February 2020  
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Independence, Iowa


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  • Fellowship Time at FPC...
  • Youth service project - Trick or Treat for Food Pantry on October 20th...
  • Youth group campfire in September....
  • Mission Trip this summer....
  • Community Dinner 2019
  • We had wonderful workers to help with our dinner....
  • Lots of auction items....
  • Fun with Ruth during the Children's Message....
  • Treasure Seeker's help clean up the yard....
  • Lock in with the Youth.....
  • Melody with her prayer quilt...
  • Youth help with Trick or Treat for the Food Pantry....
  • Fall fun....
Welcome to First Presbyterian Church of Independence Iowa!  


Continuing education.  Every Presbyterian minister has a minimum of 2 weeks of study leave in the terms of their contract.  The goal is to empower and equip the minister to serve their church more effectively.  For me it’s a time to refresh and renew.  I hope to come back from my time away with new ideas and energy.


In my world, I always seek our Session’s approval for my time away.  I explain what I am going to do and get their blessing before I go.  When I return I will take some time at the next Session meeting to recap things I did and learned.  I believe this is important so that my study leave never becomes an excuse to have extra vacation time.  Do I have fun while I’m away?  Of course.  Do I get to connect with old friends and colleagues?  Absolutely.  Do I return rested and with new ideas?  Always.


I just returned from the annual Association of Presbyterian Church Educators event held in Little Rock, Arkansas.  This was my first trip to Little Rock.  I was impressed.  There were interesting things to see, such as the President Clinton Library.  I was blown away by the hospitality of the people there.  And I discovered Hurt’s Donuts.


This year’s conference featured some amazing worship opportunities.  If you’re interested you can see pictures and find video on the event’s Facebook page: APCE Annual Event.  In addition to worship we had plenary speakers.  This year’s theme was Getting Outside the Box.  Perhaps my favorite speaker was Elizabeth Eckford. She was one of the Little Rock Nine.  Google that story.  It’s powerful story of the move to end segregation in 1957.


I attended several workshops.  Let me quickly highlight two.


Let’s Have Dinner and Talk about Death.  One of the things we don’t talk a lot about in life is death.  This workshop focused on how we can do that around a dinner table.  As a meal is shared those gathered interact with questions about death and dying.  Being together around a table and sharing a meal provides a meaningful context for this discussion or any conversation.


Playing Outside the Box. Tabletop games (non-screens) are on the rise in our culture.  This workshop focused on how board games give us an opportunity to interact and connect with each other.  This can also be a chance to connect intergenerationally.  Playing together can help us build relationships and faith.


I hope this gives you some idea of what I am doing while I am on study leave.  My intent is that time away improves me and the life of our congregation.  We can always grow.  To that end I believe we should all be lifelong learners!


- Pastor John



Contact Us  
First Presbyterian Church
115 6th Avenue NW
PO Box 188
Independence, Iowa 50644
Map  •   Directions
Phone 319 334 3523
Fax 319 334 4134
Regular Schedule  
Office Hours
  • Tuesday
    – 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Wednesday
    – 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Thursday
    – 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Friday
    – 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Treasure Seekers (K - 6th Grade) - Sundays beginning September 22nd
    – 9:00 AM to 9:45 AM
  • Sunday Morning Worship
    – 10:00 AM
  • Fellowship
    – 11:00 AM
  • Adult Bible Studies - On the same week as choir practice
    – 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
  • Bell Choir - 2nd & 4th Wednesdays during school year
    – 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM