The projects worked on by our Advanced Financial Academy students covered a variety of missional objectives. This week we bring you an innovative music ministry in downtown Hagerstown, MD. Pastor Doug Hoffman tells us more in the video and story below.
Our Director of Music Ministry, Stephen Pompa, is organizing a new Free Music Lesson Mission that will provide free music lessons to children and youth in center-city Hagerstown, whose families otherwise could not afford or manage them.
Quality instrumental and voice lessons are not readily available to all middle and high school aged children, and often times school music teachers will see real promise in children that may not have the means to get additional instruction outside of large group practices at school where no personal attention can be given. A major barrier to entry is the cost of the lessons, but it does not stop there. For most, quality lessons are offered in major strip malls that are often inaccessible to aspiring students. There are also students whose parents or guardians don’t understand the desire or interest their children have or who don’t have the time or transportation needed to provide their children access to the lessons they desire. As a result, the child’s artistic potential sits trapped inside and their potential is never realized.
Enter the John Wesley UMC Music Lessons Mission. With support from congregational giving, grants, and both local and national foundations, this mission will staff multiple instructors with church oversight and provide weekly lessons for promising students from local schools in the church’s immediate vicinity.
Outstanding teachers will be compensated to provide top quality lessons, at the expense of the mission. Being an excellent musician and teacher is not the only criterion for our Mission’s lesson providers. They will also have a heart for the child or youth who has the passion and gifts and graces for musical growth but has not had the opportunity to follow their musical dream. Our Music Director knows from his experience teaching in public schools neighboring John Wesley and from colleagues still teaching in our neighborhood schools, that the downtown community immediately surrounding our church is swarming with underserved children and youth, and particularly so in the arts.
The Music Ministry of John Wesley UMC has long been a leading feature of the church. We are blessed with a Moeller Organ, manufactured, assembled, and delivered by the Moeller Company years ago, when it operated here in Hagerstown within walking distance of our church. Our church has a long tradition of excellent musicians and artists sitting at our organ and pianos and leading our choral ministry. Our current Music Director continues this tradition of outstanding service. We are additionally and wonderfully blessed that Stephen also has a passion for Jesus’ claim upon the mission of our church, that we remain engaged in loving, caring, healing, and peacemaking ministry that engages our community. Day by day, we are called to engage in Disciple-meeting and Disciple-making ministry that supports and empowers our downtown community, and beyond.
We are stationed just two blocks away from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, an acclaimed school not only in Hagerstown but also statewide! We have cooperated with BISFA in years past, supporting both their curriculum and our ministries. Our Free Lesson Music Mission will cast an even wider net for musical development and growth for any child who longs for the opportunity to play their instrument and express their God-given art! BISFA stands already as a willing community partner in our Mission!
Finally, our Music Lesson Mission to children, youth, and their families in center-city Hagerstown is an expression of our church’s wider mission to engage our richly diverse community so that we both meet disciples and make new disciples! Our new Mission is a pathway that will partner with other pathways that God has shown us and will show us! We are excited not only about the positive impacts we are expecting from the Mission, but also about the new, unexpected paths Christ will reveal as we venture forth in faith!
Doug Hoffman, Pastor
John Wesley UMC, Hagerstown, MD