Missions & Outreach

Missions and outreach at St. John’s UMC looks different during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please email office@stjohnsbr.org for specific questions.

Local Missions

St. John’s members are involved in local missions including the Shepherd’s Market Food Pantry and Opening Doors.United Methodist Youth Fellowship group serves its community and beyond through mission projects such as Habitat for Humanity, the Baton Rouge Food Bank and Hope Ministries. We have also led clean up projects at Camp Istrouma, the LSU Wesley Foundation and in our church neighborhood. These projects are scheduled throughout the year.

International Missions

St. John’s supports missionary Guillermo “Willie” Berman through the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Willie is serving in his home country of Mexico as the Mexican Methodist Border Mission Coordinator based in Reynosa. Serving in a similar ministry since 2001, Willie has worked with Volunteers in Mission teams from annual conferences in Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ohio, Tennessee and Iowa.

The Shepherd’s Market

The Shepherd’s Market is a client-choice food pantry serving the hungry and needy in our South Baton Rouge neighborhood. During COVID-19, the pantry, which operates in the St. John’s Family Life Center, is Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. using a drive-by method. The Shepherd’s Market can only serve 35 families per day.

Visit The Shepherd’s Market website at www.shepherdsmarket.org to learn more and find other ways you can get involved.

St. John’s UMC Grocery Bag Sunday is Every First Sunday: Donations Benefit The Shepherd’s Market

Please help us stock these high-demand items every month on Grocery Bag Sunday. Even during COVID-19, you can deliver your groceries during the drive-by offering on the first Sunday of each month from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.

Nonperishable Foods

Cereal – Dry Beans – Canned Fruit – Pasta Sauce – Soup – Rice – Peanut Butter – Jelly – Flour – Sugar – Salt – Canned Milk – Oatmeal – Crackers – Canned Beans – Canned Meat – Grits – Poptarts – Pasta – Juice – Muffin Mixes – Ketchup – Mayo – Mustard – Mac & Cheese

Common Household Items

Laundry Detergent – Toilet Paper – Paper Towels – Soap – Shampoo – Cleaning Supplies – Toothpaste & Toothbrushes

Like the Shepherd’s Market Facebook page
“Feed my sheep” ( John 21:17)
An Opening Doors Ministry at St. John’s United Methodist Church
For more information call 225-337-1306 or 225-766-4594, email shepherdsmarket@gmail.com or visit www.shepherdsmarket.org.

Opening Doors

Opening Doors, non-profit organization formed by members of St. John’s, is a ministry providing programs and services to families in the Gardere community and surrounding areas. Church members and/or interested parties are invited to join in this ministry.

Its mission statement is “to provide a way for individuals and families in the Gardere Community to improve their quality of life through a partnership of Opening Doors with members of the community to develop educational, vocational, health and referral services that will meet identified needs of community.”

Current Programs:

  • The Shepherd’s Market – A client-choice food pantry
  • Public School Activities – Programs focusing on providing school supplies and uniforms to needy students
  • Free Book Program for Children and Adults
  • VITA – A program that offers free income tax preparation
  • Christmas Holiday Superstore – A Christmas gift program whereby parents of children attending the Charlie Thomas Head Start Center earn points through parental involvement. These points are then used to purchase gifts for their children. (A summer book program is also offered to these children.)
  • Summer Day Camps for Children and Youth of the Gardere area
  • Family Circle – a program to help 4-year-old children at Charlie Thomas Head Start Center who have been identified as needing extra help to be prepared to enter public school. If interested, please contact Don Fuller at 225-766-1951 for more information.

In 2015 Opening Doors added several new programs including a math club, a project with teachers at Wildwood Elementary and a lawnmower repair program. 

  • The math club is for children living in the Gardere community and  is conducted by an LSU math professor. Initially the club was for girls only but is expanding to include boys. 
  • A professional member of Opening Doors is meeting on a regular basis with four teachers and the school counselor at Wildwood to develop a program to reduce disruptions in the classroom. Wildwood had to remove 166 children from the classrooms during the August, 2014 to May 2015 school year. The program is based on an approach developed by Dr. Ross W. Greene an described in his book, “Lost at School.” The principal will decide at the end of the current school year if the program will be implemented for all teachers. 
  • The lawnmower repair program is in the initial stage of development, and its purpose is to teach youth how to repair mowers so they can earn money mowing lawns. 

Reading Friends at Wildwood Elementary

DID YOU KNOW the training sessions for the parish-wide Reading Friends program are held all year long here at St. John’s?

This is a rewarding opportunity to work with one child for the school year at Wildwood Elementary School. After an initial training (less than two hours), you’ll read to your student up to 45 minutes per week. Times are very flexible. 

If you would like to be a Reading Friend at Wildwood Elementary School go to the Everybody Reads website and register to attend a training session.. If you cannot attend one of the scheduled training sessions, contact Tara Schoonover by email or phone 226-4703. This essential program for elementary students who are not reading on grade level will take only a short amount of time, one day a week. Sign up today!!

More info about our Wildwood efforts from Buffie Grayson at francesgrayson@cox.net, H 292-3788, C 978-2621.

Manna Bags

Manna Bags are gallon-size zipper bags filled with things useful to a homeless person on the street. You keep them in your car or truck and give them to a person in need. In the past our Youth have made Manna Bags, but it’s something you can do on your own too. Ideas of things to include in Manna Bags:

  • Gallon freezer zipper bags
  • Toothbrushes
  • Small tubes of toothpaste
  • Small bottles of water
  • Socks
  • Trail mix/nuts
  • Raisins
  • Band-Aids
  • Face cloths
  • Napkins/plastic silverware
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit cups
  • Small, individual boxes of cereal
  • Individually wrapped hand wipes
  • Small hand sanitizers


St. John’s UMC proudly sponsors Boy Scout Troop 505. Meetings normally take place each Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Family Life Center.