Church Leaders Provide Services in the Community

Published 3:07 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Debbie, Brian, Mercy and Samuel Fulthorp

Debbie, Brian, Mercy and Samuel Fulthorp

Tyrrell County is full of churches

Its church leaders also play an important role in the community.

Brian and Debbie Fulthorp came to Columbia because of an opportunity for Debbie to be an Associate Pastor with the Assembly of Praise in Columbia.

They came to Columbia in the last week of July. They have lived here for almost four months

“The role includes some pastoral and preaching opportunities, but my main responsibility is Director of the Mother’s Helper program. We were in the midst of transition when we lived in Phoenix, AZ, praying about our next steps when we heard about the ministry opening at Assembly of Praise. After prayer and asking a lot of questions, we’re very glad we are here to serve the church, the daycare and the community,” Debbie explained.

Brian and I met at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in 2003. Before then, I travelled with One Hope for three years leading teams which ministered to children and youth within schools in 23 countries.
Debbie was ordained in 2002 with the Assemblies of God and Brian was licensed in 2009.
“We co-pastored in the Grand Canyon National Park for three and a half years, and ministered as interim pastors in a church on the Gila River Indian Reservation. During that time I was a missionary associate with Intercultural Ministries of the Assemblies of God and served Chief John E. Maracle, President of the Native American Fellowship of the Assemblies of God. I also co-founded an association for women in ministry with a mentor of mine, Pastor V. Cheri Sampson. She was the first Native American woman to serve as a sectional presbyter in the Arizona district of the Assemblies of God,” Debbie said.

Brian worked in the Metro-Phoenix schools as a substitute teacher and also did a part time chaplain internship at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, AZ. Brian also has past experience working with at-risk youth and youth with disabilities.
“In the past, both of us have served in various capacities such as children’s ministry, youth ministry, as well as college ministries,” Debbie said.


Debbie had an encounter with God at a youth camp when she was 15 years old. God became real to her then and at that moment she knew she wanted to give her life to serve Him.
That winter, she attended a ski retreat with her church youth group.

“Two friends of mine and I went to the top of a mountain an hour before it was closing for the day. We started skiing, and I lost control. I landed in a wooded area and got stuck in three feet of fresh snow. If it wasn’t for the ski patrol checking the slopes one last time, I do not know what would have happened. I knew God had saved my life for a reason and that evening I had a profound sense of love, peace and direction,” Debbie said.

That experience transformed Debbie’s life so much that she wanted to share it with others.
“I participated in every opportunity to serve my church at home or overseas which I attended and since graduating college in 1999, I have served in ministry for over 14 years. My parents also had a profound impact on my life towards ministry, both my mom and my dad. My husband and I married in 2004 and two of my greatest joys are my children, Mercy 5, and Samuel,4. I love my husband and children with all that I am and am grateful to have been blessed with them in my life,” she said.

Mother’s Helper is the only private childcare and learning center facility open year round in Tyrrell County. It is an outreach arm of The Assembly of Praise.

The facility serves families in the communities of Tyrrell and Washington Counties. Offerings include childcare for children starting at 6 weeks and after school programs until age 12.
“We have a van service from Creswell Elementary to our facility. We are starting a partnership with Smart Start in Craven, in which Child Care specialists will work one on one with our teachers to assist us in improving the quality of our care. All of our teachers and substitutes on staff currently have training in ITS/SIDS prevention and CPR/First Aid. All of our staff will take opportunities to pursue early childhood care courses toward certification. We want to provide the best care possible. We want to create a loving and safe environment for our children,” said Debbie.

Daycare staff members recently had a fundraiser and raised $1625 towards new play equipment. They will be joining with The Assembly of Praise to be a part of the River Town Christmas Parade.

Debbie is also currently a Doctoral candidate in the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary DMin program.