Prospect Street Journal
Reflecting on 2021
Throughout the year of 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to threaten the wellbeing of our church, community, and the world. This time of trial has been a test of patience and long-suffering. But the congregants of the Lake Mills United Methodist Church have remained steadfast in their resolve to G.R.O.W in their love for God and their service to God’s creation.
Pastor Edwin is thankful for the encouraging signs of grace he has seen among the members. From those who have built a supportive community, to those who check in with shut-ins and less active members, God’s grace has been present all around. The church leadership has been amazing. They continue to wisely and faithfully work for the church and the community. Their continual reach toward what God is calling this church to is inspiring.
A big THANK YOU is in order for the leaders and members of our church. “I am blessed to serve with our leaders knowing that God honors such faith,” says Pastor Edwin Vargas. “I am also grateful for the faithful financial support of our members and friends.” Because of this support, our church does not have to stress over its immediate needs. But can look forward to the future plans God has in store for us.
Stan Bond, chair of the Admin Council, is grateful for the group of “deeply caring and dedicated leaders” who he serves with. They have made his role in the council easy and productive. He is also thankful for Pastor Edwin’s availability throughout the year in guiding him in his own personal walk with God.
Kelsey Perry of the Missions Team sees a dedicated group working diligently even in the face of the pandemic. “Our accomplishments this year look a little different than in previous years, but we are so inspired by the mission work and creativity of our congregation this year.” The church continues to support and cultivate valued relationships with local, state, national, and international missions. Our community gets to connect with the greater church and share our blessings during uncertain times.
The Memorials Team has done an exceptional job of organizing information in regard to the memorial fund account. These donations are given in memory and in honor of loved ones who have passed on from this world. They help our church to fulfill God’s work. The team has focused much of their energy this past year on encouraging the congregation to generate ideas for what to spend memorial dollars on. Knowledge can be a good thing and their investments have been helpful for people.
The Tech Team thanks Dan Weber for his tireless work in all things related to technology. He is the principal sound technician and is responsible for the recording and revision of our Sunday worship services. He submits these to the local cable channel and to our YouTube channel. He consistently looks for ways to improve the quality and experience of worship.
Our church is thankful for the many who have given their time, monetary offerings, and faithfulness to the church. For instance, Vacation Bible Study would not have been as successful as it was without the help of our high school youth. They decorated for the event and ran the music, games and crafts. Adult volunteers helped hold down the fort, while Bible Story Tellers taught lessons each day. Faithful volunteers also helped coordinate, usher duties, music, broadcasts, and the creation of a worshipful space during our Open House. Every member of our church has a part to play in fulfilling God’s work and we are appreciative for each and every one of you in good times and times of distress.
Youth Director Departing
Our youth pastor, Kam Perry, will be departing from us this summer. We are grateful for the work he has provided. Stan Bond has noted that Kam “actively reaches out year-round” to the youth and their families and was grateful for his move to a full-time position last year.
Kam and his wife Kelsey, will be departing after that trip. Kelsey is graduating from the University of Wisconsin with her PhD in biochemistry. In addition, the two are expectantly looking forward to the birth of their first child in June.
“It has been the greatest opportunity in my life to serve in this church and in this community. I will cherish the time I had watching our ‘kiddos’ grow into amazing, Godly, young people.” Both him and his wife are thankful for everything this congregation has done for them.
The council is actively seeking out another youth minister to fill this vacancy.
Missions On Fire
The Missions Team has been busy this year. The team increases our congregation's ability to participate in mission projects ranging from the local level to a global one. Money given through the loose coin collection supports various local, national and international missions. Proceeds from the annual rummage sale benefits youth missions and camp scholarships. A total of $1,952 was raised toward camp aid this year.
Donated school supplies were given to the United Methodist Children’s Services. In addition, 46 gift cards were given that totaled $675. UMCS serves families in Milwaukee to help provide affordable housing, child care costs, and family resources.
Mary Werner wrote to our office expressing joy that our church sent 32 boxes of gifts to youth in underdeveloped countries through Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. “It makes me feel proud to be part of such a caring congregation. With all the challenges of covid, people worshiping inside, or in the parking lot, and online, it amazes me that the response was so great.” These boxes are distributed to kids in more than 100 countries. The organization’s leadership trains pastors and community leaders who want to share the message of the Gospel. And the shoe boxes bless children and show them God’s love.
Rachel Stark reported that 55 pairs of pajamas and eight gift cards were given via this year’s Giving Tree to the Jefferson County Human Services. This organization helps vulnerable people in our community.
Our “Back the Blue” campaign, which supports our local first responders, collected money to purchase gifts and items to aid the Lake Mills Police, Fire Fighters, and EMS personnel.
And our support of Sunrise Reach, provided baby items for their “Baby Shower in a Box” initiative which offers a little help to soon-to-be parents.
Scrip is an important fundraiser for the team. Businesses donate a percentage on top of what you pay. It benefits businesses to have people spend money at their stores. And it benefits you because you get to use the full amount that you paid for. Eight hundred dollars was raised through scrips in 2020. Sharon Schmid shared that some of the money helped us provide bird feeders, pairs of slippers, and a couple badger shirts to the residents of our neighboring Willowbrook nursing home.
Youth is Active and Well
Stan Bond, chair of our Admin Council, has stated that our church’s duty to our youth remains strong. Our Youth Director Kam Perry has been busy planning activities for the youth to bond and grow in their faith.
These activities include the Clan Wars Food Drive, Corn Mazes, the Christmas Youth Program, Winter Camp, Youth Sunday, the Dessert Auction, Confirmation, the High School Summer Mission Trip, and Vacation Bible Study. He also leads and guides three youth groups each week.
Kam was excited for VBS this past year. “We were able to host VBS once again this year!! It was right on the tail end of the pandemic and attendance was definitely more scarce than years past, but we were able to put on an amazing week of fun learning and building the armor of God!”
It has been a blast being able to meet again in person. The renovation of the hearth room has created a wonderful space for work, study and play. Though challenging, our confirmation class completed their work virtually. “The kids stuck it out and persevered!” says Kam. We welcomed in four new members.
Being together has benefited the youth and children and helps us serve the community through missional work. Youth competed in “Clan Wars” by gathering non-perishable food items in a community-wide scavenger hunt. These items were then donated to local food banks. The Mission Trip to Philadelphia this summer will focus on serving individuals who are homeless.
We accomplished a lot in 2021. We added new carpet in the sanctuary, narthex, and hearth room thanks to a one-time draw from the Lawrence Fund. Lighting improvements and a hearth room refresh were made thanks to contributions made to our Capital Expenditures Fund. A new sound system, a couch for the hearth room, new office chairs, and a computer were made thanks to our Memorial Fund.
Our bills and 2021 apportionments ($36,612) were paid in full from our Shared Giving funds, our annual Lawrence fund earnings, and a small balance from our General Fund.
Beyond all that, we also sent UMCOR $6000, our coin offering missions $360, UMCOR US Disasters (Christmas Offering) $1,000. Comping Scholarships (Easter Offering) $900, and more! Thank you!
Many improvements were made this past year to our building due to covid regulations and also to prepare for the future of meeting regularly in this space again. Stan Bond notes, “As covid restrictions are lifted, we are beginning to define what worship will look like going forward. We look forward to a time when we can again all gather, greet, sing and worship together, and perhaps without masks.”
The Worship Team and Tech Team found ways to offer access to our worship services through multiple outlets. An FM radio transmission was added for parking lot attendees. Our services were also livestreamed to YouTube and shared with the local cable channel. Dan Weber noted that “This year we were blessed to resume our Korth Park worship service. We were also blessed to provide audio and visual support for our Open House.” We thank those who enabled us to meet the requirements needed through these times.
Jay Ludeman and Kam Perry, among others, helped facilitate upgrades to our building. New carpeting was laid in the sanctuary, narthex, and hearth room. New LED lighting fixtures were installed in the sanctuary, classrooms and fellowship hall. The hearth room was a big focus. New furniture including cabinets, couches, tables, and chairs were introduced. The tech was upgraded too. Kam mentioned, “Our Hearth Room renovation project is complete and we have an incredible new space for programming and ministry for the church and to our youth each week.”
A special thanks to everyone who was involved with these projects and their volunteer time, donations, and efforts in creating a great space to come back to.
Stan Bond also mentioned that we have a renewed interest in updating our kitchen. Such an improvement would allow us to better serve meals to the congregation, to prepare homeless meals, and to provide for funerals and fundraisers for our youth. A team is working to determine what it would take to reinvent this space and make it a more viable and productive part of our missional work. Details of their findings will be provided later this year.
HAPI Support Continued
Our mission trip to Haiti was canceled due to unrest and uncertainty. Stan Bond notes that our desire to serve is still present. We continue to support HAPI through the donations that were given towards the trip.
Haitian Assets for Peace Int. is located in Mizak. They work to eradicate extreme poverty. It was founded in 2007 by Paul Prevost, then mayor, and Valerie Mossman-Celstin, researching “what is help” from a local perspective. The mission has expanded to increase assets in the local healthcare, vocational services, and helping youth ages 15-18 pay for their education.
Kelsey and Kam Perry thanks the congregation for their support with this venture. Valerie, now the director of HAPI, visited us virtually in November to give a presentation about the program, its history, and what the future holds. Kelsey will be following up with more information in the coming months.
Jay Ludeman, chair of our Trustees Team, was blessed in helping with fundraising efforts. Members were hired to help with various landscaping activities.
Opportunities to Serve
If you would like to become more involved in the happenings of the church or want to share your gifts from God with our community, our teams would be excited to have you! There are plenty of opportunities available.
Stan Bond reports that we are seeking more volunteers to aid in the kitchen redesign project. With the expansion of our use of technology, Dan Weber and the Tech Team welcome more hands to facilitate a harmonious worship experience. Trustees welcome volunteers to help maintain the landscaping and building upkeep. There are older trees that need to be removed from our property.
Kam Perry encourages help with youth events and also individuals to build bonds with the younger people of this church. Missions are a great way to work with others and get involved in the planning and serving of our community, both local and far. The Memorials Team seeks continued guidance in how to use non-designated funds. The counters could also use more hands who can offer a few minutes of their time after worship service on Sundays.
If you have a desire to help our community through service, there are many ways for you to become involved.