Church Spotlight: Athens First UMC


District: Athens-Elberton
Address: 327 North Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30601
Senior Pastor:  Rev. Chuck Hodges
Associate Pastors:  Rev. Martha Aenchbacher, Rev. Eric Fessler, Rev. Dr. John Page
Phone Number:  706-543-1442
Sunday Worship Services:  8:30 a.m. communion, 9:45 and 11 a.m. traditional
Sunday School:  9:45 a.m.
 History: Athens First United Methodist Church is committed to Jesus Christ and to the transformation of hearts as we show and share his love in this community of faith.   Located a few blocks from the historic University of Georgia, our church strives to be an effective witness in doing all the good we can in all the ways we can. The church in this area took shape more than 187 years ago.  On Nov. 8, 1824, Thomas Hancock deeded Lot 36 in the town of Athens, Georgia, to the Trustees of The Methodist Church.  It was given with the stipulation that a building would be built within two years.  The lot lies between Washington, Hancock, and Lumpkin streets.   The new building was ready in 1825.  Here we are in 2012, helping good things happen every day with more than 3,500 members.
 Who We Are: The psalmist dreamed of seeing “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  Each of us has heard the call to do good. Through our ministries, we strive to live out that call.  Whether it is in our worship services, small groups, missions, music, children and youth ministries, or other areas, we are encouraged to make our lives count for good.  
     We give thanks that in 2011, more than 300 children in Vacation Bible School raised $600 to help bring food and clothing to children in Tijuana, Mexico.  We had a confirmation class of 55. Our Children’s Music Ministry included 288 children, 50 adult and youth volunteers.  Our weekday preschool enrollment is 124.  Our Wesleyan Youth Choir gave spirit-filled concerts in St. Augustine, Fl., Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, PA.  Our Sanctuary Choir glorified God by singing more than 100 different anthems in 125-plus worship services.
      We offer Christ’s love in tangible ways to nearly 300 families each month through our Mobile Food Pantry. A total of 102 adults and youth traveled in mission to Epworth, Appalachia, Costa Rica, and Cuba.  The International Student Ministries events, hosted by our church, drew 350 international students from more than 40 nations.  Our Recreation Ministry helps more than 2,500 youth and adults every year with a variety of sports and physical fitness programs.  Our ministry of Congregational Care offers a loving touch through prayer and resources made available to all who are hurting.   We celebrate God’s gifts in all the opportunities we have been given through Men’s and Women’s Ministry, UMW, Sunday School and Senior Fun. 
      What we value shows up in how we spend our time and our resources.  We value God and our neighbors and we will use all of our gifts to make God’s love known in this world.  Our church welcomes you no matter who you are, where you come from, or why you come.  We are Christ’s people and this is Christ’s church with its doors open wide to do all the good we can in all the ways we can!