God’s love is boundless among United Methodists

Rev. Karen Jones (far right) helping African refugees at First United Methodist Church in Center, Texas. Photo courtesy of Shannon Martin, Texas Annual Conference.
Rev. Karen Jones (far right) helping African refugees at First United Methodist Church in Center, Texas. Photo courtesy of Shannon Martin, Texas Annual Conference.

The United Methodist Church is filled with people who are examples of how God's love knows no bounds. Read about what that looks like in three local U.S. congregations.

Anita Mayfield from Centennial United Methodist Church in Roseville, Minnesolta, the Rev. Karen Jones of First United Methodist Church in Center, Texas, and Suzanne Craft Sharpe of Pinetops United Methodist Church in Pinetops, North Carolina, are #amazingUMCheroes.

A Welcoming Soul

Anita Mayfield of Centennial United Methodist Church in Roseville, Minnesota, is an #amazingUMChero who doesn’t think twice about creating fundraisers and personally helping people in need. When a new immigrant family joined her church, Mayfield reached out to assist them in making a smoother transition to America. She helped them find jobs, locate a home and furniture, and provided transportation. She also helped them bring other family members to the United States. 

Mayfield’s heart for immigrants also expands to the larger community as she teaches sewing, secures bus passes, provides meals, and established a scholarship program to help immigrant students learn important skills.

When extra missions funds were needed, Mayfield came up with the idea to have a pot luck, organizing and executing the event in only two weeks’ time with the help of her fellow United Methodist Women members. The “good will” donations brought in approximately $1,200 for the church’s Missions Committee, United Methodist Women, and Church and Society Committee. 

“Anita takes on things that most people would be overwhelmed by,” says Heidi Simons, the co-chair of the Church and Society Committee at Centennial United Methodist Church. “She is completely selfless and gives and gives and never expects any accolades for her work… These are just a few of the things that this amazing servant does.”

A Domestic Outreach

The Rev. Karen Jones of First United Methodist Church in Center, Texas, is an #amazingUMChero who has a passion for biblical justice for the oppressed and actively works with African refugees in her community.  Affectionately referred to as a “home appliance operational guide,” Jones uses her previous Home Economics teaching experience to impart domestic skills, including how to use washers, dryers, stoves, and air conditioning units.

“They don’t teach you this stuff in seminary,” Jones says with a laugh.

She has led her congregation in locating affordable housing options for African refugee families, assists with completing citizenship paperwork, and seeks to provide them with culturally relevant worship services.

These refugees “are the bravest people in the world to leave everything they know, to go where they don't speak the language. They are my heroes,” Jones shares. Read her full story on the Texas Annual Conference website.

A Hunger to Help

Suzanne Craft Sharpe of Pinetops United Methodist Church in Pinetops, North Carolina, has a heart for children, using her positions as an elementary school teacher and teachers’ coach as a missionary outpost. “I could sense her teaching career was not simply an occupation, but a vocation. Love exudes from everything she does.” shares Jesse Baker, pastor of Pinetops United Methodist Church.

According to the USDA, North Carolina ranks as a state exhibiting a higher than average child food insecurity problem; with one in four kids experiencing hunger on a regular basis.  The American Psychological Association shares that this not only effects the health and development of young children, but also their behavior. Food insecurity often leads to aggression, anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder that impacts their school performance.

Thankfully, youth in the Pinetops community are experiencing positive changes due to the efforts of this mission-minded educator who is heeding her Methodist calling to be committed to ending world hunger and poverty. This #amazingUMChero coordinates the church’s Book Bag Buddies (BBB) program that provides meals to school children to ensure that they have food to eat over the weekends. She also organizes efforts to bless these same kids at Christmastime. 

Baker adds that “Mrs. Sharpe has proven herself a leader in the community, in our church, and serves as an example of Christ’s love to all.” 

Read about more #AmazingUMCHeroes.

Media contact at United Methodist Communications is Brenda Smotherman at 615-742-5488.