Suqualena UMC rates No. 1 in troop support


Folks at Suqualena United Methodist Church near Meridian might not be going around with their index fingers in the air chanting “We’re No. 1!”

But they could be.


It has nothing to do with college football’s Bowl Championship Series or the NFL playoffs. For the third straight year, Suqualena is the No. 1 church in the nation for participation in the Fan Mail for the Troops campaign. The award covers the Christmas 2005/Valentine’s Day 2006 campaign.


The Fan Mail for Troops campaign asks churches, civic groups and others to send letters of support to U.S. military personnel stationed all over the world.

Suqualena UMC has participated since 1996 and during that time has sent 58,139 cards. The first year, church members sent 709 cards.


It took just two years for Suqualena to become the No. 1 church in the state for all denominations. The project caught on, and the church has consistently ranked in the top 10 nationally. In 2001, it was third; in 2002 it was second, and in 2004 and 2005 it captured the top spot.


While sending out thousands of holiday greeting cards, the church has also gotten hundreds of letters in response thanking the members for their participation and encouraging them to continue.


The project is funded by a “penny march” conducted by the youngest members of the youth group and from individual donations.