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Northwestern UMC remodels to welcome others to Christ

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communications, Dakotas UMC


The sanctuary in Northwestern UMC in Mellette, SD, after updates in 2019. Photos courtesy of Northwestern UMC in Mellette.

“The Builders Club helped us create a welcoming place for people to come,” says Ken Peterson, a member of Northwestern UMC in Mellette, South Dakota. “I didn’t know what the Builders Club was until we got going on a remodeling project, and the district superintendent told us about it.”
Northwestern UMC is growing. Attendance reached a low of 25 people in worship each week. Now 55 people are in worship on Sundays. Ken Peterson, a long-time member of Northwestern UMC, attributes the growth to the congregation’s passion for Christ and a new part-time pastor.
“We have new life for ministry. We have refreshed the church, and there is new energy,” said Ken Peterson, who is 76 and excited about the young families that are part of the congregation. “Doug Duncan, our new pastor is great. He works in two jobs, half-time as our pastor, and half-time as a teacher at Northwestern Area School in Mellette.”
Mellette UMC and North Hill UMC came together, 25 years ago, to become Northwestern UMC. The congregation worshipped in the newer building at Mellette, South Dakota. Twenty-five years later, the building started looking a little run down. There was a need to upgrade the air conditioning, give everything a fresh coat of paint, do some landscaping, put in projection, and replace the flooring.


New flooring adds a welcoming touch to the entryway at Northwestern UMC in Mellette.

Everyone pitched in to help with the remodeling efforts. Congregants donated funds and helping hands to complete the painting, landscaping, and upgrade the air conditioning.
“After 25 years, things start looking old, and there are a lot of needs,” says Peterson. “Everyone pitched in as much as they could. We needed a lot of money over a short period of time. We felt that we couldn’t afford new flooring.”
Rev. Randy Cross, who serves as the superintendent for the Northeast District of the Dakotas Conference, suggested that the congregation apply to the Builders Club, managed by the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation, for some funding. The goal of Builders Club is to assist churches in need of financial support for their building, remodel, or expansion projects. 
“I pitched the idea to our church members a few times. We applied for funding for the flooring and got it. The funding allowed us to get new, quality flooring throughout the entire building,” says Peterson.
Last fall, Northwestern UMC held a tour of homes to raise funds for remodeling. People contributed a fee to tour private homes, then stopped at the church for refreshments and viewed drawings or photos of the remodeling project.
Another tour of homes will take place this year. Those attending will see several private homes and also tour the church, completed remodeled.
“It is so inviting and welcoming,” says Ken. “The nice thing is that it is all paid for. We can welcome everyone, and we don’t have to ask for money.”

Now Northwestern UMC and members of the congregation look forward to giving back to Builders Club. The congregation is hoping to contribute to the Builders Club regularly and make it part of their annual budget. Peterson and individual members of Northwestern UMC plan to become members of Builders Club.


The fellowship hall at Northwestern UMC in Mellette has been given new life with the recent upgrades.

“Builders Club is a great idea. A small donation of $20, from several United Methodists across the Dakotas, easily becomes $10,000,” says Peterson. “Builders Club made it possible for us to re-energize our tired church building. It is now our turn to contribute back.”
Builders Club supports the building projects of four churches each year through the donations of hundreds of people across the Dakotas Conference.

Join the Builders Club here.
Learn more about past recipients here.


Dakotas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church 605.996.6552 AC2020 slider 2.jpg 1331 University Ave. Mitchell SD 57301-0460 US 43.69689310 -98.03291320 122 W. Franklin Avenue Ste 400 Minneapolis MN 55404 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 W University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000