Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 2013 Newsletter

Since studying in the Advent season of 2011the book Christmas is not your Birthday by United Methodist minister Mike Slaughter we as a church have practiced the spiritual discipline of sacrificial giving.

Realizing that consumerism during this special religious season directs us away from a proper faith response we want to once again put the focus back of Jesus. To do this we invite each other to make a special gift to the one whose birthday we are celebrating. These gifts are (above and beyond our regular support of the church and its ministries) to make a special impact by spreading the love of Jesus to others. In giving a special Christmas gift in Jesus’ name to mission and ministry we put the emphasis back on Jesus, (the reason for the season).

How do we give to Jesus? By remembering Jesus taught that when you do to the least of these you do it unto him. I challenge you to calculate what you are spending on your family and friends and to give the same amount to Jesus.  If you feel you can’t equal a gift to Jesus in the amount what you spend of yourself and family at least give a tithe (10%) gift to Jesus or 15, 20, 25%..., whatever you believe is appropriate. 

Again this year you can also give a special gift through the Church by simply marking your gift Special Holiday Giving.  We will be dividing the offering in 3 ways this year: 1) In support of special ministries in our church, 1/3 will be divided between the Basketball Academy and MSPS for scholarships. 2) 1/3 will be giving to a local mission agency Neighbor Helping Neighbor. 3) 1/3 will go to a world mission project, this year we are designating  The Philippines disaster relief.  Let's Give Jesus the gift he so freely gave to us love; by loving others in his name. 

P.S. If you haven’t read the book Christmas is not your Birthday look for a copy in the Church Library as it’s a great read. 

Advent is a season of four weeks including four Sundays. Advent derives from the Latin adventus, which means "coming." The season proclaims the comings of the Christ—whose birth we prepare to celebrate once again, who comes continually in Word and Spirit, and whose return in final victory we anticipate. Each year Advent calls the community of faith to prepare for these comings; historically, the season was marked by fasts for preparation. Each Sunday of Advent has its distinctive theme: Christ's coming in final victory (First Sunday), John the Baptist (Second and Third Sundays), and the events immediately preceding the birth of Jesus Christ (Fourth Sunday).

The Christmas Giving Tree is now decorated with names tags in the Narthex.   Please help our church give some Christmas joy for less fortunate families.   Your generosity in the past has been greatly appreciated.   Gifts need to be returned to the church office by December 18th, with the tags attached.   Contact Bev Sterling if you have questions at 842-5286.

Bell ringing has begun and will continue throughout the Christmas season. You can help again this year in two ways:  1) There are signup sheets and schedules in the Narthex to share your gift of time for those in need this Christmas Season or you may  contact Merna Furney at 641-842-3072 or 641-218-8026.  She keeps the master list and will gladly add your name to the list.   2)  Give generously.  Every penny adds up.

Typhoon Relief Needed
A category 5 storm swept through the Philippines on Nov. 8 causing extensive damage displacing at least 670,000 people and affecting over 11.3 million.  UMCOR is providing emergency food, water, and water purification.  Many there have no access to food, water or medicine.  Give generously to, Advance #982450 in your check memo, to support UMCOR staff and volunteers as they work tirelessly to provide assistance to those in need.

UMCOR Reponds to MIdWEST TornadOES
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee were all affected by severe weather, but the most widespread damage occurred in the town of Washington, 140 miles SW of Chicago, where a powerful EF-4 tornado occurred.  To give to funds to this disaster mark, Advance #901670 in your check memo. 100% supports the response in Illinois and other areas where tornadoes hit.

Our Fair Trade Equal Exchange Pantry in the Narthex is stocked for the holiday shopping.  We have coffees, teas, cocoas, baking cocoa, and lots of dark and milk chocolate bars.  These are all excellent quality produced by the small farmers and businesses around the world.  Treat yourself and others as part of the proceeds go to support UMCOR.  They are perfect for using or gift giving.  Check it out!

Van Driver Needed
The “Where to Now” senior travel group is in need of a volunteer van driver.   We average ten day trips each year.  If able and interested, phone Christa at 842-5452.
 “Miracle in the Manger” is our Advent devotions for the advent season Dec. 1 – Dec. 25.  Make room in your heart and in your busy days throughout the month for a few minutes each day reading scripture, reflecting on a brief meditation, and praying, in preparation for the Savior who is to come.  Booklets are available on the church office window ledge.

The open-house viewing of nativities will be held on December 7th from Noon to 5:00 p.m. in EFH.  Nativities may be picked up from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Dec. 8th. 



Knoxville’s Community Chorus will perform holiday concert on December 14 at 2:00 p.m.  FUMC.  The concert will showcase holiday music, and will feature a quartet known as “A Thorn Among Roses,” which will perform some more offbeat, humorous numbers. Everyone is invited to attend, and a free-will offering is appreciated.

The annual FUMC Children's Christmas Program will take place during Sunday service on December 15 at 9:30 am. Join us for this special event as the children help tell the message of Christmas.  There will be refreshments served by the youth in West Fellowship Hall immediately following the program. 

Christmas Program Rehearsals:  Attention parents- If your child would like to be part of the Christmas Program on December 15, they will need to attend rehearsal on Sunday, December 8 immediately following the church service from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.  Due to the Christmas Program, there will be no Children’s Church on December 15. 

Preschool Christmas Program
The MSPS Christmas Program will be held Thursday, December 19 at 9 am.  Our church family is encouraged to come watch and meet our MSPS families for this special morning!

Ø    Dec. - 1st - 4 to 6
Ø    Dec. - 8th - 4 to 6
Ø    Dec. - 15th - 4 to 6 –  (Christmas Pizza Party!)

Youth Save the Date -  Friday, March 28, 2014 is Winter Jam in Des Moines!!  More information to come in the next couple of months.

Condolences to the family of Bob McRoberts on his passing.

Condolences to the family of Stanton Metcalf on his passing.
Condolences to Mandy Branson and family on the death of her father. 


Thank you to all who attended, contributed, or donated to the benefit that was held for me.  A special thank you to the FUN Group, the United Methodist Women, and Eta Lambda Sorority.  I have been overwhelmed by the generosity from so many!  There are too many to name by name but know I am extremely grateful!  I feel so blessed to have the support and love.  Thank you, Linda Petersen O’Dell

Thank you to all who contributed, donated or attended the Fall Harvest Dinner and pie benefit.  A Big thank you goes to the FUN Group, UMW and MSPS for all their work.  It continues to overwhelm me with all the generosity and support from so many!  God Bless and Thank You, Linda Petersen O’Dell. 

Another big thank you to our church family for all of your love and support at the time of Mom's (Doris Dykstra) death.  We could feel God's presence with each comforting word and hug, as well as the memorials and food and visits.  Your kindness helps give us the strength to get through this difficult time.  Pat and John Haning

Thanks to the generous giving of our church family we were able to spread God’s blessings with Thanksgiving Baskets to 60 families in our community.   The baskets provided a turkey dinner to 275 of our brothers and sisters.  PS Thanks for all the help in putting the baskets together!!!

I would like to thank everybody for their prayers and cards I received while I was in the VA Hospital.  It was much appreciated.   Jolene Frahm

As the end of the year approaches, we give a sincere ‘thank you’ to all that support FUMC throughout the year with their attendance, service and regular contributions.  If you have not yet made your pledge, we ask that you take a few minutes to prayerfully consider a gift for this year.  If you have already responded, thank you.

inclement weather
If school has been cancelled, evening meetings will be cancelled.   KNIA will be the primary source for weather related cancellations.  Worshipers please use your discretion.  If you are worried, that may be an indication you may need to stay home.

For those of you who winter in a different location other than your usual residence, please contact the church office at 641-842-3712 or  and let us know your winter address.


A reminder as there are a lot of evening activities happening at the church, be sure to lock the building and turn out all of the lights if your group is the last in the building for the night.

The church office will be closed Tuesday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 25 for the Christmas holiday.  In addition, the church office will be closed Wednesday, January 1 for the New Year holiday.


  • Nativities Open House December 7th at Noon to 5:00 p.m. in EFH
  • Community Chorus Holiday Concert December 14th at 2:00 Sanctuary
  • Children’s Christmas Program December 15th at 9:30 a.m.Church Service
  • MSPS Christmas Program December 19th at 9:00 a.m. in Sanctuary
  • Christmas Eve Candlelight Services December 24th at 7:00 p.m.and 11:00 p.m.