As a community of faith, we are sent by God into a broken world to work for its healing and reconciliation. Led by our World & Community Concerns Committee and our Deacons, we put our faith into action and help meet the needs of our community and our world by sharing our gifts and participating in hands-on service projects.
Central Presbyterian Church sponsors a tutoring program on Tuesday evenings during the school year from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. for children in the community who need a boost in their reading skills. Here they find a friendly environment, a family-style meal and a chance to practice their reading skills one-on-one with volunteer tutors. The program is administered by Everybody Wins! Iowa. Volunteers are always needed as tutors or to help prepare dinner. Sign up to tutor at www.everybodywinsiowa.org. Click on ‘Get Involved’ and select ‘Apply to Volunteer’. For more info, contact Elizabeth Smith or Connie Boesen.
Once a month, our deacons lead us in preparing and serving dinner for the homeless at Central Iowa Shelter and Services in downtown Des Moines. Each month we serve up to 250 guests and rely on many volunteers to make this possible. If you are interested in volunteering or donating menu items, contact the Deacon moderator through the church office at 515-279-3658.
El Salvador Mission
Central Presbyterian actively supports the mission of the Des Moines Presbytery in the pueblo of Berlín, Usulutan, El Salvador, through a unique partnership called Our Sister Parish, which is now over 25 years old. Central regularly takes delegations to El Salvador to build relationships of solidarity and empower the people and cantons of Berlín. Through our gifts we help to support a PC(USA) mission co-worker, furnishings for the Pastoral House and to provide much-needed medical supplies for the community. Our congregation at Central is proud to serve exclusively Don Justo Coffee with Dignity, which comes from the area around Berlín, and ensures fair wages for coffee growers and workers and helps to promote sustainable agriculture and economic justice.
Read about a Central Presbyterian Church member Mike Bassett’s account of serving on Our Sister Parish mission coordinating team of the Presbytery of Des Moines.
NOTE: Our members are asked to take a quick survey (open May 1 to June 1, 2018) about the Our Sister Parish and the Central’s mission work in this Presbytery of Des Moines ministry in El Salvador.
DMARC Food Pantry
Established in 1952, the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) is an interfaith organization comprised of 133 local congregations, including Central. DMARC has food pantries all over the metro area that together serve over 19,000 families in need. Central regularly organizes drives to collect food or other supplies for the Drake Area Food Pantry at CROSS Ministries in partnership with DMARC and IMPACT Community Action Partnership. And we sends teams of volunteers to help sort food in the DMARC food pantry warehouse. Food donations can be left in the grocery cart in the 39th Street Lobby or since DMARC is able to purchase food at wholesale, cash donations are also welcomed!
Healthy Wish List – canned fruit (no syrup); canned vegetables (no salt); canned spaghetti sauce; whole grain pasta; egg noodles; vegetable soup (low sodium); canned beans; brown rice; cold cereal (healthy, whole grain); hot cereal, oatmeal (plain, no sugar); 100% fruit & vegetable juices; peanut butter; whole grain saltines; canned meat (in water); diapers & baby wipes; instant baby formula; shelf-stable UHT milk; and personal care products.
Central partners with CROSS Ministries, a mission of the Presbytery of Des Moines, to provide emergency aid and assistance, food and other services to low- and no-income households and near-homeless people in our community. Central assists in providing school supplies for children before they go back to school, and also provides meals for dozens of families at both Thanksgiving and Easter. Volunteers from Central have many opportunities to serve at CROSS with the distribution of food and school supplies. Contact Joyce Hoffman, 515-669-1866, if you’re interested in volunteering at CROSS.
Des Moines is home to a large Sudanese population—and to one Arabic-speaking Sudanese Presbyterian church which meets at the former Cottage Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church in Des Moines. Central partners with the First Arabic Presbyterian Church of Des Moines —building relationships, supporting them financially, helping to maintain their building—as they work to establish themselves as a full-fledged congregation.
Refugee Re-settlement Team
Central Presbyterian Church and our World & Community Concerns Committee are working with the U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants (USCRI) office here in Des Moines to “sponsor” an incoming family from another country. The first step in the process is a donations collection to help a family set-up a home as they begin the next chapter of their journey in Des Moines. After the family arrives, we will be paired with a family as part of the USCRI Family & Friend program. We are excited to help in any way we can, but we especially look forward to building meaningful relationships with people who are going through an experience that is unimaginable to many. For details on this ministry, contact Central’s Refugee Resettlement Team Coordinator Annie Brandt, 515-556-5436.
AMOS of Iowa
“Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate…” –Amos 5:15
AMOS—which stands for “A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy”—consists of 30 member faith communities, including Central. AMOS employs community organizing strategies to advance an agenda of social justice. Central provides office space for AMOS’ executive director, hosts meetings, participates in AMOS activities, and supports the work of AMOS financially. Working together, we are engaged on issues of mental health, juvenile justice reform, workforce development, and affordable housing. Contact Lead Organizer Liz Hall at 515-619-6930.
Inspired by Jesus’ call for us to be peacemakers, Central co-sponsors events of the Des Moines Faith Committee for Peace, such as the annual International Peace Day Service or the Palm Sunday Procession and Service of Peace.
Central supports a 24-week class offered by the Center for Social Ministry, an ecumenical organization in Des Moines committed to working for a more just and peaceful world. JustFaith is a transformative, small-group program inviting participants to live more deeply, with a greater sense of purpose. JustFaith helps connect participants’ faith and spirituality with the needs of the world and provides tools to make a difference. If you would like to register or need more information, contact Susie Tierney, at the Center for Social Ministry, 515-782-3054.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) offerings
Central Presbyterian Church generously supports the mission work of our denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), both at home and abroad. We include the PC(USA) in our annual World & Community Concerns committee budget and take up several special mission offerings each year—such as the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering, the Pentecost Offering supporting children and youth or the Peace and Global Witness Offering—which extend God’s compassion and justice around the world.
Harvest Annual Offering
The Harvest Offering (previously known as the Rural Partnership Offering) is supported through the Presbytery of Des Moines and is divided three ways:
- One-third supports special funding for community-based needs in rural Iowa
- One-third supports our Joining Hands against Hunger partnership with Egypt
- One-third supports mission work in our sister parish of Berlin, El Salvador
Advent Annual Offering
The Advent Offering has long been a tradition at Central Presbyterian Church to share our gifts with those struggling with the basic needs of daily existence.