United Church of Christ-Congregational has many groups for fellowship, learning, and developing faith.
Special interest groups provide entry points and connections. The groups are informal. They evolve
as members and friends define them. Newcomers are always welcome. Contact the office for details, (515) 232-9323 or email@example.com.
Those who attend suggest books, and they are wide-ranging topics. Through discussion, we come away with a deeper understanding of the characters and often questions we can’t resolve. Some of the books: Night, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, Jesus Is My Uncle: Christology from a Hispanic Perspective, and Hannah Coulter.
Meets Wednesdays at 2 p.m. in the church parlor
We welcome readers and even those who just want to hear the discussion.
September 19 -- Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks, 2011 (336 pages, 2011), discussion led by Nancy Marks
Caleb, a member of the Wopanaak Tribe of Noepe (Martha's Vineyard), born about 1646, is the first American Indian to graduate from Harvard College. The story follows his crossing from American Indian culture to the educated elite of colonial society.
October 17 -- Wide Open by Deborah Coates (304 pages, 2012), discussion led by Lynette Spicer
(Deb Coates lives in Ames and works in IT for Iowa State University Extension.)
When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on 10 days' compassionate leave, her sister Dell's ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her. The sheriff says that Dell's death was suicide, but Hallie doesn't believe it. The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn't have to. As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace.
November 14 -- Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie by Beth Howard (320 pages, 2012), discussion led by Allen Trenkle, pie provided by Barbara Rusk
(Author Beth Howard lives in the American Gothic house near Cedar Rapids. She will be at the Iowa State Fair August 10 judging pies, giving a pie demonstration and signing books.)
When journalist Beth M. Howard's young husband dies suddenly, she packs up the RV he left behind and hits the American highways. At every stop along the way—whether filming a documentary or handing out free slices on the streets of Los Angeles—Beth uses pie as a way to find purpose. Howard eventually returns to her Iowa roots and creates the perfect synergy between two of America's greatest icons—pie and the American Gothic House, the little farmhouse immortalized in Grant Wood's famous painting, where she now lives and runs the Pitchfork Pie Stand. Making Piece powerfully shows how one courageous woman triumphs over tragedy.
December 12 -- When Bad Things Happen To Good People by Harold Kushner (148 pages, 1981), discussion led by Krista Anderson
Rabbi Harold Kushner addresses the perennial question of God’s justice in a compassionate and personal way.
January 16 -- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (667 pages, 2010), discussion led by Allen Trenkle
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles--and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.
Books we’ve read
June 20 -- The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald
May 16 -- Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
April 18 -- Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
March 21 -- After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart
February 15 – Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
January 18 – Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C. Gwynn
December 14 -- Townie: A Memoir by Andre Dubus III
November 16 -- Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles
October 26 -- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Other books considered by the group, may be books for future months:
Doc (432 pages, 2011) by Mary Doria Russell
Land of Promise, Land of Tears (456 pages, 2012) by Jerry L. Twedt
Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Modern Faith (352 pages, 2010) by Marcus Borg
Still Alice (292 pages, 2007) by Lisa Genova
The Language of Flowers (352 pages, 2011) by Vanessa Diffenbough
Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande
Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
Serious Men by Manu Joseph
The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow
Tibet: My Story by Jetsun Pema
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
The United Church of Christ calls people to live in community with God’s creation, to be good stewards caring for the environment. The Green Team encourages people to reduce, reuse and recycle at church and at home. Activities include bringing in speakers, group recycling and using less energy.
Men gather two noon hours per month for brown bag lunch in Fellowship Hall. Invited speakers or members of the congregation lead discussions on various topics. Enjoy the stories, fellowship and fun!
Peace Bell Ringers
A group interested in social justice and peace meets Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m. in the bell tower to ring the bell, discuss issues, and pray for justice and peace. It’s a part of being a Just Peace Church.
7th-12th grade youth meet on Wednesdays 6-7:30 p.m. in the youth room to share a meal and time together. The group focuses on fellowship, faith, and outreach. The activities change each week, but one thing stays the same, youth are always glad they came!
Fun, Food and Fellowship
Activities include outings to Iowa Cubs ballgames, a progressive dinner called Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, preparation for the annual rummage sale, and the Chili Cook-Off and Pie Fest.