Monday, March 04, 2024
38.0°F

New pastor settles in at Methodist Parish

by MONTE TURNER
Mineral Independent | February 7, 2024 12:00 AM

Unless you are a member of the Mineral County United Methodist Parish, with churches in Alberton and Superior, you may not have known that they were without a pastor until last June.

Congregation volunteers kept them going as the former pastor, Waveland King, did services by zoom. Like other houses of worship, the membership numbers are down, but Pastor Hampton is optimistic. 

“I think I’m starting to see the sun coming up over the horizon. They are starting to get excited again and filter back and I’m really happy to see that,” he stated. 

Pastor Zechariah Wade Hampton said, “I quit using Zechariah about 30 years ago because I had to spell it so often that since then, it’s just Z. Wade Hampton,” he smiles. 

He has been married to his wife Suzi for 20 years, which is the second marriage for both. He was born in California in 1955 and moved to Hamilton, Montana in 1971. 

Both have been very involved in the Baptist church the majority of their lives and Wade has held every position in the book. However, he completed courses over the years for his certificates and license to become a Methodist pastor and this is their first parish in that capacity. Suzi is a Sheridan, Montana native where they lived until moving to Superior in June of last year taking over the Mineral County Methodist Parish.

Evangelical churches have had inner battles in recent years. As the United Methodist Church (UMC) is rocked by disagreement over LGBTQ+ issues, more than 4,000 congregations have officially split from the denomination since 2022. 

Pastor Hampton is on top of the subject. 

“Well, here it is. Jesus never withheld his love from anybody. Anybody that wanted to be with Jesus. Man looks at the appearance of man. Jesus looks at the heart of man. Our doors are open to anyone who wants to come in here as we won’t turn anyone away.” 

The Methodist Church holds a conference every four years to discuss issues and lifestyle changes keeping the focus on The Word of God. The 2020 conference was cancelled due to the pandemic and one hasn’t been scheduled, yet, but Hampton feels the acceptance of any-and-all will be ratified for all Methodist churches at that time.  

Suzi has her own duties as parishioners’ wives or husbands are part of the package. 

“I do Children's Church and Sunday School,” she said. “I also visit a lot of the shut-ins and once a month we go to the hospital (Mineral Community Hospital) to the nursing home and sing a lot of songs. It’s a fun time.” 

Suzi taught adult education as a teachers aid in Deer Lodge at the Montana State Prison plus, she also worked at the YMCA Pre-School and HeadStart in Butte. 

“I like kids. They’re my favorites,” she shared.

“I’ve taken the approach of establishing traditional Westly and Foundational teachings in our Sunday worship services, trying to bring Westly back in, rather than more modernly approaches,” explained Pastor Hampton. “We’ve been live streaming our Sunday services from here (Superior) to YouTube since the middle of July.” 

Wade created their own YouTube channel just for that purpose. 

“I do a morning devotional every morning and put that up on YouTube and the churches website for anybody that wants to follow along in the mornings. And we are having a Bible Study through zoom on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. but I want to bring that back to in-person as it’s just not the same. Opening up the church on Wednesday nights for people to come is something I’m working on.”

Keeping the United Methodist Church involved in the community is a high priority. 

“Tammy Wieweck has started back up the Lenton Lunches beginning Feb. 20. We help Jim DeBree with We Care, that helps those in need and I understand he started the program. The breakfast at the fair each year, the Men’s Methodist Church Breakfast, but we have lots of women helping so the name might need adjusting. And I just got a call from the Fuller Center for Bike Adventures yesterday and they’re a non-profit to help with the homeless crisis. They are going to do a bike ride from Seattle to Washington DC this summer and they are going to stay here for a couple of nights,” he said.

The Methodist Church of Alberton is located at 802 Railroad St., with Sunday Services at 9 a.m. Then they scurry back to Superior for services at the United Methodist Church held at 11 a.m. 

Pastor Wade can be reached at 406-282-4571 or pastor@blackfoot.net. Suzi can be contacted at pastorswife@blackfoot.net. The website is mineralumcparish.org.


Recent Headlines