History of Faith Fellowship United Methodist Church
In 2006, with 12 people left in the pews, we were faced with closing our church or changing our direction toward being an outward ministry thinking church. After much deliberation and discussion, our congregation unanimously voted not to close and to become a turnaround church.
In July of 2007, we became an 11th Hour Church with the Bishop Weaver assignment and leadership of Pastor David A. Arruda, as our turnaround/transformational pastor. “The Eleventh Hour Church” is a call from God, to step out of the boat and follow Jesus to take a closing church and transform it in the name of Jesus Christ. We have been able to become more than we could have ever realized to be, as an outreach/ ministry church. Today, we have over 33 outreach ministries in our church, the largest of which is “Clothes To Go”, our free clothing pantry. We have given out over 1,000,000 pounds of clothing (free) in the past five years to the needy, marginal, and homeless locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. We now have helped to open 5 “Clothes To Go” Ministries in Southern new England to include FFUMC in Mansfield, Ma. The River UMC, Woonsocket, R.I., Martha’s Vineyard, Memorial UMC, Taunton, Ma., and Church of the Master, Providence, R.I. Our Prayer Ministry reaches far beyond the church congregation including many interdenominational groups (from internet to word of mouth). The Greeting Card Ministry- cards/notes sent in behalf of FFUMC church family to congregation, family/friends, and those in the community. Pastor’s discretionary fund has been very active this year. Woman’s Breakfast Group (held monthly at local gathering places in the community) nurturing those from the church while inviting others from the community. “Opportunities for Opportunities”, our job ministry, has been trying to link those who are unemployed, with work. We have partnered with other churches to help with their ministries such as “Mobile Loaves and Fishes” canteen truck, “Our Daily Bread” food pantry, and “Food and Friends” feeding homeless. We also have an English as a Second Language (ESOL) ministry and Help with Citizenship Ministry. Orphans and Forster Care ministry has made the community aware and help feed orphans. The church also tithes to “Mobile Loaves and Fishes” Canteen Truck ministry and the “Our Daily Bread” food pantry. We also have a Pet Food ministry, Afghan/Prayer Shawl ministry, Eyeglass/Cell Phone/Hearing Aid ministry, “Stop Malaria Now”(formally “Nothing But Nets”), provide Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas dinners. Participate in the community’s Adopt-a Family program, UMCOR health, disaster, birthing, flood, and school kits. Housing ministry, Healthcare assistant ministry, Heating ministry, Dance ministry, Public Relations Outreach, and Yoga ministry. Our programs include: Sunday School (2 levels), Bible Studies (pastoral and lay lead) , Literacy and ESOL Program, Covenant Group, Crisis Counseling, Visitations, Mansfield High School Career Pathways program, Mansfield High School Life Skills Program, and Brain Injury Rehabilitation.
For the past 30 years, our congregation’s vision was to have a new handicap accessible church building with parking and other amenities needed for ministry and mission. This facility would replace our antiquated site. The many and varied proposed plans in this time period were deterred, dropped, blocked, or left behind for one reason or another.
We are now the closest to our dream, than we have ever been, in` achieving that goal and living the vision of a new mission/ outreach/ ministry/ community oriented building in which we can also hold worship services. This is due in most part to a unified and ministry goal oriented congregation led by a unique visionary creative pastor as Pastor David A. Arruda.