For more than 200 years, the Sunbury United Methodist Church has brought people together to worship God, grow in faith as disciples of Jesus, and share Christ's love in the world. Today, we gather at our three worship services every Sunday to strengthen their faith and celebrate God's miraculous gift of grace.
Throughout the week, our members put their Christian commitment to work by supporting each other and reaching out to the community and beyond through our ministries. It is an honor to glorify Christ and a privilege to serve our Lord, as well as an awesome and rewarding experience that brings meaning to life and prepares us for our heavenly kingdom.
What We Believe
That God accepts us and wants to have an eternal relationship with us. That God did everything necessary to bring salvation to us through Christ. That we are forgiven and we can be forgiving. That God answers prayer. That God shows us His love through Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace, and Sanctifying Grace. So, receiving grace we can be grace-filled towards others. That God needs us to be involved in the world around us so we can make a difference through service to others. We are active in missions and serving our community in many ways. We believe in two sacraments - baptism and communion, and the Trinity - God the Father, Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
These core values are what we hold as absolute values that make us the church we are:
Have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Learn and teach the Bible
Invite and welcome everyone
Worship together as families and friends
Celebrate joy and fellowship
Share communion - the Bread and the Cup
Serve locally and globally
Love as Christ loves us
Founded by Judge Benjamin Carpenter in 1814, our church started in a barn when American Methodism was only 30 years old. The village of Sunbury was still two years in the future.
The Sunbury Methodists moved from the barn to the school on the southwest corner of the square, where they continued to meet until 1838 when a new meeting house was built on North Columbus Street.
The meeting house lasted for 60 years. It was in such bad repair that it was torn down to make way for a larger Victorian structure on the same site. The Sunbury Methodists met in this building on North Columbus Street, with an addition of a basement fellowship hall and a kitchen, for nearly 60 years.
By the 1960's, it was too small for a growing congregation.
Around 1960 we obtained 12 acres of land on the edge of town from Russell and Mary Ellen Miller. In the late 1960's church members took on a large debt to build a new two-level structure. Faith, plus lots of hard work from dedicated members, saw the mortgage paid in six years.
This church was built with the idea of adding an educational wing in the future. As the church grew and more and more Sunday school classes were meeting in places like the balcony, kitchen, pastor's study, and church office, it was time in the early 1980's to plan for such an addition. Ground was broken for a 7000 square foot addition in 1987 and the project completed in October 1988.
The addition included the present music room, pastors' offices, work room, church office and kitchenette, along with Sunday School classrooms. As part of the project, the kitchen was enlarged and upgraded; the chancel area was remodeled; the narthex was enlarged; the upper parking lot was enlarged; and a new roof was installed on the existing building. The total project cost $538,000, and it has helped us greatly expand our ministries.
In 2004 the church undertook a $2 million addition of the Ministry Center, increased parking, and Shelter House. The Ministry Center includes staff offices, classrooms for children and adult classes and meetings, a dining room, commercially equipped kitchen, Multipurpose Room with stage for sports and large meetings, plays and services, and a game room.
On the day of the Ministry Center's opening we also began a third worship gathering at 9:45 to correspond with our 8:30 and 11:00 worship gatherings. Today worship attendance is about 400. The 8:30 and 9:30 worship gatherings have a praise team leading worship, multimedia, message and prayer. The 11:00 worship gathering is a classic Protestant worship gathering with organ music, choirs, hymns and prayers. Communion is offered the first Sunday of every month.
Our existing building was also remodeled by turning the former staff offices into a 3 room child care center, and a parlor was created with a kitchen area and coffee bar.
This history gives us a proud heritage. With the same dedicated commitment as in the past, we look forward to serving the Lord for many years to come.