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.

Pack a Backpack for a Child at Seneca Street UMC

Over the last three years, it has been a joy for our congregation to be a part of the Summer Reading Camp at Seneca Street UMC in Buffalo, NY, by packing backpacks here in Duluth with school supplies for the children in Buffalo. The backpacks are then shipped to Buffalo from Duluth and distributed to the children at the end of the two-week Summer Reading Camp for use in the upcoming school year. 
Once again, we need your love and assistance to pack the backpacks with basic school supplies. We will fill the backpacks with supplies from their school supply list included in the backpack.  Fewer items will be required this year for shipment from Duluth as our mission team will purchase the larger items on site in Buffalo. 

The backpacks are on hand and being processed, and they will be available for pick-up soon. Pickup dates will be announced soon. They will be distributed following both the 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. worship services. We are also planning to have additional times during the week days that a backpack can be picked up. Please watch for a separate announcement about locations and times. A member from the mission team will be available to help in signing out backpacks for tracking purposes and answering your questions. If you have any further questions, please contact Charlie Doerlich at 678-662-2115, or David Baker at 678-522-3609.
Once your backpack is complete, please write a short note of encouragement and include a picture of you and/or your family to place in the backpack. This will allow the child to know someone in Georgia cares for them.  Please return your completed backpack to room F147, located on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center, no later than Sunday, July 9th, and check your name off the list as completed. If for some reason you are unable to complete your backpack, please let us know as soon as possible by contacting either Charlie Doerlich or David Baker. Thank you for your continued support of this important mission outreach.

Tornado Buckets for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)

Due to the recent devastation by tornadoes across our country, the United Women of Faith is organizing a drive to make tornado buckets to be distributed by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). You can bring some items or complete an entire bucket. This would be a great Sunday School project. A menstrual hygiene kit is also included in the bucket, so you have an option to pack one of those.

Donation bins will be located in the Dorothy L. Rainey Fellowship Hall and outside of the offices on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center. Be sure to follow the exact list below. Thank you for your help.


  • 1 5-gallon bucket
  • 50 #8 common nails in a plastic bottle (to hold tarps/furring strips)
  • 1 pair leather palm/cloth back gloves
  • 1 magic marker (to mark boxes)
  • 1 rolls of wide cellophane tape (for packing boxes)
  • 12 black trash bags with draw strings (for trash)
  • 10 clear or white 13-gallon kitchen trash bags with draw strings (to salvage items)
  • 10 1-gallon zip lock baggies (for jewelry and smaller retrieved items)
  • 1 box cutter
  • 1 roll toilet paper in zip lock bag
  • 1 claw hammer
  • 1 pair safety glasses
  • 6 clear large plastic bags (to cover blown out windows)
  • 1 pencil and sharpener
  • Small shirt pocket style notebook
  • Flashlight: batteries separate
  • Insect repellent

Arts and Crafts Needed for Annual “Bundle Up for Buffalo” Fundraiser

What is your talent or talents? Do you paint, sculpt, draw, bake, sew, do woodworking, quilt, crochet, make pottery, do photography, make jewelry, or another art or craft? Will you share it for a good cause? All of these talents can be shared with our church and community to help raise money for our church’s annual Bundle Up for Buffalo fundraiser! This annual event is the crafts fair we hold to raise money to help pay the heating bill for the Seneca Street United Methodist Church in Buffalo, NY.

This year the event will be held on Saturday, October 28th, and Sunday, October 29th. We plan to open the sale to the community. Your donations of arts, crafts, and baked goods make it happen. Now is the time to start crafting or choose something you have already made to share with the sale.

Need more information? Please contact Rev. Beth Brown Shugart by e-mail at bshugart@duluthumc.org, or call 770-476-3776, ext. 128.

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.