In the United Methodist Church Community, music and service go hand in hand. The Prospect Park UMC Community Concert Series has gone virtual
during its 11th season in response to COVID-19. While the live in-person concerts have ceased for the moment, the music and support for vital community organizations has not.
The PPUMC Community Concert Series has for the past ten years brought musicians and community together to support local nonprofits by pairing one talented local musical act with an organization meeting critical community needs. The community has enjoyed free live concerts, with musicians donating their gift of song, and a free will offering accepted to support named beneficiaries.
As in many aspects of our lives, COVID-19 altered plans for this annual tradition this season. Instead of inviting the community to a live concert each month to benefit a charity, PPUMC now invites all to a virtual alternative on their website
. Each month September through May, you can enjoy the music of local artists and make a donation to support organizations working hard to better our communities.
November features The Jumpin’ Jehosafats and supports Simpson Housing—both of which have roots in the UMC.
Composed of United Methodist ministers and friends that play a variety of Dixieland, gospel and jazz, Jumpin’ Jehosafats has performed over 700 benefit concerts in the Midwest and Caribbean since 1985. All proceeds beyond expenses are given to charitable causes. To date, they have helped raise close to $500,000 for United Methodist related ministries such as Operation Classroom, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), and many other ecumenical causes such as Habitat for Humanity and disaster relief. Raising money for charity and lifting spirits, they have played community concerts, prisons, riverboats, churches, nursing homes, state fairs, and homeless shelters in the Upper Midwest, and also toured Haiti and Jamaica.
They have been featured artists with the Twin Cities Jazz Society Concert Series and played for numerous local, regional and national events for the United Methodist Church—including the PPUMC Community Concert Series. They have released two CDs, the first entitled “I’m Movin’ On” and the second “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” both with traditional and original tunes, the latter written by its members.
The band philosophy can be summed up in the words of one of their leaders when he says, “I believe God wants us to have fun. We’re designed to laugh and sing and dance. That’s one of the ways God lifts our spirits. It’s a way of remembering that the world is not on our shoulders, but that God is in charge.”
Since Simpson Housing Services beginnings in 1982 in the basement of Simpson United Methodist Church, Simpson has become a leading nonprofit providing assistance to people experiencing homelessness. In response to unmet community needs, their services have grown to include five key programs: emergency shelter, supportive housing programs for youth, single adults, and families—along with developmental and educational services for children of families in their Family Housing Program. They were one of the first Minnesota organizations to use the nationally-recognized Housing First model. Individuals and families are placed into housing immediately then supported with identified services to help address barriers. They work across the metro area partnering with landlords and developers to find sustainable housing for families and individuals. Simpson Housing’s Mission is to house, support, and advocate for people experiencing homelessness. Simpson Housing is committed to racial equity and community solutions to unsheltered homelessness.
Enjoy the music and donate here.