Skip Navigation

Spotlight on United Methodist Faith Stories

 

These inspirational stories describe United Methodists who are using their gifts and their faith to make a difference in the world.

Rev. Anthony D. Tapucar imparts a blessing on members of Amazing Grace United Methodist Church

Philippines church name inspired by Amazing Grace

A vibrant worship community in the Philippines finds their foundation in a favorite hymn. View

Bishop Harald Rückert once studied food technology, speaks four languages and plays the saxophone. Photo by Volker Kiemle, Communications Germany United Methodist Church.

Meet Bishop Harald Rückert

In this conversation, we learn that the bishop of the Germany Central Conference once studied food technology, plays the sax, and speaks 4 languages. Listen

Pat Gardiner makes a weekly visit to Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine to replenish supplies for Calvary UMC's City Mission meal program.

Maine Woman Launches Warming Center and Feeds Souls

After years working in food and hospitality, Pat Gardiner welcomes her community through warming center and meal program ministries. Read More

Unaccompanied minor migrants enjoy United Methodist Camp Colby in California. They point out their hometowns  on a large wall map. Photo courtesy of California-Pacific Conference.

Camp offers migrant youth fun, friendship

United Methodists in California host a summer camp for unaccompanied migrants. Their goal is to ‘show them welcome and shine God’s love on them.’ Read More

Bill and Laura Roy travel every summer to volunteer at Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky. (l-r: Bill Roy, Laura Roy)

Missionary couple moves where God needs them

Bill and Laura Roy are dedicated to go wherever they're called to serve the church. Read More

Historic photo of Susan Angeline Collins, taken in Los Angeles, California. Collins served as a Methodist missionary in Africa for 31 years. Image courtesy of the General Commission on Archives and History.

African American Woman’s Incredible Life as a Methodist Missionary

In the days following the U.S. Civil War, this African American woman went to college, owned her own business and then dedicated her life to opening doors for women. View

Vegetables from the farmer’s market are saved from the trash by members of Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church. The church has a chef who turns surplus food into healthy meals for the hungry.

Church Reduces Food Waste at Campus Kitchen

Church members keep carloads of fresh meat and vegetables out of the landfill and turn them into healthy meals for the hungry and homeless. View

Bishop Laurie Haller started her service to the church as an organist.  Photo courtesy Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Meet Bishop Laurie Haller

United Methodist bishop, musician, author, and endurance athlete shares about her life, call to ministry, and how she keeps her spirit in shape. Listen

Portrait of circuit rider Freeborn Garrettson. Courtesy of History of Methodism.

Freeborn Garrettson: Methodism’s Paul Revere

Paul Revere is famous for his ride on April 18, 1775. Learn how a Methodist circuit rider rode 1200 miles to gather the preachers in America to form the church. View

The sign at Pennington United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., proclaims a message of hope. File photo by Raymond Landry.

The United Methodist Church: More than a name

Learn how our church's name was chosen. “If you leave the name ‘United’ off you’re leaving off both a significant piece and powerful part of who we are.” Read More

The Rev. James Lawson (left) joins Martin Luther King and Ralph Jackson at a March 1968 press conference. Photo used with permission from the SCLC of California.

James Lawson: Reflections on Life, Nonviolence, Civil Rights, MLK

The United Methodist pastor's parents told him “there’s a better way” than violence to resolve conflict. Those words would shape James Lawson’s life, leadership and ministry. View

Chef Lucy Chelton demonstrates recipes with Girl Scout cookies. Chelton also cooks for her church in Lansdale, PA. Photo courtesy of Lucy Chelton.

Young Food Network Star Cooks for Church

Chef Lucy Chelton was a winner on “Chopped Junior” and gladly shares her gifts in the kitchen. “It makes me feel like I’m showing God’s love." View

Methodist circuit rider in stained glass, Methodist Sky Chapel, Chicago, IL. Courtesy Chris Light, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Hard Road of a Methodist Circuit Rider

Circuit riders faced difficult and often short lives, but their personal papers suggest that these long haul preachers found great reward in bringing souls to Christ. View

1800's photo portrays Belle Harris Bennett, co-founder of Scarritt-Bennett College in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo courtesy of the United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History.

Notable Methodist Women: Scarritt-Bennett’s Outspoken Founder

In the 1890's this "Southern Belle" broke new ground for women in the Methodist Episcopal Church. View

Blind painter Jeff Hanson has raised over three million dollars for charity. Hanson credits his church with encouraging him.

Blind Artist Beats Odds, Gives Back

Despite significant health challenges, a young United Methodist uses his talent to help others. His work has sold to celebs like Elton John and Billy Joel. View

Madeline Mulkey strikes a unity pose with cutouts of Korean leaders. Mulkey is visiting South Korea to explore how religion impacts the Olympic Games.

United Methodist studying evangelization at Olympics

College senior is researching the religious atmosphere of the Games and the various Christian groups that travel from around the world to be in ministry there. Read More

Public domain image of  Methodist Revivalist Phoebe Palmer

Methodist History: Revivalist Phoebe Palmer

This Methodist feminist and theologian was a popular preacher and speaker at camp revivals, more than a century before women gained clergy rights. View

Methodist deaconess Kathryn Maurer is seen in a 1935 photograph. Courtesy of California State Library.

Kathryn Maurer: Methodist Angel Welcomed Immigrants

Meet a deaconess whose kindness and dedication to those seeking a new life made headlines in her day. View

The Rev. Gilbert Caldwell poses with his wife Grace, and sons Dale and Paul in front of Bryantville United Methodist Church.

Gilbert Caldwell: Voice for Justice and Human Rights

The retired United Methodist pastor reflects on how his relationship with MLK and involvement in the civil rights movement shaped his life and ministry. View

Bishop Rudy Juan was raised in the church his grandparents founded. An official portrait courtesy of the Council of Bishops.

Meet Bishop Rodolfo A. Juan

Raised in a church his grandparents founded, the Philippines United Methodist bishop is passionate about serving the poor, caring for the planet, and sharing the gospel with others. Listen

Hana Saleh and Elaine Koger pose for a photo at an annual Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Heartsong United Methodist Church and the Memphis Islamic Center. Video image, courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

United Methodists Bond with Muslim Neighbors

When a mosque went up across the street, a congregation had a clear choice. “We could be cold to them, or we could welcome them to the neighborhood.” View

Image portray Susanna Wesley, mother of the founders of Methodism. Courtesy of General Commission on Archives and History.

Susanna Wesley: Mother of Methodism

John and Charles Wesley's mom was a strong woman of faith. “The differences she made have lived on because of the sons that she raised.” View

Youth Share Thanksgiving Meals

"I was taught at this church that everybody is family." Young people prepare turkey dinners with a side of caring for elderly neighbors. View

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. leads the Great Plains Annual Conference.  Photo by United Methodist Communications.

Meet Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.

The Great Plains bishop shares his call to ordained ministry from a career as a high school teacher, football coach, and business owner. Listen

Sean Santellan, a member of Napa Methodist Church in Napa, California, turned “trash to toilets” when the 6-year-old joined in his church’s capital campaign for renovations by collecting recyclables. Photo courtesy of Napa Methodist Church

Amazing Kids of The United Methodist Church

United Methodist children are doing amazing things - raising funds to build water wells, hosting lemonade stands to assist others, and handing out free bike helmets to keep kids safe. Read More

Rev. Rebecca Rutter gives a tour of the 98 sq ft tiny house she built. Video image by United Methodist Communications.

Living Sermon: Pastor Builds Tiny House

United Methodist pastor and mom of three learned carpentry and crafted a 98-square-foot green, dream home. Take a tour. View

Bishop Susan Haupert-Johnson was called to ministry after an early career in law. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Meet Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson

Bishop Sue tells us about her early career in law, her call to ministry, her love of books and Broadway, and her daily practice of silence. Listen

Paul Gomez is part of a fascinating conversation about faith and life in our Get Your Spirit in Shape podcast. Photo by Joe Iovino, United Methodist Communications.

Living Our Faith Daily with Paul Gomez

A United Methodist college student shares how he lives out his faith in school, at work, in his service to the church, and even while driving. Listen

The Rev. Bob Deich leads the Early Response Team for the Louisiana Conference of The United Methodist Church. Video image by Todd Rossnagel, Louisiana Conference.

A Personal Call: United Methodist Early Response Team

A Louisiana responder describes serving others after disaster hits. “I can’t stop it now, but I can come along beside people.” View

Members of the South Carolina's Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team perform rescue operations in Port Arthur, Texas during the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. Photo by SC National Guard. Public Domain.

Recalling the flood of human kindness after Katrina

Plano pastor says hosting storm survivors changed his church. “Our DNA has been altered by those who came and taught us to love God by loving our neighbor.” Read More

Rachel Ritchie plays on the inclusive playground that she raised 100,000 dollars to build.

Child’s Dream Inspires Inclusive Playground

A young United Methodist church member wanted to create a play place where all children are welcome. And she raised all the funds to make it a reality. View

Lindsay Stanfield sold lemonade, cookies, jewelry and other items to help homeless people and people with cancer. Photo by Diane Degnan, United Methodist Communications.

Eight-year-old spends summer helping those in need

The young United Methodist sold lemonade, cookies, jewelry and other items in her front yard, with proceeds going to help homeless people and people with cancer. View

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung serves in the Wisconsin Episcopal Area. File photo by United Methodist Communications.

Roots of Faith in Korea: A United Methodist Bishop’s Journey

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung grew up on a small island with a view of North Korea. He credits U.S. missionaries and a kind neighbor for his conversion to Christianity. View

Joe Mykos volunteers at McEachern (Ga.) UMC with the Car Care Ministry. Image courtesy of McEachern United Methodist Church.

United Methodist Mechanics Fix Cars for Free

Volunteers give away an average of 30 cars each year and fix vehicles for those in need. Those physical repairs often heal broken spirits too. View

Members of the Cathedral of the Rockies First United Methodist help Syrian refugees, the Al Aboud family, get settled in their new home. Photo by Kisker Productions.

Migrants Find Freedom, Welcome at Boise Church

“Helping migrants isn’t a political issue, it’s a discipleship issue.” United Methodists in Idaho support families new to the United States. View

Silja Bijnagte organized volunteers to plant gardens to provide fresh vegetables for a food bank near her home in Minneapolis, MN. She attends Lake Harriet United Methodist Church. Image courtesy of the Bijnagte family

11-Year-Old Plants Food Pantry Garden

A dream of providing fresh vegetables for hungry neighbors became a reality for Silja Bijnagte and her United Methodist church. View

Patty and Eddie Gill founded the United Methodist Motorcycle Association, based in Oklahoma. Video image by Reed Galin, United Methodist Communications.

United Methodist Motorcycle 'Gang'

Bikers are modern circuit riders, reaching out on the road. "A lot of people are dying just to be asked to come back to church." View

Caroline Gowan runs a ministry called Loads of Love. Her church, Bonaire United Methodist, provides money and volunteers to help wash, sort and fold alongside recipients.

Teen Washes Loads of Love

Caroline Gowan is a United Methodist student who started a ministry to clean clothes. Every wash cycle, done for free, takes a load off working families. View

James and Jacob Cogman, United Methodist scholarship recipients, plan to follow their mother into ministry. Photo courtesy of the Cogman family.

Twins Follow Mom into Ministry

Meet a mom and a United Methodist pastor who inspired her sons to follow their calls too. “Watching her has really helped me grow.” View

Methodists Ann and Anna Jarvis are credited with creating Mother's Day in the U.S. Courtesy: Historic St. George's UMC.

Mothers of U.S. Mother’s Day were West Virginia Methodists

Ann Jarvis had the idea and her daughter Anna led a campaign in the early 1900s to have Mother's Day recognized as a national holiday. Read More

Jenny and Elise Bonsky received capes from Kids Capes of Courage and Northampton United Methodist in Ohio. Photo by Gwen Kisker.

Kids’ Capes of Courage

Sewing ministry shares the superpower of love with those in need. "It is The United Methodist Church wrapping themselves around these children." View

The Rev. Ralph Abernathy and his family march with the Rev. and Mrs. Martin Luther King on march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Courtesy: Abernathy Family/Wikimedia Commons.

Eyewitness to Selma: Faith Leaders’ Stand for Civil Rights

“Many people cannot understand the depth of patriotism of Martin King and other civil rights heroes and heroines." Pastor recalls historic effort for voting rights. View

A billboard features 95-year-old United Methodist Shirley Bachelder. Image courtesy of Shirley Bachelder.

95-Year-Old Billboard Star’s Message: Love

Meet the billboard poster gal who reminded a city to love one another. United Methodist Shirley Bachelder helps us count our blessings. View

United Methodist youth group members sign Christmas cards to be delivered to inmates in Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of Marilyn Schneider.

Church Christmas Cards Show Care to Prisoners

Church members signed and delivered more than 8,000 greetings to remind inmates that God loves them. View

Caring for the spiritual well-being of her family was very important to Susanna Wesley. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Courage and conviction: A woman’s leadership through a difficult time

When Susanna Wesley found the spiritual depth of her church lacking, she led her own devotions. When people objected, she stood firm. Read More

Suffragettes march with flags in Washington, D.C., in an archival image dated 1910 to 1920. Six Methodist women advocated for women’s voting rights as part of their Christian calling. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

6 Methodist women who fought for the vote

Expanding the franchise to all adult citizens took great risk and great faith. Fortunately, these Wesleyans were on the case. Read More

Pam Simon holds the bullet that wounded her in the Jan. 8, 2011 mass shooting near Tucson, Arizona. Simon, a United Methodist, has become a strong advocate for background checks and other gun violence prevention measures. Photo by Sam Hodges, UMNS.

Survivor keeps faith by taking on gun violence

Pam Simon, a United Methodist, was shot with her boss, U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, and now joins her in advocacy. Read More

One man's desire to

Movie affirms United Methodist teachings on human trafficking

Film depicts how one man's desire to "do the right thing" turns into a struggle to save others and lift his own life out of despair. Read More

Wake Forest University football captain Brandon Chubb loads the truck for H.O.P.E. a feeding and mentoring program for children.

Football Stars Feed Hungry Kids

Wake Forest athletes make big plays to defeat hunger. “It’s feeding a soul, a child that needs someone to look up to or feels like there is no hope.” View

More than 450 students and faculty from a Nashville, TN high school gathered in the backyard of their beloved professor to worship with him and support his battle against cancer. Photo courtesy of Christ Presbyterian Academy.

Some of life’s best lessons are learned outside the classroom

Hundreds share worship at home of teacher battling cancer. "I felt that I was not alone," said Bob Ellis, who passed away September 16. Read More

The Rev. Clifton Conrad and his wife Kathleen talk about how 2016 flood waters damaged their Baton Rouge home but spared a sacred prayer space. Video image courtesy of the Louisiana Annual Conference.

Clergy Couple’s Prayer Room Miracle

United Methodist pastor and his wife talk about how 2016 floodwaters damaged their Baton Rouge home but spared a sacred prayer space. View

The congregation of Peace Tree United Methodist meets up at the home of a church member. Photo courtesy of Peace Tree United Methodist via Facebook.

Home Church Feeds Souls, Stomachs

“One house at a time, one disciple at a time. People who felt lost have a place here.” Growing congregation has more than one church home but no sanctuary. View

The Rev. K Karpen remembers an impromptu interfaith service that drew hundreds to The Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew following 9/11.

9/11 in New York: Rev. K Karpen

Tragedy led to an impromptu interfaith worship service at a church near Ground Zero. “We were looking to each other for words and prayers all day long.” View

A photo taken following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York shows a memorial on the street. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rodia, United Methodist Communications.

United Methodists Recall 9/11 in New York

15 years later, New Yorkers remember how their home churches stepped up to feed and care for neighbors following the 2001 terrorist attacks. View

In 2014, Dave Smith hiked the Appalachian Trail as a chaplain for the Holston Conference of The United Methodist Church. Photo courtesy of Dave Smith.

Listening for God on the Appalachian Trail

The U.S. National Park Service turned 100-years-old in 2016. United Methodist Dave Smith once hiked in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, found his faith again, and became a chaplain. View

A Freedom School volunteer reads with a young scholar at Summit on 16th United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ohio. Freedom Schools “build strong, literate, and empowered children.” Photo by Gwen Kisker, United Methodist Communications.

Freedom Schools Shape Students’ Lives

United Methodists staff and support Freedom Schools to empower young scholars to become tomorrow's leaders. View

Job seekers network at event held by Roswell United Methodist Church near Atlanta, Ga. Video image courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

United Methodist Church Welcomes Job Seekers

Meet church members who use their spiritual, and professional gifts, to support those looking for work. View

The Rev. James Lawson talks about Black Lives Matter and the civil rights movement during a break from teaching at the Children Defense Fund’s Proctor Institute in Clinton, Tenn. UMNS photo by Mike DuBose

Lawson: Black Lives Matter shows need for change

The Rev. James Lawson says the movement is an extension of the social awakening that started with the civil rights movement. Read More

The Rev. James Lawson: Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter

United Methodist leader reflects on the long fight for justice. “You have to allow history to move at its own pace.” View

United Methodists in Côte d'Ivoire celebrate 100 years of Methodism with an original song called “The Buzz.” Video image courtesy of Cote d'Ivoire Annual Conference.

Côte d’Ivoire United Methodists Create Music Video

“There is nothing more beautiful than to be Methodist.” Church members sing and dance to an original song, written to celebrate 100 years in the faith. View

The 2016 Wesley pilgrims passed through the same doorway where Francis Asbury said goodbye to his mom and dad before sailing to America. Photo by Joe Iovino, United Methodist Communications.

Wesley Pilgrimage: Bishop Asbury’s difficult departure from home and family

Visit to Asbury's childhood home reminds writer that Methodism's "American saint" was first a son who made a difficult decision to go where God called. Read More

Nashville church welcomes Pokemon Go players to its campus to show interest in them and to promote the church as a place of inclusion. Photo by Steven Adair, United Methodist Communications.

Pokémon Goes to Church

"However we can interact with people, we are called to do so in a loving way," says one church that is welcoming players of a new mobile phone game. Read More

A man prepares to descend from a rock climbing wall inside Metzingen United Methodist Church in Germany.

Membership climbs at German church

Rock climbing gym in renovated building brings young people to church. View

The Rev. James Lawson: Supporting families, Children’s Defense Fund

“The agenda of the human race is an agenda different from the power brokers,” reflects United Methodist pastor and advocate. View

The Celebration Choir of the Poteau First United Methodist Church, which includes nine-year-old Warrick Quarry, sings at a recent worship service. Photo courtesy of Kaycee Quarry.

Youngest choir member inspires United Methodist church

Nine-year-old Warrick Quarry's enthusiasm reminds us why and whom we serve each Sunday, says his choir director. Read More

The Rev. Tiffany Nagel Monroe and her father, the Rev. Alan Nagel were ordained into the Oklahoma Annual Conference, June 1, 2016. Photo by Hugh Scott, Oklahoma Annual Conference.

A church first: United Methodist father, daughter ordained same day

Alan Nagel and his daughter went through seminary and became clergy together. She kids him now, “Those are all the Father’s Day presents for the rest of your life.” Read More

The Special Pen Pals Program of First United Methodist Church in Grand Junction, CO fosters new friendships across generations. Photo by Ken Redding Photography.

Church Pen Pals Seal Generation Gap

Special Pals ministry brings students and senior adult church members together, one letter at a time. View

Members talk during crime victims support group meeting at Vinings United Methodist Church in Atlanta, GA.   Video image courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

Church care for crime victims

Those who have suffered trauma find support at group founded by someone who knows the pain. “I felt a tremendous need to come to church...and be with other people.” View

Brightly painted wooden mosquitoes helped publicize the Alaskan churches' 2016 Imagine No Malaria Lenten fundraising campaign. Photo courtesy of the Alaska United Methodist Conference.

Alaskan churches take up malaria challenge at Lent

Brightly-painted wooden mosquitoes helped publicize the Alaskan churches' Imagine No Malaria Lenten fundraising campaign. Read More

Photos of the children are mingled with the diplomas and awards on the wall of Rev. Julie K. Fleurinor's office in Resurrection United Methodist Church in Chicago.  From left, Jaron, Fleurinor, Eniyah, Erica and Cyrus.

Pastor fills parsonage with foster children, follows call

'God didn’t bring me this beautiful parsonage to live in it alone.' Rev. Julie Fleurinor's congregation says her foster children have enriched the church. Read More

Troy Waugh walked 444 miles along the Natchez Trace in 2014.

Finding God and Goodness on Natchez Trace Walk

When Troy Waugh felt a call from God, he took more than a leap of faith. He took a 444-mile walk! 'Every day God was with me.' View

Members of the English Conversation Circle meet once a week at Silver Spring United Methodist Church in Maryland. Video image by Reed Galin for United Methodist Communications.

English Circle Builds Church Community

Church food pantry opens doors and starts a conversation with a hungry community. 'Everybody in the community has something to teach and to offer.' View

Participants of the Cuban travel seminar for clergywomen sponsored by General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and Boston School of Theology. Photo courtesy, GBHEM.

Clergywomen explore politics, religion in Cuba

Seminar explores Cuban women’s issues, and the evolution of the Cuban Christian church at historic time in countries’ relationship. Read More

Youth from Silver Spring (MD)UMC pack food during Mission Mania Sunday. Image courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

Kid Power Fuels Mission Mania

"And a little child shall lead them." Visit a vital congregation where young people pick the ways they will change the world. View

Photographer John C. Goodwin holds a copy of the book written by his father.

UMTV: Church Photos of a Lifetime

The 1963 March on Washington inspired John Goodwin to use his lens to bring human struggles into focus "...as a means to promote social change." View

We Cancerve founder Grace Callwood and volunteer Addison Simpler hold a check from We Cancerve.

Young United Methodist cancer survivor makes news

Grace Callwood's cancer diagnosis at age 7 did not slow her down. Read how Huffington Post shared the story of Grace's good works. More

Church Rethinks School Lunches

Pastor says meal program is "not about churchianity; it's about Christianity. It's not about the building, it's about the people we are building." View