March 2021 Newsletter



March 2021



A Message from our Pastor!

And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’ (Mark 11.8-10)


So they cried out again, “Crucify Him! Then Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, “Crucify Him!” (Mark 15.13-14)


It is almost breathtaking. Sometimes I have trouble wrapping my mind around how fickle the crowds of Jerusalem were in regards to Jesus. It makes me wonder just what was going through their minds. If they even thought about the change in their behavior.

One Sunday, shortly before Passover, the people of Jerusalem welcome Jesus like a conquering hero. In fact, that is exactly what the crowds thought He was about to become. They cheered and sang and praised God and crowded all around Him. They celebrated that the Messiah had finally arrived. Practically turned the whole event into a parade. There is a reason that it is sometimes called the “Triumphal Entry”. The people could hardly have acted more excited and happy to see Jesus than they did.

Less than a week later, they were screaming for His blood. The crowds were demanding that Jesus be crucified. Demanding that He be subjected to the most painful way of executing someone that they knew of. Crucifixion was so bad that it was usually reserved for traitors and rebels, for those who threatened Rome’s rule in some way or another. In less than a week, Jesus had gone from Messiah to criminal, from King to traitor, in people’s eyes.

Jesus had not changed during that last week. He spent the time preaching to the crowds about the Kingdom of God. He healed the sick. He taught His disciples. All of the same things (more or less) that Jesus had been doing for the last three years.  The religious leaders were plotting to kill Jesus, but again, that was nothing new.

I start to wonder if maybe NOTHING was new in that last week, at least not in regards to the crowds. That it was not so much the people turning against Jesus. Rather, it was just being revealed that they were never really for Him. How many of the people who turned up on Palm Sunday to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem were just there for the show, just there to see what was going on? And when the novelty had worn off, they were ready for a new show.  In this case, a much darker one.

Of course, we do not take things to those kinds of extremes in our lives. The tendency is still with us, though. That urge to always be on the lookout for something new and exciting, even in our spiritual life. For some people that means jumping from church to church. For others it might mean constantly changing how we pray or do devotions.

One of the good things about Lent is that it encourages us to stick with our spiritual practices, at least for a season. By this point, Lent is well under way. Whether you have chosen to give up something as a Lenten fast or if you have taken something on for the season: stick with it! Let us pray that God will use this time to help us all to grow more consistent and persistent in our devotion to our Lord.


Yours in Christ,

Pastor Josh




News from the pandemic!


In Person Worship.  Following the Governor releasing restrictions on gatherings, our Administrative Council discussed how we should proceed.  Since the Federal government and all federal and state health agencies, and our church’s Bishop and Conference are still asking us to follow all safety guidelines, we will continue to follow these safety precautions until further notice

Everyone wear a mask and observe social distancing at all times.

There will be no food or beverages provided.



We’re Live Streaming Our Worship Services!

Every Sunday, barring unforeseen circumstances, we’re live-streaming our worship services!  This outreach program gives us the ability to get the word out to those who cannot attend services in person for one reason or another, as well as many from other states and even other countries.  Tell your family, friends and neighbors!

Please try it out!  Go to or go on Facebook and search for Volga UMC.   Additionally, we have a Roku Channel under Volga United Methodist Church where all of the above may be viewed.

Our Sunday services begin at 10:30 a.m. central standard time if you want to join in for the live stream.  This website will also allow you to view the service at a later date.  We’re always open to suggestions that will make these services better for you.  Send an email to



The Volga United Methodist Church is 172 years old this year!  Part of our continuing celebration will be to include a bit of the history of the church in the newsletter each month. These are taken from the United Methodist Memoirs and Morsels, our UMW cookbook.

Continued:  1883:  “On and after July 1, 1883, the city will be cut off from the name of our post office, leaving it Volga instead of Volga City.”

Early in September Elder Whitford accidentally discharged a small revolver.  The ball entered his left hand and passed upward into the wrist.  It had not been extracted when the news item appeared in the Clayton County Register.

On September 13, a donation festival was held for Rev. J.S. Mcintyre.  The proceeds were $60.75.  When he preached his farewell sermon he “was listened to by a large congregation.”

The Rev. L.U. McKee was appointed to the Elkader Circuit.  “The salary of our new preacher is $900.00 divided equally between the appointments at Elkader and Volga, and the use of the parsonage additional.  All are well pleased with the new pastor and the new Presiding Elder, Rev. W. Frank Paxton.  – SPY”.

“On November 8th, Rev. J.G. Whitford was very agreeably surprised on his 73rd birthday.  A few of his many friends presented him with a reclining chair, which will be a great comfort to him in his old age.  The presentation address by Rev. L.U McKee, and the response by Mr. Whitford, were both very good.  Mr. Whitford is a patriarch in the ministerial ranks, having preached the gospel since his 19th year.  He was one of the earliest settlers in Sperry Township

and has preached in this vicinity for fully 30 years.  Everybody loves to hear Father Whitford.”    (To be continued)


April 1st:  Joint Maundy Thursday Service:  7:00 PM at the Volga UMC


April 2nd:  Joint Good Friday Service:  7:00 PM at the Arlington UMC


Sunday, April 4th:  Easter Service:  10:30 am at the Volga UMC

         9:00 am at the Arlington UMC




February 21, 2021.

Glenna called the Ad Council meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. Attending were:  Pastor Josh, Nancy Berger, Schelvie Chase, Elaine Follon, Milly Stewart, Glenna Whitford, Nancy VanHorn and Neal VanHorn.

The previous Ad Council minutes were approved as read.

The Treasurer’s report showed all bills and apportionments are paid as of January 31, 2021. The checking account shows a balance of $7713.19.

A discussion was held on our Covid safety practices. It was decided to continue with our masks and social distancing with a motion by Elaine Follon and seconded by Neal VanHorn.

Holy week services were discussed. The Maundy Thursday service will be held on April 1st. at 7:00 at the Volga church and Good Friday service will be held on April 2nd at 7:00 at the Arlington church.

Just a reminder of Audrey’s Wednesday Bible Study at 1:30 at the parsonage.

A motion was made to adjourn by Neal VanHorn and seconded by Elaine Follon.

The next Ad Council meeting is March 21, 2021.


Nancy Berger, Secy








          UMW Update:    When the members of UMW feel it is safe to gather again, we will use the schedule provided in last year’s booklet.




For our safety as we worship together.

For safety and comfort for all from the pandemic.

For Pastor Josh, his family and the ministries of our churches.



To George, Ann and Nancy for running our live stream program.

To Mark for clearing snow from the church each week.

To Glenna for printing our bulletins each Sunday.

To all our congregation for following the safety rules to keep us all safe.



As always, if you have questions, concerns or suggestions, please talk with or contact a member of the Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee.

The 2021 Volga members of the SPPRC are:

George Duff, Pamela Follon, Neal VanHorn and Forrest Whitford



Mailing address: Volga United Methodist Church, 306 Washington St., P.O. Box 133, Volga, IA 52077-0133

Website:               E-mail:             Facebook: Volga UMC

Church phone: 563-767-3114     Pastor  cellphone: 319-264-0347      Pastor










1:     Milly Stewart Birthday

5:     World Day of Prayer

International Bell Ringing for Women’s Rights


7:     Sunday Worship Service at 10:30 a.m.

Paraments:  Purple

Schelvie Chase Birthday


12:   Fran Derhammer Birthday                                                                                      23:   Volga UMW 151stAnniversary

152nd Anniversary of all United Methodist Women

14:   Sunday Worship Service at 10:30 a.m.

Paraments:  Purple                                                                                                28:   Sunday Worship Service at 10:30 a.m.

Daylight Savings Time Begins                                                                                           PALM SUNDAY

Paraments:  Purple

17:   St. Patrick’s Day                                                                                                              Wayne and Artella Coonfare Anniversary


20:   First Day of Spring                                                                                                  30:   Forrest Whitford Birthday


21:  Sunday Worship Service at 10:30 a.m.

Administrative Council Meeting at 11:30 a.m.

Paraments:  Purple

































10:30am Worship Service

5:00pm Prayer with the Pastor

5:45pm Admin Council

Paraments:  White

Father’s Day










Summer begins




10:30am Worship Service


Paraments:  Green














10:30am Worship Service


Paraments:  Green