GULFPORT -- First United Methodist Church is offering a Lenten Luncheon series throughout the Lenten season to benefit needy people.
Every Wednesday from now until March 16, visitors can hear special guest speakers and enjoy lunch provided by Newk's of Gulfport and D'Iberville.
No registration is required to attend the program developed by E.A. Allen, the church's director for Lenten Luncheons.
When visitors show up at FUMCG, they are treated to sandwiches, soups and drinks while hearing inspiring messages from guest speakers on the topic of "Who or what has had the most influence in your spiritual life?"
Every luncheon begins at noon and ends around 1 p.m. There is no cost but donations of cash and nonperishable food items will be accepted to help the needy in the community.
The Lenten Luncheons began Feb. 17 with guest speaker Dorothy Roberts McEwen, retired director of South Mississippi Regional Center and owner of Robin's Nest in Pass Christian.
Joel Smith is the speaker for Wednesday and Neil White on March 2. Other speakers include Harry Bell, a World War II veteran and retired professional engineer from Mississippi Power, and Dr. Robert Khayat, chancellor emeritus president of NCAA Foundation.
First United Methodist can trace the Methodism in Mississippi back to 1799 and the church's beginnings to 1896 when a boxcar Sunday school was organized through the efforts of Samuel Tomlinson.
The church today has grown and expanded to serve the second largest city in the state with regular services as well as many outreach programs and opportunities for fellowship.
Holy Week services will be at noon March 21 to 24. A Good Friday service will begin at 7 p.m. and Easter services will be at the regular service times on Sunday, March 27.
Pastor Claire Dobbs has been at the church since June 2014.