2203 South 3rd Avenue
Marshalltown, IA 50158-4510
email: hopeumc@adiis.net


We have entered the season of Advent, that time of the year when we prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus.  Sometimes this special time of the year can become lost in the busyness of the season.  I offer this poem to hold onto during this season.

The Child is Born Again

Each year the Child is born again.
Each year some new heart
    finally hears
    finally sees
        finally knows love.
And in heaven
    there is great rejoicing!
There is a festival of stars!
There is celebration among the angels!
For in the finding of one lost sheep,
    the heart of the Shepherd is glad, and
    Christmas has happened once more.
The Child is born anew
    and one more knee is bowed!   

                                                         —Ann Weems, Kneeling in Bethlehem

May this be a season of love and joy, of remembrance and anticipation, of such wonder as we welcome the Christ Child into our hearts anew.  Merry Christmas!

Pastor Nan

Thursday, December 22 – 7:00 p.m.

For many, the Christmas season can be painful.  Christmas can be a poignant reminder of how things are different now.  Hope UMC will be offering a special worship service for those who would like to bring their sadness to the comfort of God.  This service will provide a safe place to remember and honor the sadness that is being felt. If you are struggling this Christmas season, we would invite you to come.


The Staff/Parish Relations Committee is continuing the tradition of giving each of the Hope staff members a monetary Christmas gift.  Hope members and friends are encouraged to give any amount towards a Christmas gift fund that will be divided among the staff members.  Checks may be made payable to Hope UMC with “Staff Gifts” indicated on the memo line.  Thanks for your support of the ministry provided by Pastor Nan, Pastor Greg, Judy, Jeri, John, Deb, Libby, Jennie, and Israel.


Since winter cold has returned, would you check your closet to see if you have had the wrong brown leather jacket since last spring.  My all light brown coat was taken by mistake and your dark brown and black jacket was left in its place—yours is hanging in the church coat closet.  Please return mine to the office.

Glen Christen


We would like to thank the Hope family for all your prayers for our grandson, Maverick.   His recent surgery was successful.  His heart is beating at a normal rate, without medication, for the first time since his birth two years ago.  Your prayers made a difference.  God is good.
Randy & Kathy Baker

A big thank you to all those who attended my 90th birthday celebration.  My church family is important to me, and I was so glad to share my celebration with you.
Wanda Brockman

A big thank you to all those who filled and donated shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child—36 boxes have been donated.  I hope our church can do this again next year, so look for information next October.
Bev Risius


Hope UMC has been the recipient of gifts and bequests from the estates of Betty Nason and June Oleson.  We will be holding a special charge conference on Saturday, January 21 at 10:00 a.m. to accept these monies.

GET WELL WISHES go to John Foster, who had knee surgery on November 9 in Des Moines; Greta Thomae, who was hospitalized in Ames for several days last week; Marlys Montz, who spent several days at Central Iowa Healthcare last week; and Wilbur Hutchens, a current patient at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Des Moines.

THE HOPE OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED Monday, December 26 and Monday, January 2 for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.


Premature infants need 1-4 red cell donations.  Cancer patients need 3-10 red cell donations.  Cardiovascular surgeries require 3-8 red cell donations and 1-10 platelet donations.  Burn victims need 10-20 platelet donations.  The list goes on and on.  The biggest need for blood donations occurs during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s each year.  Why not consider making a blood donation?

Did you know that someone needs blood every two seconds?  Did you know that less than 10 percent of the eligible US population donates annually?  Did you know that there is no substitute for human blood?  The Missions Committee would like to encourage the people of Hope to prayerfully consider donating blood at the LifeServe Blood Center of Marshalltown during this holiday season. Your gift may just save someone’s life.


Beginning in mid-September, 49 people committed to daily prayer for Hope United Methodist Church.  Each day they read a scripture from their “playbook” and prayed for Pastor Nan, our leadership, our ministries, and for Hope to discern God’s vision for our future.  During this prayer season, we have been trying to turn the scripture into a prayer for Hope.  We have also tried to implement the prayer practice of being attentive to God’s voice and expecting God to respond.  God has been at work at Hope, preparing us for what lies ahead.  God doesn’t join our work at Hope; we join God’s team and follow his game plan.

Jesus spoke to the Chief Priests in the temple and said, “It is written.  My house will be a house of prayer.”  Is God leading you to be more intentional about your prayer life?  If you would like to continue or join the Prayer Team, the beginning of the Winter Season is December 5.  If you are interested in being a part of this ministry, please contact Kathy Baker (641-485-8256 or baker.kathy@windstream.net); and we will get the new playbook to you.  We can only imagine how God will use this next season to bless the future of our church.


Hawkeye Care Center, Marshalltown
    Roberta Cross
    Huberta Richardson

Southridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Marshalltown
    Eunice Gilgen
    Reuben Kanne
    Russell Schuler
Iowa Veterans Home, Marshalltown
    Scott Bonk
    Madonna Locke
    Ann McNutt
    Thelma Nablo

Bickford Assisted Living, Marshalltown
    Ernie Green
    Greta Thomae

Glenwood Place, Marshalltown
    Jim Buresh
    George & Mary Dixon
    George & Phyllis Funk
    Anna Mae Henry
    Helen Lapour

State Center Nursing & Rehab Center, State Center
    Maradean Egger

Premier Estates, Toledo
    Lorene Miglia

Park Place, Mt. Pleasant
    John & Marilyn Jones

Good Samaritan Society, Ottumwa
    Mary Lou Banghart

Prayers, cards, and visits are appreciated by those listed above.


The Prayer Questers would like to invite any individual with an interest in prayer to consider joining the group beginning in January.  We meet on Tuesday mornings from 9:30 to 11:00.  We will be picking a new study on January 3 and would like to open our group up to new members.  We have chosen a variety of studies about prayer over the past year which have usually included viewing a DVD and individual reading at home.  We also have sponsored a few prayer events, including the Easter prayer vigil and the Prayer Team.  We would consider starting a second Prayer Quester group in the evening if there is interest.  If you are looking for a small group to join, prayerfully consider joining the Prayer Questers.  Contact Kathy Baker if you are interested or for more information (641-485-8256 or baker.kathy@windstream.net).


The Adult Sunday School Class is working through an Advent study entitled Behold, written by Pamela Hawkins.  The author describes her study in this way.  She says:  “I invite you to behold the Word with new eyes, new ears, new hearts, and new possibilities.  I hope that you will become freshly open to behold the ancient Advent story of God’s self-giving of Immanuel, the Word made flesh, and to cultivate an ongoing attentiveness to what God has promised, is promising, and will promise to do in the world in the name, power, and spirit of Jesus the Christ.”  All are welcome to participate in this study on Sunday mornings at 9:45 a.m.


In the future, all materials checked out on Hope’s account with Iowa Religious Media Services will need to go through the church office.  We ask that you go online (www.irms.org) to find the title and the resource number for the materials you would like to order.  Please relay this information to Judy, and she will order the materials for you.  We will also take care of returning all materials to IRMS.


Birthday Offering – December 18
        Green Rainbow Covenant Stripe—
            World Hunger and Poverty Relief
            Living Gifts, Heifer International
Heifer International works with families and communities to end hunger and poverty.  Participants pass on their Heifer gift by providing their animals’ offspring to other community members along with training they have received, ensuring an ever-widening network of hope, dignity, and self-reliance.

Noisy Offering – January 1 (collected by Hope children)
        Rainbow Covenant Third Mile—Local and Institutional Giving
    House of Compassion, Marshalltown
    The House of Compassion offers temporary overnight shelter, a daily Soup Kitchen, assistance with prescription drug needs, a Supply Closet providing personal hygiene and household items, school supplies, Christmas assistance, and gas cards.


The Supply Closet at the House of Compassion provides up to three essential household and personal hygiene items per month for families in our area who meet low-income guidelines.  These items cannot be purchased with food stamps, and the cost can put a strain on those with limited or fixed incomes.  Hope Church is responsible for providing items in December.  Donations may be placed in the grocery cart in the Hope hallway.  Thank you for sharing and for being “Christ” to our neighbors.  Needed items include:
Laundry detergent/softener Shampoo/conditioner
Dishwashing liquid Bar soap & baby soap
All-purpose cleaner Toothpaste
Paper towels Deodorant
Toilet paper Shaving cream
Kleenex Cold & flu medicines
Baby wipes & larger diapers Aspirin & non-aspirin


We are in need of new Christmas books (we need 45 books) to be given to the Wonderful Wednesdays participants on the night of their Christmas program, December 14.  There will be a box available by the Christmas tree holding mittens and gift cards.  If you don’t feel like fighting the crowds, give a donation; and we’ll do the shopping for you.  Giving away free books is part of Change a Child’s Story sponsored through the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church.  The goal of this initiative is to get free books into the hands of preschool and elementary children.  The goal of Hope UMC is to give away 1200 free books to children by July 2017.  To date we have given away approximately 425 books.  Thanks for your help with this project.


The children participating in Wonderful Wednesdays will be presenting their annual Christmas program on December 14 at 5:00 p.m.  A meal for all the families will follow the program.  Hot dogs and toppings, chips, beverages, and table service will be provided.  Those attending are welcome to bring a kid-friendly side dish.  We invite you to come and be a part of this special event for these children. 


Meals on Wheels of Marshalltown is in need of a few fill-in or regular drivers.  We have lost some drivers to the South for the winter, and some long-timers have retired.  Hope Church has at least four couples on routes, and we thank them—we need to fill 90 routes per month.    A typical route is one day per month for an average of one hour delivery time.  We deliver hot meals every day of the year.  Saturday routes are the hardest to fill but also have the fewest deliveries.  The mission of MOW is to help clients stay in their homes as long as possible.  If you would like to take a route (someone will ride with you the first time), call Andrea at
475-3345—or if you have questions, call John at 750-3840.  Note:  a sub is usually easy to get if you need one.

Saturday, December 10
  6:00 p.m.    Soup supper:  chili, chicken noodle, cheesy vegetable, along with bread and relishes.  Free will offering for 2017 Mission Trip to Virginia.
  7:00 p.m.    Cantata, “At Last Noel,” presented by Chancel Choir.  Composed by Randy Vader,
        Jay Rouse, and Rose Aspinall, the cantata is based on familiar and well-loved Christmas carols to set the stage for Jesus’ birth.     

December 11 – 3rd Sunday of Advent
    Appointed scriptures:  Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 1:47-55; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11
    Pastor Nan’s sermon:  “Who Are You Expecting?” 
      8:15 a.m.    Chancel Choir.
    10:45 a.m.    Hope Minstrels.
      5:00 p.m.    Sunday School Christmas program:  “For the Glory of the King.”  Meal following program:  maid-rite sandwiches, chips, relishes, cookies.

Wednesday, December 14
      5:00 p.m.    Wonderful Wednesdays Christmas program and meal (see related article).
December 18 – 4th Sunday of Advent – Birthday Offering
    Appointed scriptures:  Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25
    Pastor Nan will preach.
  8:15 and 10:45 a.m.    Chancel Choir, Chimes of Hope & Hope Minstrels.

Thursday, December 22
      7:00 p.m.    Blue Christmas service (see related article).

Saturday, December 24 – Christmas Eve
    Appointed scriptures:  Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-20
  5:00 p.m.    Family service with candle lighting.  Music:  small group.
  7:00 p.m.    Communion service with candle lighting.  Chancel Choir.

Sunday, December 25 – Christmas Day
    Appointed scriptures:  Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-4; John 1:1-14
    Pastor Nan will preach.
      10:00 a.m.    ONE SERVICE ONLY. 
            (9:00-9:45 a.m. – Coffee/fellowship.)

Sunday, January 1 – New Year’s Day – Epiphany Sunday – Noisy Offering
Appointed scriptures:  Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12
Pastor Nan will preach.
  10:00 a.m.    ONE SERVICE ONLY.
        (9:00-9:45 a.m. – Coffee/fellowship.)


On Friday, December 16, Iowa River Hospice will host a caregivers support group called Common Bonds at 2:00 p.m.  This group regularly meets the third Friday of each month at Hope UMC. Volunteers can be available for companionship for your loved one so caregivers are free to attend.  The role of caregiver is one of the most challenging, and support is helpful.  All are welcome.  Please call Iowa River Hospice at 753-7704 to register or visit www.IowaRiverHospice.org.

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year.
—Charles Dickens


Susanna Circle will gather Saturday, December 10 at 9:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall for a breakfast meeting before delivering gifts to a House of Compassion adopted family.  Hostesses will be Mary Borton and Joyce Salasek.  Bev Risius will give devotions.

Mary/Martha Circle will meet Wednesday, December 14 at
9:30 a.m. in Fellowship Hall with hostesses Becky DauSchmidt and Shirley Hesse.  Eileen Mitchell will lead devotions.  Treats will be packed for delivery to shut-ins and others.  Bring individually wrapped cookies or candy and a Christmas gift bag.

Faith Circle will meet Thursday, December 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the home of Caralee Hutchens, 2207 Wakefield Drive.  Caralee is in charge of devotions and the program.

All women are invited to Circle meetings with no obligation to join.


The UMW would like to thank all members of the congregation for supporting the annual Cookie Carry-out on December 4.  Whether you baked cookies or bought cookies or both, we appreciate your support.  This year’s event raised $426, which will be allocated to mission projects selected by Hope UMW.  Once again, we were blessed by many helping hands.

THE LATEST NEWSLETTER from Larry and Jane Kies, our missionaries in Zimbabwe and recipients of our annual Christmas offering, is posted on a hallway bulletin board as well as on the Hope website:  www.lifeinhope.org.

REMEMBER TO RETURN CIRSI CHRISTMAS GIFTS, if you have taken a tag from the tree, by Sunday, December 18.

Tuesday, December 27