Our gifts of time, talents, and treasures with...Stephen's Ministry

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Stephen Minsters walk alongside care receivers being Jesus’ hands and feet offering a “cool cup of water” for those going through a crisis with listening, prayer, and keeping Christ in the center of the ministry.

Stephen Ministry had it's second beginning in May of  2013 after a previous start to the ministry several years before that.

Wesley currently has:

  • 14 Stephen Ministers (with over 700 hours training and 165 hours continuing education)
  • 5 Stephen Minister Leaders (with over 200hours of training in St. Louis, MO)
  • 25 Care Receivers (receiving 1, 423 hours of caregiving from Stephen Ministers)

Stephen Ministers serve people dealing with:

  • Grief
  • Long-term Illness
  • Divorce
  • Health issues
  • Primary Caregiver Support
  • Aging
  • Dying
  • Dementia
  • Hospital Visits
  • Infant Loss

The Stephen Ministry program

  • Has given 90 complete sets of 4 Grief Books sent to family/friends that have experienced the death of a loved one.
  • Is available to members/non-members of Wesley
  • Has a small Resource Library of support materials on a variety of topics available in the Library for anyone

Affirmations from Care Receivers:

  • Helps to talk
  • Love our visits
  • Glad to talk to someone outside of family and friends
  • Life-line keeping me going
  • One thing stable in my life
  • Grateful for the time together
  • I know I can share anything
  • Grew Spiritually
  • God must have sent you
  • I needed to talk
  • 3:00 in the morning friend
  • Can talk about anything
  • Non-judgmental
  • Helps to talk

Stephen Minsters have said the following:

  • Rewarding
  • Awesome to see how God works
  • God led
  • Christ-centered
  • Confidential
  • Just love ‘em
  • Training helped me in daily relationships with work, family, friends
  • Blessings received far more than I have given

Thank you for supporting your Stephen Ministry at Wesley through your prayers and monetary giving! You make Wesley’s Stephen Ministry possible. If you know someone or you yourself would like a Stephen Minister contact Pastor Brian or Janet Barry.

Our gifts of time, talents, and treasures with...Domestic Violence Baskets

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The Domestic Violence Shelter (DVS) in Muscatine provides a safe refuge for battered women and their children. Since December 2015, Wesley has delivered 30 baskets full of starting over items for residents leaving the shelter and starting fresh.

Each basket contains:

  • towels and washcloths
  • body wash and lotion
  • shampoo
  • nail polish
  • cans of fruit
  • cans of vegetables
  • canned meat
  • microwave meals
  • toilet paper
  • paper towels
  • bracelet
  • plates
  • cups
  • glasses
  • silverware
  • can opener
  • pillow and pillowcase
  • electric skillet or crockpot or pots and pans
  • gift card

Frequently other items appear in the baskets as individuals feel led to donate. Things like:

  • Dish towels
  • Dish soap
  • Laundry detergent
  • Cleaner
  • Toaster

Every basket contains a card with an encouraging message and a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “Our own success to be real, must contribute to the success of others.” The cards are signed: Women Helping Women, Wesley United Methodist Church.

We have also donated …

Twenty-one air mattresses with pumps and batteries with complete sheet sets for those leaving without any beds.

Each year the Hospitality and Outreach Ministry Committee donates $300 dollars to buy needed items for this mission. We have also had $310 donated by individuals wanting to help.

 

One of the thank you's received said,

"Please share with everyone how much our clients love the moving out tubs and how excited they are to get them when they are starting over. Their faces light up when we give one to them. We are so thankful for your continued support to our clients and program. It really means a lot!!"

Judy Yates
MCSA DV Shelter

 

The DVS baskets are yet another way Wesley strives to make a difference with our time, talents, and treasures. Thank you to all who support this ministry!

Our gifts of time, talents, and treasures with...Loaves and Fishes

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The Hospitality and Outreach Ministry supports our local Loaves & Fishes. Loaves & Fishes is a non-profit charitable organization that provides meals to our community every Saturday morning. These meals are held in the lower level of the MCSA building.

With funds from Wesley, Hospitality and Outreach Ministry is able to buy food, prepare meals, and serve meals FIVE times per year! The average cost per event is $150. This money allows Loaves and Fishes to feed an average number of 55 individuals for each meal.

Wesley's work with this ministry is a great translation of our vision to "transform lives through hands-on ministry with children and families in need". We thank all who faithfully serve through this ministry with their time, talents, and/or treasurers. We could not do it without you!

Our gifts of time, talents, and treasures at...Franklin Elementary (Part 3)

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Today is our final post from a Franklin teacher to share her insight of Wesley volunteers at Franklin. Stay tuned next week for our gifts of time, talents, and treasures with the Loaves and Fishes ministry!

Students at Franklin School look forward each week to volunteers from Wesley Church who help in our classrooms. One of the nicest things is how flexible they all are! Whether it’s the curriculum content, the sizes of groups, the location, or anything we ask of them, they are beyond willing to help. They bring with them positive attitudes and patience, which is always a breath of fresh air to both students and teachers. We are so very appreciative and thankful to have them as part of our Franklin family!

Nancy VanHemert
4th Grade Teacher
Franklin Elementary

Our gifts of time, talents, and treasures at...Franklin Elementary (Part 2)

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Our previous post outlined how one teacher saw the benefits of our Wesley volunteers at Franklin Elementary. Here is another example of our impact there...

I am proud to have been working with the Wesley Volunteers for several years now. I am excited to share the impact that this has made on my students. My students have better attendance on the days the volunteers come because they look forward to reading with them. The volunteers make connections with each and every student to have another adult to encourage success in their abilities. The impact that the Wesley Volunteers have on my students is valued by myself and the students.

Mrs. Henderson, 2nd Grade Teacher
Franklin Elementary

Our gifts of time, talents, and treasures at...Franklin Elementary (Part 1)

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One ministry Wesley has been involved with for more than 5 years is helping at Franklin Elementary. Wesley has helped by providing books to students and the library, a carnival for several years, items for families in need, and much more. One of the most successful ways Wesley has been involved, however, is our gift of time with students in their classrooms. Below is one glimpse of how a teacher sees the benefits of our volunteers...

I have no idea how to completely express the gratitude I feel as I see our volunteers interact with our Franklin students. This feeling is mirrored in the faces of our students as they work with you throughout our days.

Our students look forward to their time each and every week. The students come back and share what they have done. They are proud of their work and always have smiles as they return.

For me, I have directly aligned the skills and strategies to address the gaps that our data has shown. When our students have another opportunity to work on these skills the outcomes usually show us growth in an academic sense. This is just one benefit of having wonderful volunteers

Another plus is simply having more adults our students can rely on to be an ear to listen, a positive role model, and a cheerleader for them. This is probably the biggest benefit. You might not know exactly how much this means, but I can simply say it can help make our children feel whole.

We always say we can't teach our students until they feel loved, safe, and appreciated. You are all helping us on this path.

To each and every volunteer, you are loved and appreciated!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sincerely,
Cheryl Reed, 3rd Grade Teacher
Franklin Elementary

Talk Like an Organist (Part Three)

We are working through the description of the instrument that CB Fisk is constructing for us: “a 3 manual tracker instrument of 39 stops in an eclectic tonal style.” If you have been following along, you can now explain to your neighbor or anyone else what a manual is and what tracker action is. Let's talk about those 39 stops now.

A stop is a group of pipes, one for each note or pitch on the keyboard. Even though each pipe is a different pitch, all of the pipes in the group will share a distinctive sound. When you look online at our specification: http://www.cbfisk.com/sites/default/files/instruments/specifications/153_spec.pdf you'll see stops numbered 1 to 39. When Grace is installed in our sanctuary, she will have 39 knobs with these names on them. The stop knobs, when pulled out, will allow air to that group of pipes. The organist will choose one solo stop or a group of stops to sound together.

There are four families of sounds: principal, flute, string and reed. Stops of each family are found in each division of the organ. The main sound of the organ is the principal family. It is a strong, clear sound. The flutes are lighter and gentler. The strings have a skinny sound because they are skinnier pipes. The principal, flute and string pipes are all flue pipes and produce sound in basically the same way. The reed pipes actually have a vibrating reed that puts the air in motion within the pipe. Some of the reeds that Grace will have are a bright solo trumpet, a trumpet that gets along well with others, a round, woody clarinet sound, a plaintive oboe and a big pedal reed that will be heard rumbling under the congregational hymns.

If you go back to that stoplist, you'll notice that there are numbers after the stop names. The stops that say 8' will be the same pitch as the piano. Middle C on the piano will be the same as middle C on the organ. It is designated 8' because the lowest pipe in that rank will be around 8 foot tall. Some of the stops say 4'. That rank will be an octave higher than piano pitch and the lowest pipe will be around 4 feet tall. A couple of the ranks say 2'. Those will be two octaves higher than piano pitch and guess what – the lowest pipe will be around 2 feet tall. The 16' and 32' will be one octave and two octaves lower than piano pitch respectively. The pipes that we will see on the front of Grace will be the Principal 16' so the longest one will be about 16 foot tall. So far we have talked about whole numbers. When you play a C you get a C, maybe higher or lower but still a C.

Some of the stop names have numbers with fractions behind them. These are mutations. When you play middle C with a 2-2/3 stop pulled, you get the G an octave and a fifth above middle C. Weird, huh? You wouldn't use that stop all by itself, but would combine it with other stops to make a beautiful solo sound. We'll save the discussion on harmonics for another day, but it works somewhat magically. (Unless you know something about physics, then it's physics.)

The mixtures have Roman numerals. When you play one note on the keyboard, you get more than one pipe speaking at various really high pitches.  I am of course skipping a bunch of details that would help you understand this better; but for now let's just say – the mixture is used in combination with other stops, adding a crowning sparkle. Grace has a tiara!

Grace has 39 stops with distinctive voices, ready to do solos and work with others. Be like Grace. Are you an outgoing principal with a clear strong voice and bold action? Or are you a flute or string providing the harmony in the background with beautiful things to say? If you want to be a reed you might relish opportunities for public speaking, or be the one who adds spice to a group, or the voice of sorrow or even silly jokes.  Like Grace, we have many distinctive voices. Let the music continue!

Talk Like an Organist (Part Two)

Talk Like an Organist (Part Two)

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We have contracted with CB Fisk Organbuilder to build a “3 manual tracker instrument of 39 stops in an eclectic tonal style.”  In the last article we started to define terms in that sentence so that we might better understand. In fact, here is the pop quiz for that article: what is a manual and why do we want three of them? The answer will be at the end of this article. Don't peak – you know the answer!

Let's look at the next part of the sentence now. We are getting a “tracker instrument”.  Again – one might ask what and why??

The what
The sound of a pipe organ is produced by air in pipes. To make the pipes produce sound, the musician depresses the keys of the manuals and pedal. The keys must be connected to the pipes in some manner. The traditional way for the keys to be connected to the pipes is by trackers – or thin strips of wood that connect each key to the valve, allowing air into each pipe. Very simple, right? In theory, yes. But I hope the kind people of Fisk don't mind if I have my nose poked in there while they assemble our Grace. I can't wait to see how they can design the most economical path to run those trackers from the keys to all of those pipes.

It is important that the path of the tracker is indeed economical.  Each extra inch of tracker or change in direction increases the effort required to depress the key. It is important that the action remain light and fluid and not become heavy and cumbersome when the music calls for many quick notes or big, fat chords. I said earlier that traditionally trackers were strips of wood. Modern trackers are actually carbon fiber rods. They are more stable and lighter weight than traditional strips of wood.

Our last instrument had a flexible 'umbilical cord' of wires connecting the console of keys to the pipes. That made it possible for the huge console to be rolled to different positions on the Chancel area or even into its garage. Grace's key desk will be attached permanently to the center front of the pipe chamber, so that those trackers have efficient paths to the pipes.

The why
Because mechanical action (another term for tracker action) is the simplest, it is also the easiest system to maintain. While electric actions will be needing significant repair or replacement in 25 or 30 years, there are many examples in Europe of tracker instruments that have lasted for centuries.

The most important reason for choosing tracker action however is to be able to make beautiful music.

The direct mechanical connection between the musician's fingertips and the valve allowing air to the pipes provides the opportunity for a great deal more control over the beginning and ending of each note. In an electric action the valve opens when a magnetic connection is made. It is simply on or off. With tracker action, the musician feels a slight resistance when the valve is about to open and can have some control over how the valve opens. If you push through the resistance quickly, air will rush into the pipe more quickly and the beginning of the pipe sound will have a 'p' or 't' at its beginning. If you push through the resistance a little more gently the sound will begin with a 'm' or 'n'. The same control is available with the closing of the valve. You can end the sound a distinct 'd' or 't' or ease it smoothly to the next note with 'l' or 'n' connecting them. This is of course extremely subtle and the listener may not be aware why the largest piece of furniture in the room, made of wood and metal, is able to sound as if it is singing to you with a human voice with human emotions. You can be sure however that the organist is very pleased to have such an intimate connection with the instrument and the opportunity to use music to weave together the hearts of a congregation.

And the answer to the pop quiz: A manual is a set of keys like on a piano. We are glad to have three of them so that the music can have the structure of sound allowed by contrasting manuals – like solo and accompaniment or echoes or duets and trios.

Talk Like an Organist (Part One)

If you fire up your internet and look at http://www.cbfisk.com/instruments/opus_153 you'll see a picture of Wesley! Hopefully soon that will be replaced by a picture of the model of our Grace. You'll read that we have contracted with CB Fisk Organbuilders to build a “3 manual tracker instrument of 39 stops in an eclectic tonal style” (as you know). But you may wonder what that might mean.  With just a few terms defined you can be talking like an organist! Let's break this down.

Three manual.  A manual is a set of keys to be played with your hands, like a piano. Organs usually have at least two. The piano has 88 keys while the organ has 61. I'll explain later why the organ still has a much greater pitch range.

Each manual represents a division, or group of sounds. On our instrument they are called Great, Swell and Choir.  Each division has a particular character. The Great is the foundation of the instrument. Most of the hymn-playing will be done on this manual. The Swell is a little softer with more colorful sounds. The Choir has even more solo sounds. Sometimes both hands are on one manual playing like you would a piano.  Sometimes one hand is on a manual with solo sounds and the other hand on another manual playing back up harmony or a contrasting melody. In other music both hands move from one manual to another to create an echo or contrast. Having multiple manuals makes it possible for organ music to have structure with a variety of sounds.

When you look at the front of our instrument, the pipes that you are able to see are of the Great division. The other two divisions however are enclosed. That means that each division is in a box with shutters on three sides. The organist is able to control how open or closed those shutters are, thereby controlling the dynamics (how loud or soft the sound is). Most builders would have shutters on only one side, but the fact that Fisk builds in this way will give a far greater range from loud, when the shutters are open, to very soft, when they are closed, and everything in between!

The other division is the Pedal division, the set of keys (just like a manual) to be played by the feet. The pedal division has 32 notes. They are arranged just like the keys on a piano, but sized for the feet. The pedal board is slightly concave to make reaching the keys on each end a little more convenient.

As I shared earlier, I was able to be at the dedication weekend for Fisk, Op 150. I thought it was interesting when in a discussion with people of Christ Church, Philadelphia David Pike, Tonal Director at Fisk, related the three divisions of their instrument to the three persons of the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The Great could represent the strong foundational voice of the Father. Their new division was placed behind the organist on the balcony rail, closer to the people of the congregation, as the Son, Emmanuel, God with us, is close to us. The ethereal sounds coming from the upper part of the instrument could be related to the Holy Ghost. Three expressions of one. I won't try to push the theological relevance any further, but I did find it interesting!

In the next article we can look at the next part of the organ description “tracker”.

You are part way to “talking like an organist.”

Sally Potter
Organist, Wesley UMC

Organ Model

Allow me to introduce you to Grace, Fisk Op 153. Isn't she lovely? This is a picture of the model of our
Chancel area and instrument. The model is in the Fisk workshop. She was designed to look as if she
had always been a part of the Sanctuary and adds a complementary balance to the stories told by the
windows and the suspended cross with crown of thorns. Notice how many of the shapes in the case
reflect the shapes found in our windows. And see the little designs in colors? They are colors from the
windows. Her case will be of oak, like our pews, but rather honey-toned to integrate with the windows.
The facade pipes (the pipes that we see) are the Principal 16' on the Great. This will be the core of her
sound. The pipes of that rank are made of a hammered metal alloy of 98% lead. Metal pipes can be
made of various alloys of tin and lead and other metals. Those with high lead content like ours have a
warm, inviting sound and hammering gives them a lovely semi-gloss appearance. They won't be as
shiny as the pipes of our previous organ which were of high tin content with a brilliant sound. The
gilded mouths will be a nice contrast on the darker bodied pipes.

 

The case doesn't fill the entire width of the arches. That results in advantages aesthetically, acoustically
and practically. Aesthetically this design gives us the ratio of height versus width that is most pleasing.
In this view you may not be able to see that there are floor to ceiling pipes along the back wall. Those
pipes along both edges will be able to speak more directly into the room and support our hymn singing.
And practically speaking the side doors to the organ chamber are still accessible.

 

This physical model will soon be translated to a CAD model and construction of parts of our organ will
begin in earnest next month.

Through the generosity of memorials, we are able to add a cymbelstern to the organ. The cymbelstern is a set of little bells that ring in a pattern when they are engaged. They add a happy, whimsical
background to the music. But as my grandmother used to say, “Pretty is as Pretty does.” Grace will fulfill her role of adding to the visual aspect of our worship, but even more, offer a myriad of voices to add to our own in prayer and praise.

Sally Potter
Wesley Organist