Mission Ministries

Bringing the gospel in word and deed to people with the greatest need, so that individuals, families,

and communities will have a life-transforming encounter with a living God.

Duluth First UMC Mission Outreach seeks to...

Engage in “making disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) by being mature and equipped followers of Jesus Christ.

Be Involved in partnerships with ministries, organizations and churches in Gwinnett County, in Georgia, in our nation, and in our world for transformation through life to life encounters.
Equip and Empower our congregation to serve in our mission outreach programs as they are called to use their God-given gifts, time and talents.

At Duluth First United Methodist Church, you can be actively involved in the mission field in the City of Duluth, in Gwinnett County, in Georgia, in other states and in other countries. If you want to get involved, refer to the current weekly editions of The Sunday Supplement and the monthly editions of The Messenger. They are available for downloading by clicking on RESOURCES.

If you have an interest in any of the following mission areas, please contact Rev. David Burchett by e-mail at dburchett@duluthumc.org,

or call 770-476-3776, ext. 124.

Click on THANK YOU to watch a video how your giving helps United Methodist mission work around the world.

Did You Go to Buffalo?  Share Your Memories with Us: January 29th

Duluth First UMC and Seneca Street UMC in Buffalo, NY have a delightful connection that is over 15 years old.  Many members of our congregation have traveled to Buffalo to offer Reading Camp and Vacation Bible school to the children of the Seneca Street neighborhood.  The story behind this relationship needs to be told and written down. Pete Fleming, our church historian, has agreed to do it!

If you went to Buffalo, we would like to have your input! You are invited to join us this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. in room F145, located on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center. Please bring pictures, items from Buffalo, and your memories to share. You are a very valuable resource as we work to capture the story.

Valentine’s Day Cards for Our Troops

The Hugs for Soldiers Ministry is collecting Valentine’s Day Cards for our Troops. Cards must be received by Friday, January 27th. Packages will be shipped out on January 30th in order to arrive in time for Valentine’s Day, as it takes 10-14 days for mail to arrive overseas at military bases.

Guidelines for the Valentines Cards are:

  • Send a card, handwritten letter, or note. Envelopes are not required. If you do include an envelope, please do not seal. All cards are mixed and re-boxed into larger boxes so that your cards are received at various military bases.
  • Keep your cards to a size of 8 1/2” x 11” or under for ease in shipping and distribution.
  • Do not use glitter or materials that easily break off during the two-week shipment.
  • Keep your messages positive! Start with a salutation, such as “Dear Hero” or “Dear Brave One.” All cards will be screened.

We are also collecting Valentine’s Day Treat Bags. Valentine’s Day cards and Treat Bags may be dropped off in the Hugs for Soldiers collection box located inside the back entrance to the Sheldon Family Life Center. For more information about the Hugs for Soldiers Ministry, please visit their website at www.hugsforsoldiers.org or contact them by e-mail at hugsforsoldiers@gmail.com.

Operation: Taste of Home “Cookies for Soldiers” Collection Drive

You are invited to participate in the 2023 Operation: Taste of Home, the Hugs for Soldiers Ministry’s 20th annual “Gift of Caring: Cookies for Soldiers” Collection Drive. Girl Scout cookies, a great symbol of America, continue to be one of the most requested items by our soldiers. The Hugs for Soldiers Ministry is collecting donations of Girl Scout Cookies for our military men and women. Show your support for our soldiers and your local Girl Scouts by purchasing an extra box or two of cookies.

This is a wonderful community service project for our Girl Scouts, along with their families, friends, and neighbors, to support our soldiers. Deployed soldiers are in stressful situations, but when they receive a box of cookies from home, it sends a message to the troops that America is thinking of them and their safe return.

You may drop off your cookies in the collection box located inside the back entrance to the Family Life Center. You can also attach a personal message to your donated boxes. Mailing labels 2” x 4” work best.  Thank you for helping us put a smile on a Service Member’s face!

If you have any questions, please contact Angie Doerlich by e-mail at hugsforsoldiers@gmail.com.

Missions Ministry News:

Making a Difference in 2022

As 2022 draws to a close, the Missions Ministry would like to thank everyone for their generosity and faithfulness in helping serve our community and the world in the name of Jesus Christ. Your gifts, your talents, your hearts, and your volunteer time have made it possible for us to serve over 20 organizations and ministries in our Duluth and Gwinnett County community, and as far away as Costa Rica and Liberia.

Our mission projects have been very successful. As a result of our recent Coat Drive:

  • Duluth High School received 55 coats for students in need.
  • Wellspring Living received 50 coats plus other clothing items to assist with the fight against sex trafficking.
  • Goodwill received 50 coats to assist the homeless and others.
  • Rainbow Village received 30 kids coats and 40 adult coats so parents can spend money on other essentials.

Other success stories include:

  • Happy Sacks has packed 1433 Happy Sacks since the beginning of the school year. Each sack contains 10 to 12 healthy snack items to eat over the weekend, providing nutrition to the kids in need until they return to school to receive free or reduced breakfasts and/or lunches during the school week.
  • Operation Christmas Child received 195 gift-filled shoeboxes from members of our church.
  • Hugs for Soldiers will be sending 100 Christmas care packages overseas to those in the Army, Air Force, and Marines serving in Kuwait, Poland, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and Kosovo.

For Duluth High School students and families in need, the S.A.L.T. Sunday School class is collecting gift cards to donate. If you would like to be part of the donation, please purchase a gift card, put it in an envelope labeled either S.A.L.T. Class or Ramona Ricks, and put it in the staff drop box in the Atrium.
This does not include the missions and service you make possible through our apportionments to The North Georgia Conference. We look forward to a great 2023 as we continue to serve our neighbors through the love of Jesus. If you would like to get involved with missions at Duluth First UMC, please contact Rev. David Burchett by e-mail at dburchett@duluthumc.org, or Ramona Ricks by e-mail at ramonaricks@att.net.

Save the Date: 2023 Seneca Street UMC Reading Camp; July 17-21, 2023

It is never too early to make plans. The 2023 Seneca Street UMC Reading Camp Mission Trip for Buffalo, NY, is scheduled for July 17-21, 2023. An information meeting will be scheduled for mid-January to provide information about Reading Camp and to discuss this year’s plan. If you plan on flying to Buffalo for the Reading Camp, we will depart on Saturday, Juluy 15th, and plan to return either Friday, July 21st, or Saturday, July 22nd. The Reading Camp is held on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Watch for more information about the Reading Camp to be made available in mid-January. If you have any questions, please contact Charlie Doerlich at  678-662-2115, or Rev. David Burchett by e-mail at dburchett@duluthumc.org.

Drop-Off Food Collection for the Hands of Christ Duluth Co-op

Our church’s Missions Ministry is providing an opportunity for you to drop off critically needed food items for the Hands of Christ Duluth Co-op, a local missions ministry. We are offering a meaningful way for your family to serve our community. A variety of goods will be collected at the donation station located inside the rear 1st floor entrance to the Sheldon Family Life Center.

Critically needed items are canned chicken, jelly, and boxes of cereal. For additional information about the Hands of Christ Duluth Co-op, please visit their website at duluthco-op.org.

Happy Sacks

Sponsored by the United Methodist Women of Duluth First UMC

Over past years, the need to help homeless and poverty-stricken children in our local school district and community has become obvious. In an effort to address some of that need, the United Methodist Women of Duluth First United Methodist Church began the Happy Sacks program in September of 2012.

During the 2012-13 school year, we partnered with three elementary schools in our area, providing 1,050 Happy Sacks to children in need. Each sack contains 10 to 12 healthy snack items to eat over the weekend, providing nutrition to the kids until they return to school to receive free or reduced breakfasts and/or lunches during the school week. Since that time, this mission has grown tremendously, even during the COVID pandemic. To date, we have packed and delivered well over 25,500 Happy Sacks.

Currently, Happy Sacks is partnering with local elementary and middle schools, working with the school counselors who identify the children in need.  The Happy Sacks team assembles approximately 100 sacks on Wednesdays, they are delivered on Friday morning by wonderful volunteers, and given to the children by the school staff. We expect this number to keep growing as the need increases. In keeping with public school policy, the Happy Sacks contain no religious information whatsoever, only nutritious snacks. However, the prayers of our volunteers go with them.

The Happy Sacks program is self-funded and is not funded by the church’s general budget. We rely on donations from church members and interested community members/groups to supply the specific snack foods. You can help us fill the Happy Sacks by making a monetary gift to Happy Sacks. Each Happy Sack costs approximately $5 and the number of sacks needed varies each week.

We have made a commitment to these schools to provide the Happy Sacks for the duration of each school year. Donations of needed food items and/or money are always welcome. Shopping cards with a list of our specific items are available in the Gathering Room. For more information, please contact Terrie Adkins by e-mail at ttadkins@sprynet.com.

Duluth High School Care Team

Duluth High School Care Team provides essential items for homeless high school students attending Duluth High School. Our church supports them with gift cards, personal items like shampoo, deodorant and soap that are not often available for the students in the temporary living locations.

Hands of Christ Duluth Cooperative Ministry


Duluth First UMC was one of the founding members of Hands of Christ, a Duluth Cooperative Ministry created more than 20 years ago to help with food insufficiency in the 30096 and 30097 zip codes. In order to be a supporting member and hold a voting seat on the board, a church is required to donate food, complete 50 annual service hours, and contribute $1,200 per year.

How can you help with this ministry?

  • Help with the 50-hour service requirement. March is our church’s month to volunteer to work at the Hands of Christ. Volunteers stock pantry shelves, divide bulk food items into smaller packages, and fill orders. An experienced “captain” for the day guides you. Choose to work a 2-hour shift from 10 a.m. to noon, or noon to 2 p.m. on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday in March. To volunteer please contact Annette Pierce by e-mail at apierce60@bellsouth.net or call 770-354-7674.
  • Help with food donation by donating food at our Wednesday Night Drive-Thru Dinners or take items directly to the Duluth Co-op on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 10 a.m. to noon. Items needed are listed on their website www.duluthco-op.org.
  • Help with funding by donating funds to the Hands of Christ by sending a check to Duluth First UMC with Hands of Christ in the memo section, or directly to the Duluth Cooperative Ministry through their website at www.duluthco-op.org.
  • Volunteer your time to help the Hands of Christ board with raising community awareness, fundraising, legal advice when needed, as well as ongoing technology assistance.

Rainbow Village


Rainbow Village provides transitional housing for families with children while also adding programming to focus on family stability, well-being, financial management, education and training. The program also offers career and employment assistance for the resident.

Click on VIRTUAL TOUR take a virtual tour of the Rainbow Village campus.

Family Promise of Gwinnett County


Family Promise of Gwinnett County program offers temporary housing for the homeless in Gwinnett county. A circle of churches supports the effort by providing a place each week for up to four families to live. The church provides meals and social time each evening.

Good Samaritan Health Centers of Gwinnett


Good Samaritan Health Centers of Gwinnett demonstrate the love of Christ by providing quality and affordable healthcare and dental services to residents of Gwinnett County. It is designed to serve the poor and uninsured to make certain they have access to healthcare when needed.

Friends of Refugees is located in the Clarkston area to support the community of diverse refugees that arrive in the Atlanta Area. They support new arrivals with finding homes and jobs along with understanding new customs and living in the United States. Many of them have escaped from very dangerous conditions and find a place of peace and hope here.

Wellroot Family Services


Wellroot Family Services (formerly called The United Methodist Children’s Home) is a United Methodist Church agency that helps to provide a safe loving environment for children and young adults in the foster care system. They assist in locating foster parents, providing transitional and independent living and family housing for homelessness with a safety net of skills to attain self-sufficiency.

Sheltering Arms is a daycare in Gwinnett county providing excellent childcare for lower income families. We support them with funds, gifts for the children at Christmas and other outreach like diaper drives.

Seneca Street United Methodist Church, Buffalo, NY


Seneca Street United Methodist Church is located in Buffalo, NY.  We have supported this church since 2005 with a variety of means to help the children of the Seneca-Babcock neighborhood.  An adult mission team travels there during the summer to help with the first week of reading camp that includes providing book bags for each child filled with school supplies.  Additionally, a youth team travels to lead vacation Bible school and in the fall the church raises funds to help with heating bills through the Bundle Up for Buffalo craft fair.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief

As the humanitarian relief and development arm of The United Methodist Church, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) provides humanitarian relief and disaster response in the United States and internationally. UMCOR has been onsite of locations recently affected by Hurricane Ian. UMCOR comes alongside those who suffer from natural or human-caused disasters – be it famine, hurricane, war, flood, fire or other events—to alleviate suffering and to be a source of help and hope for those left most vulnerable.

UMCOR’s efforts are targeted in places where natural disasters, war, or conflict have done so much damage that communities are unable to recover on their own. In addition, UMCOR helps communities in the United States and abroad prepare for emergencies and to reduce the risk of disasters through a roster of training programs.

UMCOR is also involved in global development work. Specific programs address issues of health, sanitation, poverty, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and food security. Many development problems are interrelated, so UMCOR uses integrated solutions to address their root causes. UMCOR seeks to empower local hospitals, schools, churches, and other stakeholders by enhancing their capacity to address these issues.

100% of your donation goes directly to UMCOR! The proceeds from our recent Ministry of Music & Worship Arts “Oh Happy Day” Concerts went to UMCOR. For more information about UMCOR or to make an online donation, please click on UMCOR.

The Reverend Charlene Kay Fuino Foundation Elementary school in Liberia

The Reverend Charlene Kay Fuino Foundation Elementary School in Liberia offers an education to children in the Kpelle Town community. The school is a part of the United Methodist Church and was begun as a project with their pastor Sam Sumo Gaywen with Rev. C. Kay Fuino. The school typically educates about 60 children in pre-school through sixth grade. Since it’s beginning we have provided funds to purchase land, build the school, pay the teachers and recently feed the children during the pandemic.

Ray & Lidia Zirkel

United Methodist Church, Costa Rica

Ray and Lydia Zirkel are missionaries in Costa Rica. We have supported them for over fifteen years in the efforts to help children in the orphanage and the Christian school. They do a lot with a little in Costa Rica and truly appreciate our support. We hope to send a team there soon to help with their new construction. Follow their ministry at www.zirkelministrycostarica.com.