Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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340 20th Street SW, Mason City
Mason Township, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

Home Missions opened in Mason City as a mission field in June of 1960. During this time, Rev. Vernon LUCHIES spent six weeks working in Mason City during the summer of 1960. The group began two worship services on June 12, 1960 at the Junior College Lounge. Near the end of the first summer Rev. LUCHIES said that there was no Reformed witness in the city and "not a great deal of any sound evangelical witness." The membership of the starting group was very small. In December, 1960, there was an average attendance of 15 in the morning service and ten in the evening service.

In 1962 Candidate Wendell GEBBEN accepted the challenge to minister in this Home Mission field. In 1964 the church and the parsonage were constructed on an excellent piece of land located in the south side of the city.

Rev. GEBBEN accepted a call to Muskegon, Michigan, in July of 1967. Candidate Ken BAKKER began his work in the fall of 1967, followed by Rev. William STROO in 1970. Rev. Maury DeYOUNG began serving as Pastor in 1976. Two Seminary interns worked with Rev. DeYOUNG in 1980 and 1981.

In September of 1982 Rev. Jack Vanden HEUVEL joined Rev. DeYOUNG in a team . ministry. Rev. Jack Vanden HEUVEL had served a church in Michigan for ten years. Home Missions sponsored the arrangement on a two year-trial basis to provide extra impetus for evangelism, expecting the Mason City population to grow. The general job description called for Pastor MAURY to lead in the areas of administration and evangelism, and Pastor Jack in the areas of pastoral care and education. Two two good years of ministry closed with Rev. DeYOUNG accepting a call to a Home Missions Church Planting ministry in Springfield, Illinois in October of 1984. It was decided to have Pastor Jack continue as the single Pastor and end the team ministry experiment. Instead of the projected population growth of Mason City, the farm crisis hit. The church graduated from Home Missions in January, 1986.

A second story addition was added to the Sunday School wing in 1982. In 1998, a $330,000 addition greatly expanding room for fellowship, worship, fun, and a great kitchen area, as well as a handicap-accessible restroom. A drive-up front door was added on the North side of the building.

In 2002 a part-time secretary and half time Youth Director were hired. The Youth Director was also hired by Youth For Christ at half-time. He moved on to continue his studies, and Director full-time was hired. At present, there isn't a Youth Director. Many adult parishioers energetically lead the Junior and Senior High Youth Groups.

Presently the church membership includes five elders and five deacons. Worship services are committed to blended music, using both contemporary and traditional hymns. In 2006 the church began offering two Sunday morning services. The first service offers a more traditional emphasis, and the second service has a more contemporary emphasis.

SOURCE: http://rollingacrescrc.com/profile.shtml
Submission by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2011

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The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Saturday, May 24, 2004
by Julie Birkedal

Free Methodists honor their Wesleyan heritage

MASON CITY - Rolling Acres Free Methodist Church celebrates its heritage Sunday with a 300th birthday celebration honoring John WESLEY.

"We're going to sing some of John and Charles WESLEY'S hymns," said Pastor Larry DAY.

There will be a potluck luncheon and ice cream and cake.

Jim BERRY, a member of Rolling Acres Free Methodist, will preach one of Wesley's sermons.

The Rev. Herschel HAWF, retired superintendent of the Free Methodist Church, will share an account of the church's history.

"It clicked one day we need to return to our roots. If we're going to become light to this community we needed to know from where we came," DAY said.

"As the community celebrates 150 years, this congregation will celebbrate 115 years. And we felt no better time than when our founder felt the spirit move within him on May 24, 1738."

It was then that John WESLEY, a priest of the Church of England born during June of 1703, had a personal experience of faith on Aldersgate Street in London while reading Martin LUTHER'S preface to the Epistle to the Romans, DAY said.

WESLEY studied the views of Moravians in America, Germany and England. When he began preaching salvation by faith, church after church soon refused him a pulpit. He began preaching open-air style.

While WESLEY was the founder of the Methodist movement, he never formally separated from the Church of England.

The combination of singing coupled with preaching on scripture in open-air meetings drew crowds of 10,000 to 20,000 people. It was not unusual for WESLEY to preach as many as 800 sermons a year.

The Free Methodist Church had its beginnings in the Methodist Episcopal Church which held annual general conferences.

At one such conference in 1860 in New York, Benjamin Titus ROBERTS was a delegate who spoke out against social injustice, DAY said.

ROBERTS was strongly anti-slavery, DAY said. He spoke out for freedom of worship style and for the ordination of women.

He was physically removed from the conference, but joined by more than two dozen delegates who formed the Free Methodist Church.

The Free Methodist Church continues to believe in personal holiness and to speak out on social issues, DAY said.

Each congregation within the church has full autonomy, he said.

Free Methodists in Mason City began meeting together in homes in 1870, DAY said.

At one time, North Iowa Free Methodists were visited by ROBERTS and followers Thomas and Calvin LaDUC.

The first Free Methodist Church in Mason City was located on Sixth Street Southwest, DAY said. Built in 1883, it was an outgrowth of the church at Plymouth.

Rolling Acres Free Methodist Church, 604 23rd St. S.W., has 26 members with about twice that number regularly attending worship, DAY said.

The church has mid-week worship at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Beginning June 1, summer worship will be at 8 and 10 a.m. Sundays.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2011



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