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Renovation fulfills First United Methodist Church’s vision By CJ HINES

First United Methodist Church

For the Courier

CEDAR FALLS — Visitors to 718 Clay St., Cedar Falls First United Methodist Church Phone: 266-1713 used to find themselves in an Web: alley with no dir ect access to Office hours: the church. Others entered 8 to 5 p.m. Monday through through the b ack of the Thursday sanctuary. 8 a.m. to noon Friday Worship services: With completion of a $2. 8 Traditional worship: Sundays at million expansion and r eno8:30 and 11:00 a.m. vation project, finding the Transformation Worship: Sundays church entrance will no longer at 8:30 a.m. in Fellowship Hall be an issue. A new church front Ignition worship experience: moves the entr ance from 723 Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. in the Washington St. to 718 Clay St. theater, top floor of church building “People used to Google us or use their GP S, and the dir ecinto Fellowship Hall. tions would bring them t o the old entrance on WashingConstruction process ton Street, which is no longer used,” said the Rev. Steve Construction began in July 2011, Williams, who moved from but planning began 10 years ago. Nevada, Iowa, to become pasThe expansion project commitMATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor tee experienced three iterations tor during the building project. “We did s ome surveys and The $2.8 million expansion and remodeling of the First United Methodist Church included repairing stained since 2002. The fi rst committee asked people at chur chwide glass windows, adding pews, improving lighting and other systems and more. determined the chur ch’s needs meetings what were the main and developed initial building The third floor youth area proposals. Architect and FUMC repairing stained glass winissues. It was evident the room/classroom. “We did needed r epairs for dows, replacing a f ailing roof now includes a the ater, cafe member Dale Port joined the entrance was a problem.” cleaning and r epairing the and gutters, and tuck -point- and game area. The c ontemNew and updated facilities stone exterior, upgrading and ing,” Bernard explained. porary worship area has moved See RENOVATIONS, page 3 Creating the new church front meant purchasing and demolishing several properties on the entire block to provide the needed space and visibility. “An outdoor electronic display sign also provides current and ever-changing information on today’s events and what’s coming up in the futur e,” said Jerry Bernard, head of the expansion project committee. The exterior includes handicapped parking, landscaping, decorative colored glass windows and an enclo sed ground level walkway from the northwest alley entrance to the Clay Street entrance. Entering on Cla y Street, people also will notic e updated handicapped accessibility, welcome center and new lobby, complete with a kit chSUPPLYING QUALITY BUILDING MATERIALS enette/cafeteria area; a nursery 105 BMC Dr. Elk Run Heights WWW.BARNESBUILDING.COM with its own bathroom facili2120 Main Street | Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613 ties and security; a new chaPhone: 319.266.2668 | Fax: 319.277.0231 pel; and a ne w library/meeting

Congratulations First United Methodist Church

Congratulations on the Renovation of First United Methodist Church

Barnes Building Materials






First United staff

Photos by MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

A new entrance is more welcoming to the congregation.

RENOVATION From page 3 long-range planning c ommittee in 2003. “We looked at about 20 different concepts, including turning the existing sanctuary 90 degrees and leveling the fl oor to accommodate both services, to building a new sanctuary,” said Port, who retired from Struxture Architects in June 2012. “About four years ago, a building committee was formed and they spent o ver a y ear discussing different options and dir ections. Then three years ago, Pastor Steve was newly appointed as pastor. He helped the c ommittee determine needs and a dir ection, based on our desires, history and location. We had to decide if w e wanted to remain in the inner city.” The building c ommittee discussed other options, including building a new church on churchowned property on Greenhill Road, which would have offered more parking. “Determining the loc ation was part of the w hole process. In the midst of s orting out what we wanted to do, we decided t o stay. We are in the heart of Cedar Falls and part of the downtown renaissance that is going on,” said Williams. Major remodeling took place throughout the building. In the sanctuary, additions include pews, carpeting, lighting, an audio system, electronically operated shades, control console, and an extra level at the fr ont platform with more space for musical instruments. The s anctuary was

repainted and the b alcony front guard rail revised for improved visibility. New lights and c arpet were added to the Narthex, and hallway doors were removed to improve elevator access and visibility. All older ar eas are now air conditioned. “The objective has been to help improve the church as an attractive church option for Cedar Falls. Facilities by themselves don’t make a church attractive, but they are necessary to fulfill the vision of our church as it provides varied opportunities f or worship, education, spiritual growth, servant-hood and c ommunity services. The facilities vision has accomplished these items,” Bernard said. The office area has r elocated

From left, Chris Congdon, media coordinator, Lisa Congdon, office coordinator, the Rev. Steve Williams, senior pastor, John Bentley, head custodian, the Rev. Chuck Klink, associate pastor, and Mary Card, custodian. so the entr ance is no w centrally located, with ne w flooring, ceilings, light, paint and small bathroom. Miscellaneous additions include new signage throughout the building, emergency lighting and upgraded fire alarms. No project is e ver without delays, and this was no exception. “We had some issues with one of the sanctuary’s main features. There is a dr ywall, glass-reinforced fiber cloud suspended from the ceiling. We had some problems with the suppli-

er, which delayed it about t wo months,” said Dan Keagle, Peters Construction project manager. “There are always challenges when you work with an e xisting building. We had to work through getting all the po wer and c ommunications cables relocated. That half of the cit y ran through the alleyway. The relocation of the utilities definitely did not g o as planned.” “Looking back at things I don’t think Don Quixote, that dreamer created by Cervantes, had a leg

Pastoral staff Steve Williams, senior pastor Chuck Klink, associate pastor Congregational care Dee Behr, parish visitor Flo Mobley, parish visitor Administrative staff Deb Bernard, financial manager Lisa Congdon, office ministry coordinator Nancy Schmeiser, financial manager Family ministries Lesley Toma, family ministries coordinator Christian education & children’s ministry Jan Hoover, Christian education coordinator Youth ministry Christina Keller, youth ministry coordinator Worship & music Sam Barr, contemporary music coordinator Martha Kroese, music director Doug Shaffer, organist Media Chris Congdon, media coordinator Facilities John Bentley, head custodian Mary Card, custodian

up on dr eaming the impo ssible dream. There have been a f ew nightmares along the w ay, but now this dr eam is ne arly completed,” Bernard said.

Congratulations on your beautiful Renovation. We’re proud to be part of it.

First United Methodist Church



1905 STATE ST., CEDAR FALLS 50613 319-266-1627





Handymen construct altar, other items By CJ HINES For the Courier


The children’s area at First United Methodist Church was renovated to make it more appealing and functional.

Children’s area gets makeover By CJ HINES For the Courier

CEDAR FALLS — When visitors step into the r enovated children’s area at F irst United Methodist Church, they’ll think they’ve stepped into a different place. Wall details portray housing, buildings, trees and a pond alongside a cit yscape of brick s and stone. “Since the children’s area is in the basement, we decided on a street theme because we wanted something that brought the outdoors inside. We also needed a theme that all childr en felt was welcoming. The area now has bright colors and lighting,” said Jan Hoover, FUMC Christian education coordinator. The lower-level renovation for the childr en and F irst Kids DayCare Preschool also includes air-conditioning, new carpeting, new ceilings, new lighting and a small w elcome center at the west end ne ar the ele vator and stairway. The nursery is now on the main floor, providing easy access for families. “The aim of the children’s area was to give it a ne w look and feel. The architect’s design team worked on cr eating a c ommon visual theme. These updates should make classrooms bright-

er, more pleasant and e asier to locate. A Sunda y School Welcome Center also was constructed to provide a more congenial atmosphere and a st ation from which traffic in the children’s area may be monit ored,” said Jerry Bernard, head of the expansion project committee. The church serves between 60 and 80 childr en each week, Hoover said.

CEDAR FALLS — A retired industrial science professor, tool and die maker, retired farmer and cabinetmaker may not feel comfortable giving a sermon to the congregation, leading the choir or teaching Sunday school. But give them a s et of ar chitectural drawings, some wood, a few saws and other w oodworking tools, and they can contribute something just as meaningful. Rex Pershing, Mark Jansen, Larry Maas and B ob Condra are busy building ne w furniture for the church’s renovated sanctuary. “I enjoy woodworking, and this was something I w anted to do for the chur ch. I w ent to Pastor Steve (Williams) and volunteered. At first it w as just g oing to be a flower stand. But he said they also wanted a ne w altar, so it turned out to be a little mor e complicated,” said Pershing, who taught electronics and electricit y at the University of Northern Iowa. “The committee talked to Dale Port, the architect, and they not only came back with the altar, but a baptismal font and six fl ower

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“I look forward to doing this every day. I am doing God’s work.” Rex Pershing stands.” Pershing did all the t echnical drawings, which took a couple of months, then r ecruited Jansen, Maas and Condra. “I’ve known Mark for about two years. He’s a tool and die maker by trade, and those guys don’t make mistakes. He’s done shop w ork where you have to plan ahe ad. He’s very organized and in putting things together, you apply the same rules. We’re all friends, and we all w ork together well,” Pershing explained. Jansen, who has 40 years experience as a tool and die maker, has been a woodworker for about five years and a member of the C edar Valley Woodworkers Association. His most recent project was a crib and changing t able/dresser for his grandson. He made the prototype for the flower stands from the concept and sketch that Port provided.

The six fl ower stands range in height from 15 to 29 inches. “One flower stand probably takes about 30 hour s, maybe a little less. We work on it whenever we have time. Everything takes a sequence of assembly to put together,” said Jansen, who has worked at Deere & Co. in Waterloo for the past eight years. “We had the opportunit y to do this and save the church some money. I jumped at the chance.” The group is w orking on the flower stands and baptismal font, leaving the altar, which measures 32 by 90 inches, for last. “We have been fi nishing some assembly parts before we put the tower on and glue things together. We have to do a lot of sub work before final assembly. I am coordinating what’s going on, but there’s no de adline. The chur ch would like them by the first of the year,” said Pershing. Previously, Pershing built an altar for the church’s contemporary service, as w ell as c abinets and cupboards. He also repairs whatever is needed. “I look f orward to doing this every day. I am doing God’s work,” he added.

Congratulations First United Methodist Church on your Renovation!


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Vision statement builds on faith, hope, love and peace By CJ HINES For the Courier

CEDAR FALLS — After spending time, energy and r esources renovating First United Methodist Church, members of TE AM Christ (Together Encouraging and Affirming our Mission) wanted a vision st atement to reflect the building theme on a larger scale. “The church is alive and has a future. We want to remain a vital part of this c ommunity. This is more than a structur e. We are building faith and people’s lives as well,” said the Rev. Steve Williams, FUMC pastor. The vision statement: “To be Builders of the King dom of God: From Building Stones to Living Stones,” is bas ed on 1 P eter 2:4, 5a: “Come to him , a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house.” From the st atement: “We had in mind a l arger picture, seeing our building as the t ool for our aspirations to become even more intentional as a c ongregation that always stays true to our mission. Our mis sion as U nited Methodists is ‘making disciples of Jesus Christ f or the transformation of the world.’ Our mission as a loc al church serving Cedar Falls is t o ‘gather, nurture and equip disciples of Jesus Christ for our ministry and mis sion in the world.’” The ‘living stones” from which they build on ar e faith, hope, love, joy and peace. Building on faith: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 Some elements include w elcoming people wherever they are on their f aith journey; committing to passing on faith from generation to generation and seeking to produce fruit and affirming God’s work. Faith goals include promoting events outside the

church; establishing a task force to explore ministry/programs for retired people in the c ommunity and to hire a volunteer coordinator to work with people in shar ing gifts with needs of the church and community. Bui lding on hope: “You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14 Examples include being people who are the light of hope in a dark world, living out Matthe w 25, reaching the “least of thes e” to discover Christ, and offering time, talent and resources to manifest God’s love and justic e. Goals include offering members more opportunities t o serve in local ministries, such as Habit at for Humanity and the N ortheast Iowa Food Bank; creating a Good Samaritan program, matching needs with member s’ gifts and supporting church youths in applying their faith in service projects and mission trips.

Some elements include creating a lo ving atmosphere to affirm, nurture and enc ourage; being people with open he arts, receiving all with open arms, and boldly professing God’s love as expressed in and through Christ. Among the g oals are welcoming everyone who enters the church, creating a Friend in Faith mentoring program for guests, newcomers and ne w members; offering worship for people and families with special needs and supporting the youth program with resources to help them grow in faith.

all will f eel God’s presence and hearts and your minds in Christ being people who understand the Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 value of community. Some goals include increasing membership, Some elements include allow- creating a pe aceful atmosphere ing God’s peace to permeate all and using new leadership meththey do thr ough the H oly Spir- ods to build c onsensus rather it; striving to mature in faith so than division.

Building on joy: “My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11 Examples include being j oyful people in worship, fellowship and educational opportunities; being people with an alive faith, and offering choices in the style of worship.

Building on peace: “And the Building on love: “Love one peace of God, which surpasses all another.” John 13:34 understanding, will guard your

A special “Thank you” to those who have made possible the renovation of First United Methodist Church


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First Presbyterian Church and St. Timothy United Methodist Church for their support and allowing us to use their churches for weddings and funerals while we were under construction.

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First United Methodist Church has rich history in Cedar Falls By CJ HINES For The Courier

CEDAR FALLS—In the early days of Cedar Falls, people met in homes, schools or other public places to worship. Instead of a dedicated preacher, the M ethodist bishop appointed preachers to circuits, made of two or more churches. These preachers became known as circuit riders because they carried their belonging in s ad-

dlebags as the y traveled from church to church. “Circuit rider Asbur y Collins was the or ganizing preacher in 1851. It wasn’t until 1853 that a circuit was formed, where they had a r egular preacher. Meetings sometimes took place at the schoolhouse at F ifth and Main streets,” said Rita Congdon of the Cedar Falls Historical Society and church member. In 1853, circuit rider Solomon Ingham Sr. formed the U nited

Methodist Church congregation. In 185 7, the R ev. Rufus Rucker became the fi rst located preacher. The first church building was at Sixth and Cla y streets, now the site of the C edar Falls Post Office. A di viding wall kept men and women separated during church meetings. A slightly larger church building, without a dividing wall, was constructed in 1864. “The second church, at Sev-

A BRIEF HISTORY OF FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 1851-52 Asbury Collins brought Methodist preaching to the Cedar Valley at a small log cabin between Sturgis Falls and Waterloo. 1853 The Cedar Falls circuit was formed with Solomon Ingham Sr. as the preacher. His circuit took him from Vinton and Buckingham on the south, north to the Minnesota line along the Cedar River and then west to near Clear Lake. 1857 ■ The Rev. Rufus Rucker became the first “located” preacher for the Cedar Falls Station on Nov. 11. The presiding elder was T. Coleman. ■ Cedar Falls Methodist Sunday School began in a log cabin near Fifth and Washington streets. Worship services were held in the second floor of the Overman Building between First and Second streets on Main Street. 1860 Church incorporation papers signed. 1860-61 A small frame church was built at Sixth and Clay streets during the pastorate of the Rev. David Poor.


First United Methodist Church in 1946. 1942 1893-1895 L. C. Springer built the oak altar for the Construction of the church building at Eighth and Washington. Cornerstone laid Sunday School auditorium. 1894. Dedication Sept. 8, 1895. 1949 Temple’s Ark Sunday School class for 1899 young married couples began. The red brick church was sold to First Baptist Church for $1,825. 1950 Remodeling of Sunday School and So1900 cial Services Building completed, named Parsonage at 804 Washington St. was the Belz Memorial Building. purchased.

1863-64 Brick church at Seventh and Washington 1913 streets was built. Sunday School and Social Services Building completed. 1866 A Ladies Aid Circle was organized. Proj1928 ects included funds for an organ cover First Methodist Church celebrated its and mending for the preacher. 75th anniversary. 1870 1935 3,000-pound bell for the brick church Gift of $8,000 for Merner Memorial arrived. organ in honor of Anna Merner Pfeiffer, was received. Organ dedicated in 1872 1936. First parsonage was purchased.

1953 Merner House purchased for use of kindergarten and preschool classes. 1958 ■ Financial campaign for the new Educational Building was subscribed at $214,000. ■ Parsonage at 804 Washington St. sold; New parsonage purchased at 803 Clay St.

See HISTORY, page 7

enth and W ashington streets, was brick and look ed like the basis for the limest one church built in 1894. They took a chance on building the s econd church; it was during the Ci vil War,” Congdon said. “But the church had grown so much they had to build a bigger building.” That church remained for

more than 30 y ears, with the last service in 18 95. The w hite limestone landmark structure, built in 18 94, continues to serve as the chur ch’s sanctuary today. Throughout the y ears, the building size has increased, including two Christian education buildings and c ommunity life center.



HISTORY From page 6

Branstad’s inaugural dedication ser1983 vice at St. Augustine’s Church in Des United Methodist Women celebrated 100 years of Methodist Women in Mission. Moines. ■ The Rev. Jan Burnett became first female minister. 1984 1960 Growing Forward Together campaign Construction of the new educational 1988 started to improve properties and purbuilding began. ■ Build-Share-Celebrate campaign chase new organ. raised $1.5 million in four years. 1961 ■ Capital Improvements established 1987 Together We Build Campaign launched ■ First United Methodist received a with $500,000 goal. for expansion and modernization of the Governor’s Award for work with refugee church building. Construction to include families. 1989 improvements and new classroom areas ■ In January the Belles and Beaux Casavant organ ($200,000) was dediunder the sanctuary. cated. handbell choir played for Gov. Terry 1966 ■ On Jan. 25, dedication of Educational Unit. Rachel Ireland commissioned director of Christian education. ■ First renovation of the sanctuary in 21 years begun. 1968 First United Methodist Church became new name after union of Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist churches.

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1992 ■ Joy Circle of the United Methodist Women published cookbook, “In Joyful Celebration.” ■ Mission statement, “Gather to Worship, Scatter to Serve” was adopted. 1994 ■ Congregation voted to build Christian Family Life Center. 1996 Groundbreaking and cornerstone laying April 21 for the new Community Family Life Center.

PAGE 7 1997 A service for blessing animals took place. 2000 “Come Home for Dinner” project raised funds for special missions and ministries. 2003 ■ First United Methodist Church’s sesquicentennial year begins. ■ Eleven pastors and staff returned for Heritage Sunday service and banquet.

Congratulations First United Methodist Church

1972 ■ Consecration of the renovated sanctuary ($146,000) was held Oct. 22 with Bishop James Thomas. ■ Three octaves of Schulmerich handbells arrived, and six handbell choirs were formed. 1975 Senior parsonage was renovated. 1976 Renovated sanctuary was dedicated. 1977 ■ University of Northern Iowa’s Leland Sage presented his “A Brief History of First United Methodist Church” to the congregation as a gift. 1979 Parlor renovation.

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1974 bell choir.

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Christmas traditions will come to life in renovated church By CJ HINES For the Courier

CEDAR FALLS — The timing couldn’t be better. After 10 years of planning and nearly 1 1/ 2 years in c onstruction, the r enovated First United Methodist Church is like “opening a very special gift from God.” “For me, this is the s eason of celebrating the gift of J esus. So much of w hat we do at Christmas revolves around giving gifts,” said the Rev. Steve Williams. “So much has gone into the planning, and the congregation has worked so hard in making it happen, so it is truly a gift shared by all of us.” One way the congregation will share the gift is the chur ch’s annual holiday concert today at 7 p.m., featuring handbell choirs and soloists. The three Christmas Eve candlelight services will be at 5 , 7 and 11 p.m.

“We do new music every year, but for Christmas E ve services, we do pull out s ome standards. A couple of f avorites are ‘Silent Night’ and ‘White Christmas.’ They never seem to get old,” said Aaron Hansen, K-6 music and choir teacher at W averly-Shell Rock, who directs two choirs. “It is a long-st anding program that’s over 45 years old. I’ve been directing for 15 years but ha ve been ringing bells since elementary school. I started solo ringing during high s chool and continued through college. I started ringing at F UMC during c ollege and began directing shortly after that.” Nancy Standafer, who also has written music, directs an adult choir, and J oe Bohr directs the youth bells. Last y ear, the bell choirs recorded a holiday CD, “A First Christmas,” which is available at the church or West Music in Cedar Falls.

“Being part of the bell pr ogram has been fulfilling for me as music can be such an important part of worship. Music can reach people more than anything else,” Hansen said. A new FUMC holiday tradition is the Christmas Tree Walk, today through next Sunday, hosted by the Hospitality Outreach Marketing Evangelism Team, known as the HOME Team. “This is an opportunit y to share with the c ommunity the joy of the s eason based on the citywide Christmas Tree Walks. We can share the trees and skills of people and t o do s o as a gift to the community,” said the Rev. Chuck Klink, associate pastor. “With the ne w addition t o the church, this will be a gr eat way for people to come to our church, enjoy looking at the trees and let them know that, in this season of Christmas, the joy of Christ is a primary focus.”

To date, there are 25 tr ees, including themes such as a Gir l Scout Tree, in honor of the 100th year of the Gir l Scouts, Cracker Barrel, Bell Choir, Quilters and a Love INC tree. Beginning today, Williams will offer a f our-week Bible stud y, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” based on the 1946 Christmas movie with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. “(‘It’s a Wonderful Life’) is one of my favorite movies. Every year I am touched by its meaning and story,” Williams said. “I still shed a t ear when George Bailey discovers the r eward of f amily and lifelong friends and he aring Clarence Oddbody finally earn his wings. What les sons can we learn from this story? I will discuss the biblic al impact on our understanding of pr ayer, blessings and divine intervention.” FUMC also participates in a Family Angel Tree each year; congregants volunteer to pur-

chase items for families in need in the Cedar Falls area. Last year 25 families were served through the Angel Tree ministry. “Christmas Memories,” the children’s Christmas program, is set for next Sunday, and features 60 children from 3 y ears old t o sixth grade. Another tradition is donating all the Christmas offering to missions. Decorating the sanctuary with poinsettias and hanging of the greens are annual tr aditions. Church members can donate plants in memor y or honor of loved ones. FUMC members volunteer their gift-wrapping skills to College Square shoppers, beginning Friday. The s ervice is fr ee, but donations to the Northeast Iowa Food Bank are greatly appreciated. For more information, go to

Peters Construction Corporation was proud to lead the construction team on the First United Methodist Church renovation. A great addition to the downtown Cedar Falls area.


901 Black Hawk Road • Waterloo, IA 50701 • 319-236-2003

First United Methodist Church  

Expansion, renovation complete dream for Cedar Falls First United Methodist Church