year.

Scripture also reminds us that before Christ came into our lives, we were people living in darkness, but now have a guiding light that leads us. As we come together to study God's word and worship God each week, we seek to discover the words and deeds that help us identify Christ as the Lord of our lives and build up our faith community as we continue to connect with those in need. We ended the year by stating that each one of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room in our hearts for Christ. As you begin this year, will you consider how you have honored God in the past year and what areas of your life you need to expend to make room for a response to God's call to honor God first in all tings I hope you will join us as we continue to learn how to be God's hands and feet in the world!

Colossian 3:16-17 The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.

See you in church! Pastor Lisa

Bible Verses:

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know
what he has done. I Chronicles 16:8 NLT.

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves you. The LORD will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life, and will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. Jesus told them,”I am the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:1&6 NLT)

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts cleansed from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Hebrews 10:22 NIV

“I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. And I’m sure the one who started a good work in you will complete it. I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart.” Philippians 1:3-7

“It is God who enables us, to stand firm for Christ. God has commissioned us, and God has identified us as God’s own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything God has promised us.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

“Teach us to number our days, so we can gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

“Rejoice – always be full of joy in the Lord!”
Philippians 4:4

“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  

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