Bright Lights (September 2014)

Keep, Church in Elm Creek Give Helping Hand to Students
United Methodist Women in Kearney, Nebraska, help students pay for driver’s education.

Harvest Festival and Farm Appreciation Day
United Methodist Women in Pennsylvania participate in Damascus United Methodist Churches’ Harvest Festival and Farm Appreciation Day to celebrate country living.

United Methodist Women Welcomes Guest Speaker Marla Haller
Dr. Marla Haller with Holzer Health Systems spoke to United Methodist Women about women’s health and heart disease at Christ United Methodist Church, Jackson, Ohio.

Pastor Pedals to Combat Human Trafficking
United Methodist Women at Lincolnton United Methodist Church in Lincolnton, North Carolina, help host pastor who embarked on a summer-long bike journey to raise awareness for human trafficking.

Estell to Speak to United Methodist Women
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church of Maryville, Tennessee, invite African Methodist Episcopal Zion pastor the Rev. Dr. Willa Estell to speak at their gathering.

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How to Use This Issue (September 2014)

Central Park Reservoir in New York City, September 2009

Central Park Reservoir in New York City, September 2009

About mid-September in New York the sky’s blue becomes deeper, crisper. It’s a new back-to-school outfit, a call to pick apples or kick a soccer ball. It’s visible proof that the haze of summer is over.

Though I’ve been out of school for many years, this particular shade of pre-autumn blue still prompts in me an urge to study, to buy a new notebook, to attend lectures, to intentionally learn something new. Luckily for me, I live and work near many colleges and in a city with one of the best public libraries in the world. It’s also the time of year when the new Reading Program list comes out. (I’ve already reserved two books from the list from my local library.)

Here in New York City, the September blue sky also looks especially naked without the Twin Towers marking the skyline. September calls me to prayers for understanding and healing, and for us to be our better selves. What does September mean to you?

This month’s Bible study is a reflection on the Assembly Scripture of Mark 6:30-44, the feeding of the 5,000. “You Feed Them” by Erin M. Hawkins on pages 8-10 reminds us that even the smallest gifts when given to God are multiplied. It complements the conference giving report published on pages 17-18, which at first glance appears to be a dry list of numbers but in reality is two fishes and five loaves that feeds more than 5,000, with leftovers. Giving financial gifts is being in mission. Reports of your giving are actually included in every issue of response—they just more often show up as stories of children fed, women empowered, communities changed for the better.

A Cornerstone of Mission in Tampa” by Jim West on pages 19-23 tells the story of Cornerstone Family Ministries in Tampa, Florida, a national mission institution supported by your giving. Is there a United Methodist Women national mission institution in your area or conference? Many national mission institutions welcome volunteers. Could your United Methodist Women group visit? Consider joining with other United Methodist Women groups in your district or conference or other groups from your church and have a volunteer day. Many of the institutions also look for donations of specific supplies and resources. Your group can hold a supply drive for a national mission institution near you.

Paul Jeffrey’s “Rebuilding Liberia” tells the story of how United Methodist Women is at work in Liberia, a country still recovering from years of civil war. Read this article and watch the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, available for purchase as an individual DVD or as part of the set of Women, War and Peace. It’s also available for free viewing online from PBS. This Child Will Be Great, a memoir by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first president of Liberia after the civil war, is part of the 2011 Reading Program and would be a worthy book to study this month. Ms. Johnson Sirleaf is a United Methodist and Africa’s first woman president.

How do you use each issue of response?

May God bless you and the world you are trying to change.

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From the President (September 2014)

Remember Our National Ministries

United Methodist Women, please take a moment and breathe! We’ve been busier than ever over the past few months, with Mission u, volunteering with the vacation season programs in our local churches and communities, collecting school supplies for children in area schools and more. These are some of the ways we live out our commitment to do our part in God’s mission as United Methodist Women members.

Now the summer months are over and we’ve moved into the fall, watching the leaves change as the days cool and shorten. This is a good time to reflect on our Purpose and our commitment to put our faith, hope and love into action for women, children and youth. I give thanks to God for you every time I think of all the people I’ve met this year who’ve been touched by the outreach of United Methodist Women, particularly at our national mission institutions. This year I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of these Mission Giving-supported agencies. Seeing the eyes of children light up as they learn and grow while participating in programs at the national mission institutions brought to mind the words of Psalms 139:14: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.”

And our part in God’s work is not yet finished.

There are 97 United Methodist Women-supported national mission institutions—community centers, schools, colleges, health care facilities and women’s residences. There is at least one national mission institution in each jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. Our United Methodist Women foremothers founded most of these organizations, and many of them remain properties of the national organization. Although our relationship with some of the organizations has changed over the years, United Methodist Women continues to support them in mission as they offer vital services in their local communities. For example, with public schools back in session, many of these agencies are revved up for another year of service through programs that support the families of those children returning to school. Things like day care and tutoring, homework help, team sports, dance and drama and other after-school activities are just some of the programs offered at the national mission institutions.

Let’s commit to use this season to infuse our national mission institutions with some extra love.

The United Methodist Women website features a complete listing of the 97 United Methodist Women-related national mission institutions. Peruse the list, select a mission institution, perhaps one in your conference or jurisdiction, and then check out the agency’s “wish list.” See what the mission institution needs most, and consider how your unit can help the agency acquire these items. Just think of all the amazing ways you will be helping to transform the daily lives of individuals through the ministries at these national mission agencies.

YVETTE KIM RICHARDS
President
United Methodist Women

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From the Editor (September 2014)

September opens with Labor Day, the first Monday of the month, in a historic celebration of U.S. workers and their struggle for just pay and working conditions, the right to organize and respect in the marketplace. The first Labor Day was a workers parade in New York City, Sept. 5, 1882, and by 1894 more than half the states had a similar observances. Today, depending on where you live, the holiday means a day not to work, a parade and an annual resurgence of bumper stickers reminding you to “thank a union member” for everything from child labor laws to lunch breaks to vacations and sick days to health care insurance and retirement pensions. These now routine features of a good employment package came from union organizing. Then and now, unions contend that workers are not marketplace beggars who best not be choosy but that workers create tangible wealth and perform essential services for society and that without them there would be no market. Workers built the table and demand a seat at it, the labor movement argues.

Today, however, unions are often denigrated. And, not surprisingly, without them, so are workers and the value of their work. In recent years, some politicians describe even teachers as overpaid “thugs” who hardly work.

However, United Methodists’ stance for the dignity of work and justice for workers has been consistent since John Wesley preached to coal miners. In 1908 The Methodist Episcopal Church’s first social creed focused on justice for workers and called for “the Golden Rule and the mind of Christ as the supreme law of society” and “a living wage in every industry.”

United Methodist Women joins other Christians and people of faith in continuing this call for justice. This issue of response features stories about United Methodist Women members and institutions doing the groundwork and advocacy necessary for people to experience the dignity of work and enjoy the fruit of their labor. As you read this issue, say a prayer of thanks for the teachers who taught you to read and for those who are today doing this for yet another generation.

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Bright Lights (August 2014)

First Saturday Breakfast Popularity Keeps Growing
United Methodist Women in Smithwick, South Dakota, host monthly breakfast fundraiser to send kids to summer camp.

Mabel Woman Finds Joy in Volunteering Salvation Army “a Good Thing” in Fillmore County
United Methodist Women member Arlene Austin gives back to her community in Mabel, Minnesota.

Sparrow’s House Leaders Address Area Church
United Methodist Women in Yadkinville, North Carolina, host speakers on the topic of domestic violence.

Designing Women: Enjoy “A Sip of Southern” and a Touch of Comedy
The United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Pensacola, Florida, host ”A Sip of Southern” summer tea event featuring a Christian comedian.

Riders Roll into Floyd County
United Methodist Women in Rockford, Iowa, host breakfast fundraiser during annual state bike race.

Concert at Linville United Methodist Church
United Methodist Women in Linville, North Carolina, host summer concert series.

Historic Records of Women’s Service presented to FUMC
United Methodist Women member Jane Dake Bugg compiles history of United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Gadsden, Alabama.

United Methodists Celebrate 50 Years of Rummage Sales
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Aberdeen, South Dakota, celebrate their 50th annual rummage sale.

Steuben Old Home Days
Started 88 years ago by United Methodist Women at Steuben United Methodist Church in Remsen, New York, the Steuben Old Home Days closes out August in Steuben, New York.

 

 

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Pauli Murray and the True Story of Courageous Women

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The League of Extraordinary Methodist Women

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