Welcome to First Presbyterian Church of Independence Iowa!
“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7)
This verse is God’s word to the exiles in Babylon. So often when we are where we don’t want to be we can turn inward and pout. We have our own pity party. God is going a different direction. He is telling a group of people who don’t want to be where they are to seek to have a positive impact on the place where they are. Why? Because in seeking the well-being of others we secure our own.
When I was a young elder in my home church located in the inner city of Minneapolis our pastor shared this verse with our Session (church board). Ours was an island church. Most of our members commuted to church and the people who lived around the church were nothing like us. For us to seek the welfare of the community our church was in was a daunting task. And to be honest we struggled to do so. In the end my home church was not able to make God’s words to the exiles come to reality. It remained an island church until they closed their doors.
As a church we have a symbiotic relationship with our community. As the community goes, so do we. God’s call to positively affect the place in which he has placed us is more than just a command, it’s just plain common sense. If we work to make the lives of others better than our life will be better as well. Remember Jesus’ words, “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it”. We often think we need to do what’s best for us. We think that is the road to prosperity. God is clear that the opposite is true.
Who are the happiest people you know? They are the givers. They are the generous people. They are the people positively impacting your life and the lives of others.
In obedience to God and sure of God’s wisdom we have begun a new project in our community. The FPC Community Garden Project is our latest attempt to “seek the peace and prosperity” of this place where God has placed us. The intent is to benefit our local Food Pantry by providing fresh produce. Our thanks goes to Melody Malek, Judy Olsen, Shirley Rozendaal, and Ruth Duritsa for making this happen. In addition, we wrote a grant to the Northeast Iowa Community Foundation for $2,080 to assist in funding this project and I’m pleased to say we got it.
Soon after I arrived many years ago we asked this question, “If we closed our doors for good how long would it take for the community to know we were gone?” I am pleased and proud to say I think it wouldn’t take long. Together we are seeking the peace and prosperity of our community. To God’s glory and our own well-being.
Avri's youth group video from this past year... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfjPEPIpeBY&feature=youtube_gdata_player&app=desktop