November 2020

A Message from our Pastor!
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good. (Psalm 122.6-9)
As this is written, there is a little less than one week until the elections. Praise Be to God! I am not sure how much more campaigning I could endure. Throughout all of this, though, there is one fact I keep needing to remind myself of: The world will not end if my candidate loses. Nor will we be saved if my favorite candidate wins. It is easy to forget that sometimes. Come November 4th, some of us will be joyful, and some of us will be upset, but whatever the results of the upcoming elections are we need to remember two things: 1) We are still brothers and sisters in Christ; and 2) our duty is first and foremost to Almighty God.
It can be so easy to forget those during an election cycle. People get so worked up over “their” candidate winning. To hear some people talk, you would think that the Apocalypse was waiting in the wings, ready to spring out on us if the election goes wrongly.
Perspective is always a problem. Down thru the ages, there have been good governments and many bad governments. Maybe more bad than good. Leaders have ruled wisely and leaders have ruled foolishly. The Church has been persecuted, and the Church has been supported.
Now is the time to remind ourselves that God calls us to Himself regardless of our political affiliations. God calls us to pray for our leaders, even if we do not like them. God calls us to pray for the peace of our nation, until we truly know the Peace of God.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Josh

News from the pandemic!

Opening up to Worship. We continue having in-person worship services inside the church, agreeing to follow all safety precautions in order to enjoy music, sound, power point and videos as well as resuming our live-streaming. In September we agreed to start singing again as long as we are all wearing masks. We will plan to continue worshipping in the church during the month of November as long as it is safe to do so.
Please remember that we can only meet inside as long as we all follow these safety precautions:

Everyone wear a mask and observe social distancing at all times.
There will be no food or beverages provided.

Ecumenical Thanksgiving Services. Pastor Josh has discussed Thanksgiving services with the other Pastors in Arlington and Volga. All feel that this would not be the year to hold ecumenical services as we have done in the past. Instead, we will have our own Sunday worship service to celebrate Thanksgiving on November 22nd.

Hanging of the Greens. Sunday, November 29th, is the first Sunday of Advent and we will decorate the church for Christmas that day. Because of the pandemic, we will not have a lunch together following.

Shepherd of the Hills Christmas for Kids. For the last few years, we have used our fall Silent Auction proceeds to support Shepherd of the Hills Christmas for Kids. Because of Covid, we cancelled the Silent Auction this year, so, for those who want to continue our support for Shepherd of the Hills, we will have a special offering on Sunday, November 8th and November 15th. If you bring a check, please make it out to the Volga UMW since this is another of our UMW mission projects.

We’re Live Streaming Our Worship Services!
Every Sunday, barring unforeseen circumstances, we’re once again live-streaming our worship services! We have been live streaming for the past two years and, in addition to Iowa we have viewers in 15 different states and 3 countries. This new outreach program gives us the ability to get the word out to those who cannot attend services in person for one reason or another. 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 171 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: 1879: “The Upper Iowa Annual Conference was held in Davenport in 1879, and Rev. Cressy was appointed to the M.E. Church in Hampton, Iowa. The Rev. T.E. Fleming was appointed to the Elkader Circuit. In Rev. Cressy’s farewell address he gave a partial review of the three years of pastoral life he had in Elkader and Volga. At Volga City “he tearfully told his congregation that the requisite amount was raised for the bell fund. He thanked the women for their energy in the matter and suggested that upon each and every Sabbath, the bell would peal forth in beautiful accents, woman, woman, woman, woman.” After Rev. Cressy departed, the congregation learned that the bell was not paid for in full. The news correspondent wrote that Mr. Cressy had been treasurer of the bell fund. The correspondent concluded his news item with the question, “Where are the funds?”
At this time three newspapers featured Volga City news items: The Volga City Times published weekly by A.B. Vine; The Brush Creek News; and the Clayton County Register published in Elkader. None of the Volga City issues were preserved, but the other two publications had a number of items about the bell at the M. E. Church in Volga City.
“The ladies belonging to the M. E. Church gave a festival to raise funds to pay for the bell lately hung in the new tower of their church. It was a wristlet festival and offered much enjoyment to all who attended.
Mrs. Cleveland died quite suddenly a week ago last Thursday. She was getting ready to attend the M.E. Ladies’ Sociable at Elder Whitford’s where they were raising money for the church bell when she dropped down in a fit and died in a few hours.
The ladies of the M. E. Church have paid $40.00 this week on the bell debt . . .
The new M.E. minister, who preaches at Volga City and in Elkader, is giving good satisfaction. They tell some hard tales about their former pastor, Elder Cressy.
Apparently Rev. Cressy, now living in Hampton, received some of the newspapers. He was shocked to learn that he was accused of taking money that belonged to the bell fund. He wrote a letter to the editor of the Clayton County Register and begged a hearing. His letter was dated November 28, 1879. He concluded his letter by writing, “This is the first time that ever, in public or private, my moral integrity has been questioned. If anything is ungenerous, it is in a man’s absence, to arrest his character before the public, with no name signed to the charge. And now, Mr. Editor, I await, with interest, his answer to this article over his signature.”
In the December 11, 1879, Clayton County Register there was another long article about the M.E. Church bell in Volga City. The final paragraph stated. “We did not accuse Elder Cressy of theft, dishonesty, lying, nor anything of the sort. We simply asked, ‘What has become of the funds?’ What harm was there in asking so small a question? Why this flutter and drooping of wings? We stated the case, as we and many others supposed he stated it. We used to like Elder Cressy and have joked with him many a time, and have always found him to be ‘a hale hearty fellow, well met.’ It cannot be said we ever tried to defame any one’s character. It is beneath our notice, sir! We wish the Elder peace, happiness, prosperity, a good paying parish, and a fruitful harvest of converts, and will sign ourself as usual.” – Correspondent Elkader Register.” (To be continued)


Our annual Charge Conference Meeting with the District Superintendent was held on October 17th at 1:00 PM via Zoom. The Conference included the Arlington/Volga Charge as well as the Fayette Charge. Those attending from the Volga church were Pastor Josh Hansen, Elaine Follon and Nancy VanHorn. All forms, mission statements and Pastor compensation for 2021 were approved.

October 11, 2020

The Volga UMC Administrative Council met Sunday, October 11th at 11:30 in the fellowship room. Pastor Josh opened with a prayer.
The Secretary’s report was read and approved. The Treasurer’s report was given. All bills and apportionments are paid as of September 30th.
The Charge Conference forms were discussed. Form I was passed as presented by a motion by George Duff and seconded by Ann Duff.
The Pastor Reimbursable Expense Resolution Form was agreed on with a motion by Neal VanHorn and seconded by Ann Duff.
The Church Leadership Worksheet was accepted with a motion by Nancy VanHorn and seconded by Ann Duff.
Pastor Josh will be on vacation on Sunday 25th. Pam Follon has agreed to lead worship for Laity Sunday on the 25th.
Worship Service Music was discussed. It was agreed to have Pam continue with the music videos. Motioned by Neal VanHorn and seconded by George Duff. Elaine Follon reported on the 2020 Church of the Resurrection Leadership Institute Conference and the excellent speakers. She discussed that we would have an opportunity to watch various speakers if wanted. There will be no ecumenical Thanksgiving services this year due to Covid. Members will be asked if there is an interest in an Advent study. A paper will be posted in the fellowship room for members to give their input.
The next Ad council meeting is November 15th, 2020.
Motion to adjourn was made by Ann Duff and seconded by Elaine Follon.
Nancy Berger

UMW Update All UMW activities for the month of November have been cancelled due to the pandemic.

For Loretta who is recovering from surgery.
For Sharon for the loss of her Mother.
For our safety as we worship together.
For our schools, teachers and students as classes resume,
For Pastor Josh, his family and the ministries of our churches.

To Pam for leading our Laity Sunday Worship Service.
To Schelvie and Nancy for their work to keep the church clean, safe and beautiful with fall decorations.
To George and Ann for running our live stream program.
To Pam for the power point and presenting videos of our hymns each Sunday.
To everyone who has served as officers and committee members this year and have stepped forward
to continue serving in 2021

As always, if you have questions, concerns or suggestions, please talk with or contact a member of the Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee.
The 2020 members of the SPPRC are:
Janis Breitsprecher, George Duff, Elaine Follon, Pamela Follon, Cheryl Handel, Summer Handel, Sharon Taylor, Lee Wescott 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 e-mail:

2 10:30am Worship Service

Paraments: White 3
1:30 PM Fayette UMW Guest Day at Fayette UMC 6
7 UMC Annual Conference begins in Des Moines

9 10:30am Worship Service
5:00 to 6:00 PM Music in the Park Sing along with George
Paraments: Red
11 UMC Annual Conference ends

Craig & Tracy Anniversary 13
9:30 am UMW to Pinters followed by lunch in Decorah 14

10:30am Worship Service
5:00pm Prayer with the Pastor
5:45pm Admin Council
Paraments: White
Father’s Day 17
Summer begins 22

10:30am Worship Service

Paraments: Green 24

10:30am Worship Service

Paraments: Green