It is an exciting time for Messiah Lutheran Church in South City St. Louis, as their latest ministry venture gets underway. The Messiah Community Center (MCC), located at 2801 Magnolia Avenue, had its Grand Opening on November 5, 2017 after almost three years in the making. As part of the East Fox Homes project with Lutheran Development Group and Rise Community Development, the MCC acts as a space for classes, community connection events, and the offices of Compass Educational Programs. It is a space FOR the Tower Grove East/Fox Park community.
Messiah’s Senior Pastor, Michael Okine, has taken on the role of establishing the MCC’s presence in the neighborhood and engaging in community listening. He spends many hours each week at the MCC to meet neighbors and get feedback on what they’d like to see offered through the center. Alongside him three days a week is Mike Ziegler, a Community Services Coordinator with DeSales Community Development, who works to connect community members to social services, health care, and community resources.
So far, the space is used for a fitness class for older adults on Wednesday mornings, occasional movie and game nights, and its highly popular kid’s art class on Saturday mornings. The art class, which has been meeting for a little over a month now, has been attended by a consistent group of ten to twelve children ages seven to thirteen, with more than half coming from the community and the others coming from Messiah. Various artists from the Yeyo Arts Collective (local to the area) teach students through multiple medias including collage, painting, and sculpture! Perhaps what has been most encouraging about these classes is that the parents/grandparents of the students have expressed great interest in offering up their own skills and talents to host a number of other types of classes – perhaps self-defense and dance classes will be offered in the future!
Messiah’s Office Manager and member, Becky Gill, says, “It’s awesome to see people in this area embrace the Community Center, and we are excited about the endless possibilities for God to use this space. It’s like He gave us this great building to play with! We didn’t go into this with a specific idea of how this space would be used, so we have a unique opportunity to see how the community shapes and molds what the Messiah Community Center looks like. We expect the Lord to move through us in this community and look forward to what’s to come!”