Church communities come together to celebrate site opening
Members of the Melissa United Methodist Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints came together on May 23 to celebrate the opening of the worship space for the United Methodist Church. UMS Pastor Stacey Piyakhun and her congregation had been fundraising for the opening for many years.
One hundred and fifty members of both congregations gathered for the opening.
To welcome the Methodist church and in celebration of their opening, Brett Gustaveson, a local leader for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, gifted a piece of artwork titled “Calm and Stars” by artist Yongsung Kim.
Pastor Piyakhun said that she chose “Calm and Stars” because it reminded her of God’s promise to Abraham to bless his innumerable posterity. The innumerable number of stars in the painting reminded her of that promise. She also chose the painting because it reminds her that God will always come and calm the world around us. God can calm any stormy sea in our lives.
Piyakhun and Gustaveson formed a lasting friendship several years ago, and throughout those years, the churches have created a consistent partnership in helping and serving people of all faiths throughout the Melissa community. They have worked together with various community events and have supported and cared for citizens and church members in the Melissa area.
Pastor Piyakhun expressed heartfelt gratitude towards Brett Gustaveson and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She emphasized, “We are so grateful for the gift of friendship we have with our LDS friends and the support we have for each other in our efforts within our community.”
Brett Gustaveson was equally grateful for the relationship between the Methodist church and the Church of Jesus Christ. He added, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a beautiful and long-standing relationship with the Melissa United Methodist Church. We share a belief in the goodness of God and a desire to be true Christians in word and deed. As we have partnered through the years with our Methodist friends, we have witnessed their persistence and determination to design and construct their beautiful building despite many challenges. We are so happy for them to finally have their own space to worship. We wanted to do something special for them, and so we decided on a house-warming gift: a painting of the Savior. Our spiritual similarities are so much more important than our doctrinal differences. When we combine our faith together with those of other denominations, miracles happen.”
The new worship space for the United Methodist Church will have 2 main functions. First, it will be a gathering place for the community, giving a place for various events in the area such as a home school co-op and a place for local events like banquets. It will also include a full coffee shop. Second, it will serve as a sacred place of worship for the Methodist congregation.