Southwest Iowa Internship
A Look at What an Apollos Program Grant Makes
Final Internship Celebration at Platte Center Presbyterian Church,
November 15! Intern Mary O’Riley in purple jacket, fourth from right
- A report from Rev. Timothy S. Maxa, who serves on the Foundation’s Council of Advisors, and is pastor of the
Lenox United Presbyterian Church and the Sharpsburg Presbyterian Church (both churches are located within the
Presbytery of Des Moines).
We are grateful to
the Omaha Presbyterian Foundation for supporting our intern program. The program, a brainchild of Des Moines Presbytery’s SW Regional
Partnership, is designed to help equip teaching elders and/or
commissioned ruling elders to serve in small churches.
Our current intern, Mary O’Riley, is our
She is a Hospice Chaplain and Social Worker for SW Iowa Hospice
(half time). She is spending the
other half of her time with the churches participating in the 2015 intern program.
Over the course of 20 weeks (stretching from June to November) Mary
is learning about how each participating church makes use of pastoral leadership and the leadership of elders
and/or governing board members.
Mary spent her
first four weeks working with three different churches in the Creston area: Platte Center Presbyterian Church,
First Presbyterian Church of Creston, and Creston Congregational (UCC) Church. She worked with Vacation Bible School and a variety of social justice
programs, attended Session meetings and Board meetings, and preached at Platte Center Presbyterian
Church. She also learned some
of the history and theological emphases of the Presbyterian Church (since her background is Catholic and UCC)
from two different pastors, one Presbyterian and one from the United Church of Christ (UCC)
Mary spent the
next three weeks working with three churches in the Lenox area: Lenox United Presbyterian Church, Lenox
Christian Church, and the Sharpsburg Presbyterian Church. In the
Lenox area, she focused on pastoral care (visiting a variety of nursing homes and making hospital visits) and on
leading worship. She organized, led
and preached a different worship service in each church.
Next, Mary moved
on to First Presbyterian Church in Corning, where she participated in new member classes, preached at nursing
homes, and organized, led, and preached at a Sunday morning worship service. She also
learned more about Presbyterian theology from the longest-serving pastor in Des Moines Presbytery, Ken
assignment was in Atlantic, Iowa, at the Presbyterian Church there. She
filled in as an on-call pastor during a time of transition for that congregation, preaching and leading worship
in addition to doing whatever she was assigned by the person designated by Session to supervise her
After a vacation,
Mary will return to complete her internship. She is
scheduled to work in Mount Ayr (at the Baptist Presbyterian Church); in Clarinda (at Trinity Presbyterian
Church); in Bedford (at the Christian Presbyterian Church) and in Villisca at the Villisca Presbyterian
Church. By the end of her 20
weeks, she will have worked in 12 different churches affiliated with five
From left: Mary O’Riley, intern; Rev. Tim
and Diane Ware, assistant at
Lenox United Presbyterian Church.