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Beginners Photography Class

I am one of those people who has a relatively nice camera, but only knows a fraction of what I can do with it.  Because of this, I’m super excited that we will be hosting a Beginners DSLR Photography Class this spring, taught by Photographer Mark Stoltenberg (www.markstoltenbergphoto.com).

“This hands-on four-part workshop will cover the basics of photography including your camera’s settings and features (and how and when to use them), depth of field, aperture, light, composition, finding your subject and “tips and tricks”. Each class is broken into 3 parts: classroom discussion, hands-on practice taking pictures by the students and review of the images taken. Instructor Mark Stoltenberg of Mark Stoltenberg Photography has 30 years of experience in photography. You will need to bring the following to each class: your DSLR camera and sturdy tripod.”

Class times are from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM on Tuesday, April 23, April 30, May 7 & May 14.  Call 515-961-4523 or email me at tiffanya@wesleywoodsiowa.org to register by April 15.

Posted in General, Upcoming Events | 1 Comment

Creating a Space for Worship

Matthew 7:24-29 encourages us to build our faith on the “Rock”. I believe an important part of doing that is establishing a time and place where we can try to meet God without interruptions for a time of recharge of spiritual reflection.  I define worship as an moment an individual or group comes together to focus on their faith and God’s presence. I believe there are some kep components to build a space for worship.  Whether you are at a camp and retreat center or within your local community there are some common concerns to take into consideration when preparing to share a time together I have borken them out into bullet points below. 

  1. Find the right location- There are some basics to finding the right spot to worship together. First I always start with prayer. Some other things you should consider as your prepare are weather, number of persons and type of mood you would like to create. One error that worship leaders often make is that they over committ to a place for worship. Be flexible and if a distraction occurs or you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to change the venue don’t feel anchored.
  2. Create the space within the location- as you prepare for your time together look at what you would like to happen and set your space so that it encourages those things.  This may mean paying attention to what symbols you might use, the placement of an altar, the use of ribbons or fabric to bring color and what type of interaction you want within the group.  If you are looking for group discussion and sharing choosing an area that doesn’t allow people to turn and comfortably face each other wouldn’t be beneficial.
  3. Intentionally begin your time together- The first three minutes of your time with a group may be some of the most important moments you spend with them.  As humans we judge and try to evaluate things. We develop expectations very quickly and it’s hard to turn public opinion around.  I try to start every group time with a very non-threatening activity or fun discussion topic to break barriers and to start to build the group. Start on time and try to buy participants into what you are doing quickly.
  4. Don’t be afraid to break norms- For me the most significant spiritual experiences I’ve had are related to doing something new. It might be doing something I have done a thousand times in just a different way.  Be creative with your material and look for ways to engage participants and have them be actively involved. The more they are doing during worship the more they will own the experience.  This doesn’t mean that they need to do calisthenics and be consistenly moving, but that you need to keep their minds engaged.

I hope that you find some of these thoughts helpful. I just wanted to share some of the ways in which I prepare to be with groups. We are always praying for our guests and campers as they prepare to come, share their time with us and return to the communities they came from. If you have more specific questions or would like assistance with something please feel free to contact us.

Posted in Ideas and suggestions | 1 Comment


Here at Wesley Woods we’ve been blessed with numerous groups of ladies that come for a weekend (or longer) to quilt.  I’m always fascinated to walk around and look at all of their projects.  Maybe this has something to do with the fact that the extent of my sewing ability is attaching a button.

 Throughout the fall, winter and spring hundred of women brave the weather to enjoy the company of friends and finish those projects that they just haven’t had time for at home.  Many groups actually threaten to try to schedule their retreat to “accidentally” get snowed in.  The winter is as good of a time as any to get away from it all.  If you’ve been looking for an excuse for a weekend away with friends, give us a call!

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Upcoming “Work Days”

Every other month we have been scheduling a “Saturday Work Day”.  Volunteers over the past several months have been a tremendous help!  The next work day will be held Saturday, Feb. 25th.  Projects will begin at 9 a.m. and end around 4 p.m.  A free will offering lunch is provided.  All ages and skill levels are welcome to join us.  Please RSVP if you know you are coming (515-961-4523 or tiffanya@wesleywoodsiowa.org)

Our Annual Spring Clean-Up will be Friday, April 20 – Saturday, April 21 this year.  We will work on projects both Friday and Saturday.  Friday night a few local organizations will be showcased during short informational sessions, designed to put volunteers in touch with other ways to be in mission.  Help us prepare for the upcoming summer, while enjoying some good fellowship.  We hope you can make it one or both days!

Posted in Upcoming Events, Volunteer Opportunities and News | Leave a comment

New Showerhouse!

We have been working for just over a year to update our showerhouse facilities. I am excited to say that we have a contract with Wick buildings, the old showerhouse has been gutted and the movers are here to relocate it.  As soon as the old showerhouse is moved we are hoping to start on dirt work, plumbing and pouring the concrete. The goal right now is to have the new shower house operational by May 15th.

The new showerhouse will have a men’s and women’s side with private shower stalls. The women’s side will have 14 individual shower stalls including two handicap accessible stalls. The men’s side will have 8 private shower stalls, one of which will be handicap accessible. The plumbing, heating, cooling, concrete and exterior shell will all be done by contractors. The wall construction and finish work will be the responsibility of our staff and volunteers.

If you would like to see the floor layouts or have other questions please feel free to contact us.

Posted in Volunteer Opportunities and News | 1 Comment