Madison Heights United Methodist has new leadership and is currently planning the return of community forums on topics such as substance abuse and sex trafficking, as well as the implementation of new programs such as monthly drive-in movies.

Madison Heights United Methodist has new leadership and is currently planning the return of community forums on topics such as substance abuse and sex trafficking, as well as the implementation of new programs such as monthly drive-in movies.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


New pastor looking to increase community involvement

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published February 24, 2021

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MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights United Methodist has long been involved in the city, hosting forums over the years on pressing topics such as child abuse and domestic violence. Its new pastor is looking to bring these back and implement other new programs as well, once society begins to return to normal after the pandemic.

The Rev. Dr. Rodney K. Diggs is the pastor of the church at 246 E. 11 Mile Road. He lived in Tennessee for 25 years before moving to Michigan to be closer to his extended family.

“Three of my four sisters, a nephew, grandnephew, four nieces and my youngest son reside in Michigan. The transition has been wonderful,” Diggs said in an email. “I missed being able to attend family gatherings — Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, sporting events, etc. I really did not struggle with the decision to leave, because the way was made clear for me to return to my home state.”

He was appointed to his current role by the church’s district superintendent, and he says the arrangement has been a “true blessing.” He describes the Madison Heights community as one dedicated to seeking and serving their community, a value he has pledged to uphold.

Diggs previously ministered to two churches in Tennessee. Now his focus is the one church in Madison Heights, where he started serving last summer. The pandemic has slowed some of his plans, but his team is currently devising a number of ministry activities that they hope will be a boon to the community, including monthly drive-in movie nights, an expanded food pantry and clothing closet, monthly youth activities and senior activities, and the reinstitution of the forums that attracted experts for panel discussions on a variety of topics.

On that note, some of the topics being considered for the new round of forums include talks on sex trafficking, domestic violence, mental health, physical health, and financial literacy.

Work on the food pantry is already underway, and the church is also currently hosting two anonymous support groups for those struggling with drugs and alcohol, with the meetings held weekly at the church.

The church continues to hold in-person worship services that are also broadcast via Facebook Live at 10 a.m. every Sunday morning, and Bible studies via conference calls at 7 p.m. on Mondays.

“Being new, at six months, I’m still gathering and assessing the prevailing and pressing needs in Madison Heights,” Diggs said. “During this pandemic, as always, the church community should be and does provide love, hope, grace and prayers. What’s happening right now is a time to develop a deeper relationship with God’s community.”

Deliza Lee, the church’s office administrator, said the pastor has many ideas.

“He’s a man with hope to bring our church and the community together,” Lee said.

She also said credit is due to the previous pastor, Rhonda Osterman, who was the church’s 16th pastor since opening in 1944 and has since been reassigned within the district, as can periodically happen with United Methodist pastors.

“Pastor Rhonda was a great pastor with great ideas,” Lee said, noting that prior to COVID, Osterman held regular Bible studies and Sunday service luncheons, and once the pandemic started she moved church services online. “We all could get the word (of God) without missing a beat.”

For more information about Madison Heights United Methodist, call (248) 544-3544. 

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