Read an article from the New Faith Communities latest newsletter. This third edition highlighted the M3 planting method with St. Pauls UMC.
St. Pauls UMC Mission
St. Pauls United Methodist Church is actually not a new faith community in chronological years but seeks to serve in new ways in an established community as a M3 church. The front side of our church building faces the major thoroughfare through town, and to the outsider may seem like just another traditional sanctuary. But the back side of the property faces a public alley where many of God’s children who are drug addicted, homeless or just plain down on their luck hang out.
This is where Rev. Bruce Skipper ministers most often. Having been down the addiction path twenty years earlier in his life, Rev. Skipper reaches the alley and bridge friends in a unique way. He has been where they are. He ministers to persons living under the I95 Bridge, offers the church property for shelter, makes sure they have food and blankets, and even spends the night with them.
St. Pauls UMC has long been known as ‘the church that feeds people’ for their community-based food pantry. Pantry volunteers know their constituents by name. None of them are ‘those poor people’. They are John, Thomas, James, Miss Sara and more. Support comes from churches all over the community as well as community partners such as Campbell Soup, Walgreens, the US Postal Service, and BB&T.
During Hurricane Matthew, Rev. Skipper and the congregation were called to an even higher level of missional service. When the emergency shelter was opened, the town manager immediately called Rev. Skipper to cook meals. Members of the congregation came to organize food and clothing donations. They worked to help others even when their own church and their own homes were damaged by floodwater. Social Services made use of the fellowship hall as a site for emergency food stamp registration, and many community agencies partner in their continued work.
In 2017, he and his wife, Dr. Michelle Skipper, were awarded the Dan McCormick Award for community service, the highest honor bestowed annually by the St. Pauls Chamber of Commerce. They have led mission teams to Leon, Nicaragua since 2003, and are active in the Sandhills Emmaus and Chrysalis communities.
Each and every Sunday during the benediction, Rev. Skipper says ‘Your mission starts when you go out that door.” St. Pauls UMC really is a place where ministry happens in the streets.
For more information, you can contact Rev. Bruce Skipper at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit St.Pauls UMC website.