Meeting the Neighborhood this Christmas

Most mornings, Pastor Geordie Denholm walks to work at Emmaus Lutheran in south St. Louis so that he can meet people along the way. “I never thought I would fall in love with STL when I moved to Seminary, but I cannot wait to work alongside the city as we build up our communities together!”

Pastor Denholm’s installation in July 2021 was an answered prayer for a ministry opportunity of the Missouri District that had been put on pause. Emmaus had been without a pastor or even regular worship services for several years. And while the ministry is starting anew, Pastor Denholm clearly sees the similarities between where things are today and where they were in 1889 when a small group of worshippers first started gathering. Today’s members have even taken on the original name, “Jefferson Avenue Mission.”

“We find a lot of ourselves in the journey of those who came before. So, we take their historic mantle while we explore how best to serve and reach our neighbors,” says Pastor Denholm. “We open our doors to the community to see what they need and hear what they value.” To start building relationships and engaging others in conversation, Emmaus produced and hosted a play for the neighborhood in November. “For me personally, theatre has always been ministry. It’s been a hobby, a love, a vocation. It has been an opportunity for a community of people often marginalized by the church to see Christ’s love through the words and actions of his disciples.”

Jefferson Avenue Mission is now a house church of 15 members. Twice a month, the group gathers to hear the Word of God, have Communion, and even share a meal. The Sermon on the Mount has been their most recent topic of study. A potluck and candlelit hymn sing are planned for December 12.

“Please pray for the conversations I will be having, especially these first few years,” says Pastor Denholm. “Pray that the challenges be opportunities for growth relationally and spiritually. And pray that the Lord would bring about good fruit in the work that Jefferson Avenue Mission is doing!”


Pictured below: Rev. Geordie Denholm and the sanctuary at Emmaus.