Messiah first began with worship in an abandoned Baptist church at 1640 Williams Street in Denver on March 29, 1914, one week after they officially organized. Approximately sixty folks signed the Charter Member Roll and John E. Hummon was called as the first pastor. In 1917 Messiah constructed its first church building at Colfax and Elizabeth (roughly where Tattered Cover is located today). The congregation remained there until 1949, by which time it was clear that they needed more space. The cornerstone of the current property was laid on May 29, 1949, and worship began in December of that same year. This is a congregation that has seen many chapters of history, many ups and downs in our nation and world. We remain a people who desire to proclaim the gospel through word and service, and we hope we'll be called to continue in ministry for many years to come.

Original church building at Elizabeth and Colfax in Denver
Original church building at Elizabeth and Colfax in Denver

Meet the Staff

PastorInga

Rev. Inga Oyan Longbrake

Pastor - October 1, 2018

Pastor Inga is a South Dakota native who grew up in a small Lutheran church, where she first experienced a theology of grace. She received her Master of Divinity from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver in 2001. She also spent a little time at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa to complete her "Lutheran year" of study. After internship in in Limon, Colorado, at Zion Lutheran, her first call was to be Associate Pastor at Lutheran Church of Hope in Broomfield, Colorado, where she spent three years. Pastor Inga then served as the pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Aurora for the ten years before coming to Messiah.
She has a passion for gospel proclamation, creative ministry, and taking on the challenge of being church in new ways for this new time.
Pastor Inga and her husband Wil have a daughter named Lucy and a dog named Charlie Brown (yes, unintentionally starting a Peanuts gang of their very own).

Contact Pastor Inga

Director of Music Ministries

Rev. Stacy Collins

Director of Music Ministries

Rev. Stacy Collins is an ordained United Methodist Deacon. Stacy has over 20+ years of experience working in local churches, ranging from 75 to 2000 members. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory, Master of Arts from Western IL University and a Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology. Stacy has a passion for bringing community together in creative musical and artistic expression. Creativity is a God-given gift for all God’s children and Stacy seeks to encourage people to find their own innate creativity.

Stacy worked at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch for over 19 years – starting out as an associate music director and serving as Pastor of Congregational Care for the past 4 years. She is currently exploring a new calling – having established a non-profit, ShadowLight Ministry where she is leading and hosting retreats. Stacy and her husband, Steve (and their 2 beloved dogs, Kona and Rosey) live in the Perry Park region of Larkspur, CO.

Contact Stacy

Teresa Dancewicz Helmers

Teresa Dancewicz Helmers

Accompanist

Teresa graduated from Clark University in Worcester, MA, in May 2019 with a degree in music (Honors in Piano Performance) and is a new Colorado resident. She teaches piano and hopes accompanying in a church will be a nice complement to that work.

Teresa grew up on the east coast and is excited to explore the west. She grew up in the Catholic church and knows the liturgical tradition well. She was looking for a progressive, welcoming church community where her talents could be put to use, and we’re happy to say she found us.

Contact Teresa.

Suzanne Miller, Office Manager
Suzanne Miller, Office Manager

Suzanne Miller serves as the office manager at Messiah. She's been connected to this community of faith for much of her life, and you can tell how much she cares about it. We are grateful that she is the face that welcomes folks throughout the week.

leahposes2

Leah Peden

Volunteer Coordinator

Leah is our part-time volunteer coordinator and bookkeeper. She was born and raised in Minnesota and met her husband Ken in college. They have two adult children and four grandchildren. She started her career teaching language arts in kindergarten and first grade but felt a calling to youth and education ministry.

She likes reading, gardening, the Everly Brothers, and playing with children and she is a firm believer that the Vikings one day will do it!

She is an important part of our staff. She is very interested in re-educational theology and spirituality groups. She believes in God's gifts of teamwork and networking.

Contact Leah

Our Approach

  • We are a welcoming, progressive Christian community in the Lutheran tradition.
  • We welcome inter-faith and ecumenical dialogue and experiences.
  • We understand and celebrate the compatibility of religion and science.
  • We love and welcome children, striving to make their church experience positive, joyful and life-giving.
  • As a congregation on a spiritual journey, we welcome your doubts and questions, your insights and experiences, without pretending to have all the answers.
  • We take the scriptures seriously. We believe the scriptures proclaim truth and are filled with a variety of types of literature. They are not to be understood as simply an historical document or rulebook.  Together, the scriptures tell us of God's presence with humanity since the beginning.
  • Read below for a bit more...
Church

We are Christians.
That term can carry some baggage. Christians are people who encounter God in Jesus and the activity of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is a book of God’s people. In that book, we experience again and anew the ways in which God’s people have encountered the divine. We believe the living word is not simply a book, but an encounter with scripture and the Spirit. We view the Bible reverently, seriously, thoughtfully, and critically.

WE ARE LUTHERANS.

Lutherans are Christians who understand the world and the church in the world through a particular way of being together. Without going into a history of the 16th century Reformation, Lutherans are held by the experience that God’s grace always comes to us freely. We receive it just as we are and who we are. In fact, Lutherans think human beings are never all good or all evil, but always some of both. We view humanity and all creation as beautiful, complex, broken, and beloved. Jesus is the one in whom we encounter God’s goodness filling humanity. We think this is radically liberating: You don’t have to "get saved" by making a choice or invitation to God. You don’t have to be good enough. God loves you and grace calls you to respond to that love with a life more and more reflective of that love. We especially and tangibly are embraced by grace when we encounter the living word together, are baptized and marked as God’s own, and share the communion meal together.

(A lot of these ideas were [more eloquently and thoroughly] expressed by Martin Luther, a German monk who, after many years of spiritual and personal turmoil, decided there had to be a better way to do church. One that didn’t involve people paying money to get a better seat in the afterlife, among other things. So he married a former nun, got in not a little bit of trouble with the powers-that-be, got kicked out of the church, and inspired a lot of people. "Lutheran" was a derogatory term impressed upon those who found his proclamation compelling. Here in the US and some other parts of the world, it stuck. Go figure.)

WE ARE THE CHURCH.

Well, yes and no. Anytime a few gather together in Jesus’ name, you have the church. The universal church is of all times and places, and when we gather, we’re a part of that body that transcends culture, time, and space. And because we believe God is graceful and a lot more mysterious and broad than we are, we believe that while we are the church, we are not the church alone. We know, it’s paradoxical. But so is life!

WE DON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS.

There, it’s out in the open. We don’t tell people what to do. Together, we encounter the living God in Jesus. And when we do that, around simple stuff like scripture, water, bread, and wine, God works through the gathering. We discover what we were born to do: Love God and love our neighbors. Sometimes we get comforted by what we find. Sometimes we get challenged by it.

We are affiliated with the ELCA.
The ELCA is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It’s a family of faith that emerged through a LOT of mergers of smaller families of faith all over the US and Caribbean. There are millions of Lutherans all over the world. There are about 4.8 million ELCA Lutherans in over 10,000 congregations in the US, and over 66 million around the globe who work together in the Lutheran World Federation.

A note about the word evangelical: The word simply means "good news." It s what Lutherans called themselves in Europe, and usually still do. The word has taken on different meanings in the US for different groups. We think it means encountering God should be good news. Period.