Rev. Melissa Maher

Rev. Melissa Maher, MDiv is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church serving at Mercy Street, a church within Chapelwood United Methodist in Houston, Texas. Having entered pastoral ministry after a career in corporate lending, Melissa’s passion is to bridge the life of the church with the opportunities and assets of the city. She has found a spiritual connection among contemplative spirituality practices, missional outreach, and a Wesleyan expression of grace.

Mercy Street is a worship community of Chapelwood United Methodist Church. Our mission is to be a safe harbor of hope and transformation, so all may experience the radical grace of God. We are both a church and a mission outpost. Mercy Street is a community with a high percentage of individuals and families in recovery from addictions as well as individuals or families affected by mental health. Staff and lay leaders develop the competencies to be bridge builders among the three worlds of the church, recovery and mental health, and the mission of the church in a neighborhood…all while holding the integrity of Mercy Street’s mission.

Skills to offer

  • Cultural understanding of recovery and the stigma of addiction and how these impact the spiritual formation of an individual and local church.
  • Connection to local organizations for addiction and recovery as well as mental health. These networks will enhance the ministry of a local church.
  • Models for lay leadership and equipping individuals in recovery to be in church leadership.
  • Personal experience with Al Anon and the pastoral intensity of a congregation with a high presence of addiction.
  • Sermon and Bible study examples of how to speak to the stigma of addiction and mental illness.
  • Building a staff team and budget which reflects the values of the congregation and her mission.

Rev. Jack Womack

I have served as Pastor of LaPorte, First UMC and at Pasadena, Hope Community Church since 2008.

As a recovering person for more than 32 years Jack Womack has a unique perspective on the ways in which a faith community can provide effective ministry to recovering persons.  This includes recovery from alcohol and drug dependency to awareness of the significance of mental disorders within any faith community.  This difficult task requires grace and mercy and provides ample opportunity for any church to reach those that have been often alienated by church communities.  Creating and open and transparent community requires intentional effort focused on setting aside pre-conceived notions and approaching the issues with sincerity and a willingness to reach out to those persons and families affected by the issues related to addiction.  Jack can help a church to open their eyes and hearts to the real needs of people within and outside their own community that are dealing with these issues.