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First Church 
Cross Notes

February 12, 2021


This Sunday,
February 14, 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 or YouTube to participate in worship at 10:30 AM.

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

Ashes To Go

This week we begin the season of Lent. We will have an online Ash Wednesday service at 7:00 PM this Wednesday, February 17th. If you would like to have ashes to apply at home, packets are available in a small metal can which is attached to the bench just outside the north doors of the church. You may stop by and pick them up at your convenience.

Our Journey of Prayer

Our 12 week prayer journey begins with a sermon this Sunday, February 14th.

You can join us Monday-Friday (beginning 2/15) at either 7:00 AM or 8:00 PM for 15 minutes of prayer. These prayer times will be held on Zoom or you can use your phone. 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. If you want to join us by phone, the numbers were listed in the February issue of the Light.

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.


February 14 is our annual CWS Blanket Sunday but you may make a gift anytime during the month. 

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 W. Jackson

Mary (Winston) Jackson was born April 9, 1921 to Ella & Frank Winston.  She grew up in Hampton, Virginia where as a young girl, she loved math and science.

She grew up during the time of segregation but beat the odds and was given special permission to attend an all-white college, Hampton Institute, where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degrees in Mathematics and Physical Science in 1942.

Mary taught mathematics for a year at an African-American school in Calvert County, Maryland. In 1951 she was recruited by the National Advisory Committee of Aeronautics and Space Administration (NACA), which in 1958 was succeeded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and worked there for most of her career. She started as a Human Computer at the segregated West Area Computing division.

After two years in the computing pool, she received an offer to work for engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki in the 4-foot by 4-foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel, a 60,000 horsepower wind tunnel capable of blasting models with winds approaching twice the speed of sound. Czarnecki offered Mary hands-on experience conducting experiments in the facility, and eventually suggested that she enter a training program that would allow her to earn a promotion from mathematician to engineer. Trainees had to take graduate level math and physics in after-work courses managed by the University of Virginia. Because the classes were held at then-segregated Hampton High School, however, Mary needed special permission from the City of Hampton to join her white peers in the classroom. Never one to flinch in the face of a challenge, Mary completed the courses, earned the promotion, and in 1958 became NASA’s first black female engineer. That same year, she co-authored her first report, Effects of Nose Angle and Mach Number on Transition on Cones at Supersonic Speeds.

For Mary Winston Jackson, a love of science and a commitment to improving the lives of the people around her were one and the same. In the 1970s, she helped the youngsters in the science club at Hampton’s King Street Community center build their own wind tunnel and use it to conduct experiments. “We have to do something like this to get them interested in science," she said in an article for the local newspaper. "Sometimes they are not aware of the number of black scientists, and don't even know of the career opportunities until it is too late."

Mary Jackson began her engineering career in an era in which female engineers of any background were a rarity; in the 1950s, she very well may have been the only black female aeronautical engineer in the field. For nearly two decades she enjoyed a productive engineering career, authoring or co-authoring a dozen or so research reports, most focused on the behavior of the boundary layer of air around airplanes. As the years progressed, the promotions slowed, and she became frustrated at her inability to break into management-level grades. In 1979, seeing that the glass ceiling was the rule rather than the exception for the center’s female professionals, she made a final, dramatic career change, leaving engineering and taking a demotion to fill the open position of Langley’s Federal Women’s Program Manager. There, she worked hard to impact the hiring and promotion of the next generation of all of NASA’s female mathematicians, engineers and scientists.

After working for NASA for 34 years, Mary retired in 1985. She died on February 11, 2005 but her legacy lives on. Mary was a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal and was a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

To learn more about her, watch the movie Hidden Figures.
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.

Click here for the
church calendar!

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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