As we sat down with Veda Donner, director of outreach at Liberty United Methodist, we offered both our congratulations for the incredible growth and outreach happening at the church and our condolences for the heartache the church has walked through in recent months. While finishing the development and introduction of a second campus in Liberty on Rush Creek Parkway, just off of 33 highway and in view of Liberty Hospital, the church received some difficult news. Their lead pastor, Alan Zugelter, was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. The church rallied in prayer and strength to engage and support the congregation and the community. Pastor Alan, in conversations, sermons, and strategy, was a pastor passionate about reaching outside the walls of the church. Though his health has not allowed him to return, his leadership led to significant outward-focused work. We were able to hear from Veda about some of the incredible outcomes.
“I am constantly challenged by the saying ‘you don’t know where Jesus is,’” Veda shared. Jesus’ example is shown through LUMC in a number of outreach efforts. They join monthly to participate in a Serve-On-Saturday, where projects in the community and from the community are tackled by all ages. LUMC participates in providing non-perishable food, diapers, hot meals, and more to families and individuals in need in the community. Faith Works is an LUMC team that takes action to build ramps for elderly or disabled, haul of branches after storms, and so much more. Family-friendly activities happen often throughout the year as an extension of ministry to the greater community through the church.
LUMC also hosts a pre-school in its Sunset Campus, named Hilltop Preschool. Not only is it a wonderfully unique way to serve another need in the community, there is also a union between the school and the church. The preschool teachers and staff regularly look for ways to integrate ministries into their teaching and service.
“I am reminded of when Pastor Alan first shared the news of his illness, and we asked ‘What can we do?’ He explained that his desire was for ministries to keep growing and thriving and for all to keep serving!” Veda recalled with us. Despite the recent heartache, Liberty United Methodist continues to worship and grow together, blessing the Liberty community through their generosity, willingness to serve, and heart for living as an example of Christ.