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.

Christmas for a Soldier 2021:

Through November 28th

As we gather together with our families to celebrate Christmas this year, there will be many families missing loved ones who are serving our country overseas.  It is important for us to remember, as we celebrate Christmas while in the safety and comfort of our homes, the contributions and sacrifices our military are making on our behalf.  Many of our troops do not have the family support to send them holiday greetings. Join us for Christmas for a Soldier 2021, our 18th Christmas supporting our troops, and let’s come together and send them some holiday cheer.

Items needed for the Christmas care packages include:
Christmas Cards (handmade or retail)

  • Thousands of deployed troops would love to receive a card from you with holiday wishes and letting them know we are thinking about them at this special time of year.
  • Please no glitter on the cards! It does not travel well over the 10-14 days it takes for items to get to the troops. 

Snack Items

  • Hot chocolate and apple cider packets
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Holiday candy and gum
  • Trail mix, nuts, sunflower seeds, granola bars
  • Slim Jims, beef jerky

Other Items

  • Holiday-themed items (small and unbreakable)
  • Ziploc bags used for packing food items
  • A new pair of socks (white/black athletic); caps (warm winter); gloves (preferably black winter gloves, one size fits all)
  • Puzzle books (Crosswords, Sudoku, Word Find)
  • Holiday-themed writing pens or pencils
  • Holiday-themed lip balm

Monetary donations are appreciated to help purchase items not received and to help with shipping costs.  Donations may be made by check to Duluth First UMC with Hugs for Soldiers in the memo section, or through the ONLINE GIVING page on the church’s website – duluthumc.org. Click on MISCELLANEOUS GIFT and specify Support Our Troops/Hugs for Soldiers.

The deadline for donations is Sunday, November 28th. A donation box is located inside the back entrance to the Family Life Center. Join us on Saturday, December 4th, at 10 a.m. in the Scout Hut (located at the back of the church property) to help us assemble and pack the Christmas care packages.

For further information, please contact Angie Doerlich by e-mail at hugsforsoldiers@gmail.com or call 404-316-8183. You may also visit the Hugs for Soldiers website at hugsforsoldiers.org. Thank you for your continued support.  God bless our troops!

Missions Ministry's “Drive-Up Food Drive” Food Collection for the Hands of Christ Duluth Co-op: December 2nd

Our church’s Missions Ministry will be hosting Drive-Up Food Drives for the Hands of Christ Duluth Co-op, a local missions ministry, on every-other Thursday. The next Food Drive will be held on Thursday, December 2nd, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The food drives were hugely successful when Wednesday Night Drive-Thru Dinners were offered, and we are excited to continue to offer a meaningful and safe way for your family to serve our community. We will be collecting a variety of goods at a donation station set up underneath the portico in the back of the Family Life Center.

A listing of critically needed food items for the food drive on December 2nd will be posted closer to the date of the food drive.

To learn more about the Duluth Co-op, please click on https://duluthco-op.org.

The Missions Ministry: Working to Help End Homelessness in Gwinnett County

As the holidays and the turn of the new year will be upon us sooner than we realize, we want to make you aware of some missions and service opportunities that are available for us to assist with. We ask you to pray about joining us as we partner in ministry with Rainbow Village and Family Promise to help them in their mission to end homelessness for families in Gwinnett County.

The following opportunities are available for us to participate in.
Rainbow Village

  • Provide dinner on a last Thursday of the month. The time required will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. We would provide food, prep and serve dinner, and assist in clean up. Several evenings are available.
  • Provide a Tuesday evening meal. The time required will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Duties would be the same as for a Thursday meal above. Several evenings are available.
  • Provide and lead activities for the children at Rainbow Village on November 22nd, 23rd, and 24th from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. A list of possible activities is provided by Rainbow Village.
  • Rainbow Village website: rainbowvillage.org.

Family Promise

  • The new Promise Haven house will be opening for families in early November.
  • Upon opening, Promise Haven will require the same volunteer help that we provided when we hosted Family Promise here at the church. A volunteer team would agree to host from Sunday evening to the following Sunday morning at 7 a.m.
  • Hosting includes providing daily evening hosting from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., dinner, overnight hosting and quick breakfast food for the week. There are several weeks available in 2022.
  • Family Promise website: familypromisegwinnett.org.

If you are interested in serving in any of these areas, please let us know your interest by signing up on the Missions Ministry bulletin boards located in the Children’s wing, on the 1st floor of the Family Life Center, or in the hall directly across from the library on the 2nd floor of the Family Life Center. You may also contact Tracy Brinker in the church office by e-mail at tbrinker@duluthumc.org or at 770-476-3776. For more information or questions, please contact Rev. David Burchett by e-mail at dburchett@duluthumc.org, or at 770-476-3776, ext. 124.

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 became 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 22,000 Happy Sacks.

Happy Sacks, currently partnering with three elementary schools and one middle school, works with the school counselors who identify the children in need.  The Happy Sacks, 80-90 sacks assembled on Wednesdays and delivered on Friday morning by wonderful volunteers, are 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.

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 each week varies.  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. For more information or a list of needed items, please contact Terri 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 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 Zirkle 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.