Red Bridge and Terrace Lake United Methodist Churches both now have new pastors who are committed to churches being heavily involved in the community – the husband and wife team of Rev. Adrienne Denson Ewell who is the pastor at Red Bridge UMC and Rev. H. Russell Ewell II who is the pastor at Terrace Lake.
Pastor Adrienne said in an interview that she is really excited that Red Bridge UMC recently started a monthly food distribution from Harvesters at the church for needy families, and that she intends to help at all the distributions.
Other examples of the church’s community engagement she cited include hosting a Saturday farmer’s market, providing a hot meal monthly for persons in need, soliciting food donations for the Grandview Assistance Program, collecting school supplies for students at Martin City K-8 School and distributing diapers, wipes and other children’s items monthly through its partnership with the Baby Grace Foundation.
The community engagement program the church is probably best known for is the preschool program for two to five year old children provided Monday-Friday by the Early Childhood Center housed on its campus that serves about 140 children.
Pastor Russell noted that Terrace Lake UMC just conducted a back to school drive for school supplies for area students and is working to make its building more accessible for people with disabilities.
He said members of the congregation are very good at dropping by and seeing people to check on their welfare and frequently accompany people to doctor’s appointments as necessary.
The first blind person to be ordained by the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church, Pastor Russell said he hopes to help organize a disability awareness seminar to assist houses of worship better serve persons with disabilities.
Both pastors are originally from the St. Louis area and came to Kansas City from Springfield where she was the associate pastor at Campbell United Methodist Church and the president of the local chapter of the NAACP. He was the pastor at Pitts Chapel United Methodist Church there.
When the couple left Springfield the mayor presented them with a proclamation honoring them for their community engagement.
Pastor Adrienne earned her Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School, is a former prison chaplain and once served as the executive director of a nonprofit that provided reentry support to formerly incarcerated men and women.
Pastor Russell is a graduate of Eden Theological Seminary and gives talks throughout the country on disability advocacy and awareness and the interaction between religion and disability.