Church spotlight: Winters Chapel UMC
District: Atlanta Roswell District
Address: 5105 Winters Chapel Road, Doraville, GA 30360
Minister: Rev. Shelia Preacher
Services: 11 a.m. English, 5 p.m. Spanish
Worship style: blended
Average Sunday attendance: 80
History: Winters Chapel UMC was established nearly 150 years ago. Jeremiah Winters, the church’s namesake, offered his homeplace and, in the midst of a beautiful tree grove, worship began. This church was built around Christ and continues to put Christ at the center of everything that it does.
Mission: Winters Chapel is dedicated to meeting needs by being a Christ-centered church in the middle of a rapidly changing community and world.
“For a small membership church, we are amazingly active,” says Rev. Shelia Preacher. Serving the community is what gives this congregation the opportunity to spread Jesus’ love and it is reflected in their mission statement: “To be a community that responds in faith and practice to the presence of Jesus Christ.” And whether it is serving the young for more than 40 years through our preschool’s award winning Program of Excellence or the youth through a 50 year charter of Boy Scout Troup #403 or the young at heart through our the various activities and programming of our senior Primetimer group, WCUMC seeks to be a reminder of Christ’s active presence in all phases of our lives.
Outreach: WCUMC strives to look outside of its four walls, into the community and even further into the world for its Christ-centered service. In an effort to help satisfy the constant demand for blood in a heavily populated metro area, WCUMC serves as a host site for a semi-annual blood drive. The church sees it as one way of physically re-enacting Christ’s own life giving gift of blood for the life of the world.
As an outreach to the surrounding neighborhood, a weekly ESOL class was initiated in the fall of 2010. Amazingly, more than 436 different individuals were serviced in the first 20 months—individuals from our community we might have never met otherwise. While we knew our community has a large Latino presence, we were surprised by the “international” community in which we now live. We have students from Russia, Bangladesh, Iran, China, India, and the list continues to grow! In January 2012 a new bi-lingual pastor, Pastor Edwin Pino, was brought on board to facilitate growing the Hispanic ministry with a Sunday Spanish service and further outreach through the ESOL classes.
Our missions outreach touches individuals close to home as well as in other states and countries. Local efforts are regularly undertaken to support Gwinnett’s Department of Family/Children Services, Rainbow House, Habitat for Humanity, Trinity House/Bethel, and WCUMC’s own Food Pantry. However, Winters Chapel claims the world as its parish by sending from its own congregation mission teams comprised of adults and youth to areas such as the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.