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.

Road Trip to Murphy-Harpst Children’s Center in Cedartown, GA:  Friday, June 7th

All church members of all ages are invited to join the United Women in Faith as they travel to Murphy-Harpst Children’s Center in Cedartown, GA, on Friday, June 7th, to host an ice cream social for the residents and staff at 1:00 p.m. We will meet in front of the church mid-morning to carpool up to Cedartown. Murphy-Harpst, a missions ministry supported by Duluth First United Methodist Church, works alongside local and state agencies to help provide residential treatment, specialized foster care placements and community programs to serve at-risk children and their families.


As a bonus, we would like to shower the children with items for their Point Store which provides the residents with the opportunity to purchase fun things using their behavior “Points.” They earn these points by completing chores, meeting goals, helping others and setting an example for others. Pooled Points can purchase off-campus trips. Below is a list of items needed to support their Point Store:

  • Individual-sized snacks (candy, chips, Ramen Noodles, jerky, popcorn, cookies)
  • Drinks (Gatorade, Fanta, iced teas)
  • Wired earbuds, auxiliary cords, charging blocks)
  • Teen and young adult books
  • Sports stuff (balls, Nerf Hoops, etc.)
  • Makeup (eyelashes, bronzer set, lip gloss sets, acrylic nails)
  • Skin/acne care products
  • Perfume/cologne and body wash for guys and girls (no aerosols please)
  • Hair Scrunchies
  • Jewelry (guys too)
  • LED strip lights
  • Squishmellows
  • Posters (sports - especially basketball, anime, music)
  • Throw blankets
  • Lego sets
  • Alarm clock radios
  • Items for Pooled Points: tickets to local special events; museum, zoo, and sporting event passes; gift cards to fast food restaurants and shopping (Zaxby’s, McDonalds, Chick-fil-A, Amazon, Visa)

Murphy-Harpst Point Store bins for donated items will be located in the Dorothy L Rainey Fellowship Hall and in the lower level of the Sheldon Family Life Center. Please contact Linda Kepler by e-mail at Lavenderlsbk@gmail.com to let us know you are going with us, so we can plan carpooling.

For additional information about the Murphy-Harpst Children’s Center, please visit their website at murphyharpst.org. Thank you for your support!

Hands of Christ Duluth Co-Op in Need of Books for Children and Young Adults

The Hands of Christ Duluth Co-Op is in need of new or gently used books for children and young adults. These books are given out to their clients at no cost. We will be collecting books through the end of the month of May. If you would like to donate books, a collection bin will be located on the stage in the Dorothy L. Rainey Fellowship Hall. Thank you for your support.

Hands of Christ Duluth Co-Op:  Experience the Power of Community and Get Involved

Hands of Christ Duluth Co-Op is a local missions ministry, supported and grown over many years by the volunteer time and donations of the congregation of Duluth First United Methodist Church, who helped found it in 1991. As the Duluth Co-Op said goodbye to 2023, they looked backed at some of their accomplishments for the year, thankful for the incredible support of many friends, churches, and businesses.

The following numbers show the impact the Duluth Co-Op had on our local community in 2023:

  • $776,338 – value of goods distributed (21% increase over 2022);
  • 19,995 people were fed (30% increase over 2022);
  • 289, 332 pounds of food distributed (16% increase over 2022);
  • 1,564 families were served through food, financial aid, holiday programs, and 1-on-1 assistance programs (13% increase over 2022);
  • 815 new clients were served (18% increase over 2022);
  • $233,218 – financial aid provided (30% increase over 2022);
  • 2,038 – total number of clothing/furniture referrals, Lyft rides, and holiday programs (9% increase over 2022).
  • Of particular note, the Duluth Co-Op fed almost 20,000 people in 2023, which is a 6-fold increase in the last 6 years!

2024 will be a year of celebration for the Hands of Christ Duluth Co-Op by recognizing their 30th anniversary as a ministry. They will move in their new home (see the picture) at 3649 Rogers Bridge Road in Duluth in February, and are currently waiting for the parking lot to be paved. They will be celebrating with all of their friends at an open house in March.

Our church is doing more good helping more people now in 2024 than ever before. You may ask yourself how you can support the Duluth Co-op. You can:

  • Be a volunteer! March is Duluth First UMC’s month to provide volunteer help at the Duluth Co-Op. You can volunteer on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to noon, noon to 2:00 p.m., or all day. You can also volunteer any other time of the year.  To schedule a date and time to serve, please contact Ramona Ricks by e-mail at ramonaricks@att.net.
  • Bring food donations with you when you come to Wednesday Night Dinners or participate in any of the other Wednesday night programs at Duluth First UMC. Specific food donation items are posted in the Wednesday Night Food Drives article located below. Items can be left at the collection table located outside of the main entrance to Hinton Hall, located on the 2nd floor of the Sheldon Family Life Center.

Thank you for helping the Hands of Christ Duluth Co-Op shape their mission to prevent hunger and homelessness in our community. By providing food, financial aid, and hope to those in crisis, the Duluth Co-Op served the most families in their history – even more so than during 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

May peace, hope and happiness be yours now, and throughout 2024!

Wednesday Night Food Drives

The Wednesday Night Food Drive at Duluth First UMC for the Hands of Christ Duluth Co-op is our weekly mission project, combined with the many Wednesday evening activities offered at the church. Wednesday Night Food Drives will resume in August.

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.

Happy Sacks:

Helping Children in Our Community

Sponsored by the United Methodist Women of Duluth First UMC

A growing number of school children in our community rely on free and reduced priced meals at school for their main daily meals.  However, there may not be enough food to go around over the weekend.  The goal of the Happy Sacks mission outreach program is to provide healthy snacks for school children over the weekend.  We pack approximately 150 Happy Sacks each week, which are then delivered to the schools on Friday, and given out by the school counselors to the appropriate children.

The need continues to grow as does the cost of filling the bags. The Happy Sacks program is not a part of the church’s regular budget, so we depend on your donations. Please consider picking up a few extra items listed below the next time you are at the grocery store, or make a financial donation to support the Happy Sacks ministry.

You can help us fill these Happy Sacks by contributing the following items:

  • Cheese or peanut butter crackers
  • 100% fruit juice boxes (not Capri Sun)
  • Non-perishable milk boxes (white milk only)
  • Fruit cups
  • Applesauce cups
  • Dried fruit (individual servings)
  • Fruit-filled breakfast bars (Nutri-grain brand)
  • Granola bars (Nature Valley Honey & Oat)
  • Goldfish, Cheez-its, Combos, pretzels (individual serving bags)
  • Fruit roll-ups

PLEASE, NO CHOCOLATE INGREDIENTS, and all items should be name brands and within expiration dates. Happy Sacks collection bins can be found in the Dorothy L. Rainey Fellowship Hall and by the rear portico doors of the Sheldon Family Life Center.

If you would like more information, or you would like to volunteer to help pack or deliver sacks, please contact Debbie Johnson by e-mail at dljohnson8957@gmail.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.

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.

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.

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.

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, 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.