At Fenton United Methodist Church we believe that when we tell our stories, we are telling God's story - stories of how God has come to us right where we are, and draws us to Himself through grace. These are just a few of the countless stories of people who worship and serve God in, among and through Fenton United Methodist Church.
FUMC has given me and my wife a place where we can worship together. It is what attracted us to this place and these people. We were raised in polar opposite Christian traditions: me a "show me, don't tell me" Norwegian Lutheran, and she a strict Pentecostal. Talk about an interfaith marriage! We had been auditing different churches for some time and attended FUMC for two years before deciding to become members. The "aha" moment for us was our first FUMC communion when (former) Pastor Bill said that all are welcome at the Lord's Table. That open policy was different from our experience and key to the future for us. We love the fact that worship sets the stage for the week. More than anything else we love the fact that we feel God's grace and love in a palpable way throughout our experience here, whether in worship or in service. We will do everything in our part to reflect that. This is home, this is our last church.
When I decided to get serious about my relationship with God, I started looking for a church that worked in the community, helped as many people as possible, and where anyone who was seeking God was welcome. It was also important that the church had a doctrine that followed the Bible. In my search I found many perfectly lovely churches that had good people, but something was always missing. After years of searching, I got very discouraged and even stopped looking for some time. Then a friend told me that Fenton UMC has a lot of outreach programs, they are always out helping and, as far as they knew, no one was ever turned away.
When I first walked into FUMC I could tell that God was present. I had many disappointments in the past, so I just hung back and observed the people and the pastors. After about six months I felt my relationship with God growing because of the church. Fenton UMC was everything I was looking for. I had many questions before I made the final decision, so I made an appointment with Pastor Jeff and he patiently answered my questions. I have been a member for almost two years now.
I stay at Fenton UMC because there is good, solid, Bible-based doctrine. We are always looking for ways to help people. I love everyone I have met so far. And, anyone who wants to get involved in the church can. The people who work at the church are loving, kind people who make everyone feel welcome.
I grew up in a small mainline church in a rural Western Michigan community and enjoyed participating in the few youth activities of the church and in Sunday worship. It was the cultural center of the community with a spiritual flavor. Tremendously valuable things were learned occasionally from the Bible, worship experiences and observation of a few of the church members but no prompting that being a Christian was anything more than tithing,being good and occasionally serving others. Therefore I proceeded to experience life with that expectation of what a Christian was.
We moved to Fenton in 1986 and became members of FUMC. It was a growing church benefiting from the community's cultural expectation that church membership was important. During most of the next fourteen years I served overseas and worshiped with others from many nationalities, including Christian missionaries, as we joined in fellowship each Sunday. The worship was different in that it was more than tithing, participating in church activities and the formalities/routines of the cultural church. It also had a slight focus on developing a personal relationship with Jesus and allowing/expecting the Holy Spirit to enable a deeper Spiritual expression by following Christ.
In 2000 I retired, returned to Fenton UMC when two important interventions occurred. One was the invitation to me and my wife to participate in a Walk to Emmaus. That was a transforming spiritual experience and opened us to spiritual development and growth. The other was an invitation to attend a business seminar in Indianapolis that ended at midnight on Saturday. As most participants had many hours of driving to reach home, the seminar organizers invited everyone to return to the Convention Center venue for worship. Several thousand returned Sunday for morning worship. It was through the spoken message, the choice of scripture and the theme of the hymns that prepared me to accept the invitation to come forward and make a personal decision to follow Christ. I slowly began to realize and experience the joy of having a personal relationship with Christ and becoming increasingly dependent upon the Holy Spirit. My expectation/understanding of being a Christian was dramatically altered.
FUMC has remained our choice for worship and serving the Lord, but the imperative was not the cultural expectation of the past but a desire to be genuine followers of Jesus Christ. Yes, behaviors did change such as giving considerably beyond the tithe, giving leadership to the Stephen Ministry program working with joy on Wednesday after school program and other church organized outreach to the community. Joining the Gideons International gave a significant opportunity to be directly involved in assisting others to come to know Jesus and become His followers. This opportunity came locally and in Africa where the Holy Spirit led me to establish and support many "camps" of Gideons in several African countries. I am grateful that FUMC has sustained us in the Spiritual Walk.
Prior to attending worship at FUMC I was in a very dark place spiritually; contemplating if I would ever find a church to call home. I was invited to Fenton United Methodist Church in the spring of 2014 by a good friend of mine who knew I was looking to reconnect with a family of faith. What I did not expect was to be received so warmly and kindly by a group of strangers.
The first thing I remember as I walked through the front doors of FUMC was just the overall love and acceptance and generosity. People who I was meeting for the first time approached me with handshakes and hugs and smiles, genuinely wanting to get to know me, and reassuring me that I was just where God needed me to be. I instantly felt welcome and knew this was a place where I could be myself. Through the months and years that have since followed, I have come to find that FUMC is more than a church of four walls; it is a community, a family.
Those "strangers" have, in turn, become my family, people whose lives intertwine with mine, who I can count on to build me up and encourage me throughout my week, not just on Sunday mornings over Fair Trade coffee. I am forever thankful for the invitation to attend worship at Fenton UMC. It didn't take long for me to discover that FUMC is a place where diversity is celebrated, where ALL are welcome and invited to the table. Fenton is a place where we find strength and compassion to love one another, even (and especially!) when we disagree with one another. FUMC is a place where the doors and hearts are open to all people, not just the ones we agree with. Fenton UMC is a place where God is done right.