Everything we do at Paoli United Methodist Church—whether within or outside the confines of our church building—is rooted in our six-word mission statement: “Love God. Follow Christ. Serve Others.” These three directives are inseparable from one another. Loving God leads naturally to following Christ. And a major part of following Christ— abiding by his teachings and learning from his example—is to joyfully serve others, especially those who most need to experience God’s grace and compassion.
Our values and mission priorities reflect those of Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, whose ministry was rooted in the doctrine of personal salvation by faith and who preached that God’s grace was “free in all, and free for all.” Wesley had a special concern for the needy, was an ardent abolitionist, and gave his full support to women in ministry.
We at PUMC know that we are far from perfect as individuals or as a congregation. We have our share of disagreements on issues related to theology, public policy, and more. But we understand that loving God requires that we love another and that we allow this love to permeate our relationships and help us rise above our differences.
Our Pastor & Ministry Staff
Rev. Alice Massimilla Cook, better known at PUMC as “Pastor Alice,” has served as Senior Pastor at Paoli United Methodist Church since 2014. She began in pastoral ministry in 1984, and, since then, has led U.M. congregations in Eastern Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Pastor Alice graduated from Eastern University with a BS in Psychology degree and an Anthropology minor. She earned her M.Div. degree at Vanderbilt University. She’s also studied Clinical Pastoral Education at Delaware State Hospital.
Growing up, Alice was one of five sisters, one of whom had Down Syndrome, which gave Alice a heightened sensitivity toward those with special needs. She and her husband, C.B., are parents of three grown daughters and grandparents of three.
Says Alice: “I am appointed not to just a congregation but to the neighborhood. One of the most exciting aspects of ministry for me is meeting the people in the church, discovering their gifts, and sending them forth into ministry, whether it be in the local church or beyond. We are all ministers! The church exists to proclaim the risen Lord and make disciples.”
Nathan Kendrick has since 2019 blessed our church as Organist and Choir Director, in addition to being a frequent soloist. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Susquehanna University. He’s appeared with The Brandywine Singers and has performed in community theater. Beyond his skills as a musical artist, Nathan thoughtfully selects music that complements the sermon and worship theme.
“We attend PUMC because worshiping God is a beautiful thing to do. The church is part of our family, and to be a part of it is special. It’s so much more than showing up on Sunday mornings for an hour. The opportunity to serve others is the best part of our week.”
Member since 1994
“I came to this church with a strong faith that continued to grow through the discipleship of so many in the leadership and congregation. Paoli UMC nurtured my children as they found their faith through mission and fellowship. During my time at Paoli UMC, I answered my own calling into ministry. I was met with encouragement, love, and grace from Pastor Alice, the women in my Bible study, and my entire church family when I shared about my calling and the discernment process to understand my journey. I don’t believe I would be on the path I’m on now—in seminary and directing one of the denomination’s Eastern PA Camp and Retreat Centers—without the love and support of this wonderful church.”
Member since 2016
“I joined PUMC because I wanted a Church with strong Christian values for my future children. I found so much more. I discovered wonderful Bible studies that helped me grow stronger in the faith; a church family who embraced me as well as my family; and lifelong friends who are there to help, support and offer wise advice. Here at PUMC, I learned that I have spiritual gifts that enable me to teach, assist, and do meaningful mission work. This church has shaped my faith walk in ways I’d never dreamed of, and I look forward to future God-filled journeys and adventures here.”
Member since 1987
“I like this church because it doesn’t have a Crying Room. So when I get fussy, they don’t give me the boot, and I can critique the sermon.”
Baptized at PUMC in 2021