Dick Jumper

Pastor Richard “Dick” Jumper, First Christian Church Pastor

Something about Vinton jumped out at Richard Jumper. He and wife Dana were looking for a new place to call home and for Jumper to preach. When he learned about First Christian Church in town, information was quickly exchanged and an interview arranged.

“One of the key things for me is whether I can get along with the congregation and how our personalities fit well,” Jumper said. “Each church has its own personality. Everything seemed to fit. They had me come preach on a Sunday morning. We came to an understanding after that and I started in May.”

Born in St. Louis to be a funeral director, Jumper lived much of his life in Bloomington, Ill and worked for General Telephone Company (later Verizon) until deciding to become a pastor 23 years ago. The Jumpers moved to Cedar Rapids in May and have commuted ever since. He also has office hours in Vinton in addition to his Sunday services.

“We’re enjoying getting acquainted with Vinton,” Jumper said. “It’s certainly a different pace compared to metro Bloomington. “This particular congregation tends to be very blue collar. I don’t necessarily call them senior citizens, but there is a lot of gray hair there. A lot of nice folks.”

Jumper stated his sermons tend to be Bible-based, down to earth and nothing “highfalutin.” He’s spent the last month and a half getting to know members of the church and in turn letting the congregation get to know him. He will be officially installed with First Christian Church next week.

“It’s like a date,” Jumper said. “It’s fun, but can be a little stressful. We’re still getting acquainted and learning about each other. We hope to move to Vinton one day and become more a part of the community. I’m sure we can go through the motions, but really we want to do our jobs well and you really can’t do that until you’re a part of the community.”

With Vinton opening back up as the COVID-19 pandemic eases up, Jumper has noticed more people out enjoying their summer with trips and vacations. He plans to “take it easy” for now in terms of events and “make for a big push” in the fall. Continuing to listen to congregation members is a priority for Jumper and he believes his introduction into the community is going “smoothly” as he approaches two months with the church.

“Getting to know the people excites me the most,” Jumper said. “We have friends from central Illinois who live here. Having that acquaintance made the move really nice. We knew a little of what to expect here and were able to renew an old friendship.”

First Christian Church holds Sunday services at 10:15 a.m.