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.

Missions Ministry Spotlight for September:

Rainbow Village

Our Missions Ministry’s spotlight for the month of September is Rainbow Village. Rainbow Village is involved in helping transform families experiencing homelessness through help, hope, housing, and healing. We are asking for help in donating needed items for families and their apartments at Rainbow Village through the month of September.

You can find their wish list by clicking on WISH LIST, or by visiting the Rainbow Village website at rainbowvillage.org. Thank you for your generosity.

Wednesday Night Food Drives

Our Wednesday Night Food Drives for the Hands of Christ Duluth Co-op have made their return to Duluth First UMC. This weekly mission project is combined with the many Wednesday evening activities offered at the church.

Each week we will ask for a donation of one critically needed item. A table for the donated items will be located outside of the main entrance to Hinton Hall.

Upcoming dates and needed items are:

  • September 27th:  Spaghetti (pasta only)
  • October 4th:  Regular soup

  • October 11th:  Cream soups or tomato soup

  • October 18th:  Oatmeal

  • October 25th:  Tuna

Join us for a delicious dinner and fellowship in Hinton Hall, pick up a to-go dinner for your family, join us for any of our Wednesday evening activities, and drop off food items to help other families in need. We thank you for your support.

United Women in Faith’s Diaper Challenge: September 23rd

Did you know that diapers, pull-ups, and baby wipes are some of the most expensive items for struggling families to buy? If you want to help, ladies young and old are invited to the United Women in Faith’s “Diaper Challenge” on Saturday, September 23rd. Join us at 9:30 a.m. in the Dorothy L. Rainey Fellowship Hall and bring diapers, pull-ups, or baby wipes that we will collect to help young families in need.

We will also write our legislators asking to remove the tax off diapers. We will vote on which local organization most needs the diapers. A light refreshment of coffee, juice and muffins will be provided. We can’t wait to see the mountain of diapers, pull-ups, and baby wipers that you bring!

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.

Operation Christmas Child

Duluth First UMC’s annual participation in Operation Christmas Child, Samaritans Purse’s mission for God’s children around the world, is underway. For 2023, Samaritans Purse plans to deliver over 10.5 million shoeboxes in over 170 countries and territories.

Since the inception of the Operation Christmas Child program in 1993, over 200 million shoeboxes have been delivered to children around the world. At the local level, the Southeastern Team (Alabama, Georgia, Florida) collected over 1 million shoeboxes while the Gwinnett Metro Team collected over 31,000 shoeboxes in 2022. The goal this year for the Gwinnett is 32,000 shoeboxes

By filling shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items you not only give to children in need the only gift they will likely receive for Christmas, but also help deliver hope, joy and the gospel of Jesus Christ to them and their families. Many children who receive these shoebox gifts also enroll in Operation Christmas Child’s 12-lesson discipleship program, the Greatest Journey. This program teaches children about God’s amazing love and guides them through what it means to faithfully follow Jesus Christ. 

Empty Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes are available in the Veterans Memorial Gathering Room, in the hallway by Hinton Hall, and on the 1st floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center outside of room F145.  Inside each box you will find ideas on how to pack a shoebox gift, what not to include, and the adhesive box label. 

Remember to include the $10 processing donation, which covers the processing of the shoebox and shipping, and also supports the in-country ministry training and materials for the Greatest Journey activities. We will also have adhesive labels that allow you to register your shoebox(s), make your donation, and track your shoebox on-line.  See more information included in the empty shoebox.

It is also possible to fill a shoebox online by selecting items and paying for it electronically. These online shoeboxes are delivered to address special custom and cultural needs of certain locations. We have set a goal of 20 online shoeboxes. Duluth First UMC has a special web site for you to use to complete your online shoebox.  The address is https://build-a-shoebox.samaritanspurse.org/view/d9f0f1ca-0d19-4d7a-829b-681fac6c9db4.

Please return your completed boxes to the Dorothy L. Rainey Fellowship Hall stage, to Hinton Hall, or outside room F145 no later than Sunday, November 12th.

This is a worthwhile and fun project for our Sunday School classes, Women’s Circles, our Youth Group, and families with their children to undertake. Let’s try to better our total of 160 boxes that we packed last year!

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Charlie Doerlich by e-mail chaz3d@gmail.com or call 678-662-2115.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is Aiding Maui

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and its partners are responding to disasters across the globe every day. Wind-driven wildfires on Maui have prompted evacuations and caused significant loss of life and widespread damage. UMCOR is coordinating with the California-Pacific Annual Conference to process an initial grant for emergency supplies such as shelf-stable food, water, hygiene items and tools to help survivors recover belongings.

As first responders continue to provide initial aid in the area, please join UMCOR in prayer for those affected. Visit the UMCOR website at umcmission.org/umcor to learn how you can make a gift and assist in this outreach.

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 Ramona Ricks by e-mail at ramonaricks@att.net.
  • 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, part of the United Methodist Church and was begun as a project with their pastor Sam Sumo Gaywen with Rev. C. Kay Fuino, 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 feed the children during the pandemic.

If you would like to give to this online, click on ONLINE GIVING and select MISCELLANEOUS GIVING from the online giving options.

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.