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Like all Americans, we are shocked and saddened by the deaths and injuries suffered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

As United Methodists, we deplore all forms of bigotry and prejudice and respect the rights of all to freedom of worship and encourage dialogue and understanding among religious communities.

As people of faith and sisters and brothers of the Abrahamic tradition, Swansboro United Methodist Church seeks for you Divine solace, trusting God’s blessing of peace and love will prevail in these moments.

We share with you our congregation’s love and our common Mosaic blessing. “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)


Rev. Scott Dodson, Senior Pastor

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the email our Senior Pastor is sending to the Tree of Life synagogue. Feel free to forward it, as is, edit or express your own words. Be sure to sign it with your name.

Email address:

Regular mail: 5898 Wilkins Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15217.

In addition to our letter to the Tree of Life synagogue, our Church and Society committee will share messages with congregations where SUMC members have visited, studied or worshipped--- in New Bern, Wilmington and Asheville. If there are additional synagogues you’d suggest, email Thank you for this sharing of love.

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SUNDAY FOOD COLLECTION  ~  Make it a habit!

July 2018: We've advanced from Second Sunday Food Collection to EVERY Sunday!

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EXPANDING OUR HUNGER EMPHASIS, “Manna” has a food pantry in Room 34, Bldg 2 (under the sanctuary.) You are invited to take foodstuff if you have—or know a family—in need. Canned goods, boxed cereals, pastas etc. are available in the cupboard. Plastic bags are located on lower shelf. Those who are so generous in their Second Sunday giving will now know that we are also helping the hungry in our area in a new way.  (Feb. 2016)
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We donate fresh fruits and help pack up foods for the area Manna for Kids / BackPack Friends Program. Since our Manna/Fruit for Kids joined BackPack Friends on September 22, 2016, we provided fruit to an average of 310 kids each week. Yes! That's over 3,000 pieces of fruit through the fall and up to school break in December 2016.

Danielle Abraham, Director for BackPack Friends, presented Swansboro United Methodist Church’s Manna Program with an award recognizing their generous support for providing food and volunteers for the local BackPack Friends food pantry during a worship service at Swansboro United Methodist Church, Sept. 10, 2017. Jim Brewster and George Gardner accepted the award on behalf of the Manna Program.

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United Methodists observe Holocaust Remembrance at synagogue
More than two dozen members of the Swansboro United Methodist Church attended the special Sabbath Eve service commemorating the Holocaust on April 17, 2015 at Temple B-nai Sholem in New Bern.

A tour of the historic synagogue and an explanation of Jewish beliefs and practice were given by Marsha Luhrs, the education director at the Temple. An Interfaith Liturgy, “Prayers of Remembrance” that followed included references to Martin Niemoller, a Protestant German pastor who spent eight years in a concentration camp during World War II who spoke against silence in the face of the evil and Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize recipient in Literature. “Brothers and sisters, help me. Help me not to forget…to be remembered---that was all they wanted.” The liturgy included lighting candles, symbolizing the six million Jews killed in the holocaust. The service concluded with prayer, “Creator of peace, compassionate God, guide us to a covenant of peace with all…humanity reflecting Your image of compassion and peace. “ Greetings of “Shalom” (Peace) followed.

The visit to the synagogue was the next step in SUMC-sponsored “Journey to Tolerance,” begun last November during a weekend in Raleigh that included visits to Hindu and Buddhist temples, a Muslim mosque and the Duke University Chapel. The events are sponsored by our Church and Society committee as means of understanding and promoting peace among persons of other faiths.

Visit again another time to view more photos.

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A wonderful surprise donation from Girl Scout Troop 688 left on March 12, 2015.

Thank you Troop 688!

Read more about this program...

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Swansboro United Methodists Attend Chinese New Year's Celebration At Buddhist Temple In Raleigh

   Three members of Swansboro United Methodist Church received VIP status on February 22nd when they attended the Chinese New Year’s celebration at a Buddhist Temple in Raleigh, NC. As a result of last November’s “Journey to Tolerance” when SUMC folks visited Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian sites in the Raleigh area, officials at the Fo Guan Shan Temple invited the Swansboro church to send a delegation to the Temple’s annual observance.

   Susan Del Grande, Mandy Gatlin and Adele Hyla-Brewster represented our church and joined members of the Temple family for a traditional dragon dance, martial arts demonstration, music, calligraphy rubbing, lantern making and Chinese dancing. They made origami figures, participated in a tea ceremony and came home with a fresh experience of interfaith hospitality.

   The Raleigh temple, dedicated in 2010, is a branch of the International Buddhist Progress Society begun in Taiwan. Its main purpose is to encourage every Buddhist to incorporate Buddhism into daily living.  “Journey to Tolerance” was organized by SUMC’s Church and Society committee to understand basic beliefs, forms of worship and the relation of non-Christian faiths to their American experience.

Dragon Dance at Chinese New Year’s celebration, Fo Guang Shan Temple, Raleigh. Members of Swansboro United Methodist Church were invited by the temple’s leader, the Venerable Chueh Shang (right).

Swansboro United Methodist Church members at the Chinese New Year’s celebration at the Fo Guang Shan (Buddhist) Temple in Raleigh. Left to right: Susan Del Grande, the Venerable Chueh Shang (leader of the temple), Mandy Gatlin and Jill Chen, event organizer.

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    SUMC "Journey To Tolerance" An Unexpected Joy And Challenge

   A question posed by a Hindu became a challenge for folks from Swansboro United Methodist Church on our “Trip to Tolerance,” November 14-16. “Do you have the openness to adopt new ideas about Almighty God?” asked Krishna Sharma, an educator at the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Cary, North Carolina.

   The weekend trip, sponsored by our Church and Society committee, was designed to look at and learn about the basic beliefs and forms of worship of several faiths in the Raleigh area, mostly new experiences for the 17 participants. The sites were as different as their traditions: An ornate marble worship center, the Cary Hindu Temple was constructed in 2010; the Fo Guang Shan (Chinese) Buddhist Temple in Raleigh is a modern, contemporary building including a large jade statue of Buddha; The Muslim mosque in Durham meets in an expanded storefront; the soaring Duke University chapel reflects the university’s Methodist history.

   There were many new ideas about “Almighty God.” Sister Miao Yue, a nun at the Chinese temple, stressed the importance of Buddhist ethics. The Imam (leader) at the Mosque had memorized the complete Qur’an. Our Swansboro group was invited to afternoon prayers as well as a wedding at the Mosque. In his Sunday morning message, Dean Luke Powery of the Duke Chapel urged listeners to “bury their fears,” feelings often the cause of interreligious conflict. How to bury them? “Through perfect love,” Powery concluded.

   Participants perceived “Almighty God” in several evidences of the Holy during the weekend. They saw it in the smiles of Muslim women and children, in the peaceful and joyful face of a Buddhist nun, while receiving Hindu “sacraments,” observing Muslim afternoon prayers, listening to the soaring music in Duke’s gothic sanctuary and even in the group’s eating together.

   The “Trip to Tolerance” was a follow-up from a major study of world religions last year at SUMC. “We felt it important to have a “hands-on, personal and more intensive experience of other faiths,” according to Jim Brewster, chairperson of our Church/Society committee. “These kinds of interreligious ventures are encouraged by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. In an increasingly interdependent world, we are pressed to a deeper understanding of other faith traditions, including the need to alleviate bigotry and prejudice against Muslims and Arabs in the United States.” 

~ Related Photos and Descriptions ~

Members of Swansboro United Methodist Church pose for a group photograph with Ven. Miao Yue at the
Fo Guang Shan Temple in Raleigh, N.C

Ven. Miao Yue guides members of Swansboro United Methodist Church on a tour of the
Fo Guang Shan Temple in Raleigh, N.C

Mr. James Brewster participates in a group discussion with Ven. Miao Yue at the

Fo Guang Shan Temple in Raleigh, N.C.

Members of Swansboro United Methodist Church learn more about Islam at

Masjid Ibad Ar-Rahman, a Sunni mosque, in Durham, N.C.

Members of Swansboro United Methodist Church pose for a group photograph at
Masjid Ibad Ar-Rahman, a Sunni mosque, in Durham, N.C., Nov. 15

Members of Swansboro United Methodist Church pose for a group photograph at the
Duke University Chapel, in Durham, N.C., Nov. 16

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Visit our Society of Saint Andrew page for photos of the June 2014 Corn Gleaning.

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SUNDAY FOOD COLLECTION  ~  Make it a habit!, cont'd

The Sunday Food Collections continue to be an important SUMC mission effort. The staff at the school shares its appreciation for our faithful mission effort and reminds us that, when children are well-fed, they’re happier, healthier and better students. These collections are coordinated by Manna, the hunger awareness activities of our Church and Society committee. “Manna” is also seeking volunteers for our increasingly busy mission work. Call Susan Del Grande (910.326.3316) or Jim Brewster (910.431.0382).

We are guided by the idea of Biblical MANNA: Exodus 16:16. Manna is God’s food. It is sufficient, abundant, blessed, delicious, and – is necessary EVERY day.

There was a great article about this in the Tideland News on April 30, 2014. See it here.

Due to your generosity, more needy Silverdale Elementary School students/families have been added to those being helped. As a result, "Manna," our SUMC hunger emphasis committee, delivers most of our Sunday food collections to Silverdale Elementary School. The staff at the school shares its appreciation for our faithful mission effort and reminds us that, when children are well-fed, they’re happier, healthier and better students.

Note that items may be left in the grocery carts at church anytime, not just during the Sunday collection.

Families and children (even those near our church) are hungry every day. White Oak Ecumenical Outreach Ministries (The HEM) help many who are desperate for food and others who are ‘food insecure’ to obtain assistance at the FOOD BANK of NC distribution in Swansboro. Some of your donations are delivered here also.

"Manna" is also seeking volunteers for our increasingly busy mission work. Call Susan Del Grande (910.326.3316 or Jim Brewster (910.431.0382) to help.

GET the HABIT! Food will be collected every SUNDAY.

THANK YOU for supporting our monthly MANNA food collections! Your SUNDAY contributions have filled the grocery carts over and over again. Your gifts are a blessing to many.

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Visit our Mission and Outreach and SoSA pages for additional gleaning information and photos.

Manna's Experience Gleaning Corn

Twenty seven children, youth and adult SUMC folks traveled 65 miles, joining more than a hundred others from six area churches to glean fifteen acres of sweet corn at the Tip Top Farm near Rose Hill, NC.

They picked enough corn to completely fill the back of a pick-up truck. The corn was brought to the Rotary Club center in Swansboro in time for the monthly free food distribution to the needy in our area.

Transportation was furnished by our church bus, Frank Cizerle, driver, Yana Franz (SUV)  and Jim Brewster (van). The pickup truck was driven by Derwin Trigleth.

The gleaning event, the first in a number of years for our church, was sponsored by the Society of Saint Andrew, Derwin Trigleth-representative and “Manna,” our local church hunger-emphasis. Organizers were more than pleased that so many participated, given the characteristic short notice of this sort of opportunity.

Manna was organized a year ago after several SUMC members participated in a hunger awareness seminar in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Church and Society committee. Since then they have helped the congregation to become more aware of hunger issues in the Swansboro area: holding monthly food drives for the Food Bank, the HEM and for the Silverdale Elementary School children; sponsoring worship, a potluck dinner and film; holding a demonstration by local chefs; highlighting local seafood and farm production at the SUMC EnviroFair in May. This fall, Manna will help organize a “Stop Hunger Now” event in our community.  All these activities responding to SUMC’s purpose to “serve the world.”

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SUMC and Fair Trade from Equal Exchange

Items are located to the left of Pastor Scott's office in Building 1.

Fair Trade means small farmers get a fair wage with NO slave labor used. Find us after each Sunday service - near the office and anytime the office is open. Need to know more about the coffee roasts/flavors? Go to the Interfaith Equal Exchange.

Click here to view the variety of products available through Swansboro UMC and to order Fair Trade Coffee, Chocolate or Tea.
Please note: Chocolate bars are not available during warm summer months.

"Good Coffee for a Good Cause"
" FAIR TRADE COFFEE PROJECT is mission support"


Anyone can order directly from Equal Exchange at: or call 774.776.7366. Please note: our SUMC prices are not only based on a bulk purchase but a portion goes to support missions. Our coffee project is a mission support project.

"Fair trade presents the faith community with a chance to make a real contribution towards the creation of a new life-centered economic model, one based on the biblical principles of justice, cooperation and sustainability."
- Rich Aronson, Peace with Justice Project

The UMCOR Coffee Project is an innovative way to reach out to small-scale farmers in the developing world while enjoying fellowship and an excellent cup of coffee. As Christians we can address a consumer dilemma by buying coffee that is fairly traded. United Methodist congregations that participate are helping small scale farmers in Latin America, Africa and Asia earn a fairer share of income, obtain access to credit and technical support, and gain a trading partner they can trust, a fair trade organization called Equal Exchange.

In our congregation, a women's group, youth group, mission or peace and justice committee can sponsor an UMCOR Coffee Project tasting event with coffee, tea, chocolate or hot cocoa. Then, as you enjoy this high-quality taste treat, take time to learn more about its impact on the people who grow it. Read about coffee farmers or cacao growers and the ways in which the church is helping people like them. Discuss issues of justice in the global marketplace and take action in the spirit of love. United Methodist Churches have sustained UMCOR's ministries of relief and development for more than 60 years. Being creative, we can also make a difference in this new way.

For more information, visit or, call 212.870.3877 or write to UMCOR Coffee Project, Room #330, 475 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10115.

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National Geographic Green Guide
For Everyday Living

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Healthy Families, Healthy Planet

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Earth Day

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Contact Jim Brewster at 910.431.0382 or for additional information about SUMC Church & Society.

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