Bright Lights (August 2015)

Bridgeport United Methodist ‘Whale of Sale’ Has Been a Longtime Help to the Community
United Methodist Women at Bridgeport United Methodist Church in Bridgeport, West Virginia, organize 48th annual “Whale of a Sale” rummage sale.

Asbury United Methodist Church Relieves First Day of School Stress for Parents
United Methodist Women at Asbury United Methodist Church in North Shelby, Alabama, host annual Back to School Prayer Breakfast.

Churches Help With Back-To-School Needs
The United Methodist Women of Clark Chapel United Methodist Church in Luthersville, Georgia, with contribution from United Methodist Women  at Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Lone Oak, hold bookbag distribution to provide school supplies to local students.

Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence Discussed at Hoover Church Forum
United Methodist Women at Bluff Park United Methodist Church in Hoover, Alabama, host speakers from local law enforcement at education event addressing domestic violence and human trafficking.

Methodist Women Hosts Cookbook Author
United Methodist Women at Park Avenue United Methodist Church in Valdosta, Georgia, host Martha Giddens Nesbit, author of several cookbooks, including her most recent one, Dishing Up Hope.

Teacher Avoided Vices, Doctors, for Long Life
United Methodist Women member Kathyrn Geyer in Scottdale, Pennsylvania, lives to 111 years of age.

Happy 100th to Sarah Hardeman
United Methodist Women member at Grace United Methodist Church in Covington, Georgia, celebrates 100th birthday. “Mrs. Hardeman’s passion was the United Methodist Women of Grace. This is a core group of women who help children and adults all over the world.”

Solon Methodist 175th Homecoming Celebration
United Methodist Women at Solon United Methodist Church in Solon, Iowa, host dinner and ice cream social in honor of church’s 175th homecoming celebration.

Former Pastor, Guest Speaker at Haven United Methodist Church ‘High Tea’
United Methodist Women at Haven United Methodist Church in Quinton, New Jersey, host “high tea” event.

American National Announces New Financial Center Manager
Gwen Smith, secretary for United Methodist Women at Zion United Methodist Church in Gretna, Virginia, named financial center manager at American National Bank and Trust Company.

Frozen Casserole Sale
United Methodist Women at Main Street United Methodist Church in South Boston, Virginia, host frozen casserole sale as fundraiser for mission.

Cedartown United Methodist Church Plans Flea Market, Bake Sale
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church of Cedartown in Cedartown, Georgia, host flea market and bake sale to raise money for local mission organizations.

Belin Memorial UMC Will Host Human Trafficking Awareness Event
United Methodist Women team up with United Methodist Men to host “Red Light: An Effort to STOP Human Trafficking” at Belin Memorial United Methodist Church in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

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How to Use This Issue (July/August 2015)


“The Bean,” Millennium Park, Chicago

During July and August while my teenagers are at summer camp or working, I always take time to visit my family in Chicago. On a recent afternoon in the Windy City, I sat with my aunt on a park bench in Millennium Park. We watched children and the dogs stroll by. We oohed and aahed at how cute they all were. We fell into an easy silence.

Summer is a good time for slowing down. The good work of my beloved United Methodist Women always compels me to engage in social action and program planning, but for a few summer afternoons I like to sit on a park bench and watch the world pass by.

I remember once asking my pastor if God would still love me even if I never got out of bed to do good deeds or worship. He laughed uneasily and muttered, “Well, theoretically.”

In this month’s Bible study from the Rev. Vicki Flippin, we learn there is much more than theory to God’s love for “a radically egalitarian, mutual, loving and just community.” We are offered a chance to deeply listen to one another. How does your United Methodist Women circle live out service, advocacy, evangelism and kin-dom practices? I like to journal as a way of stating my values. Use the Bible study questions this month as a springboard for your journal writing.

The summer is also a time to attend Mission u, formerly called Schools of Christian Mission. My children and I have fond memories of attending Schools of Christian Mission in Connecticut, Florida, New York and Montana. Our days were packed with learning and fun. For this working mother, I was overjoyed to put aside cooking and cleaning and simply spend my days learning about issues and making new friends. One such friend, Judith Pierre-Okerson, has a reflection, “Created for Happiness,” which deepens my understanding of happiness not as a result of material items but as a blessing from God.

Ms. Pierre-Okerson’s daughter and my son became friends at a School of Christian Mission. I think they were about 10 years old. They will both head to college in the fall. (My son will attend one of those 20 colleges named after John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.) As I spend some of the summer figuring out how to pay for his college education, one United Methodist Women-connected college, Ferrum College, written about by Richard Lord in “Because They Had a Vision,” is working to make college accessible for all families.

As I read Carol Burnett’s reflection about her experience participating in the 59th annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, I was reminded of the passage of time. I remember the joys of attending the Beijing Conference 20 years ago. It was a time of great hope—I was sure that within a few years we would have universal equality for all women. We are still working on it. We are figuring out what systemic changes need to be made to include everyone who is marginalized in our society.

I may chat with my aunt about this when we sit on a park bench together later this month.

Or perhaps I will journal about the questions this issue of response asks. What memories are you making this summer? What are your blessings through United Methodist Women? How do you slow down and celebrate the lazy days of summer? How can we include everyone? Let us know. We want to hear.

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From the President (July/August 2015)

It’s All Joy!

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)

Having the opportunity to visit the different United Methodist Women conferences in a variety of ways has taught me the importance of the community building and spiritual growth within this amazing organization. In order to understand all that God has given us, to bring joy to ourselves and others, let’s learn to work together with all in community. When we gather together for a great cause we transform our lives and the lives around us, for it is shared lives we lead.

Over the next year I will be traveling to visit all 97 United Methodist Women supported national mission institutions. This means I will be in your area soon—I hope you will join me on these visits. These national mission institutions provide our members the chance to be difference makers in communities where it seems no hope is available. Seeing the good work of these institutions allows us to witness firsthand grace and mercy.

In our daily walk with God we look to grow in understanding our calling as United Methodist Women. Our Purpose gives us direction. We know how to turn faith, hope and love into action on behalf of women, children and youth around the world. We do it together as we grow spiritually and share our passion for giving, loving and justice. United Methodist Women mission studies give us a spectacular framework to consider and understand fully how to engage with others who need us.

Those who are sad, broken, alone, scared and lost—let our United Methodist Women community of women be the support, comfort, rescue, listening ear and shoulder to lean on. We are called to be keepers. Consider attending Mission u this summer, or order this year’s mission studies and catch up on some important reading so you can explore all the richness of fulfillment God has to offer. And response offers prayers and uplifting inspirational motivation for your journey of building community.

The joy for me will be to see all your shining faces as I travel around the country. I’m looking forward as well to some hands-on work and learning more about the work of our national mission institutions and of United Methodist Women members. I am so excited to meet the women, children, youth and families whose lives we are a part of and whose lives are a part of ours. We will leave a legacy. We are leaving a legacy.

I will post my adventures on Facebook and on Twitter. Follow me and share with me on the road! Let’s show the world what United Methodist Women can do.

United Methodist Women

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From the Editor (July/August 2015)

JAG15coverSummer is traditionally a time off from formal education, but not for United Methodist Women members. It is now Mission u season, with events across the country, and this year National Seminar 2015 takes place in late July in Chicago. Together we will collectively be learning about Latin America, about how to be a welcoming church for people with disabilities, about finding happiness in God. We’ll be learning about the social justice issues impacting our world today and seeking to respond to them the way God needs us to. We’ll be reading our Reading Program books, hosting the July and August programs in the Program Book and reading response. We will be learning about the world and about ourselves.

What United Methodist Women offers is a place to change the world—and yourself. A place to be and become a whole person. The value of our creative, supportive community of women is not outweighed by our service and advocacy. Both are important. We need one another as much as the world needs us. I hope this issue of response helps you know the great role you play in our worldwide sisterhood. May your summer’s warmth come not just from without but within.

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Bright Lights (July 2015)

Jackson Methodist Luncheon Benefits Ministry at Dixon Prison
United Methodist Women at Jackson United Methodist Church in Jackson, Louisiana, hosted a mission luncheon July 11 to benefit the Kairos program at Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson.

Stevy’s Run Takes to the Streets of Tishomingo
5K run in honor of Stevy Cellum sponsored by Tishomingo United Methodist Church in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, helps support United Methodist Women school supply drive.

UMC Annual Rummage Sale About to Kick Off
United Methodist Women at Bridgeport United Methodist Church in Bridgeport, West Virginia, are putting the final touches on the 48th annual Whale of a Sale, which takes place next month.

Stachura, Snyder Worthy Royalty Picks
Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, Nebraska, elect United Methodist Women member Jamie Snyder as “Queen Isabella” for the 2015 Columbus Days in honor of her community involvement.

Belin Memorial UMC to Sponsor Event to Increase Awareness of Human Trafficking
United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men at Belin Memorial United Methodist Church in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, will host an event to raise awareness of human trafficking.

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Bright Lights (June 2015)

Methodist Women Dedicate Quilt to Mary Limbaugh
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Chester, Illinois, dedicate quilt made of aprons to longtime member.

United Methodist Women’s Pies and Cobblers a Popular Brecksville Home Days Tradition
United Methodist Women at Brecksville United Methodist Church in Brecksville, Ohio, host successful booth at Brecksville Home Days.

School Supplies Program Expands
United Methodist Women in Stephenville, Texas, organize Community School Supplies Program.

Trinity United Methodist Women
United Methodist Women at Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Island, Nebraska, collect box tops and soup labels for national mission institution Epworth Village.

Belfast United Methodist Church Celebrates 200th Anniversary With Special Events
United Methodist Women has a long history at Belfast United Methodist Church in Belfast, Ohio.

United Methodist Women Rummage Sale Benefits Local Charities
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Elgin, Illinois, host successful rummage sale.

Methodists to Celebrate 165th Anniversary of Local Church
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Independence, Iowa, help organize the church’s anniversary celebrations.

Concern for Kids Prompts Program on Human Trafficking
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church of Wayne-Westland in Wayne, Michigan, take a stand against human trafficking.

Virgil Methodist Church to Celebrate 130th Anniversary
United Methodist Women at Virgil United Methodist Church in Virgil, South Dakota, still active at 130-year-old church.

Blue and Lexington United Methodist Women Collect Items for Child Protection Services
United Methodist Women in Lexington, Texas, collect needed items for local children.

Local Ladies Enjoy Fashion for a Good Cause
United Methodist Women at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church in Ocean City, New Jersey, host Hats Off to Fashion Luncheon and Fashion Extravaganza.

National Women’s Group To Hold Faith-based Justice Action Training in Chicago
United Methodist Women to host National Seminar this summer in Chicago.

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HER Place

Margaret VanZandt, center, director of HER Place and United Methodist Women member, with recovery coaches Deeidra Gravely, left, and Lisa Bishop, right. Photo courtesy Margaret VanZandt

Margaret VanZandt, center, director of HER Place and United Methodist Women member, with recovery coaches Deeidra Gravely, left, and Lisa Bishop, right. Photo courtesy Margaret VanZandt

The July/August issue of response features a short article on HER Place, a women’s addiction recovery outreach center in Huntington, West Virginia, started by United Methodist Women member Margaret VanZandt.

The United Methodist Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence interviewed Ms. VanZandt this spring. You can read it here.

If you think your church could host Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings or would like to host the family recovery support program Celebrating Families, contact SPSARV:

United Methodist Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence
General Board of Global Ministries
475 Riverside Drive, room 1470
New York, NY 10115
212-870-3699 (phone)
212-870-3654 (fax)

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