The First United Methodist Church in Fulton has achieved something most churches haven’t even thought of — updating their ministry services with the ever-changing technology of the 21st century.

The First United Methodist Church in Fulton has achieved something most churches haven’t even thought of — updating their ministry services with the ever-changing technology of the 21st century. For the first time in the church’s history, Christmas Eve services will be webcasted at 5 and 7 p.m. to American troops stationed in Iraq.


The church began taping and archiving its services last November. According to Reverend Mark Kimpland, the pastor of the church, “it was a collective decision” to begin webcasting church services. Kimpland credits Joe Abbate, the church’s Webmaster, for spearheading the production.


According to Abbate, every Sunday service is taped on site, edited and then later uploaded to the Internet. Six years prior, the church launched its Web site, www.fultonfumc.org, where all of the services are archived and can be viewed at any time.


“One of our main focuses in the past year has been our Web site ministry,” Kimpland said. “By taking advantage of modern technology, we have been able to spread our message worldwide.”


One church member, Sgt. David Becker, has been stationed in Iraq with the 479th Engineering Battalion since September. According to Kimpland, it was Becker’s idea to webcast the Christmas services. “It kind of grew out of his need,” the pastor said.


Becker’s wife, Karen, works at the church’s nursery school. According to Karen, the couple have four children and have been attending First United Methodist for nine years. “That’s the one thing he does miss,” Karen said. “We used to go every week together.”


Karen said that Becker was watching one of the church services online and some of the other men stationed there became interested. “They watch when they can, the Internet is hard to get over there,” she said. Becker has set up a viewing facility for him and other servicemen to watch the Web services. “It’s like being at home,” Karen said.


In addition to Becker and his colleagues accessing the church services online, Kimpland said many former members also view the webcasts from the church’s Web site from places such as North Carolina and Florida. “It also has been an expansion of our ministry,” Kimpland said. “And we’ve been contacted by several people, both in the United States and abroad, who also enjoy our Sunday service.”


For more information or to view webcasts of church services, visit the First United Methodist Church’s Web site at www.fultonfumc.org or call 592-7347.