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Pastor's Report to Charge Conference

Read this featured blog post by Pastor Jason Ríos

Report to the Tuckerton United Methodist Church Charge Conference, November 20, 2022

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. 

A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

- Wayne Gretzky

I love this quote because it reminds me always to be aware of where we are and anticipate the next steps we must take to be fruitful. We live in a rapidly changing world, and with that change, new challenges arise for the church. We have a world where people jumble priorities, are looking to raise kids successfully, and have all kinds of commitments and events that take time from family life. They are looking for meaning, purpose, and help in finding and keeping God and loving one another as part of their life. They want to “Be the difference” and “Make a difference” in this world, our community, and our relationships with one another, especially those in need. We face people in our congregation and our community who are revisiting their life priorities and looking to see where the church fits in their lives. We have to be open to listening to their needs and help them connect and “Go be the Church” with us. This means that relationship happens in multiple spaces and can happen in person and online. 

With that in mind, we have worked hard to focus on building community and doing outreach. We have created spaces where the church can connect and engage with families. We had a wonderful Easter Festival, great Summer and Fall events, and future activities planned for the new year. These activities have been an engagement point for us to share our faith and build community. We connected with families, we heard their needs, and our Missions Committee is working hard to continually develop spaces and ministries that can build a strong connection between church and community. 

Serving as the Senior Pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Tuckerton is a privilege. I am grateful for the extraordinary giftedness of our community of faith. Our church has a strong, proud, and long history. Christ is among his people. Here are a few places where I saw Christ Jesus at work during this year in ministry:


The average attendance back for in-person worship in the sanctuary continues an uptrend. We have an average of 65 people worshiping in person every Sunday. This is still 50% less than pre-pandemic numbers.  We aim to break the 100 average attendance in two years. 

We added new media resources, and our engagement through social media has grown, connecting more people to our church. Online Worship viewing continues to be steady after a decline in numbers. However, as more people come back to in-person worship, finding new ways to engage with new people online is challenging. Still, online worship has been a blessing as we connect TUMC to people in the US and the world. Our online worship services and sermon podcasts have been seen and heard in:


Ohio, Missouri, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Delaware, Alabama, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Boston, Puerto Rico


Peru, Kenya, Australia, Argentina, Germany, The UK, Dominican Republic, Finland, Scotland


What a blessing to share the good news of the Gospel with friends, family, and neighbors!

Our Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany celebrations were in person and online. We connected with over 550 people during the Christmas season, including our live nativity celebration. In addition, our Online Christmas Eve Services are the most viewed services on our Vimeo Channel and the second most viewed videos on our Youtube Channel. Our most viewed video on YouTube is Element Youth doing a powerful skit.

We had a great Holy Week and Easter celebration. We celebrated the Easter Eve Jazz Vigil in person. Easter was a grand celebration with the 1st Easter Festival with over 450 people. Easter Sunday was beautiful, with a full house since 2019. 

As Pastor, I have guided the Worship Committee through Worship design and planning. In addition, I served in Worship Services by leading, preaching, and officiating Holy Communion in the morning service and Casa de Esperanza. I officiated a wedding this year and multiple funeral services and graveside services.

New Disciples

We have seen new faces in our in-person worship services, and family members have joined our family of faith. 

We have 30 people participating in service each Sunday, from greeters, readers, acolytes, our Senior Choir, Praise Team, and organist.

I officiated baptisms this year, a return since 2019. 

I guided people through Pastoral Counseling via phone calls, Zoom calls, and in-person meetings in the office. 

Small Groups

Joy Group continues to bless women via in-person meetings and hosting activities like the Pancake Supper Dinner and the Tim Atwood Gospel Concert.  

We have seen Yoga and chair yoga groups continue to grow and expand.

I have led in-person Bible Studies: I Corinthians; Half-Truths. Two more Bible Studies are scheduled for fall and Advent. They will be both in-person, and I will restart vespers via Facebook live to discuss the topic shared in the Bible Studies. 

Casa de Esperanza continues to meet each Sunday for their Worship Service and other activities. The average attendance continues to an uptrend, with an average of 12 people. Their Easter Service had an attendance of 25 people, and outdoor activities continue to be very popular with an attendance of 25-30 people. I still see much potential for this ministry to grow and impact the Hispanic community in our neighborhood. 

Mission Engagement in the community

We have people who volunteered with the Tuckerton Food Pantry.

Shine and Serve Kids did their VBS with 65 children participating and 25 volunteers.

We have celebrated Craft and Vendor Fairs. 

We continue participating in the Tuckerton Decoy Show with our traditional Bake Sale.

We did the First Easter Festival, Outdoor Summer Movie Nights, Candy Bar Bingos, and participated in National Night Out. 

Our Live Nativity continues its tradition of bringing joy to the community.

 With SPRC, we ensured that our Safe Sanctuaries Policies were followed and up to date.

I officiated Funeral Services for community members. 


Pushpay and our app have been a blessing during this season. 

Faithful giving has blessed our church, UMCOR, Miracles Everywhere, and families in our community. We also helped families in need through the communion fund and special offerings. 

We achieved 100% giving in billables and 79% of our fair shared apportionments for 2021. This year we are on track to pay 100% of our billables but our fair shared apportionment giving is still down compared to past years. 

In addition: 

I participated in zoom meetings and in-person meetings. I responded to e-mails and did administrative work. 

I participated in the Online Leadership Institute of the Church of the Resurrection in 2021.

I supervised our staff and met with them during the year.

Things to look forward to:

We will ask congregants to share their stories and voice their ideas on how our church can be fruitful and relevant to new generations. 

We will have new creative ways to worship and incorporate arts in our worship services.

We plan to have more participation in worship services.

We will provide an integrated process that moves guests into the church’s life (Discipleship Pathway).

We will provide small groups intended to care for those in need.

We will continue to grow in worship attendance.

We will continue to see ways we can give back to the community and create new ministries that will impact people’s lives.

We want to increase our giving and accomplish our goals. 

Our main goals are to enhance our missions and community outreach. Our congregation has a strong love and compassion for each other, visitors, and our community. Our resilience was tested during the pandemic, as it was for everyone, but we managed through it and are coming back stronger. We want to develop leaders so current leaders can have the ability to serve in other ways in the Church. We want to encourage congregants to serve and step up in leadership and grow in our journey as fruitful and vital congregation. It will be critical that we continue to explore and understand how our church can be more diverse and relevant to new generations. In doing so, we will be effective in community ministry and hands-on missions. 

In this season, I celebrate:

  1. Our church continues to do ministry and seeks ways to engage with the community.
  2. That we continue to work hard to be financially stable.
  3. Tuckerton UMC has faithful members. 

Challenges we face:

  1. Relevancy to new generations
  2. Financial challenges
  3. Leadership Development
  4. Growth challenges

This season, I give thanks for all God is doing in and through the life of the Church. I am deeply grateful to our leadership as we have worked together to keep our ministry fruitful. The work has been extra challenging in these unprecedented times. You have understood the complexities of our time. You have been remarkable with your resilience in all the peaks and valleys of the last year! You have stepped up! Also, I am thankful to my wife and son, who have been supportive through this challenging time. 

I give thanks to our Lord for his blessings. I trust God will continue to guide us. All in all, my perceptions are God has been faithful, and our congregation continues to be loyal in such times. Through it all, we will have much to give thanks for when 2022 concludes. As of this writing, we still have most of a quarter of the year to go, but there will be every reason to sing the doxology at the end of this year as we praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Thank you for your commitment and dedication to God and Tuckerton United Methodist Church.

With a grateful heart!

Rev. Jason Rios