Wellspring UMC, on the west side of Madison, has been intentional about building bridges in their community and taking church outside its walls. Here are three examples:

Lussier Community Education Center is used for adult and children programs, including training and after-school and summer activities. It serves hot meals to thousands of people each year. School supplies, a food pantry, emergency funding are all coordinated through Lussier with the help and cooperation of many churches and organizations on the west side of Madison. While Wellspring UMC has been providing school supplies for a number of years, this last year they decided to “up their game”. Each year their Food Pantry Garden, grown on church property and maintained by church volunteers, produces 300-400 pounds of fresh veggies and fruit. They are now delivering weekly crops to Lussier, coinciding with their Wednesday evening community meals.

Additionally, on July 12th, Pastor Patrick and four of laity from Wellspring met with 30+ other church and laity leaders at Lussier asking the question, "What would powerful interfaith collaboration to benefit Madison's Westside community look like?" From that meeting of rich discussion and relationship building, a number of emerging areas of focus were discussed with champions coordinating the following: Interfaith Political Action, Immigration Solidarity, Interfaith Exchange Research, Congregational Communication, Interfaith Celebration, and Interracial Relationship Building. Pastor Patrick Schultz will be championing the Interracial Relationship Building endeavor. Some of the Wellspring members will work on that same team; some will be working on other initiatives.

Glenn Stephen’s Elementary School is right next door to Wellspring UMC. Last year, Wellspring initiated a meeting to identify ways to partner with the children and teachers. This partnership has blossomed into a growing relationship! In 2016-2017, they prepared and served a holiday meal for 16 kindergarteners; provided a Christmas tree, lights/ornaments, and gifts to a newly relocated family in need; and completed a yearlong Pen Pal program with eighteen 4th graders culminating in a celebratory luncheon with the kids and teachers.On August 2nd, Pastor Patrick and three church members will meet with the school’s principal to explore ideas for 2017-2018!

Wellspring also shares it’s beautiful building with several special groups. While they have multiple groups using the building throughout the year, two in particular stand out. Iglesia Restauracion y Vida led by Pastor Pedro J. Ruiz, Jr., a non-denominational Hispanic church of Madison, in existence for 17 years, is sharing their building for activities, such as a recent “Day of Ministry for Young Families,” with approximately 60 couples in attendance. Their main speaker, Dr. Enders Vargas, was flown in from Venezuela. This summer they are using Wellspring for their annual VBS with 70-80 children of all ages attending.

The other group using the Wellspring building is Classical Conversations (CC), a nationwide classical, Christian community providing academic programs, events, and services to home school students and parents. They are not a school, nor a co-op. Rather they are groups of families that have organized themselves to meet weekly, hold each other accountable, encourage their students, and work through a shared academic curriculum using the tools of classical education and a biblical worldview. With around 50 kids, ages 6 months – 14 years old, they’ll be using the Wellspring classrooms and sanctuary every Tuesday of the school year for 2017-2018. One of Wellspring’s UMC kids will begin her 2nd year with CC.

According to Pastor Patrick, “We are truly blessed to be serving the community in new and wonderful ways as we Make A-New Wisconsin!”