Faith Stories

From Norma Counce

My Church roots began at Box Chapel Methodist Church, so I don’t have a life-time connection to First United Methodist. I do feel very blessed to have been accepted and loved by this wonderful church family. Through the years of my journey in the Christian Faith I enjoyed teaching children’s classes, singing in the choir, and serving in a small way in church ministry. I love our worship Services and enjoy the music portion so much. It’s all so very spiritually uplifting. I am very thankful for the many servants of Christ who are continuing to bring us Sermons, Sunday School lessons and keeping us connected and informed. We are indeed Blessed. Thank You Everyone, Norma Counce

From Bernestine Knight

What my church means to me. A place to go where I feel blessed by the beautiful music and by the message from whom God has given to bring to us. A place I feel I can pray and have that feeling that God can hear me and he is there with me. I love my church, Bernestine

From Barb King

  • Christian Fellowship
  • House of God
  • Unending Love
  • Renewal of Faith
  • Care and Concern
  • Happiness

My home away from home with all the Christian Fellowship I desire. On my first visit after moving back to Corinth, after a 40+ year sabbatical, I was greeted by the membership and pastors in a way no other church had before. Our church is truly the House of God. You can feel the presence of God from the moment you walk into the sanctuary. Surely the presence of the Lord is in our hearts.

Love flows beyond all measure. The congregation, choir, pastors, and leadership, are always there to lift you up with their Unending Love.

Renewal of Faith is found in the sermons, music, ringing of the bells, singing. You reap what you put into your worship experience.

If you or your family are ill or facing uncertainty, prayers are lifted up for you in abundance, with multitudes of Care and Concern.

Happiness is yours when you place your trust in God.

This is what my church means to me and I love everyone of you. Barb Rorie King

From Margaret Dennie

Bill and I with our 3 year old daughter, moved to Corinth in 1963. We immediately became involved at FUMC. We had friends, Glen and Sue Parker, who we had met at Memphis State (Now Univ. of Memphis). They attended FUMC so it seemed natural to go with them.  We became involved in the Young Adult Sunday School class that was taught at the time by the Superintendent of Education, Julian Prince. That class welcomed us and showed us love. That class has evolved with a number of teachers through the years, Harry Crockett, Ellen Warriner, and Al Stables.  Under Ellen’s leadership we changed our name to Challenger Class because she reminded us that we had outlasted “young”.  Our class is now taught by a rotation of teachers including, Dick Collins, Loretta Newton, Johnny Ross and others that fill in since Mary Louise Bell has had to give up her spot due to health reasons. I’m telling you this history to remind you that being a part of a group of Christians who support you is a vital part of our walk in Christian Faith.

When you walk in our sanctuary there is a feeling of God’s presence. I remember when Dianne was a young girl we were having a 24 hour prayer time. We took our turn, and after kneeling at the altar and praying for our church as we were leaving Dianne looked up and said, “Don’t you feel close to Jesus here?” I have felt his presence at FUMC and in my life throughout.

We watched Dianne grow up and join the church. She married, had Jeremy, and he grew up and joined the church; he married and now his daughter, Paige, is growing up in the church. I feel blessed that my children, Dianne and Richard, Jeremy, Tiffany and Paige are a part of my life at the church.

We were asked to serve as Junior High Youth leaders. We probably grew more than the youth. We cooked hamburgers, and hot dogs on Wednesday and Sunday nights, and helped lead their studies. We kept JOLAS team members in our home as they came to do ministry at FUMC which was an experience in itself. During the time Dianne was a teenager, Rev. Sam Morris was the Youth Director/Associate Pastor. One of the most touching times was when his twins were born prematurely and were sent to Memphis. At the close of worship that Sunday night he sang “My Tribute”. My thought was, I wish I could have that faith in the midst of everyday life.

When Bill got sick and we were confined to the house, it was amazing the support that we felt as he kept the faith during his trials. The times the Sunday School members came on Sunday afternoons to visit with him (us) and share a short time of devotion and hymns. The most precious time was the 1st Sunday in May, 2015 when they came and brought communion for the last time to Bill. So thankful for their love and witness to us.

As I have gotten older, I look back on some different jobs I have been asked to do in the church, Youth Leader, UMW President, Little Blessings Chair, Finance Chair, Treasurer, and secretary for Challenger SS Class. They have helped to mold me and make me who I am today. Each of the people I have come to know and love from these areas of service hold a dear spot in my life of faith.  

As I look forward to life at FUMC, I pray that we will come together after our second setback—fire first and COVID19 second. I miss being with my church family on Sunday, the small Bible study/supper group, the UMW Bible study, and Sunday School. I am hopeful that our church will come back stronger than ever after this pandemic.

From Caroline and Thomas Pettie

The church is a designated place where God’s children gather to worship, grow, love, and pray with each for His support and love for others.

As members of this body faithful attendees of First United Methodist Church, we count it a blessing to be a part of this worship group who love the Lord, love, and support others.

Thomas and I started visiting here and moved our membership in the ’80s. We started attending the early service followed by Sunday school. This is when we realized the depth of faith and support of others this church had and showed to others.The mission and outreach into the community is a blessing. We never felt we were strangers.

Our church is blessed with a wonderful staff,  and music, exceptional choral group, and directors now and over the years.

Our pulpit has been blessed with carrying pastors who brought the message to the congregation. Mostly.

As we move forward into this new phase of our church as we make changes, The fellowship center across from the”Little Church” is a blessing. Moving into the next phase of dealing with The Fire, (y’all did know about the fire), this body will draw from the faith we have and grow stronger. We have come through and have held it together this far. There are many churches that have not made it this far. 

Thomas and I firmly believe that our faith in God and each other will grow from this. We have shown our strength and adaptability on many occasions. How we are dealing with this virus is an excellent example. The pastors are delivering great messages. The music is heartwarming. The teachers are delivering our class lessons online. The way people have checked with each other offering support and bringing needed sundries shows that we are exercising our faith in God.

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) states, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God”s grace in its various forms”.

We hope to see you in church when the “Virus” problem is lifted. Caroline & Thomas

From Joe Oliver

FUMC Corinth is the reason I stayed in Corinth in the first place. I walked through those front doors hoping for a good service to “recharge” the batteries, but instead I found a church home. A church where I was encouraged to participate and to serve. I can honestly say that this church is the foundation that my family has built our lives around.

Julie and I met and were married in this church. We raised Peyton in this church. Although my work prevents me from participating in church activities the way I would like, I serve whenever possible.

Our church is not made of brick and mortar, but the flesh and blood of its members. We find ourselves in challenging times, but we can still be that light in the darkness for our community. Thank you FUMC Corinth for what you have done for us all! Joe and Julie Oliver

From Glenda Andrews

As I reflect back over the last 53 years at FUMC, I realize I felt different levels of faith and understanding of God’s purpose in the different seasons of my life.

When our two children, Kim and Amy were small, I was involved in all their church activities and at that time taught our four’s Sunday School Class. When our children became teenagers, John and I were the youth counselors for the Junior High Group and several years later for the Senior High Group under the leadership of our youth director at the time, Billy Still. It was at this time that I feel like I really grew in my faith.

Teaching Pre-School for 31 years was an answered prayer for me. I felt the love, support and encouragement from our congregation for a program that was near and dear to my heart.  Now I am involved in Sunday School, Women’s Bible study, Lenten Luncheons, BEES, Hospitality, all of which keep me focused.

Church is not a building, it is a congregation of believers that gather to learn, grow in our faith and reach out to others. I feel that FUMC is a supportive community in action. Our spirituality is not just confined within our four walls. The added gifts of the music in our services, the bells and the choir, are most meaningful to me. I miss deeply the love and fellowship of my church family during this dismal time. Glenda Andrews

From John Campbell

First United Methodist Church means a long list of memories:  Taking our 3 children to Sunday school back in the 1990’s. Being in the Bea Hussey young couples Sunday school class in that era. Joining the church and having all of our children baptized in the church.   Reverends Steve McDonald, Rod Borders, Prentiss Bud” Gordon, Roger Shock, Kim Parker, and Joe Landrum and the many meaningful sermons they have been presented.

FUMC means being able to see and appreciate many Christian positive people at church. It means being able to serve God in a small role as an usher and thankful for the many good people that are in that service.  

The church is an important place to talk to God through prayer. However, the biggest single item the Church means to me is the opportunity to learn about the teachings of Jesus so that they can be applied in my life.  During times of the most stress, the church has helped me to keep things in proper perspective and focus on doing what is right (this is often much easier said than done). The lessons from Jesus provide peace. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the church and thankful for the lessons I have learned there.  John Campbell

From Hank Leonard

Though it seems like 3 months instead of 3 weeks, being absent from Corinth FUMC has given me time to reflect on growing up in this Church.  Being a 5th generation member of the Church, I suppose I didn’t have much of a choice to call any other church home! Lauren and I have a son, Frank, and another on the way who make up the 6th generation of our family to call this Church home.

From Sunday School to Bible School, it seemed there was never a shortage of activities for children. I can recall singing in the Little Angels all the way up to the VIPs. I was even forced to participate in the children’s handbells, though I never publicly admitted that I really did enjoy it. We had a large group of Cub Scouts, Troop 129, that was sponsored by FUMC. The fall festivals were always a favorite as a kid with so many families participating.

The FUMC Youth Group was the place to be in junior and senior high. The highlights were the ski trips that always seemed to end on the side of the road with a broken-down bus, but that made for even better stories and memories. I considered myself lucky to be involved in FUMC youth at the time.

Upon returning home to Corinth after college, I was asked to serve on the Trustees and I hesitantly accepted because I had no idea how to serve as a leader in the Church. However, after nearly 10 years of serving on that committee, I am thankful to have been a part of some major challenges, or “opportunities” as some may call them. That has brought me closer to more people in this Church, just being able to serve alongside many of the people I have looked up to growing up. I think we should all take advantage of the opportunities to serve in this Church. It provides a great opportunity to grow with your Church family and grow closer to God.

I could write many pages about my fondest memories and what this Church means to me, but this is the Church that I grew up in, the Church that I got married in, and the Church that our first child was Baptized in. It is also the Church that I said some sad and final goodbyes to family and friends.

In our absence from the Church, I’ve realized that it’s not the building that I miss, but the Church family that I have grown close to and grown closer to God is what I miss most. I hope that this will be a brief “reset” that we can use to strengthen our relationship with God and our Church family and also catch a second wind to grow our “Church with a heart in the heart of the City.”

From Lana Skelton

When Joe asked me if I would mind writing a faith story, I thought, Lord, I don’t even know what I would write. So I came home, grabbed one of the kids notebooks, and this is where my story begins…

I didn’t grow up with my mother taking me and my brother to church. The only time I went to church was with my grandparents or with friends. So when Benson and I got engaged, my soon to be father in law wanted to show me the little chapel and see what I thought about using it to get married in and I loved it from the moment I saw it. It was several years after we got married that I decided to take my mother-in-law up on joining them at church one Sunday morning. I’d never been to a Methodist church but I was like, well, if I can handle a little country Pentecostal church as a child then surely I can handle this. So, on a Sunday morning I went and as I was crossing the street I noticed a lady that  had stopped to wait for me. As I reached the church steps she smiled and said good morning, my name is Sue Elam. It’s nice to meet you. I introduced myself and she told me how nice it was to have me at her church. I remember walking in and having such a warm welcome. It was shortly after that that Benson and I found out I was pregnant with our first child.

By the time we had her we’d been to our church for about a year and a half and I knew that I wanted to raise our children in such a warm and loving church. So, on the same day we had Emoree dedicated to our church Benson and I both joined the church on March of 2008. Then later that year we had the twins, Ayden and Benjamin and then 3 years later we had Cayson. I feel we did our part on bringing more children to the church!! (haha).

When our children were smaller I would think, I can’t wait to see our children serving in this church by Acolyting or I cant wait to see them run down to the front of our church to get a big hug from Mrs. Katie and to hear what she would teach them that morning on how much Jesus loved them. With each child we’ve had dedicated we have promised to raise them up right in the church and the church would respond that they would do their part in helping to guide them on their way. Our church has done just that and I see it and hear it every time they are asked about God. Our children have learned so much from Wonderful Wednesday and on their Sunday evening bible study with Pastor Kim. It warms my heart to tell people that we are part of such a caring and loving church.

During this storm (COVID-19) that we are facing it has changed our lives. We no longer have the pleasure to just run to the store and grab this or that, go in and sit down at a restaurant when we’ve had a long day. Our children are being home schooled. We no longer go to church on Sundays but during those Sundays I have learned that its not the building that makes the Church, its the people.

I have missed our Church family, the warm hugs, the smiles, the choir singing beautifully every Sunday morning, the babies crying, Mrs.  Katie’s children’s message and the scripture message that helps start my next week off. I can not wait for that Sunday morning that we all get to see each other, our Church family that we have come to love so much.

I’ve prayed more in the last few weeks than I’ve prayed in a while and as I told Pastor Joe on the phone I had a real good cry and prayed and cried some more about where our country is right now and keeping all my fellow healthcare workers safe and our families safe. I realized in those moments that the devil was winning because fear was getting to me and so I knew that I had to turn it over to God. He is the waymaker, the peace in our storm and that FEAR is a LIAR.

After everything has calmed down and we are finally able to come back to our church what a Glorious day it will be. I pray that we will become a stronger church and that we all are a little closer to our families and to GOD.  I know in my heart that there will be light at the end of this and that light is Jesus.

So with that being said I pray for our Church family and for the protection of each and every one of you. May God Bless You and keep you safe.  With much love- Lana Skelton   

From Sandy Williams

You know something? The “Virus” has caused us to stop and reflect on things— including life itself. I know I have. Old-timers called it “taking stock of yourself”. Among the things I have reflected upon is Corinth First United Methodist Church.

Interestingly though, the fact that we had a fire and don’t know what lies ahead has taken second fiddle to what our church really means to me. Just like the “virus”, we will somehow get through our problems and hopefully, in both cases, emerge as a better nation and a better church. After all, the building is just that. The church itself, is our congregation, our friends, our families; our memories, our teachers, preachers, musicians and much, much more. In many cases, like mine, it’s our heritage. I am of the fifth generation of my family to belong to Corinth FUMC. And that’s both sides of my family. Our two children, Lane and Lee, are of the sixth generation. I was Christened there; attended Sunday school, Bible School, Church services, revivals (anyone remember those?) Cantatas, sunrise services, Religious Emphasis Weeks. I have held church offices and I have sung in the choir for years. Very significantly, I met Rosemary in Sunday School in 1960. Guess what that means for this September? There have been many, many happy occasions such as weddings, concerts, baptisms, reunions. And of course, sad ones where we memorialize and pay our last respects to our loved ones–both friends and family.

I am very much looking forward to our getting back to Church and Sunday School. This could be a “new beginning” for us. You know, it pains me greatly to see so many empty pews on Sunday mornings! I look where I used to see great friends and acquaintances sitting. Watching their families grow up. Or checking to see if new arrivals are becoming regular. I hope and pray that many, many, of our members will reflect on what our church has meant to them and will decide to return and be a part of the solution rather than leaving it to others. We sorely need that support. Please take care of yourselves and I hope to see you all soon. With love and optimism, Sandy Williams

From Jimmy Fisher

My connection with First United Methodist Church, Corinth, began in 1970. My law partner at the time was William L. Sharp, one of the stalwart leaders at FUMC, and a long time Sunday School teacher. He and his wife, Irene, who was also a strong and faithful member and Sunday School teacher invited us to attend. Rosemary and I had a six-month-old son, Jay, and FUMC was an ideal place for young parents who needed a place to worship.
We soon became involved with the various church activities and programs being offered. I was especially interested in the music program of the church and joined the choir soon after, at the invitation of Sandy Williams, where I have been singing tenor now for over fifty years.

We ultimately had two more sons, William and Ellis, and they too were reared in FUMC. They were involved in all the church programs and children’s and youth activities.

While writing this brief story I began to reflect on all the choir members who have now passed and are now singing in God’s eternal choir. What a joy and privilege it was for me to share our church music with them.

I have always looked forward to working on the special music the choir sang at Easter and Christmas. Cantata is the name for this music and usually comes packaged in a paperback songbook. For many years the choir would sing the Easter Cantata at a sunrise service. Unfortunately, the congregation turnout at sunrise was small, mostly family and stalwart members. This made no difference to the choir members since we all just enjoyed singing our praises to God.

We have had many choir directors (nine, I think) through the years and each brought a special talent and music ability to the choir. We have been blessed during my choir tenure to have two great and talented Organists. Mrs. George Purvis and Mrs. Charles Ellington were and are the foundation for great music at FUMC and we can “Praise The Lord” for their musical talents and service to our church. And all God’s people said AMEN. Our church will continue to be a leader in the community and I look forward to serving my church by singing in the choir as long as I am able. Jimmy B. Fisher

From Sue Elam

Church has always been a norm for me. As a child, we got up as told and headed out the door. Under my parent’s roof, I went to church. I took my children to church. I called myself a Christian. Not until I moved to Corinth and joined FUMC, did I really get it! Going weekly, sitting in the pews, and saying hello to everyone and leaving didn’t cut it!

Now I sit at home, wondering how long this self-quarantine will last! Sunday is the beginning of the week for me. If last week was a challenge, I always have the next week to look forward to! Starting it off with church, and my church family gives me that boost I need to start the week off right! Church to me is not just one hour on Sunday, it’s every Tuesday night small group with 13 of the most solid Christian people I know. It’s choir practice every Wednesday, greeted with hugs from a few, and an hour of hard work to make worship a more meaningful experience for all, thank you, Dave.  Let me tell you a secret, lots of Sundays, I get more out of the song we sing than some of you listening! Sunday morning starts with a great lesson in Sunday school, thanks, Greg.  More often than not, I wonder if Greg and Joe spoke during the week so that the lesson seg ways right into the sermon!! That’s how God works!

The more I can do for our church, the better I feel. We missed getting to serve Living Free ministries this month. I wonder how those people we see from time to time are dealing with this uncertain time.  We don’t get to come together for Ben and Brittany to shower them for their upcoming wedding face to face. Easter will not be the same…how will your family celebrate Easter?  Sandy and I miss you all and can’t wait to get back to normal! We realize how precious our time is with our church family! We wait and we pray.

From Treasa Smith

When I woke up this morning, I had to think,” What day is this”?  You see, going to church and going to work are two constants in my life. Occasionally I wake up on Sunday morning and think…. Oh if I could just stay home today….. then I remember my daddy’s words many Sunday mornings, “You feel like going everywhere else so I know you are going to feel like going to church”…. and I did. Since I work In Tupelo, where there is an executive order for all non-essential businesses to be closed, I’m at home this week. Not being able to attend church these past two weeks and now being away from work has left me time for reflection. It has made me realize that the building we attend church is not what I truly miss. It is the people, my church FAMILY, being together as a family of believers. During this time I plan to spend more time praying for my church and my church family. These are different days for us all. I pray each will take the precautions to stay well. Being on a spiritual path does not prevent us from facing darkness, but it teaches us how to use the darkness as a tool to grow. Love in Christ, Treasa Smith

From Rosemary Fisher

Until this past week during the shutdown of all community gatherings, I had failed to realize just how much of my time was spent in activities of our church. I’ve missed Sunday school, church, Kim’s Bible studies, and the Lenten luncheons.  I’ve also realized how much I’ve missed the church members that I see so regularly. I’ve wondered how they are doing, what their situations are, and what kind of help they may be needing.

In the fifty years that I have attended FUMC, my involvement has certainly evolved. In the early years, I was primarily interested in those events and activities involving my sons – Sunday school, Bible school, children’s church, children’s and youth choirs, outings, and summer and mid-week activities. Later, when they were out of the home, I enjoyed my most rewarding church activities – that of church historian and Chapel chairman. I especially treasured the time spent preparing for our 50th anniversary in the present building and compiling the church’s history from 1953.

Not only has the church been an important focus of my personal spiritual life, but so many other community activities have been enjoyed on the church’s property – Scout troops, musicals, pancake breakfasts, potato bakes, blood drives, use of the playgrounds, and on and on. It is a great source of pride for me to be a part of a church that is so generous with the use of its building.

FUMC has been one of the centers of our family’s life through baptisms, graduations, deaths of loved ones, and many other of life’s rituals. Two things seem constant in my mind – the wonderful music which our church has always provided and which has been so important to Jimmy, and the cooking, cooking, cooking that Methodist women provide for so many occasions. Music and food – such a comforting partnership!!!

From Brian McCullen

Cathy and I moved our young family to Corinth in the fall of 1991. After visiting several churches in the community, we felt God calling us to be a part of FUMC Corinth. We quickly became involved with the Bea Hussey Pairs and Spares Sunday School class. Bea took it upon herself to let us know you were missed at Sunday school and Church in the event you were absent! To me, she was a Mother and Grandmother to all of us in the class and our children as well. We were family!

During my life I’ve heard the phrase, “You get out of something what you put into it.”  This goes right along with serving your church. Whether you serve as an usher, greeter, Admin Council member, choir member or whatever position, your reward should be knowing that you’ve served God and your Church to the best of your ability!

If you aren’t actively involved in some area of our Church’s ministries, I encourage you to think twice about becoming involved. The feelings and rewards of serving our Lord are worth the time and effort.

We are one big family here at FUMC. Yes, we have our ups and downs, but in the end, there’s no one else I would rather have on my side than God and members of FUMC Corinth!