Home Fallsington UMC Spreads God’s Love Across Pennsylvania, New Jersey & Beyond

Fallsington UMC Spreads God’s Love Across Pennsylvania, New Jersey & Beyond

By Barbara Dunlap-Berg

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“We are a church in the historic town of Fallsington, Pennsylvania, established in 1690 before the Revolutionary War,” said the Rev. Joseph Martin. “We have a blended community of young and mature members.” Members of the small rural church come from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Receiving a One Matters Award at the 2023 Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference sessions, Fallsington UMC easily met the criteria of increasing baptisms and professions of faith from zero to at least one in the previous year.

“In early 2022, we had ten new members,” Martin recalled. In December 2022, eight new members started a class. In January 2023, four new members joined the group, bringing the total to twelve new members.

“We had four baptisms in 2022 and four in 2023, with a baptism scheduled for November,” the pastor continued. We attribute the increase to our church family from a combination of our evangelic pursuits with the community, coupled with the tremendous input of our church families’ efforts. New ministries have brought many new faces to our worship services.”

Members serve God through a variety of community-focused programs. The thirteen-week GriefShare, for example, is offered twice a year. Supplementing GriefShare are special sessions on the loss of a spouse and surviving the holidays.

In summer 2022, Fallsington UMC started a contemporary karaoke worship service. A proven success, it meets twice a month and draws thirty to forty attendees. People from outside the congregation lend their musical talents, and some local United Methodist churches have expressed interest in starting a karaoke service of their own. Another outreach effort is the monthly “Shared Meal” dinner for people who need a hot meal.

The church works closely with area interfaith groups. December 2022 marked the eleventh annual Blue Christmas Worship Service for people who have lost loved ones or who grieve for other reasons during the holidays.

“What is special about this service are the many personal devotionals and testimonials shared by members of the church and guest speakers from the community,” Martin noted.

This past December, 58 people – only three from Fallsington UMC – attended.

"We don’t use the term 'congregation.' We refer to our members as ‘our church family’ because everyone who walks through our doors feels the warmth and the love of a family."

Welcoming the stranger, the pastor commented, “is one of the greatest blessings of this little church. We embrace the Christian values taught by Jesus that all are loved and welcomed. We instill in our members the gift of new people, new insights, and new fellowship as a great asset to our church.

“We don’t use the term ‘congregation,’” Martin continued. “We refer to our members as ‘our church family’ because everyone who walks through our doors feels the warmth and the love of a family.”

Interactive worship services encourage people to share their God moments, testimonials, poems, musical talents and prayers of concerns and blessings. “We strive to follow the word of God, the teachings of Jesus and the doctrine of The United Methodist Church,” Martin said.

He advised, “Get creative and find new and different ways to serve God and one another. Pray to the Holy Spirit to enlighten you with more tools for ministry to serve. You will be surprised with the things you discover.”

Every year, Discipleship Ministries partners with annual conferences by offering the One Matters Award to one eligible congregation at each annual conference. The award, consisting of a commemorative plaque and a check for $1,000, is delivered to the congregation during the annual conference session.

Barbara Dunlap-Berg is a freelance writer and editor in Carbondale, Illinois.

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