Messiah United Methodist Church
by Nancy Scott, LCSW
This is another installment in our ongoing series of articles highlighting our generous host congregations. Today’s shout-out goes to Messiah United Methodist Church in Springfield. Messiah and CPC have had a covenant of shared ministry since the mid 1990’s.
Messiah is a large, thriving congregation that has existed in Springfield since 1964. it has grown and experienced changes over the years. Its mission is “to spread the contagious joy of following Jesus Christ.” It offers programs and services for all ages. Currently there are three worship services each Sunday. A non-traditional service is being discussed and may begin in the near future.
The current worship leader and head of staff, Reggie Tuck, came to Messiah in 2014. He is assisted in ministry by a team composed of, among others, Kathy Benton (Congregational Care), Pia Diggs (Congregational Ministries and Worship Leader), Tommy Suh (Youth Ministries), Robin Ringler (Discipling Ministries), and Luz Marina Zuleta (Worship Leader). The ministry team is in turn assisted by a “wonderful support staff.” Reggie and Kathy provided information for this article.
Pastor Reggie seems to have endless energy, evidenced by his participation in so many activities of the church, as well as visits and other pastoral care that isn’t always obvious. One congregant says she wonders when he sleeps! After he noticed that one of the workers at the nearby car wash was pregnant, the church hosted a baby shower for her. That infant was later baptized at Messiah. And many folks have been the beneficiaries of Reggie’s “world famous” cheesecake, which is often a special gift that comes with his visit.!
Although Messiah has always been involved in reaching out to the wider community as well as ministering to its members, there is a current emphasis on embracing diversity. The ministry team hopes that Sunday morning worship will reflect diversity and be enriched by it. Toward that end, the church started a soccer ministry in a nearby apartment complex that is home mostly to a Latino population. This has enabled as many as 60 kids to participate in the Springfield Youth Soccer League, with coaching and transportation provided by members of the church. Some of the children and their families attend a Sunday school class, taught in Spanish by pastor Luz. Messiah provides a bus to help those without transportation.
Another ministry is the Weekend Backpack Program, wherein almost 300 children who attend neighboring elementary schools are provided weekend meals. These children rely on the breakfasts and lunches provided by their school, and might go hungry on Saturdays and Sundays were it not for this program. Several Messiah members tutor at a nearby elementary school.
There are numerous weekly and monthly programs for every age, such as a men’s breakfast, Wednesday night dinners (which are subsidized by the church to encourage inclusion of those with limited incomes), and a “Parts Unknown” group that travels to various locales for enrichment and fellowship (adult field trips!) An ongoing program is the Prayer Shawl and Prayer Quilts Ministry, wherein members knit and pray for those who are ill. When finished, the handiwork is given to someone to literally wrap them in God’s care. This serves as a tangible reminder of the love and concern of the Christian community. There is an active Stephen Ministry, whose trained lay caregivers provide pastoral care to individuals in the church, and sometimes to members of other congregations.
Messiah has a longstanding tradition of world mission. Since 2011 a group of youth and adults has spent the week of spring break on a Choctaw Reservation in Mississippi. Closer to home, some participate in Urban Plunge. A team has twice traveled to Haiti, helping build houses in one of the slums in Port-au-Prince. They plan to go again this year.
No article about Messiah would be complete without mentioning the outstanding music ministry of the church. Angela Burns, Music Director (and former Singing Sargent), leads a team of talented musicians, vocal and instrumental. There is a place for just about anyone who wants to share the love of music, from several choirs to orchestras to handbells. Messiah’s musicians have offered two dinner theater performances in the recent past.
These are just a few of the many programs in which Messiah members are involved. For additional information about this church please visit its website: www.messiahumc.org.
The leadership and congregation live out the stated motto: “Serving God by Serving Others.” CPC is grateful to the staff and members of Messiah for their support over the years, and looks forward to a continuing partnership with the church.
Nancy sees clients in Alexander and Springfield.
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