Fort Wayne is known as the “City of Churches.” Waynedale could similarly be named the “Town of Churches” as we have a wonderful large array of houses of worship representing many denominations for our residents to choose from. As vibrant and important members of our community, this column will feature a different church to learn more about once per quarter. I’m excited to start the series with a church I am quite familiar with, my own church home of eight years, Waynedale United Methodist Church.
Waynedale United Methodist Church (WUMC) has a vital congregation that supports this community in many ways. Its unique vision is to “Joyfully Connect People to Christ and Community.” The congregation does this through worship services, small groups, an over 55 group plus numerous opportunities to serve in mission.
One of the ways the congregation has been a pillar in the Waynedale community is by supporting of a variety of groups that meet in the building. WUMC hosts two different Alcoholic Anonymous groups, an Exercise class, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venture Scouts, a Weight Loss group, a Tutoring group to help local elementary students, District Scout Leadership meetings and other groups. The church parking lot is also the staging area for the annual Waynedale Memorial Day Parade.
We staff a Food Bank serving the needs of the hungry that is open on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays between the hours of 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., typically assisting between 400 – 500 people each month.
Sharing God’s Blessings is a mission group that champions local charities such as Mustard Seed and East Wayne Street Center. They uplift teachers and students of Waynedale Elementary through the Rising Stars program and also provide comfort to the community with free meals. Missions Chair Margy Schimmel states, “We receive fantastic support from our giving members that allow us to support many important missions.”
That support extends beyond our neck of the woods. Annually, a group visits Henderson Settlement in the small town of Frakes, Kentucky where they complete a variety of home projects for people in need there. They travel laden with Christmas gifts, donated by our congregation to share with the children of Henderson Settlement. We also donate to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) and Medina school in Africa.
Our preschool is a ministry that has been a tradition in Waynedale for more than 50 years. Many parents currently bringing children remember their own days in the preschool. Each child receives a personal Bible from the church and Pastor Ted sings and prays with them regularly. Children of the community are also invited to join us in an annual Easter Egg hunt and Trunk or Treat where among the candy and games is a popular feature “How can we pray for you.” At Christmas, our congregation supports the Angel Tree Ministry, providing gifts to children whose parent is incarcerated.
Music is the universal language and we are blessed to hear beautiful and inspirational songs from the Chancel Choir, The Church Street Bells and our Praise Band.
Pastor Ted Jansen shares, “As our world changes, we strive to understand how we need to change our methods and ministries. This is a challenge for all ministries. We seek to love people where they are and to let them know that Christ, God’s Son, loves them.”
Waynedale United Methodist Church is a congregation with strong connections to the community. We are all encouraged to grow in faith, in love and in service.
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