(June 5, 2014)

Alumna gains experience at historic Japanese American United Methodist Church

SHREVEPORT, LA — Since September 2013, alumna Ashley Ramsey '10 has shared her musical talents with the congregation of West Los Angeles United Methodist Church, a historic Japanese American church. Ramsey, who earned her BA in Music and Vocal Music Education, serves as Director of Music Ministries.

Ashley Ramsey
Ashley Ramsey '10

"I have absolutely loved getting to know my church members and their heritage," said Ramsey. "Many of the members are Japanese American and grew up in Los Angeles and have a lot of history to share. I really enjoy being immersed in that environment."

The church offers two services; one in English and the other, Nichigo, in Japanese. There is a quarterly combined service where the church's pastor, Rev. Becky Hirata, delivers the message, alternating between English and Japanese.

"As far as traditions and order of worship, West LA UMC is very similar to most other United Methodist Churches I've been a part of in Texas and Louisiana," said Ramsey. "That's what I love about the Methodist Church: you can go anywhere in the nation and you know what to expect. West LA UMC embraces the United Methodist motto of Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds and puts a lot of emphasis on equality."

Ramsey currently leads the adult chancel choir, hand bell choir, youth praise band, and will introduce a children's choir this August. She is also in the process of organizing a "Broadway Benefit Concert" to raise funds for Imagine No Malaria, a United Methodist Church project.

While at Centenary, Ramsey enjoyed participating in the Christian Leadership Center, United Methodist Student Movement, and Stepping Stones. She also completed a variety of internships at St. Luke's UMC and Asbury UMC.

"I learned so much history about the United Methodist Church (while at Centenary), and I was able to explore my faith in a safe environment," said Ramsey.