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: Adult Fellowship Dinners, 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

Adult Fellowship Dinners

Join other adults for a monthly potluck dinner on the second Sunday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. (No meetings in January, May or December.)

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. We have been meeting via Zoom since March 2020 due to the pandemic, and we plan to continue this way until further notice.

2021 meeting dates and reading list

  • January 19: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • February 16: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
  • March 16: The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
  • April 20: A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
  • May 18: The Land of Dreams by Vidar Sundstol
  • June 15: Little Faith by Nickolas Butler
  • July 20: This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  • August 17: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • September 21: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
  • October 19: Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd
  • November 16: American Dirt by Jeannine Cummings and holiday book collection for Helping Services. 
  • Dec. 21: Wrapped book gift exchange 

Photo below: Book Club gathering, November 2019

Photo of book club members, November 2019

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

Decorah Unit UMW Officers

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

UMW Circles have not met during the pandemic. Following are the meeting times for when we can safely gather again:

  • Sarah: 9 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.
  • Mary and Martha: 1 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month. 
  • Eve: 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month. 

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.  

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: The meals are 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 coordinate 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.

Social justice activities

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. 

Reconciling Ministries: After meeting for several years, some of our members affiliated with the Reconciling Ministries Network of the United Methodist Church in solidarity and advocacy with LGBTQ United Methodists.

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.