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Florida United Methodist Foundation




“We are going to use these resources to make a difference and to live the Gospel. We’re going to work hard to reflect faithfulness.” — Rev. Chris Schmidt, Parrish United Methodist Church

When COVID-19 hit, God’s kingdom was alive and well in Parrish — formerly a tiny suburb of Bradenton, but now a rapidly growing community. Pre-pandemic, Parrish United Methodist Church was feeding 40 families every two weeks.

That outreach quickly became a drive-through food pantry serving 500 vehicles every Saturday. It’s part of a broad vision to connect people to Christ, one that took root “in 1894 with circuit riders in the orange groves,” said Bill Hancock, church treasurer. “There is a need here, and we’re just the current transients who are staying with the vision.”

That includes building a 22,000 square-foot worship center on 13 acres of property next to the church. With the church full of local community groups every night before the pandemic and three worship services each week, expansion became a vision of necessity.

A $4.6 million loan from the Florida United Methodist Foundation’s Development Fund is making it possible. It’s a partnership that’s helping the church and community grow together.

“We want this community to see us as a partner with them,” the Rev. Chris Schmidt said. “To see a church that cares and seeks to make a difference, to be a blessing within the community.” Information about foundation loans is available at  — By Derek Maul



Loan interest rate

$2.45 million
Estimated interest churches and agencies saved with foundation loans versus commercial loans (with a market average of 5 percent interest)

Loans to United Methodist churches and agencies 

$120.7 million
Value of total loans

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