WARNER ROBINS -- Beautiful, expansive stained glass windows catch the afternoon sun each day and wash the sanctuary of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in vivid colors and scenes of creation and depictions of Christ and Christian symbols.
Designed by Mount Calvary member and artist Melinda Hopf, the windows are an appreciated source of joy for the congregation and the churchs pastor, Dave Brighton.
But as beautiful as they are, theyre not what members hope the church is most known for.
We dont want to be known just as the church with pretty stained glass windows, Brighton said. We want to be known as a church that connects people to Christ and is dedicated to being involved in our community and making a positive difference.
Brighton said the congregation sets itself to that end through activities like providing a community Christmas meal each year for those who otherwise might not have one, being involved in Angel Tree ministry by delivering Thanksgiving baskets, having a nursing home ministry, working with a local womens shelter and starting the Pregnancy Solutions ministry. Plus, he said, the church goes beyond the local community to places like Nicaragua, Honduras and Ecuador with ministries such as eyeglass clinics for those unable to get eye care.
Mount Calvary is planning another Christmas gift to the community this year by presenting an original musical written by the churchs musical director, Tim Jacobsmeyer. It will be Dec. 6-8 in the churchs sanctuary.
Everything we do comes out of Christs love for people and is geared toward connecting people to Jesus, Brighton said. I hope that if you came on a Sunday and pulled someone aside, theyd be able to tell you that were here to connect people to Jesus and to one another to serve the world. I think they could.
Brighton said that motivation has led the church to gospel outreach ministry such as planting a church in Perry in 2006 and taking the bold step to release 80 of its own members to become part of the new congregation, Christ Lutheran Church.
Wed like to plant more new congregations in the next couple of decades, Brighton said. Statistics show planting a new church reaches more people than if a single church works by itself. Its an effective way to connect more people to Jesus.
Brighton said Mount Calvary began in 1980, meeting at what was then the Christopher-Smith Funeral Home on South Houston Road. The church moved to its current Carl Vinson Parkway location a couple of years later and has continued to grow and expand facilities. Mount Calvary is associated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Brighton has been pastor at Mount Calvary for 13 of the churchs 32 years. He said his father and grandfather were both Lutheran ministers. Brighton is a graduate of Valparaiso University in Indiana and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. He has served congregations in Nebraska, West Virginia and Georgia. He and his wife, Marcia, have five grown children.
Weve been very happy being here in Middle Georgia, Brighton said. Its a great place to raise a family, and the church has a wonderful congregation and staff. Its great seeing such genuine love and friendliness plus dedication to Jesus, one another and to going out beyond our walls to serve the homeless, Alzheimers patients and families, the local hospital and all the places Christ calls us to share his love.
Theres just one thing Brighton said he hopes for that hes afraid his congregation and the surrounding community wont get on board with. He said he hopes the St. Louis Cardinals will win the World Series again this year.
Braves fans wont like that, but I would, he said.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at firstname.lastname@example.org.