Hot to Use This Issue

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A calling is a term we use to describe the strong urge that people feel toward a particular career, vocation or path in life. A calling to heal and comfort is why some people become doctors. A calling to inform and instruct compels others to become educators. A calling to paint, compose music, write poetry or act stirs many to pursue the arts. Having a calling allows one to move through the world focused and with purpose.
As United Methodist Women members, we are called to spread the word of God by putting faith, hope and love into action. We focus on improving the lives of women, children and youth worldwide and we purposefully seek out impactful ways to do so. Consider response your guide to our many good works.
Our March issue opens with “Bright Hope for Tomorrow” by Barbara Campbell on pages 8 to 11. In it she reminds us that the work of United Methodist Women is part of a rich continuum and is as necessary now as it was in 1869 when our foremothers Clementina Butler and Lois Parker and friends felt called to help women and children in India. What would you like the legacy of your United Methodist Women group to be?
Five years ago a group of clergy in North Carolina felt called to speak out against their state’s reductions in health care, education and human services funding. Thus the beginning of Moral Mondays, a sustained protest that has grown to thousands, including United Methodist Women members. Richard Lord’s “Moral Mondays” on pages 18 to 20 tells how the movement has gained momentum by appealing to people’s sense of decency instead of their political leanings. How do you address inequities in your community?
From 1910 to the end of World War II, Korea endured brutal treatment under Japanese occupation. The residue of those dark days lingers still as bigotry, hate and denial continue to strain relations between the two nations. In “Building Peace Between Japan and Korea,” on pages 22 to 29, we learn how United Methodist Women is helping to bridge that divide by bringing young women from both cultures together to foster understanding.
Constructive communication is the first step toward healing.
If you haven’t attended Mission u, Denise Nurse’s article “Transforming Through Education” on pages 30 to 34 is a must-read. It’s a lively account of her recent Mission u experience in Arkansas where she gives the scoop on the classes, plenaries and worship services that comprised the weekend and the United Methodist Women members that she met. We hope it inspires you to attend a Mission u in your area. To learn more visit http://www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/mission-u.
Last month’s issue featured photos of our 2016-2020 officers Shannon Priddy, Clara Ester, Cindy Saufferer, Gail Douglas-Boykin and Estella Wallace. For this issue, we profile each one in “Leading Into the Next 150 Years” on pages 36 to 41. Read it to learn more about their backgrounds and experience as well as how they plan to use their calling to these positions to serve United Methodist Women.

March 1 is the beginning of Lent, a time we use to prepare, reflect and repent. We hope this Lenten season provide you with whatever you may need—strength, solitude, ritual, sacrifice, service, prayer—to bring you closer to God.

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Message From the President

The Importance of United Methodist Women

I was recently asked if United Methodist Women is relevant today. My immediate answer was, “Of course. Look at all the great things we are doing to empower, educate, and transform women, youth, and children around the world and at home.” But the question actually stopped me in my tracks. It was coming from local, active United Methodist Women members and retired pastors.

There are more choices today than ever before for women to get involved in politics, social issues and organizations for change. Many women’s organizations are celebrating similar milestones in their founding dates. Colleges and universities are educating on the status and role of women in the world. There are college majors that teach how to organize community action. Short trips and working outside of the United States, in rural areas and with people in need, are possible for anyone high school through retirement ages.
I have utilized many of these choices. I am a member of a sorority I joined in college. I studied abroad and visited the native Bribri in Costa Rica. I am a returned Peace Corps volunteer. So, what makes United Methodist Women different? I could do all of this because I was a United Methodist Women member. I took my faith with me. I was brought up seeing strong women lead the churches and committees. I learned at a young age that a woman’s voice was just as important as any other voice.

We have news of wars and destruction at our fingertips and images of injustices from around the world coming into our homes and newsfeeds each time we open an app or turn on the news. It is more important now than ever to remember and share that United Methodist Women have been fighting injustice since the beginning. Look into your own history and the things you accomplished. Share United Methodist Women’s history and learn what we have done as leaders of change since 1869.

It is our role as Christians to share the news of Christ. It is our job as women to make sure even the smallest, most marginalized is invited into this fellowship. You know what United Methodist Women does—you are doing it. Share it in different ways, to different women. Just as no two stories are the same, the way you know United Methodist Women is different than I do. The common thread is United Methodist Women and the faith we share.

This month, we honor our roots with our Day of Giving and growing the Legacy Fund. Share our history and your story. When you see something unsettling on the news or in your newsfeed, see what you can do in your community, with your local United Methodist Women to raise funds or awareness. Eight women started with a penny and a prayer in 1869. Imagine what 800,000 women and a dollar can do. You have a voice. Join a committee at your church and use your voice to educate members on the importance of United Methodist Women.

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From the Editor (March 2017)

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This month United Methodist Women celebrates its 148th anniversary as a women’s mission organization. This is a milestone worth celebrating, both for the foresight of our foremothers and for the passion and faith of members today.
Our anniversary is also a time to acknowledge the importance of women organized for mission for the next 150 years (and beyond). “Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham,” reads Luke 3:8, a passage reflected on at this year’s Leadership Development Days. We have many strong women as our ancestors, many reasons to be proud members of United Methodist Women, but we are still responsible for bearing fruit. The great work of our ancestors does not give us the right to table the ongoing needs of women, children and youth.
Our constant is listening to God’s call—but adapting our answers to God’s call is our legacy and our future. Women are still not equally represented in communities, agencies, workplaces, governments or churches. Voices of the marginalized are still unheard and suppressed. Today’s prophets cannot go unheeded, and we must not give in to the comfort of today’s false idols. We are called by Christ to kin-dom building, and we’re not there yet. Celebrate United Methodist Women’s birthday this month by daring to imagine a different way and by listening to those who propose it. It will be uncomfortable. It will call you out into the wilderness. But you will not be alone. The world still needs women organized for mission.
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Bright Lights (February 2017)

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Los Alamos Women Rally Against Human Trafficking
United Methodist Women from First United Methodist Church in Los Alamos, New Mexico, raise awareness of human trafficking.

Cumbee Center Receives “Purses of Love” From St. John’s Circle 6
Members of Circle 6  United Methodist Women at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Aiken, South Carolina, donate needed hygiene items to local women’s shelter.

Women Honored at First United Methodist Church in Perry
United Methodist Women at Perry United Methodist Church in Perry, Iowa, present Special Mission Recognition pins.

Christ United Methodist Church United Methodist Women Hold Monthly Meeting
United Methodist Women at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, Ohio, gather for a Valentine’s theme meeting.

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Bright Lights (January 2017)

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Winter VBS Provides Supplies, Gospel
United Methodist Women at Clark Chapel United Methodist Church in Luthersville, Georgia, host a winter vacation Bible school.

Fundraiser to Help Pastor’s Leader Dog
United Methodist Women at Sand Lake United Methodist Church in Sand Lake, Michigan, host fundraiser to help their church pastor, who has a sight impairment, get necessary surgery for his leader dog.

New Canaan Boy Scouts, Church Make Midnight Run To Help Homeless
United Methodist Women at New Canaan United Methodist Church in New Canaan, Connecticut, join with the congregation and local Boy Scouts to help provide food and clothes for the homeless.

For Coal City Church, Hands Help at Home and Across the World
United Methodist Women Coal City United Methodist Church in Coal City, Illinois, support national mission institution Cunningham Children’s Home.

Annual Martin Luther King Day Service
United Methodist Women at Addie’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Marion, North Carolina, host annual service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. with the theme “The March Continues.”

Partnership Plans Second Event
United Methodist Women of Main Street United Methodist Church in Suffolk, Virginia, partnered with United Methodist Men and hold event focusing on domestic violence in partnership with the Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.

It’s All About Chocolat’
United Methodist Women at Destin United Methodist Church in Destin, Florida, host annual chocolate sale to raise money for mission.

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Bright Lights (December 2016)

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At Age 80, She Sings Hymns to Seniors and Spreads Joy With Her Dog, Pickles
United Methodist Women member Judy Gross and her therapy dog visit residents at a local assisted living center every week through a ministry program with Memorial United Methodist Church in Clovis, California.

A ‘Santa Operation’: United Methodist Women Bring Christmas to Neighborhood Services Organization
United Methodist Women members from across Oklahoma help United Methodist Women-supported Neighborhood Services Organization help bring Christmas to families served by the national mission institution.

Voices of Conscience: Jo Wainright, Retired Teacher, Still Loves School
Jo Wainright, president of United Methodist Women at Harbor United Methodist Church in Wilmington, North Carolina, continues to volunteer at local elementary school.

Bank of Cheer Brings a Christmas Boost to 200 Families
Multiple United Methodist Women groups help Christmas arrive early for around 200 Eastern Shore of Virginia families with Bank of Cheer outreach.

United Methodist Women’s Christmas Tea Offers Sweet Treats and Sounds
United Methodist Women at Fort Morgan United Methodist Church in Fort Morgan, Colorado, host Christmas Tea.

How Bazaar!
United Methodist Women at Harrisburg First United Methodist Church in Harrisburg, Illinois, host 81st annual holiday bazaar.

Angel Tree Donations Needed. Poteau First United Methodist Women Help
United Methodist Women at Poteau First United Methodist Church in Poteau, Oklahoma, help LeFlore County Youth Services reach its outreach goals.

The Gift of Warmth: Volunteers From Local Church Make Blankets for Entire Elementary School
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Temple, Texas, make blankets for elementary school students.

Cookie, Candy Walk a Tasty Holiday Tradition
United Methodist Women at Memorial United Methodist Church in Farmington, Missouri, host annual cookie and candy walk.

FUMC Alternative Gift Fair Benefits Local, Global Mission
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Stephenville, Texas, host luncheon at alternative gift fair.

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How to Use This Issue (December 2016)

I like to observe how advertisers attempt to reach us as consumers, particularly during the run-up to the Christmas holiday season when television commercials, radio spots and store circulars are especially persistent. No longer are we being sold simply on the merits of a product; we’re now being offered a “brand experience”in exchange for our loyalty.

Marketers also like to lump us into categories that they’ve created—soccer moms, blue collar, urban, conservative, college educated (or not)—for the purpose of defining our character and values. Distilling our lifestyle habits into niche groups may work for selling goods and services, but it never speaks to all that we are or our potential. For that, we have our faith.

Every issue of response is a testament to all that we are and what we are capable of when we come together in the name of God, and this one is no exception.

It’s a fact that in the Bible women aren’t present to the extent that men are. Most who are mentioned are nameless and their contributions in general are underrepresented. But as our opener “Learn: When Woman Lead” on page 7, and subsequent article “Wise, Faithful, Courageous and Resourceful” on pages 8 to 11 remind us woman were present, serving as leaders, serving children and youth and faithfully serving God regardless of recognition or validation. May we always be inspired by their selfless example to continue putting hope, faith and love into action to our fullest potential.

Whether you’re a Traditionalist, Baby Boomer, Gen-Xer or Millennial, Mission u is a space where all coexist and learn from each other while growing in Christ. In “Mission u Lifts Past, Present and Future” on page 16, Tamica Smith-Jeuitt recounts one such Mission u where the oldest member in attendance was 94, and the youngest was 13. Read what they and others got out of their spirited weekend. How do you cultivate intergenerational interaction your unit or church?

In an address to religious leaders at last July’s International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations Luiz Loures gave a stark warning about who the current AIDS epidemic is affecting disproportionally: “the ones you faith leaders care most about, the ones left behind and the last and least in your society.” In “Faith Meets Aids ” on pages 18 to 25, Paul Jeffrey reports on that very gathering and the ways that various church leaders in are addressing the stigmatized communities of this disease. December 1 is World AIDS Day. Visit AIDS.gov for ideas on how you, your church or conference can take action to raise AIDS awareness.

Our Reading Program helps members stay abreast of the religious and social issues and causes we care about. For what we’ll be reading next year, check out “The 20117 United Methodist Women Reading Program,” on pages 26 to 33.

It never hurts to have an admirer, especially one who’s followed us as an organization over many, many years. In “God’s Mighty Force for Good” on page 36-39, 97-year-old retired bishop John Wesley Hardt of Dallas reflects his history with our organization and how he never misses an opportunity to talk speak highly of us.

Since its launch in 2006, Ubuntu Journeys have given United Methodist Women members the opportunity to travel abroad to meet and serve alongside sisters in mission around the world. In “Building Community on the Border,” pages 40 to 41, United Methodist volunteer Kevin Schaner writes about the most recent journey to various points along the U.S.-Mexican border where she and seven United Methodist Women members worked alongside missionaries who offer food and comfort to refugees and immigrants.

And finally, as we think of the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus, “Act: Maternal and Child Health” on page 44 outlines 12 ways that United Methodist Women members can help mothers and children thrive. Have a happy and safe holiday.

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