NC’s oldest United Methodist church celebrates 250 years of giving

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) – The oldest United Methodist church in North Carolina donated $25,000 to a program that helps children.

Centenary United Methodist church partnered with Methodist Home for Children for almost a century.

Christian Perez-Gomez is a teenager currently living at the Methodist Home for Children in New Bern.

His room is no bigger than a dorm room, but to him it’s heaven compared to where he was before this program.

“I got put in Juvenile Justice and going through the courses, I got recommended over here. So, I’m here now doing what I got to do to be successful,” said Perez-Gomez.

Centenary United Methodist church grew up on the other side of the bridge from the home and witnessed lives change for the better.

“We were especially touched by their efforts to aid young people as they move toward the next step,” said the church’s senior pastor, Tom Greener.

As family and friends gathered at church today, they knew their donations were going to a great cause.

“What we’re doing is trying to supply them the incentives to help get them that little piece of paper and also that job qualification,” said congregation member Si Seymour.

A director for the Methodist Home is glad to see people in the community care about her program.

“It’s even better that it’s coming from someone in our community since the group home actually is here and serving kids from this area,” said Ellen Scarborough.

Perez-Gomez is one of eight teenagers staying with the home, working hard to provide for themselves.

“This program has really helped me with getting a job. They helped me get back into school and helping me complete school,” said Perez-Gomez.

The money for the church’s donation will be used to set the kids up in a more permanent living situation and buy them clothes. Most importantly, it’ll help pay for their education.

“The money will go to the kids themselves. And one it’s going to be for the courses,” said Scarborough. “This money will allow us to help them set them up into an apartment whether it’s with furniture and stuff like that.”

Greener compared helping these organizations to when the church first started over 200 years ago.

“England believed in this area enough to send Joseph Pillmore,” Greener said. “As they sent that missionary to us, we now send missionaries around the world.”

Centenary United Methodist church is set to gift three more $25,000 donations this year.

Those donations will be sponsoring a home through Habitat for Humanity in Craven County, partnering with a new faith community in Mebane, North Carolina, and partnering with a new church in Costa Rica.

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