New Creation is making a difference in the Durham community

Rev. Mary Fulkerson and Pastor Albert Shuler celebrate Women’s Day at New Creations United Methodist Church with the choir, courtesy of New Creations (Staff Photo by Collin Ellis)


New Creation United Methodist Church has shone a positive light on its members and the entire Durham community ever since the church held its first meeting at the church’s Durham location on the corner of Angier Avenue more than five years ago.

But today, Pastor Albert Shuler and Lay Leader Fran Lynch worship at a new location.

Pastor Albert Shuler and Lay Leader Fran Lynch discuss the history and future of New Creations United Methodist Church (Staff Photo by Collin Ellis)

City ordinances forced the church to lose their parking lot and the older members were having increased difficulty walking up the large staircase to the church, so “it became necessary for us to look for a new home,” Lynch said.

New Creation now holds service at 806 Clarendon St. But despite the change in location, New Creation United Methodist Church continues to shine a positive light on the Durham community with its charitable works.

Every Friday morning, members of the church prepare meals for the homeless and Lynch recently took a group of volunteers on a mission to a women’s correctional facility in Raleigh. Lynch says the work they do is all about showing people “love and affection. And hopefully God’s grace.”

“It is very hard for people to look beyond, ‘I’m starving, I’m homeless. I don’t know where I’m going to lay my head. I don’t know where my next meal is coming from.’ If you can’t help them think beyond that moment, they’re never going to [make it to church],” Lynch said.

“To me, faith is of no value if action does not accompany it. We could all be in the pew on Sunday. Big deal. It’s what you do with what you hear on Sunday for the rest of the week.”

New Creation is coming out of what Pastor Shuler calls the Wesleyan movement, started by Tom Wesley. He believes that Methodists should always be involved in missions and that wherever there’s a need, that a Methodist church should be there.

“One of [Wesley’s] best phrases were that, ‘If you’re heart beats with my heart, give me your hand.’ Because it’s not about what you are or where you came from, it’s all about the fact that you are a child of God. And we may think differently but the bottom line is that we’re all God’s children,” Shuler said.

Shuler says that helping the community and doing charity work is a part of the “several histories” of the church.

New Creation was created when the two churches Asbury Temple and Reconciliation Church merged together. The Reconciliation was started back in 1998. And the former Asbury Temple was started in the early 1950s. Those two congregations came together in 2011 to form New Creation.

Lynch says that the merger was a “wonderful coming together of people who really took Christ’s mission seriously”. She also said that the churches’ diverse background and congregation are what drew her in from the beginning.

“Our doors needed to be opened to all, regardless of ethnic background, racial disposition, and gender identity. We wanted all people, all children of God to be welcome in our congregation,” Lynch says.

New Creation has always had a policy of non-discrimination and “being open to all persons and in particular the LGBT community.” Shuler and Lynch said that having LGBT members is “not an issue for our congregation.”

“I remember when I first got to New Creation, we shared our joys and concerns. One of the gentleman stood up in the choir that Sunday and said that he and his partner had gotten married over the weekend. And I wasn’t quite sure how the congregation [would react],” Shuler recalled with a smile and a laugh. “But there was this big round of applause, you know. And they greeted and congratulated them after.”

Shuler says that love “speaks volumes. It’s the kind of church we are.”

“To me, [New Creation offers] a chance and an opportunity to reflect God’s grace and his love into places that might not see the light of day and may not see the grace and the mercy and the blessings that I have had,” Lynch says.

“We humans are all born and learn through our life different viewpoints and different perspectives and pick up opinions. And its only through God’s grace and spending time with him that you learn to set those aside and give someone a chance to be who they are.”

As for the future of the church, Lynch and Shuler believe that the possibilities are limitless. They want the church to continue to inspire love in the community.

“I see the church as a vehicle that encourages and helps me spend time with God that helps me in going out and trying to have a positive impact on the community,” Lynch said. “I have grandchildren that motivate me highly. Because I want the world to be a better place for them than it is right now.”