Located northwest of Phoenix, west of I-17 and north of I-10, is Glendale, Arizona – home to four Disciples of Christ congregations and the Glendale Mission & Ministry Center (GMMC). Formerly the First Christian Church, Glendale (FCCG), this center now provides much needed ministry to the people of Glendale, including a food pantry, child care, clothing, and more.
“We’re very happy to have found a number of ways to meet the needs of our community,” says Program Director Kega Nasios. “That’s what ‘mission’ is all about, and we’re very committed to ours as a successor ministry of First Christian Church, Glendale – to do God’s work by caring for His people.”
On May 21, 2017, the people of First Christian Church, Glendale gathered and voted to cease their visible ministry in the Fall of 2017. The congregation named the Christian Church in Arizona as its successor and empowered its Chair of Trustees to negotiate its final desires, one of which was “to promote an outreach center at this location.” The FCCG congregation celebrated its last worship service on October 15, 2017.
Since that time the Glendale Mission & Ministry Center, a collaborative vision of First Christian Church Glendale, the Arizona Region, and Disciples Church Extension Fund, has worked creatively to help those in the Glendale community by enhancing established ministries and starting new ones. From its three-acre, five-building campus, GMMC now serves more than 820 free lunches a month, while distributing 110 emergency food bags and almost 60 hygiene kits, plus clothing, to the area’s poor and homeless. The center also supports various local non-profits with meeting and office space, and provides a holy place of worship to three congregations who nest there, including Iglesia de Cristo Sion, which has used the space at 6242 N. 59th Ave. for 20 years.
In addition, Catholic Charities runs a much-needed Head Start Program from a portable classroom on the GMMC campus. As developed by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Head Start provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low income children and their families.
To build awareness of its various services, and to thank its many volunteers, donors and partners, GMMC held a Grand Opening on Saturday, November 17. Area residents were invited to come and learn more about the vision for the Center and how they can come together in its ministry. There was also a tour of the facility followed by refreshments in Fellowship Hall.
The program began at 9:00 a.m. with Kega Nasios introducing Interim Regional Minister Richie Sanchez who started the dedication of the Center with a prayer. Rick Reisinger, President of the Disciples Church Extension Fund, followed with a few words of praise for the service opportunity the Center represents.
“We have long believed that the good work of dedicated Disciples can continue to benefit their community even if their congregations cannot,” he said. “Glendale Mission & Ministry Center is an exceptional example of innovation, dedication and collaboration paying off in human dividends, of making a mission-driven investment in a community for the good of its people. And, DCEF is proud to be a partner in this effort.”
DCEF Vice President Bill Singer agrees. “In addition to being of so much benefit to the neediest of Glendale, the Mission & Ministry Center is kind of a pilot program for us,” he noted. “Rick has had a vision for facility re-use for a long time, as new church incubators and non-profit service hubs. So, it’s exciting to see it so fully realized here.”
The building evaluation for Glendale Mission & Ministry Center, formerly First Christian Church Glendale, was conducted in September 2017 by Disciples Church Extension Fund, which is now providing property management for the facility – a trial run for a possible new DCEF service.