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Feeding bodies and souls at Southeast Pierre UMC

By: By Doreen Gosmire, director of communications

Every Thursday night at Southeast Pierre United Methodist Church you will find about 200 people coming and going. They come to the community center to eat, connect and learn a little about Jesus. Pastor Valerie Hummel LaBounty, who serves Southeast Pierre UMC, greets people as they come and go to the free meal.


Pastor Valerie LaBounty, SE Pierre UMC, listens to a guest at The Banquet,Thursday, April 5, 2018.

“On Maundy Thursday, I served communion to anyone that was at the Thursday night banquet,” said  Hummel LaBounty. “It was awesome to be a pastoral presence for many. A lot of people seemed surprised by the opportunity to receive communion.  I told them communion is a gift for everyone to receive.  It was a way to reach out to people who may not go to church or have the chance to have communion. “

Barb Lindbloom and Laurie Bonhorst have been working at Southeast Pierre for several years. “The banquet is important to a lot of people in Pierre,” said Bonhorst. “They come to eat, and they come to visit. We have one lady that shows up as early as 1 p.m.  She visits and does some crossword puzzles while she waits.”

The banquet serves a warm meal, prepared by various volunteer groups in the Pierre Area, at 5-7 p.m. Volunteer groups are from churches, businesses and community organizations. Several United Methodist Churches in the region have prepared and served the meal at The Banquet including  Harold-Highmore-Blunt UMC, Miller UMC and Pierre First UMC.

Lindbloom helps to coordinates the volunteer groups that prepare the meal and serve each week. “We have a great response from the community. It is something that is needed. Southeast Pierre is the second home for the banquet; it was originally downtown and in a place where there was no kitchen,” she said.


Community kids and youth play games outside SE Pierre UMC as their parents enjoy some after-dinner conversation in the Community Center.

Southeast Pierre United Methodist Church is a mission congregation that serves a diverse group of people in a high need area of Pierre, S.D. Many of the residents struggle with getting their basic needs met like food and clothing. Lack of resources is especially challenging for the children. Southeast Pierre UMC reaches out in many ways to the neighborhood.

Recently the church launched Financial Peace University. The nine-week program teaches participants various skills to manage money.  There are only a few signed up for the current class.  Pastor Valerie stated, “We do not have a lot of people in this class, but we wanted to get started. We have to start somewhere.”

Children Preschool-grade five can come to JAM—Jesus and Me, after school each Wednesday.  The program, coordinated by Pastor Valerie, involves music, videos, creative activities and a story about Jesus.  Families in the surrounding neighborhood are encouraged to attend. “We have kids stop by to see what is happening. We hope to encourage families to connect with us through JAM,” said Pastor Valerie.

Movie Night

Watching the movie at Southeast Pierre last summer. Photo by Pastor Valerie Hummel LaBounty.

Last summer an outdoor movie night was started.  Everyone was invited to come to the parking lot of Southeast Pierre, grab some popcorn, a chair or blanket and enjoy a family movie. Moviegoers watch on a unique screen.  Rev. Hummel LaBounty made the screen by sewing three sizeable white bed sheets together.  Movies were moved indoors for the winter.

The coat closet has been an ongoing outreach. The church and community center receives donations for winter coats, hats, gloves and mittens in all sizes.  People come to the community center, and select winter outerwear as needed.  Lindbloom and Bonhorst have seen the need for the coat closet increase over the years.  “We use to give out a few here and there. But now we have ongoing requests.”

It is Pastor Valerie’s first year serving in Southeast Pierre. Her love for mission and outreach continues to grow as she learns more about the people around her. “The people around here have basic needs, and we want to share the love of Jesus with them.”

To help or donate to Southeast Pierre Community Center contact Pastor Valerie Hummel LaBounty at Southeast Pierre by calling 605-494-0470 or



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