This summer is shaping up to be a busy one for West Des Moines United Methodist Church, from refreshing its interior spaces to gearing up for the church’s food stand at the Iowa State Fair.
Their Marketplace Contemporary worship service, previously held in the sanctuary, moved to the “friendship room” in early July. It’s about one-third the size of the sanctuary, and offers a more intimate space “where people could better connect on a spiritual level,” explains Rev. Stephen Bibb, the church’s senior pastor.
“We were trying to create a space that was more relaxed, informal and casual,” he says. They hope to draw more people to the service with the new venue.
A platform was brought in for the “praise band,” along with speakers, a screen, a cross and greenery. People can sit in pews, chairs or at tables, and move around freely during the service, Bibb says. A major renovation of the friendship room is planned for the future.
The youth room also got a facelift. It previously had a “kid-like” feel, decorated in bright colors, says Linda Plummer, the church’s business manager.
Now, earth tones envelope the space, with fresh paint and carpet. New window treatments and ceiling tiles are planned.
And beginning today, the church will be feeding hungry patrons at the Iowa State Fair. Theirs is the last church-affiliated permanent food stand at the Fair, Plummer says. It’s located at the northeast corner of the Sheep Barn.
A women’s Sunday school class in 1949 started the stand as a fundraising project. The United Methodist Men’s group took over its operation in 1954. It has since become a church-wide effort.
What began as a portable structure with seating for less than a dozen people evolved into a permanent stand in 1975, which has been enlarged and modified over the years. Today, it seats 70 people.
Chiliburgers and homemade pie have been staples on the menu since the beginning. Current offerings include multiple breakfast and lunch/dinner options, six kinds of pie and other food items.
Last year, 190 volunteers helped run the stand. They went through 889 slices of pie, 1,140 pounds of hamburger and 7,700 biscuits.
“It’s fun,” Plummer says.
West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Ave.
Sunday, 8:30 a.m.
Marketplace Contemporary worship: Sunday, 11 a.m.