St. Stephen UMC Donates $20,000 to Loaves & Fishes


In the Bible, when Jesus’s disciples were faced with feeding 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish, you could forgive them if they were discouraged. Similarly, when the coronavirus lock down prevented members of St. Stephen from volunteering or even donating food, members of the South Charlotte church were left feeling like they couldn’t help. Members of the community were hurting, and the church, founded on mission work and dedicated to be the Hands, Feet and Heart of Jesus Christ in the world, had to stay home.

Meanwhile, Tina Postel, Executive Director of Loaves and Fishes, Charlotte’s food pantry, and her team had to re-imagine how to feed people. Brick and mortar store-style pantries were potentially dangerous to the hungry and to volunteers, and were shuttered. In response, Loaves and Fishes went mobile. At 20 different locations in Mecklenburg County, the food pantry staff set up drive-thru style, contact-less distribution sites with refrigerated trucks, small teams of socially-distanced volunteers and pre-packaged family-sized grocery boxes for community members who came through the line. It was a big undertaking that took some investment and change.

St. Stephen members, mostly sidelined at home, focused their mission to help in the most effective way possible in the pandemic, with a $20,000 donation to help Loaves and Fishes keep their efforts going. The check, a 10-percent tithe from a project to refresh the Sardis Road church launched in January, was presented to Postel at one of the mobile distribution sites on Tuesday.

“We know you can leverage this money to buy more food than we ever could at the grocery store,” Senior Pastor Ken Curtis said. “This is the way we can help our neighbors right now.”

Since December, St. Stephen has donated more than $40,000 to area non-profit organizations. In January, St. Stephen helped fund a Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity House with a similar $20,000 donation. The family that was chosen for that house recently took possession of the finished property.

“Our mission, even in a pandemic, is to take care of our neighbors. To feed the hungry, to give shelter to those that need it,” Curtis said. “We’re doing that with our hands and feet when we can, safely. When we can’t we show our love and support in financial ways. St. Stephen members are generous people. We have to be. It’s our calling here on earth.”

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
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