Summer Schedule

Saturday Evenings

@ 5:30

Let Us Worship!

We praise God through song, a relaxed liturgy and

sincere study of the Word of God.

Led by Pastor Diane Ludington and musician Bill Casady.

Liturgy is a church-word, but it is an important part of how we gather. Liturgy means literally, the work of the people. In practice, it means how we form our worshipful response to God.

  • First, we prepare our hearts in gathering prayers and music.

  • Second, we hear the Word with ears and hearts.

  • Third, we respond with gifts of service and resources.

  • Fourth, we carry the word into the world by the way we live.

If you have never experienced a liturgical service, or if it has been a while, I invite you to come, worship in this guided flow that offers a mix of quiet contemplation and communal rejoicing.

Join us in the sanctuary at 10:45 Sunday mornings or worship with us online in partnership with Warsaw United Presbyterian Church at 9:00 Sunday morning on our Facebook group.

Call Diane for Zoom link 319 795 8118


Dinner and Bible study at 6:00 Thursday evening

“I am the one for whom all the world has been waiting. Today is the day to decide. You have searched the world of idols, but I am not there. What do you truly seek? Follow me and you will find truth.”

Imagine these words, paraphrased from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as Jesus’ call to you today.

The Gospels offer us more than the chance to eavesdrop on ancient conversations. Jesus’ words are words for us today. The way each gospel writer organizes and presents their experience of the incarnate Christ matters. Consider each writer’s purpose and the words chosen to introduce the reader to Jesus.

Matthew highlights Jesus’ fulfillment of Jewish history. 3:15 “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” These first words confirm Jesus’ intent to continue, not destroy, the relationship of God and people.

Mark illustrates Jesus’ radical movement of conflict and discipleship. 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus’ first words announce the urgency of his purpose and call for hearers to choose a side.

Luke portrays Jesus’ life and times with a formative storyline. 2:49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” The boy-Jesus’ words to his anxious mother show that his entire life was one of purpose and revelation.

John celebrates Jesus’ divinity and mystery. 1:38,39 “What do you want?” . . . “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” No more important question was ever asked, nor a more urgent invitation ever issued.

Church by the River

a PC(USA) congregation

102 Main Street - Keokuk IA 52632

(319) 795-8118

Sharing Love

Reaching with love

Calling toward God

Learning through living

Uniting in Christ

Invitation to Observe a Holy Lent

Joel 2:12, 16

12Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart,

16Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged;

gather the children, even infants at the breast.

In this Lenten reading, with clouds of war looming, The Lord speaks, calling the people to faith. Not just some of the people, but all – the old and young, the able and the vulnerable.

The prophet implores hearers to return to God with all of our heart – in the midst of what is happening now. Not- “when you get your stuff together.” Not- “change your ways, get right first, then turn.” Lent is about turning to God with all of our flawed, frail, and human heart. (“Heart” in the ancient world refers, not to the seat of emotion, but to all of one’s identity, the whole self.)

During this season of Lent, let us remember our need to clear a path, to gather up the fragments of our selves – because who among us does not give little pieces of our hearts to a lot of other gods- little “g?” Nadia Bolz Weber writes, “I don’t think that my problem is that I eat too much sugar, or I spend too much time on Facebook. My problem…and maybe yours too is that I sort of piece my heart out to things that cannot love me back.”

We give pieces of our persona away to purchase a façade that shows how together, how self-reliant, how well-behaved we are. How strong we are. But this is a fool’s bargain, for our weakness is the very thing Christ came to embrace. And those pieces? They are the very gift the prophet calls us to return to God.

Many Lenten practices are intensely personal; prayer practices, renouncing frills, fasting, etc. But even in this personal practice, we do well to remember that in the Bible, most of the “you” language, is really, “y’all” language. So, it is appropriate at Lent, for us to look at not only ourselves as individuals, but who we are as the church. Lent is a call to return to God with all the pieces of every one of our hearts - our tender pieces, broken pieces, afraid pieces, hiding pieces, sinful pieces. All of our hearts.

In this season, as the world is confronted with so many divisions; cultural, political, national – the church is challenged to re-examine the call of our identity. How are God’s people distinct from the surrounding culture when God calls Israel in the Old Testament? How is that identity is shaped by the incarnation? And how does the 21st century church in middle America live into our identity as the Body of Christ, which is both crucified and resurrected?

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart.

Join us for worship at 5:30 Saturday Evenings

We have a casual style and worshipful attitude and a classic four-fold order:

  • we gather in humility

  • we hear the Word in sermon and song

  • we respond with commitment and communion

  • we bear witness in the world

Come to the table

We celebrate communion on the first Saturday of each month.