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First Church 
Cross Notes

February 19, 2021


This Sunday,
February 21, 2021

In-person worship has been suspended due to Covid-19.

We have returned to Live Stream Worship
Be sure to join us on Facebook to participate in worship at 10:30 AM.

YouTube is no longer allowing live-streaming for small numbers of viewers, therefore we will be posting worship to YouTube later in the day.

If you subscribe to our YouTube channel you will receive a notification when anything new is posted.

Volunteers are needed to help prepare the evening meal for the Central Iowa Shelter on Tuesday, March 2.   

If you are able to help, please contact Shirley at or call 276-3112

Our Journey of Prayer

You can join us Monday-Friday at either 7:00 AM or 8:00 PM for 15 minutes of prayer. These prayer times will be held on Zoom. Hop on whenever you are available. To get the Zoom links, contact Lisa Karen at the church office. There is a different link for the AM prayer time and the PM prayer time. We would suggest getting both links so you can join us at either time.

Don't forget that we are also forming prayer groups of three people who will commit to meet weekly by phone for 1/2 hour. To sign up to participate in a group, contact Lisa Karen at or call her at 244-6209.

This 12 week time of prayer, reflection and discernment is important for our lives and for the life of the church so we hope you will make this a priority.


Anti-Racism Task Force 

First Church is pleased to announce the formation of an Anti-Racism Task Force. The purpose of this group is to educate members of the congregation on issues related to race. They will be providing relevant information and making available studies and other activities. 
If you would like to join this task force, please contact Christine.


You may still purchase a blanket for Church World Service anytime during February. 

For only $10 you may send a blanket with love to a person who needs to know someone cares . . . let that someone be you!

Click here for more information from our website about Blanket Sunday.

February is Black History Month. Each week the Anti-Racism Task Force will be sharing with you stories of African Americans who have made an impact on our lives and our culture.

Mary McLeod Bethune
Mary McLeod Bethune was one of the most significant educators, leaders, government officials and advocates for civil rights of the 20th century.

She was born on July 10, 1875 in Maysville, South Carolina, to Samuel and Patsy McLeod.  Her parents were both former slaves and she was the 15th of 17 children.  The McLeod family owned a five-acre plot of land near Maysville and lived in a two-room cabin.  They were extremely poor and to earn a living, most family members picked cotton.

Mary was inspired to learn at a young age and attended a one room schoolhouse in Maysville.  She was the only child in her family to attend school and had to walk several miles each day to and from school.

To many people, then as now, education seemed to be the most promising solution to the host of problems facing the ex-slaves and their descendants. She achieved greatness through her complete commitment to education.  Her life was devoted to improving opportunities for young people of color and along the way she made a difference to the entire world.
Mary attended Scotia Seminary on scholarship and aspiring to be an African missionary, attended Dwight L. Moody’s Institute for Home and Foreign Missions. No mission organization would send her as a missionary so she focused her efforts on education and teaching school.

In 1898 Mary McLeod married Albertus L. Bethune and became Mary McLeod Bethune.  They moved to Savannah, Georgia for a year where she was employed as a social worker.  After Mary and Albertus’ son Albert was born, they relocated to Palatka, Florida where a minister persuaded them to take positions running a mission school.  In 1907 Albertus abandoned Mary and Albert and in 1918 he died from tuberculosis.

Mary served as chapter president for Florida in the National Association of Colored Women from 1917 until 1925.  This organization promoted the needs of African American women.

McLeod Bethune started her own educational institution, a school for girls in Daytona, Florida, that would, in 1931, merge with Cookman Institute and become Bethune-Cookman University. Bethune-Cookman became a United Methodist Related institution, a relationship they still value today. The quality of education offered there, combined with McLeod Bethune’s leadership in advocacy and youth organizations, gained the attention of the Roosevelt White House. In 1936, she was appointed the director of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration, a position she held until 1944.

In 1940 while in government service, she became vice president of the NAACP, an office she would continue to occupy until her death in 1955. She was responsible for overseeing the integration of the Women’s Army Corps in 1942, and in 1945 under President Truman, was appointed as the only Black woman to be present at the founding of the United Nations. She was also a successful businesswoman in the hospitality and insurance industries. In addition to her legacy in education, McLeod Bethune actively campaigned for civil rights and fought to end discrimination and lynching. 

As a Methodist leader, she was a lay delegate to General Conference four times, advocating for the elimination of the segregated Central Jurisdiction.

Following her death in 1955, she has continued to be remembered in some of the following ways:
  • In 1974, she became the first black woman to be honored by a public sculpture within the District of Columbia.
  • In 1985 the US Postal Service issued a postage stamp in her honor.
  • In 2008, the South Carolina Department of Transportation Enhancement Program opened the Mary Bethune Nature Trail in Maysville.
  • In 2013, the state of South Carolina unveiled a license plate featuring her image.
  • Her Washington DC home is a National Historic site and her final home in Daytona Beach, FL is a national historic landmark.
The character of this remarkable woman is best reflected however in these words from her last will & testament:

I leave you love.  I leave you hope.  I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another.  I leave you a thirst for education.  I leave you a respect of the use of power.  I leave you faith.  I leave you racial dignity.  I leave you a desire to live harmoniously with your fellow man.  I leave you a responsibility to our young people.

Because we haven’t been able to worship in person due to the pandemic, Coffee Cart sales have been greatly diminished.  As a result, many of the products have passed the “Best By” date.  So we will be offering them at a  discount while they last.  Here are some of the bargains: Green Tea: $2.50; Almonds: $6.50; Olive Oil: $10.00; Candy Bars (all flavors) $2.00.  To take advantage of the sale, please contact Lisa Karen ( or 515-244-6209) and arrange a time when you can pick up your order at the Church.  Office hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM.
Mental Health Clinic

Many people are experiencing changes in their mental wellness-to-illness continuum.

If you're experiencing a mental health crisis, 
UnityPoint Health – Behavioral Health Urgent Care is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 1250 East 9th Street in Des Moines.  (515) 263-2632

This is a walk-in clinic for adults and/or children, staffed with professionals to determine if the feelings are a temporary situational effect or of clinical concern. Either way, they can suggest resources and/or referrals to help. 
Did you know that you can now give online? Go to the church website On the left hand side of the page you will see online giving. Click there and you will be directed to the giving page. If you would rather, please feel free to mail your weekly check to the church. The address is 1001 Pleasant St. Des Moines, IA 50309. Thank you!

Caregivers at Unity Point can use some encouragement as they prepare for what might be coming. If you would like to offer a word of encouragement, click link here:

Worship ~ We Welcome Everyone
First United Methodist Church, at the top of 10th Street in downtown Des Moines, strives to love others as Christ loves us and, in doing so, to be the Body of Christ in word and deed.
As the Body of Christ, we welcome all of God’s children, knowing that each is created in the image of God. We welcome people of all gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, races, ethnicities, family configurations, and physical and mental capabilities to join us in full participation as we come together to worship God and then go out to share God’s love in the world around us.

Check out our Website:

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DSM First Church UMC


Click above for the most recent issue of the LIGHT.

LIGHT Articles are due by the 20th of each month.

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Our mailing address is:

First United Methodist Church
1001 Pleasant Street
Des Moines, IA  50309
(515) 244-6209

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Des Moines First United Methodist Church · 1001 Pleasant St · Des Moines, IA 50309-2611 · USA

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