INDIANAPOLIS – The former head of the South Indiana Foundation of The United Methodist Church is now head of finances at the United Methodist-related Fletcher Place Community Center, 1637 Prospect Street near the southeast side of downtown Indianapolis.
In her new interim position, the Rev. Marie Lang will now take charge of the center’s $350,000 budget to both raise money for the center and pay the bills on a day-to-day basis.
According to the Rev. Jessi Langlie, executive director of Fletcher Place Ministries, Lang is an answer to her prayers. Langlie, who said she got bogged down in the business of the center, now says she feels free to do the ministry of Fletcher Place.
Lang, who for years ran a multi-million-dollar foundation for the former South Indiana Conference, told Together during a February morning interview, “I don’t see this (interim position) as a step down, but a step into ministry. Now I get to move ministry at the grassroots level.”
She further said as a United Methodist ordained deacon, “We (deacons) bridge between the world and the church. This position is beyond writing checks, seeing ministry is getting done.”
Langlie said, “The future (of Fletcher Place) is at an extremely exciting point of growth. Having someone do the business of the place allows me to have time to do ministry.”
Fletcher Place, located in the Fountain Square neighborhood, is growing. For seven years, the center has been serving breakfast on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to between 100 and 200 guests, many from area shelters. That ministry has expanded to include evening dinners to an equal number of guests on Mondays and Wednesdays. It takes around 12 volunteers, who come from area United Methodist churches, to serve meals each week-day.
“They are more than meals,” said Lang. “They are a time for warm hospitality and fellowship.”
In addition to meals, the center also is noted for job training and placement, as well as assisting 10 guests at a time to obtain their GED if they lack a high school diploma, one of the first requirements of many jobs.
Langlie said, “We have a volunteer social worker who comes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Other program highlights of the center include:
- A thrift store open three hours a day and visited by 50 to 60 area residents each day,
- A pre-school program with 30 children enrolled,
- A children’s library,
- A summer program for young children,
- Supplies for homeless residents,
- A food pantry to assist from five to ten clients a day, and
- A jobs program staffed by nine people serving 350 to 400 people per week.
Lang said she is no stranger to the area. She grew up in the Fountain Square neighborhood. She said, “My dad knows the building (that now houses the center).”
As for the future, Lang said she is open to God’s lead. “Foundation work is perfect for what the center wants to do to diversify (it’s ministry). I’m in God’s hands now and am where God wants me to be.”
For more information about the Fletcher Place Community Center, visit www.fletcherplace.org or call 317-636-3466. Fletcher Place Community Center, Inc. is a 501(c)(3). Qualified donations are tax deductible.