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2020: State of the Church report

ABOVE: Custodian James Jimmerson disinfects pews to prevent any possible spread of the coronavirus at Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday, May 10, 2020, following online worship, which is recorded in the sanctuary. As churches consider returning to in-person worship, cleaning measures are one of many factors leaders will need to consider. “I believe my job, my part in this, is to make sure people are safe in here,” Jimmerson said. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

ABOVE: Attendees and guests of the Connection 2020 gathering hosted by Reconciling Ministries Network in Nashville, Tenn., pray together at the altar at Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 27, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. BELOW: Members and leaders of Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., worship in a mostly empty sanctuary Sunday, March 15, after church leadership encouraged people to worship from home via video livestream in response to the coronavirus. Photos by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Interpreter Victor Fahn signs the message of Esther Metzgar during a Sunday morning service at S.T. Nagbe United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo by E Julu Swen, UM News.
Dr. Antoinette Williams visits with a patient at a drive-thru testing site for COVID-19 at St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tenn. Williams is a resident at Meharry Medical College in Nashville. Volunteer teams from the United Methodist-related school have been offering testing at area churches on Saturdays. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Volunteer Jennifer Jannetty checks James Crigger’s temperature as he arrives for worship at Franklin (Tenn.) First United Methodist Church. The church, which returned to in-person worship in August, adopted safety protocols to help prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Wayne Blackford surveys the damage to his corn crop caused by a derecho at his farm near Marion, Iowa. Blackford is lay leader of Prairie Chapel United Methodist Church in Marion. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
The United Methodist Cross and Flame logo lies in pieces after Hurricane Laura tore through Wakefield United Methodist Church in Cameron, La. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Volunteer Sumant Joshi clears tornado debris in front of East End United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Houses are engulfed by water in Kindu, Congo. Torrential rains caused the Congo River to overflow in April, affecting more than 10,000 households in Kindu. Photo by Chadrack Tambwe Londe, UM News.
Kylan Hadley describes tornado damage to East End United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn. Hadley is the church's youth director. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Heavy rains brought by Hurricane Eta cause major flooding in the northern part of Honduras. Tocoa was one of the areas affected by the floods and United Methodists are supporting the recovery of the affected communities. Photo courtesy of the United Methodist Mission.
People walk over a wooden bridge built by United Methodist Men of Sange after the original bridge was washed away by mid-April flooding in Uvira, Congo. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UM News.
The cornerstone for East End United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., rests in a pile of rubble after a tornado struck the church. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
The Rev. Catie Newman prays with John W. Weaver in front of a neighbor’s wind-damaged home while a United Methodist volunteer team makes emergency repairs to his roof in Marion, Iowa. Weaver’s mobile home was severely damaged during a derecho windstorm Aug. 10. Newman is the disaster response coordinator for the Iowa Conference. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Family and friends of Bishop John K. Yambasu, (front row, from left) Elizabeth Yambasu, Emmanuel Yambasu, widow Millicent Yambasu and Alfred Lansana, arrive at the burial site on the campus of United Methodist University in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Yambasu was killed in a car accident on Aug. 16, 2020. Photo by E Julu Swen, UM News.
Volunteer Trinley Gibson, 9, loads perishable items into a cooler at the Branch of Antioch emergency food assistance program at Antioch (Tenn.) United Methodist Church. The program received a “Sheltering in Love,” grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief to assist vulnerable communities in the United States and around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Pastor Ruth Mwangi sews face masks at Sogunoi United Methodist Church, a rural church affiliated with Trinity United Methodist Church in Gilgil, Kenya. Photo by Faith Wanjiru, UM News.
The Rev. Michelle Wilson (left) offers sack lunches as part of the Hands of Hope food security program at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn. The church received a “Sheltering in Love,” grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief that has enabled it to expand existing food security ministries with seniors and persons experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
A mother arrives with her children for the first day of the Sanctuaries of Learning program at Trinity United Methodist Church in Houston. The program, started by the Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church, offers a safe space, internet access and other resources in area churches, allowing parents to return to work and their children to continue their education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
A first-grade student interacts with her teacher and classmates by computer during the first day of the Sanctuaries of Learning program at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church at Crestmont Park in Houston. The program, started by the Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church, offers a safe space, internet access and other resources in area churches, allowing parents to return to work and their children to continue their education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Bicycle repair is a volunteer-led ministry at Galveston (Texas) Central Church, a United Methodist church. The bikes are a valuable resource among those with otherwise limited access to transportation. From left are: Ricky Postell, Randall Wood and Misty Bonham. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Nester Jeyacheya, deputy head of Mutambara Central Primary School, monitors children as they practice brushing their teeth at the United Methodist mission school in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe. The children learned proper brushing techniques and received toothbrushes and toothpaste as part of dental outreach program led by the church and a Swedish team with Dentists Without Borders. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.
Lashunda Collins distributes paperwork to people waiting for a COVID-19 test at a drive-thru site offered by Meharry Medical College at St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tenn. Collins, part of an all-volunteer team, is a first-year dental student at the United Methodist-related medical school. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Akou Logbo bows her head as Bishop Benjamin Boni prays for the victims of flooding in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is one of 300 widows whose businesses were curtailed by the COVID-19-related lockdown. They received donations of food and non-food items worth $30,000 funded by the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Photo by Isaac Broune, UM News.
Aunt Moore, a nurse, prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. Photo Mike Dubose, MU News.
Protestors gather in the courtyard of McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., during a prayer vigil to grieve and remember people lost to acts of racism. They are holding signs in honor of victims of racial violence. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi stands in front of an image of George Floyd painted on an overpass support in Pittsburgh, Penn. Floyd was an African American man who was killed in Minneapolis, Minn., when a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, sparking worldwide protests against racism and police brutality. Photo by Jackie Campbell, Western Pennsylvania Conference.
A woman holds a sign saying, “United Methodists stand against racism,” during a Black Lives Matter rally in Willingboro, N.J., June 7 at St. Paul United Methodist Church. Photo by Aaron Wilson Watson.
A mixed media painting titled "Slavery, Then and Now" by Jamaica Johnson is displayed during a celebration of jazz and art held Feb. 24 at Discipleship Ministries in Nashville, Tenn. Seated (from left) are Brenda Lockhart, Cynthia Wilson, and Bishop William T. McAlilly. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.
Faith leaders, including many United Methodists, held a prayer vigil outside the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., in support of the Equality Act. Photo by Church and Society.
TThe Revs. Francisco J. Garcia Jr. (left) and Stephen Handy pray together during a vigil at McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., to grieve and remember people lost to acts of racism. Garcia is a graduate research fellow at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville and Handy is senior pastor at KcKendree. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Protestors lie on the lawn during "A Prayer Service to Stand Against Racism" at Belle Meade United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UM News.
A pedestrian passes one of The United Methodist Church’s billboards calling for peace in the community of Abobo, Côte d’Ivoire. The United Methodist Church and its partners organized a communication campaign asking that the population and the authorities show restraint during the electoral period. The caravan crisscrossed several towns and hamlets in Côte d’Ivoire. Photo by Isaac Broune, UM News.
A July 28 march to Farraguet Square is part of the KOREA PEACE FESTIVAL and VIGIL in Washington, D.C., July 26-28, 2018. Photo by Thomas Kim, UMNS.
United Methodist Women parade the streets in Marshall City, Liberia, to protest sexual violence against women and girls during the group’s 72nd annual session held Jan. 21-27, 2020. File photo by E Julu Swen, UM News.
Bishop John K. Yambasu presides over a session of the Sierra Leone Annual Conference meeting, held in March 2020 in Koidu City, Sierra Leone. Delegates endorsed a plan of amicable separation for The United Methodist Church and voted to send it to General Conference in May. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UM News.
Lydie Acquah (front) joins in singing during the 10th anniversary celebration for La Voix de l’Espérance, the radio station of The United Methodist Church in Côte d’Ivoire, at Jubilee United Methodist Church in Abidjan. Acquah is the station’s director. Photo by Isaac Broune, UM News.
Olivia (left) and Judah Brown hold sweet potatoes at First Fruits Farm in Louisburg, N.C. Owned by their parents, Jason and Tay Brown, the farm supplies produce to Society of St. Andrew, which is helping get food to needy citizens. Photo courtesy of the Browns.
Nyengeterai Mafongoya holds a basket of 20-day-old chicks in Masvingo, Zimbabwe. She started with 20 chicks as part of a United Methodist Women poultry project in February and has grown her brood to 100 birds. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.
Charity Chiwawa holds a chicken from her poultry project in the Masvingo District of Zimbabwe. From her first batch of 20 birds, she had seven roosters, which she sold to buy feed for the hens. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.
Mwinyi Taluhumbu, president of United Methodist Men in Eastern Congo, checks the corn in a field cultivated by the men’s group. The crop is providing cornmeal for pastors from United Methodist urban churches who are struggling amid the coronavirus confinement. Photo by Chadrack Tambwe Londe, UM News.
Appalachian Trail Chaplain “Chappy Jack” Layfield looks out over the Blue Ridge Mountains along the AT in Roan Mountain, Tenn. Layfield, the 2019 chaplain, has written a daily devotional book about his spiritual journey during the 2,000-mile hike. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Clockwise from top left: A waterlogged hymnal lies in the mud outside Wakefield United Methodist Church in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura destroyed the sanctuary. A solitary folding chair rests on the bare concrete slab that was home to Grand Chenier (La.) United Methodist Church before Hurricane Laura destroyed the building. Power poles toppled by Hurricane Laura lie alongside the West Creole Highway near Cameron, La. The Category 4 storm left thousands without power. Photos by Mike DuBose, UM News.
Top left: Volunteer Hannah LaBrecque (center) hugs a fellow volunteer as they don protective equipment before the opening of a drive-thru testing site for COVID-19 at St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News. Top right: The Rev. Angela Bulhof hugs Caton Darling during a visit to his home in Lake Charles, La., to check on the progress of repairs following Hurricane Laura. Bulhof is pastor of University United Methodist Church in Lake Charles, where Darling and his father serve as ushers. Bottom: Eric Nyenow (left) and Emmanuel Gbuie, residents of the United Methodist New Life Recovery Center, review their notes during an addiction and substance abuse seminar in Monrovia, Liberia. The United Methodist Church in Liberia hosted the seminar to help local churches expand and strengthen their recovery ministries. Photo by E Julu Swen, UM News.
Donald Alcendor works in his lab at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., to develop an antiviral drug to combat COVID-19. Alcendor is an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the United Methodist-related school. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Credits:

UM News staff