Opera singer hears, heeds call

Mic McGuire, a former opera singer-turned-minister, recently opened Living Water Methodist Church, 3001 W. 115th St., Kansas City, Kan.

? There are times in life when a palpable shift occurs.

The Earth doesn’t move and the clouds don’t part with a bright, shining light pointing the way. But at that moment, the waiting is over, and life will never be the same.

Mic McGuire’s shift took place in Ireland, while singing with the Dublin Opera.

A gift of song

Mic and Pamela McGuire will present “A Gift of Song,” an evening of Christmas music and storytelling, at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, at Living Water Methodist Church, 3001 W. 115th St., Kansas City, Kan.

“It was after a performance, and we were having one of those rich, spiritual, philosophical conversations,” McGuire said. “I just realized I didn’t know anything about anything.

“I called my wife and said, ‘I think I’m being called into the ministry.'”

At that moment, McGuire began his journey, leaving the life of an opera singer who toured the world to become a minister for the United Methodist Church.

“Never in my wildest dreams,” McGuire said of predicting his transition into the ministry. “It is bigger than anything that I have ever even thought of doing.”

Now, McGuire is topping himself and has opened Living Water Methodist Church in Kansas City, Kan. It’s been a long journey, but McGuire said he wouldn’t change a thing.

International career

“My dad was a preacher’s kid, but I was not raised in the church,” McGuire recalled. “Church was something I did in college.”

As a music major, McGuire would often attend church to sing in the choir. While he looks back on his first church experiences with fondness, it was the music that really stood out.

McGuire continued his studies of opera in graduate school and post-graduate school, shaping what he described as “a nice international career in opera.”

With memorable performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Lincoln Center in New York, and with groups such as The Chicago Lyric Opera and the Dublin Opera, McGuire had a career filled with greatness.

“Meeting such a variety of people,” is what McGuire remembers most as an opera singer. “It was an enormous blessing. I got to see God’s creation, called Earth. I was exposed to so much goodness.”

When not traveling from opera to opera, McGuire called Bonner Springs home with his wife, Pamela, and two children, Shawn and Caitlin.

It was in Bonner Springs where McGuire and his family first started attending church on a regular basis.

The call

Despite having begun attending church, McGuire said he was not expecting what would transpire that night in 1997 as he sat listening to his fellow singers debate spirituality.

“When it came, it came pretty hard,” McGuire said of his call to the ministry.

In the weeks that followed, McGuire began the process of being ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church and entered seminary, all while still maintaining a full-time singing career.

“It was nuts,” he said.

In June 2002, McGuire finished seminary, was ordained in the church and ended his 15 years in Bonner Springs after being assigned to a church in Emporia.

For McGuire, Jesus Christ became a necessity.

“To have faith is to be blessed with forgiveness,” he said.

A new journey

As McGuire reflects on the opening of his own church, words escape him. After thinking to himself for a few minutes, the only inspiration that comes is a feeling.

“It’s not fear,” he said. “It’s just awe.”

Living Water Methodist Church, McGuire said, is not geared to alienate anyone but rather to embrace as many as possible.

“My nonchurch upbringing will speak to some. My blessings with international travel will speak to some,” McGuire said. “I have a very broad world view, because of my experiences.”

“We’re trying to reach out to anyone we can,” he said. “God loves you and so do I. And I think we all need to feel that over and over and over.”

More than anything else, McGuire hopes to speak the truth.

“A friend told me the other day that he would describe me as authentic,” McGuire said.

While he would never describe himself that way, he said he likes the idea of staying true to himself.

“I am me,” he says simply.