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Bellefontaine, OH

Local church welcomes newcomers (Audio included)

If you’re looking for a home church, welcome home. That’s the motto used at the DeGraff United Methodist Church at 1839 County Road 24.

When you walk into the building you will most likely be greeted by the smiling face of Pastor Kym James. James is an Ohio native who is new to the area. She was appointed to the church in July of 2012. Before that she was the Associate Pastor at the Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, Ohio. James is enjoying her new surroundings and had very kind words to say about the people of the area, “I love the people but I can’t talk about anybody because everybody is related (she said jokingly). I just love the people, they are so connected. You see the generations, and it’s not very often you pastor five generations of people. That is a real joy to me and a witness to their faithfulness of Jesus Christ.”

The church has been in existence for over 100 years and the congregation moved into their new building 18 months ago. The building is handicap accessible. It doesn’t have any steps or a basement which makes it easily accessible to all. The building also sports cement polished floors and some of the rooms feature an “electronic eye” which turns the lights on and off based on your movement. James talks about what the building means to her church saying. “They definitely see this building as a gift from God.”

The DeGraff United Methodist Church offers a myriad of ministries that help them stay involved with both their church congregation and the rest of the community. They host an event after Friday night football games called the “5th Quarter” which provides a place for kids to hangout after games until 11:30. They also have a community garden, host a yearly “Free Sale” for the community, on Wednesdays they hold a “Kids Club”, hold Boy and Girl Scout meetings throughout the week, and various other ministries as well. 

With all of these ambitious ministries you’d think that the church would be focused on just trying to maintain them. But James is still looking ahead to see how she can improve the church. When asked what her goals for the church were, James said, “I really want the church to get out of debt. I want the church to get this building paid off quickly so they can use their resources more on ministry. I would also like to help them as members get out of debt personally. I think debt keeps us hostage in this country and I’d like to lead Financial Peace University here which teaches you to be debt free with Dave Ramsey. But of course, most of all to be free in Christ, to be forgiven, and to live an abundant life here and an eternal life forever.”

If you’re looking for a church that will welcome you with smiling faces and open arms, than maybe the DeGraff United Methodist Church is the perfect place to welcome you home. Sunday school service begins at 9:30 and church service begins at 10:30.

Listen to the full interview with DeGraff United Methodist Pastor Kym James.

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