Ministries & Missions

At FUMC, we provide a variety of opportunities for members to socialize, explore our faith and join in community outreach projects. These include Book Club and United Methodist Women.

In addition, we’re involved in many other community outreach missions and social justice activities, including everything from community meals to legal immigration clinics. See descriptions below.

Ministries within the church

Book Club

Our women’s book club gathers on the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. to discuss popular fiction and nonfiction books, followed by refreshments and fellowship. Most books can be borrowed from the Decorah Library or are shared among members. During the pandemic, the group has moved to online meetings via Zoom.

2022 meeting dates and reading list

  • October: All the Frequent Troubles of our Days by Rebecca Doner
  • November: These Precious Days by Ann Patchett and holiday kids’ book collection for Helping Services
  • December Book Selection for 2023 and wrapped book gift exchange

United Methodist Women

The organized unit of United Methodist Women (UMW) is a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church. FUMC has three UMW circles, which meet monthly. All women are encouraged to join a circle for fellowship, Bible study and support of mission activities in Decorah and around the world through the United Methodist Church. Our three UMW circles (Sarah, Mary/Martha and Eve) have combined to meet at 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at church.

Decorah Unit UMW Officers

President: Pam Ransom; Vice President: Virginia Leidahl; Treasurer: Candace Arp

UMW members meeting

UMW members, March 2022

UMW members group

Missions and social justice activities

Decorah FUMC has a long history of involvement in missions (reaching out to meet a variety of needs in our local, national and international communities) as well as social justice work. We encourage our members to get involved in and support these vital activities.

Social Justice activities

Reconciling Ministries: In December 2021, our church voted with overwhelming support to affiliate with the Reconciling Ministries Network of the United Methodist Church in solidarity and advocacy with LGBTQ United Methodists. We want to make everyone feel welcome to worship with us and to share God’s love with all. On March 20, 2022 we celebrated with a special service of reconciliation. On September 18, the congregation dedicated a colorful new outdoor sign (below), which symbolizes our congregation’s commitment to be a welcoming and inclusive church. The sign was designed by retired United Methodist pastor Jim Dale, a member of our congregation.

Church members at sign dedication

Path to Citizenship is an ecumenical 501(c)3 that serves as the major volunteer recruitment, fund raising, decision-making and fiscal accountability source supporting quarterly Legal immigration clinics sponsored by Iowa Justice for our Neighbors are hosted at FUMC in Fellowship Hall.

Sister Parish: Our congregation affiliated with the ecumenical organization Sister Parish, Inc. in the mid-1990s to promote intercultural and ecumenical understanding by establishing linkages between churches in the United States and faith-based communities in Central America. FUMC has linked with churches in Nebaj, Guatemala and Potrerillos, El Salvador. Delegations have traveled both directions many times, and regular communication flows through well-established friendships. Sister Parish is based on a Solidarity vs. Charity Model characterized by home stays and developing deep relationships within the community that have sustained over time and generations.

Feeding people in our community

Community Thanksgiving Meal: Begun in 1988 as a free and open to all event, a few turkeys and capons were roasted at the church, and attendees brought food potluck-style. Over the years the meal evolved to include many community volunteers who provide rides and carry-out meals and facilitate the event. In 2018, the main meal moved next door to the St. Benedict Roman Catholic Parish’s new hall, and the carry-outs meals were made at our church.  Several hundred people enjoy the annual holiday meal. Free will offerings usually exceed expenses, so excess funds have often gone to other hunger-relief efforts locally or nationally.

Decorah Community Meal: Pre-COVID 19, the meals were held on the first and third Thursdays of each month from 5-6:30 p.m. at St. Benedict’s Catholic Parish. We contribute food and volunteers for one meal per year. Our kitchen is used to prepare the vegetarian/gluten free entree for each Decorah Community Meal, and the meals’ ecumenical steering committee includes several FUMC members.

Ramadan meals: We have coordinated meals served after sunset for Muslim Luther College students and other area Muslims during Ramadan, a holy month of fasting and prayer. Participants from around the community bring appropriate foods potluck-style on the Tuesday evenings of Ramadan to share after traditional Muslim sundown prayers. Meaningful fellowship is followed by sending leftovers home with the students.

Food pantry and meal on wheels: We collect grocery items for the Decorah Community Food Pantry and provide drivers for Decorah Meals on Wheels, part of the Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging.

Other mission activities

  • United Methodist Church conference apportionments, including the World Service Fund, the Black Colleges Fund, Africa University Fund and Iowa Conference Missions.
  • General Conference and Annual Conference special offerings, each received annually.
  • United Methodist Advance giving to designated projects and ministries.
  • Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas special offerings designated by the Administrative Council.
  • United Methodist Women’s mission giving.
  • Annual grants allocated by the Administrative Council from Trust Fund earnings.
  • The pastor’s discretionary fund is available for emergency needs.
  • Our building is used for events such as Burning Bright concerts and private music lessons.