A Brief History of People's Ministry in Christ

People’s Ministry in Christ was established in 1995 for the purpose of having a Presbyterian presence in the Dewey-Emerson area of the city following the closing of Christ Presbyterian Church. A three-year grant was given to PMIC by the Presbytery to hire a part-time minister, and the Rev. Fritz Longabaugh was called to serve by the Presbytery. He met with four others in a home on Locust Street for the first worship service where he discussed Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed (Matt 13: 31-32). Following Fritz’ departure, missionary volunteers and people who regularly attended PMIC continued to carry on the ministry there.

In 2000, The Couch Committee, a group of People’s Ministry leaders, began holding monthly meetings to oversee PMIC. In July 2000, the first community blessing day was held, providing spiritual and practical help to the neighborhood. Steve Behnke served as a Commissioned Lay Pastor at PMIC from 1999 to 2004. CLP Rutha Williams followed Steve in 2004 and continues to offer ministry there. In September 2004 PMIC moved to its current quarters at 516 Dewey Avenue.

The regular congregation of People’s Ministry is multi-racial, primarily adults, with many fighting addictions and/or mental illness. The regular population is 15 to 25 people. PMIC tries to help each person realize who they are in Christ. Many of them have grown closer to God and to each other.

In addition to regular Sunday services, PMIC provides mission and outreach to the community, including:

  • Bible studies and bi-weekly evening prayer meetings at PMIC;
  • A weekly Bible study at DePaul’s Edgerton Square, a facility for mentally ill individuals;
  • Participation in the Christian Coffee Hour at Rochester Psychiatric Center four times a year;
  • Social programs such as dinners, a summer picnic and a movie night;
  • Neighborhood blessing days of household goods, clothing, toys, and Bibles three to four times a year;
  • A small food cupboard for emergencies and a blessing fund for urgent needs;
  • Participation with Dewey Avenue Presbyterian Church in serving meals at Cameron Community Ministry three to four times a year.

PMIC is self-sustaining, receiving donations of material goods and finances from the Presbytery, churches, and individuals in support. The community truly believes PMIC originated as God’s idea and continues because of God’s grace and love. Its desire is that “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!” (Matthew 6:10).