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A foundational shift in the way their church is governed has breathed new life into a congregation in Iowa. Now leaders are responding much more effectively to people’s needs, both within and beyond the church walls.

Part of starting over is letting go with as much grace as possible. Even when we won’t see the harvest from the seeds we planted. That’s what Joanna Swart learned as she said goodbye to a people and a place she loves.

In what was a life-changing experience for many of them, 13 members of First Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa, and Bethel Reformed Church in Lester, Iowa, traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, on a mission trip June 13-22, 2014.

The Synod of Canada sent three young adults to a recent learning event for church leaders.

Regional staff are working to align classes and congregations with the RCA’s new 15-year goal, Transformed & Transforming, using a ministry framework that is already familiar to them. It’s an attempt to capture the essence of Transformed & Transforming while serving the vision, mission, and values of the Far West Region.

The idea of a church prayer group is not new, but the gathering at Clinton Avenue Reformed Church looks a little different.

As part of Transformed & Transforming, seven churches are working to increase their “cultural competency”—the level of welcome they offer for people of cultural and ethnic backgrounds different from the majority of the congregation. 

“I think of Jeremiah who told us to pray for the prosperity of the city,” says RCA pastor Cora Taitt of her work in New York City’s Kingdom Enterprise Zone. Taitt is working with CRC leaders in the city to plant new churches and strengthen existing ministries. 

Nothing holds us back like the pain in our past. If only we could be more like chickadees—amazing little birds with a gift for forgetting.

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