Bright Lights (March 2017)

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Oxford United Methodist Church Holds Chocolate Festival
United Methodist Women at Oxford United Methodist Church in Oxford, Pennsylvania, host popular chocolate festival.

Local Church Group Decorates Easter Eggs to Support Mission Work
United Methodist Women at Trinity United Methodist Church in Bluefield, Virginia, make and sell chocolate Easter eggs in annual fundraiser.

Smith Chapel Celebrating Women’s History on Sunday
Community and church leader Sybrenna Thornton spoke at Smith Chapel United Methodist Church in Newman, Georgia, for a Women’s History Month event sponsored by the church’s United Methodist Women.

Special Mission Recognition Award Winners
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas, honor church members with Special Mission Recognition pins.

Bluff Park United Methodist Women to Hold Programs on Climate Change
United Methodist Women at Bluff Park United Methodist Church in Hoover, Alabama, host forums on climate change.

Women From Local Church Make “Blessing Bags” for Homeless
United Methodist Women at Dacula United Methodist Church in Dacula, Georgia, assemble bags of toiletries, nonperishable food, socks, gloves, hats and other items for local people who are homeless.

World Day of Prayer
United Methodist Women at Osceola United Method Church in Osceola, Iowa, observe World Day of Prayer.

Suydam Church United Methodist Women Donate to FVOAS
United Methodist Women at Suydam United Methodist Church in Leland, Illinois, support Fox Valley Older Adult Services.

Grampian’s St. Paul United Methodist Church’s Priority Is to Serve the Community
United Methodist Women is a key part of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Grampian, Pennsylvania.

United Methodist Women Prepare for Annual Potato Luncheon
United Methodist Women of First United Methodist Church in Stephenville, Texas, host potato lunch fundraiser for local students.

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How to Use This Issue (March 2017)

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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 (March 2017)

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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