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Buchtel UMC Engages Community in Uncertain Times

Effectively reaching new people for Christ is the hallmark of West Ohio’s Light of the World award, given to one church from each district that demonstrates a commitment to shine the light of God’s love into their community. This year’s winner from the Foothills District is Buchtel United Methodist Church.

Buchtel United Methodist Church is located in the heart of southeastern Ohio, in Athens County, and in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The Village of Buchtel, once known for its coal mines and furnaces, has a population of 566. The church averaged 84 in attendance last year, offering a blended worship style with contemporary Christian music and classic church hymns in a relaxed atmosphere.

“More than anything, we believe in being a welcoming congregation, and offering hospitality wherever we can,” says Pastor David Shoemaker. “We have had people come to us from other denominations seeking something different and found a home at BUMC. We have had folks who were searching for a church home and came to us and stayed. We love our children and our families.”

Although ministries like small group studies and a Wednesday night prayer group certainly contributed, it was The United Methodist Church’s uncertain future that gave rise to the 18 baptisms and professions of faith Buchtel saw in 2019.

“As 2018 and 2019 developed, there was great speculation as to the future of the church,” Pastor David recalls. “Our congregation had enough interest in these issues that people wanted a voice, if and when needed, to determine their future. They chose membership as a path to express that voice. Baptisms and professions of faith sprung forth from the decision to join the church.”

We are grateful for the work Buchtel UMC continues to do in reaching their community for Christ. Congratulations, Buchtel UMC, for receiving this year’s Light of the World award for the Foothills District!