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Hope United Church of Christ (UCC), in Hiawatha was established in 1960. The first services were held in members’ homes and later in the gym of the elementary across the street. The first unit of Hope was built in 1963 and served as the worship area, fellowship hall, kitchen, classrooms and offices. The sanctuary was built in 1991 and includes a stained glass window that has special meaning for us here at Hope. The sanctuary seats approximately 280 persons.
Hope UCC is located on five acres, tucked in a neighborhood where a large majority of persons are of white/Caucasian decent; which is reflected in our congregation membership. Approximately 25% of the congregation is couples with young children, while approximately 66% of the couples have not children living at home. Most of the congregation has professional employment, while 20% are in manufacturing or labor-related occupations. Almost half of the congregation is employed and a slightly smaller percentage is retired.
Mission projects include, but are not limited to: child sponsorship program, Harrison and Hiawatha Elementary School donations, Santa for Senior program, and local food pantry donations. In September 2014, we presented a gift of $375 to Habitat for Humanity that was raised by our Vacation Bible School program and the congregation. Hope UCC supports the five UCC offerings: Our Church’s Wider Mission, One Great Hour of Sharing, Neighbors in Need, Strengthen the Church, and the Christmas Fund.
Our Sunday school program has seen continued growth in the last several years, with nearly 40 children registered for the program.
Our worship experience contains elements of both traditional and contemporary components. We celebrate open communion on the first Sunday of each month. We are a welcoming congregation, practicing extravagant hospitality to all of God’s people.
STUDENT PLACEMENT OPPORTUNITIES:
Currently, we are a church that is working on learning what it means to be a medium sized congregation. We are wrestling with policies and procedures that were once done with a hand shake and the blind trust of congregational members. Questions about practices that have long served the church need to be reviewed and reimagined. Having outgrown our physical space, the need for a building project in the future seems almost certain.
STUDENT PLACEMENT EXPECTATIONS:
It is our hope to provide a well-rounded experience for our student. From leading worship, to participation in meetings, to writing newsletter articles, to helping with children and youth programs – we are hoping that there will be many opportunities for the student to practice many of the aspects of congregational ministry.
STUDENT PHILOSOPHY SUPERVISION:
To provide a safe space for a student to explore their emerging role as pastor and teacher is vital. It is our hope that we can serve as a place for a student to learn and grow, while we are changed because of our encounter with the student. We want to provide the chance for a student to experience new things, try new things, and participate in new things. We want this experience to be one that the student will look back on and give thanks for because they had been here at Hope UCC.
Because of a generous gift received in 2013 which was set aside, we are able to offer our student $2000 as a stipend.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS:
Yes, we are located two blocks from the Cedar Rapids bus line.
OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION:
Even though it has been more than ten years since I have done my own field placement, I can recall fondly those pastors who mentored me in those settings. My field placement sites offered me opportunities to explore who I was becoming and pushed me to explore aspects of ministry and theology that I would not have otherwise had a chance to do on my own. I give thanks for those who helped me develop the skills and tools that I needed then and continue to use now. I hope that one day, the students who experience their field placement with us will do the same.