Historically, the town of Moyock, N.C., was a slow-moving, agricultural community where flat fields of corn, wheat, soybeans and cotton stretched beside the highway. In northwest Currituck County, some 8,000 people live in its zip code.
Moyock United Methodist Church, founded in the early 1800s, stands on a parcel of land only a mile from the Virginia border. At one point, the church was barely holding its own with some 44 families and an average Sunday attendance of about 65.
Serving the Community Directly
When the Rev. Victor Culberson was assigned to Moyock — his first church appointment — in 1999, he suggested that the church consider how it might serve the community more directly, to turn outward in its mission.
Through a demographic study and survey, the congregation determined that Moyock's population had grown by 35 percent in the 1990s and another 10 percent growth was expected. With more young families moving in, the demand for child care services was urgent.
"People told us they wanted a place where they could get good, local care for their kids — preschool, after school, and before school," explained one church member. "And they wanted more summer day care options." Some parents who worked in the Moyock area were actually driving their children 45 minutes to Norfolk, Va., for child care.
New Community Outreach Grows Congregation
Using a $100,000 grant for start-up costs from The Duke Endowment, Moyock United Methodist launched a before- and after-school program, a Christian preschool, and child development center.
Overnight, the church doubled the capacity for child care services in the town — and church attendance tripled. Through community outreach, Moyock United Methodist was reinvigorated.
Robert R. Webb III
Director of Rural Church