61st Avenue UMC to Close its Doors | Ebenezer in Discernment

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The following is a letter sent to 61st Avenue UMC’s donors and partners in early February. Below it is a note about Ministerio Metodista Ebenezer.

Please note that 61st UMC and Ebenezer will continue current ministries through June 24, 2017 and appreciates the continued financial support of partners to cover program, operational, and staff expenses. 

Grace and Peace to you.

We are writing to provide an update on the discernment process which has been going on with 61st Avenue United Methodist Church and its ministries.

After prayerful consideration, it has been decided that 61st Avenue UMC will conclude its ministries at 6018 New York Avenue on June 24, 2017.

The decision was made due to the changing demographics in the West Nashville area, which no longer align with the unique ministries which have defined the congregation; the lack of sustainability; and diminishing financial support. Those working through this discernment process are now looking for a congregational home to welcome existing members and their friends. This will give 61st Avenue members an opportunity to stay together, and meet in another location – preferably more accessible on a bus line. We ask you to pray with us as we seek “adoption.”

Current staff includes Rev. Marie C. King, Nita Haywood, Loretta Morris, Jane Kelley and Calvin Ticey. During this time of transition, care will be given for each staff person as they seek and move into future employment. Brenda Hix has served faithfully as volunteer staff, and is being cared for as well. Rev. Neelley Hicks – a Deacon with secondary appointment at 61st – has asked to remain in appointment with the members as they transfer to a new home.

The Last Minute Toy Store (LMTS) will continue to address the needs of families also left behind during a time of the year that we feel Christ’s light most brightly. Leaders of the LMTS are in the process of exploring another host church for 2017 with the commitment to continue this vital ministry to families.

We will be coordinating with volunteers to continue the after-school program through the end of April.

Ebenezer Hispanic Ministry will host Project Transformation this summer. This will continue to provide a safe space for children – particularly those who are Hispanic – as this population continues to grow in the West Nashville area.  Registration details will be forthcoming.

Ebenezer has embarked on an in-depth spiritual discernment process to identify God’s compelling vision and to write a ministry action plan to meet the needs of persons in The Nations and Charlotte Park communities. This plan will include exploring future possibilities of children and youth programming, and alignment of resources including the congregation’s location.

We hope that you will join us on June 24th as we celebrate worship in the sanctuary at 6018 New York Avenue for the last time. More details will follow.

If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Susan Groseclose at susan@belmontumc.org or Rev. Harriet Bryan at harriet.bryan@tnumc.com.

What 61st Avenue United Methodist Church stands for is at the root of Methodism: care and love for those most often forgotten and abandoned by society. This ministry is needed as much now, as ever before. May each of us consider how we can take up this mantle and multiply it so that the heart of 61st continues to grow.

In Christ,

Rev. Harriet Bryan, District Superintendent Nashville District

Rev. Susan Groseclose, Facilitator, Nashville District Strategy Team

Rev. Marie C. King, Lead Pastor, 61st Avenue UMC

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Ministerio Metodista Ebenezer

While 61st Avenue UMC is leaving the building that is shared by Ministerio Metodista Ebenezer ministries, Ebenezer is still in a process of discernment and evaluation regarding its future and location. There is some possibility that it also will move to new space in the future. But at this time, there are no plans to close or to sell the 61st Avenue church building, so this ministry will continue to meet as they have been in this same space.