Star Staff Reports
Rev. Ronnie Peck has been senior pastor at Millington’s First United Methodist Church (FUMC) located at 8029 Wilkinsville Road, for nearly two years. He remembers when he received the call from the district superintendent to make the move to Millington in 2015, after serving as pastor to both Union Grove and Marvin’s Chapel United Methodist churches in Brownsville, Tenn., for four years.
The district superintendent said, “Ronnie, would you consider a move…[to] Millington First United Methodist Church?’ Peck remembers replying, “Wow, that’s like a real church, are you sure?’ He adds, “I feel like God has sent me to the right place, and to the best situation I could have asked to be in.”
First United Methodist Church has a long history in the community. The church celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2014. Rev. Peck points out the church remains in the center of the city, as it has always been, and is active in many outreach activities to the community through its emergency food pantry, and its new weekend backpack program for elementary school children living in food insecure households. In addition, the church maintains active partnerships with its next-door neighbor Millington Central High School, the Millington Family YMCA, the Cubs Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as a number of other community groups.
Peck has somewhat of a long history with the United Methodist Church as well. His parents have both been ministers in the church, his father Paul Peck, and his mother Ora Peck, who passed away recently, was the first woman minister in the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Peck fondly recalls growing up in small towns in Northwest Tennessee and Southwest Kentucky, particularly a small section of Paducah called Littleville, which he says was literally across the tracks, with only one way in and one way out. “If the train was across the track, you were stuck on either side.” He muses, “The town was made up mainly of hard-living folks, but there were lots of kids, and we played together morning and night and never worried about our safety. How I wish for those days on occasion.”
While his parents were ministers, Rev. Peck’s own path to the ministry was not a straight one. After high school and some college, he worked in a factory and began taking his faith more seriously when he was asked to join a contemporary Christian rock band. After three years of factory work and marriage, he enrolled in Murray State University and received a Bachelor of Science in journalism/radio & TV production.
At this same time, he became a student supply pastor with the United Methodist Church and pastored three small churches in Paris, Tenn., but left the ministry when he received his degree to pursue a career in broadcasting.
He characterizes his career path in broadcasting as “on-again, off-again, at best,” and left after five years. After several years of struggling, a man relayed how the church was the key to his and his family’s personal happiness. Rev. Peck says, “I knew in my heart he was right, and decided to re-dedicate my life to Christ.” Peck received his Master of Divinity degree from Memphis Theological Seminary in 1990, and was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church in 1992.
Peck notes since that time, he has pastored in nearly every corner of the Memphis Conference from Shelby County to Jackson, Tenn., and Southwest Kentucky.
Peck says, “I believe God gifts us in some unique ways, In fact, I believe that’s God’s plan for keeping the kingdom strong and vital. But, my passion has always been in the area of programs, and I consider myself a good program pastor. I have always been successful in getting churches active. I also have a heart for missions. I think that’s why God led me to this church, because FUMC has the biggest heart for missions of any church I have been privileged to pastor.”
He adds, “While it’s true that we write checks to go to those we cannot get to personally, we also go directly to those whom we can, in an effort to alleviate suffering in all forms, and to be the hands and heart of Jesus.”
Peck and his wife Pam have been married for five years. He has two sons, she has two daughters, and together they have three grandchildren. His hobbies include playing the guitar and collecting antique coffee grinders.
For more information about Millington First United Methodist Church visit the church’s website at www.fumcmillington.org, or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/First-United-Methodist-Church-Millington-TN-277362889711/ or call 872-4414.