Valparaiso church reaches out to “Modern MOMS”

First United Methodist Church organized M.O.M.s (Moms Offering Moms Support) eight years ago to help mothers learn, grow and become greater disciples for Christ. Now, they’ve reorganized into “Modern MOMS” with an eye on meeting moms where they are and growing the ministry from an average of 15 women to 30 or more each week. With fresh new materials and plans for a more robust program, “Modern Moms are enjoying God and each other amidst the rapid pace of our daily lives,” said Heather Curlee Novak, leader of Modern MOMS. “We work to support and encourage each other through our work, play, parenting, marriage and other facets of a woman’s life today. Our group serves women at every life stage as individuals first, then as mothers, wives, partners and friends. “

While many expenses were previously covered by individual moms on an as-needed basis, Novak said that she thought it would be a great sign of support and encouragement if the moms could just enjoy, be refreshed and educated with fewer demands on their brains and wallets.

“This Modern MOMs ministry can be run on very little,” she said, “but investing in these women now could bring great returns for our church and community in the future.” So Valpo First Church’s UMW and UMM stepped up and contributed. Pastor Jacob Williams suggested the program for the 100 Points of Light grant, and the church communications built fun graphic materials and placed them in the weekly bulletin.

They now have two stay-at-home dads attending, one a seasoned MOMS group attender and one a new member.

“We have a variety of new attenders that are quite different from our usual core group,” Heather said, “I love what this says about the women attending and how we are succeeding at welcoming ALL moms. I do still want to get more veteran moms to attend and will be working on that. We are advertising online, in the paper and in local downtown businesses and preschools near the church. We have an active Facebook page. With our church focusing more on Modern Moms, there are some changes in our church too! We have added a Sunday School class to our 11 a.m. contemporary service where before we only could support Sunday School at our 9:15 service. I have seen several young families joining the church this year who are now involved in and creating new ministries: Faith in ACTION! I’d like to think that our Modern Moms group is showing them that First United Church of Valparaiso actively seeks and cares for the families of Northwest Indiana.”

If you’re interested in more information on the Modern MOMS, you can reach Heather at heathercurleenovak@gmail.com or 574/360-4702.

Change the World – Vincennes Community UMC

On Sunday, Oct. 5, Community UMC in Vincennes launched their first “Change the World Sunday” (inspired by the denomination-wide annual Change the World weekend). This was a Sunday focused on what it means to BE the church, instead of just going to church. The congregation gathered in the sanctuary for worship and were commissioned as change agents of God’s Kingdom. Then donned in matching red t-shirts, they split up into 20 groups that went out into the community to offer blessings to the community and a witness to God’s amazing love. Afterward, as stories were shared over lunch, one common thread emerged... perhaps it was not so much those served who were changed, but instead the people serving were the ones who were changed!

Some groups visited the elderly and shut-ins at a number of homes around the city, while others visited with God’s furry creatures at the local animal shelter. Still others worked up a sweat offering acts of physical labor, doing yard work and cleaning around the home for neighbors who needed a little help and even helping a family with the ongoing repairs and sorting required months after a tornado devastated their home. Other groups went out to offer acts of random kindness - washing car windshields, bagging groceries, offering food and drinks in several neighborhoods. Some folks even came up with their own “Change the World” projects, going out by themselves or in pairs to offer love wherever they saw a need! All of the projects were initiated and organized by people in the congregation - the pastors and staff merely supported and encouraged them.

This “Change the World Sunday” provided Community UMC with a glimpse of how God is already at work in the community. We can’t wait to see what God does next and we’re ready to join in!

Warsaw church creates prayer ministry for community and missions

Celebration UMC’s New Point of Light project is to build a prayer initiative. After brainstorming, prayer boxes were built. The boxes are recycled material being used in new ways by God. The prayer stands have found homes.

Two prayer boxes were placed in the homeless shelter and will be checked weekly. The requests at a homeless shelter will be shared with their staff and prayer chain, as well as our congregation unless marked confidential. Another prayer box is set up at the community kitchen.

Space has been reserved at the monthly First Friday Festival for a booth and prayer box. Volunteers manning the booth will have aprons with Lulu on them. Not only will they be collecting prayer request but they will hand out water and balloons.

Church members are excited and hopeful that we can reach out to those that feel unloved!

Community carnival welcomes all

Mt. Olive United Methodist Church, a small church in the country without a pastor, held a community carnival this summer. Hoping for a response of ten children, they were delighted with the response of 13. Each child was provided with a backpack full of school supplies. There were games, balloons and prizes. Free hotdogs, cookies and chips were provided. Everyone enjoyed the cotton candy machine, including the woman running it, who was covered with cotton candy by the end of the day. Cards thanking those who attended were sent out. They plan to follow-up with monthly mailings and invitations to attend church. One mailing is going to include recipe cards.