From the President (March 2018)

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 2018)

My daughter, Iris, was born Sept. 18, 2017. She’s a happy, funny little girl who definitely knows how to use her voice. You’ll find her most Sunday mornings sleeping on her daddy’s shoulder in the back pew at church. She played Baby Jesus in our church’s Christmas pageant and regularly attends the church’s women’s book club. I’ll soon be reading her children’s books from the United Methodist Women Reading Program. If you go to United Methodist Women’s Assembly 2018 this May, you’ll likely see her there.

It’s my job to provide my children food, clothing, safety and love, a love that enables them to love boldly in return, that lets them know how to be good people. A faith community, to me, is an essential part of their learning the actions of love. So I’m working to provide this for them as well. Our local United Methodist church and the worldwide connection of United Methodist Women will give them a strong foundation of faith, hope and love in action.

Being part of United Methodist Women has taught me so much about the role of faith in my life and in the world. Being Christian is not a solitary act. It requires a creative, supportive community in which to grow and change and one in which prayers lead to action. The church needs women organized for women. The world needs women organized for mission. Iris needs women organized for mission.

On March 23, the anniversary of the founding of what would become United Methodist Women and our annual Day of Giving, I will be making a donation to the Legacy Fund in Iris’s name to help ensure future generations have the same benefit I—and many women around the world—have had by having United Methodist Women at work in the world.

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How To Use This Issue (February 2018)

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Doris Maria Trillos stirs cacao drying in a greenhouse on her family farm in Garzal, Columbia.

When I noticed that Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day this year, my initial thought was, oh well, no chocolates for me since I give up sweets up for Lent. How ironic that the first day of an observance of self-denial occurs on a holiday marketed for indulgence. Yet what both have in common is love. Beyond the commercialism of gifts and cards, Valentine’s Day celebrates love. And during Lent we become mindful of how Jesus sacrificed his life out of love for us. As you observe Lent, make it a season of love as much as one of sacrifice.

Brokering peace in the Middle East has been a decades-long struggle that has sometimes seemed hopeful and other times futile. Despite efforts spanning from the U.N. Security Council resolution in 1967 to negotiations under the Obama Administration in 2010, the strife between Palestinians and Israelis has created a humanitarian disaster with generations of suffering. United Methodists have long advocated for a two-state solution, but that’s not enough, says David Wildman in our Bible study, “Fasting for Justice in Palestine/Israel” on pages 8 to 11. Wildman describes the region’s unjust power structure and offers resources and sustained actions we can take to help.

Increasingly , churches, universities, unions and city councils are divesting from and boycotting companies that support military occupation. However, several elected officials have proposed anti-boycott bills—a violation of free speech—to appease lobbyists who support them. Take time this month to learn more about this movement.

Through Mission Giving and special offerings, United Methodist Women is helping improve the lives of women, children and youth around the world. This issue features our biennial Mission Maps on pages 15 to 31. Use them to familiarize yourself with current mission outreach in Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico and Central America, the Middle East, South America, and the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

In “Colombia’s Search for Peace” on pages 32 to 39, Paul Jeffrey reports on how the residue of years of war and drug trade corruption have hindered progress toward peace in the country. While talks between rival rebel forces resulted in a temporary ceasefire last September, Jeffrey says the country must address underlying inequities that caused
such conflict. In the article’s sidebar, “Women Essential to Peace Process” on page 38, activist Gloria Amparo Suarez says efforts for attaining lasting peace in Colombia must include women. “Through all these decades of war, women have been looking for nonviolent solutions, and the country needs that now more than ever.”

In 2000, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1325, declaring that women are key to peacebuilding. As a group, research and share the ways women past and present have made their voices heard in the struggle for peace.

In this month’s “The Amazing Adventures of Methodist Women in Mission” on page 41, we look at the contributions of Theressa Hoover, a determined achiever in the face of legal segregation who went on to become deputy general secretary of the Women’s Division in 1968, making her the first African-American woman executive in The Methodist Church. Share our illustrated series with your church community, especially girls and teens, to promote the history and importance of our organization.

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From the President (February 2018)

I love geography. I love maps and investigating where I am going and figuring out the best way to get there. This is one of my favorite editions of response, with the maps of where the work is happening. You know that we make it possible with each mission dollar. When I look at a map, I see possibilities and connections. I look for the cities I know or projects I have heard of. I investigate the areas around places I have been or where women I have met live and work. I go online and look at the maps. Maps makethe world seem a littlesmaller and more connected.

I have a goal to visit every continent, some more than once. This may have been a strange goal even 20 years ago, but now it seems more possible than ever before. What will visiting every continent accomplish? For me it brings me one step closer to our mission around the world. Georgia, Lithuania and Russia don’t seem so foreign because I have visited the region. South Korea and the Philippians are closer than ever because of friends I’ve made through United Methodist Women and the travel stories of others.

The maps are important for you, too. When prayerfully considering a financial commitment to United Methodist Women, this is where the money goes. This is the work of United Methodist Women. This is you! When you talk about United Methodist Women, most people see the church dinners and fundraising. Take out this map and show the expanse of the work your Mission Giving accomplishes. Now take it one step further and invite them to join in the work! You want to bring in new members? Share the story, then send an e-mail to “meet” the partner receiving of the scholarship or grant. Christians are called to service. We want our lives to have purpose. Mission Giving
is a purpose all women can share.

I love to travel. Not everyone does. Connecting through the map, showing the world
the impact of United Methodist Women, allows those who may not want to travel to see
the world beyond their front door. I can put a pin in my hometown and look all the way to the other side of the world and see our mission dollars at work. Mission Giving, the Prayer Calendar, and reaching out to missionaries and mission institutions builds the connectional ministry that you are a part of! The eight women from Boston in 1869 could share the news of the work of their missionaries because they kept in touch with Isabella Thoburn and Clara Swain and learned about what they were doing. In those days letters took months. Today, emails take seconds!

Mission Giving and the mission maps bring our work to life. Don’t hide it under a bushel.
Don’t leave your response on a shelf. Show it off. Pass it on. Share the good news that United Methodist Women has been doing for almost 150 years!

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From the Editor (February 2018)

This issue features our biannual mission maps, marking where your Mission Giving is changing lives throughout the world. Like our foremothers, United Methodist Women today knows that funding women is essential for positive change to occur.

The creative community that is United Methodist Women supports women, children, youth and one another with prayer, service, advocacy and resources. Giving is mission. It allows women in their communities and context to develop programs and outreach they know is most effective. Matthew 6:21 states, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” United Methodist Women’s heart is with women down the street and across oceans.

Each mark on the maps represents a woman, teen, child, family, church or neighborhood you have supported. Your rummage sales, bazaars, dinners, 5K races, talent shows and other fundraisers built community among those closest to you and raised mission dollars to support community building among women around the world. You serve and advocate locally because you know what your community needs. And your Mission Giving helps women around the world to do the same.

Use the maps in this issue to remind you how far women organized for mission can reach. Pray for our projects and partnerships and learn more about them by reading response or exploring the United Methodist Women website. Share the maps with others. Share response with others. Share the work you do and the causes you care about and the voices of the marginalized with others. I hope the maps serve as a visual reminder of the importance of United Methodist Women and of the great work you do and support. Celebrate the good that comes from your faith, hope and love in action.

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Bright Lights (January 2018)


Making an Impact With Books
United Methodist Women at Christ United Methodist Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, help supply books to elementary school students.

Nacogdoches Pastor, NHS Student Council Raising Awareness About Human Trafficking
Inspired by United Methodist Women in Texas, the Rev. Lorraine Brown, the associate is on a mission to enlighten teens about the dangers of human trafficking.

United Methodist Women Donate $10,500 to Community Groups
United Methodist Women at Community United Methodist Church in Fairfield, California, donate $10,500 to three local non-profit organizations.

Two Local Events to Celebrate MLK Day
United Methodist Women at Addie’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Marion, North Carolina, host 21st annual King Day service.

Prayer Bears
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Cuero, Texas, make prayer bears for those in need of prayer.

Community Health Centers to Provide Services to USD 413
United Methodist Women at Otterbein United Methodist Church in Chante, Kansas, help pay off past due meal balances local elementary school.

Learn More About Human Trafficking at Local Franklin Conference
The Williamson County Association for Family and Community Education partnered with the United Methodist Women of Franklin First United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tennessee, for human trafficking awareness conference.

Push Against Human Trafficking This Month
United Methodist Women at Farmville United Methodist Church in Farmville, Virginia, raise awareness of human trafficking.

Mary Belle Leach Named Groesbeck Study Club’s Woman of the Year
United Methodist Women member in Groesbeck, Texas, celebrated for her service to the community.

Chamber Hosts Awards Banquet
United Methodist Women member Jan Gorman named Citizen of the Year in Ralston, Nebraska.

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How To Use This Issue (January 2018)

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Participants in the 2017 Asian Young Women’s Leadership Development Seminar with United Methodist Women executive for public policy Susie Johnson (top center), enjoying a leisurely evening in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in February 2017. (Photo: Natsuko Takito)


Happy New Year! It’s a particularly busy time for United Methodist Women as we prepare for Assembly, May 18 -20, in Columbus, Ohio. Assembly is an opportunity for all members to come together to network, worship and participate in a host of exciting activities we have planned. Join us in celebrating The Power of Bold! Visit register to register by April 9.

I’m reminded of our quote “When women unite, bold and courageous actions happen!” in this month’s Bible study, “A Powerful No,” by the Rev. Sara Baron on pages 8 to 11. In it, Baron references the courageous acts of Queen Vashti and Methodist foremother Abigail Harkness as inspiration for us all to be courageous in the work and advocacy we do. Together, she says, “we have the power to say no to what is wrong and yes to opportunities for justice.” What’s an issue that your group would most like to tackle with a powerful no? Come up with ways to let your stance be known and enlist other women, within and outside of your church, to join in.

“I felt very strongly God wanted me to be a bridge between church and the world,” says Deaconess Melba McCallum in “Walking in the Will of God,” by Michelle Bearden, on pages 16 to 20. McCallum speaks about how she stepped out on faith, committing her post-retirement life to God and community as founder of Partners in Ministry, a nonprofit operation in Rockingham, North Carolina, that helps at-risk youth, low-income seniors and underserved women.

“Sisterhood of Survivors,” by Jessica Brodie on pages 22 to 25, tells the story of Killingsworth, a century-old residence in South Carolina that was once a residence for young women students and now houses women who are emerging from crisis. Killingsworth board president Flo Johnson considers United Methodist Women the “heart” of this institution. Through your donations, volunteer help and prayer, she says, residents “move on in life and contribute to society.” In this issue, we’ve also provided our annual response index, a comprehensive list of articles and topics contained in each issue from 2016, on pages 26 to 33. Please refer to it for articles and mission focuses that you may have missed or those you’d like to reread or use as source material.

In “Young Women Find Their Voices” by Mary Beth Coudal on pages 36 to 38, read how United Methodist Women recently addressed lack of women’s voices in the peace process at the 10th Asian Young Leadership Development Seminar, held in Ho Chi Minh City , Vietnam. Says the Rev. Hikari Kokai Chang, one of the event’s organizers, “Asian women need to find and raise their voices and learn what they can do.”

These days, raising teenage girls to be confident and self-assured amid celebrity culture, explicit song lyrics and relentless social media is not an easy task. In “Raising a Teenage Daughter,” on pages 39 to 41, Melissa Abdool speaks frankly about the challenges she faced during her daughter’s adolescence and how being a United Methodist Women member helped her gain perspective and gave her the tools to establish positive communication between them both. As a group, think of ways that you can better support teens and include them in your faith community in this new year.

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