How to Use This Issue (November 2016)

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So Much Trouble in the World” is the title of a song by reggae great Bob Marley. Lately, it has been playing in my head a lot. That’s because every time I hear a tragic news report and think, “What else could possibly happen?” inevitably something worse occurs.

Bomb attacks, like mass shootings, are something we contend with. Unethical practices by the heads of banking and pharmaceutical companies put the financial and physical well-being of many at risk. The police killings of unarmed black men across the country have become a regular occurrence. Rampant xenophobia is making the plight of migrants and refugees particularly precarious. And the list goes on, leaving me feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious.

So much trouble in the world can easily be considered a lament on the state of things, but it can also be a call to action. Acknowledge the problems, and then address them—but don’t go it alone. Form community. This issue of response is a reminder of what can be accomplished when we work together as God’s community.

In the Bible study “Love As God Loves: Building the Beloved Community,” Carol Barton recounts the plight of migrants and refugees devalued based on circumstances out of their control. She reminds us that as followers of Christ that we cannot adhere to negative stereotypes—we must love others as we love God. Thanksgiving is a time when we think of those less fortunate, donating to food pantries and volunteering to serve community dinners. What other ways can you bring God’s love to those in need?

The young women of Limitless are learning about the power of God’s community. In “Young United Methodist Women Stay Strong in Christ,” Limitless members and mentors from South Carolina share what they get out of being a part of the dynamic organization and their hopes for its future. Another group of young United Methodist Women are becoming environmental activists as members of the New Generation Climate Justice Pilot Program 2016. Read “New Generations for Climate Justice” to find out what they are learning and how they are connecting with others.

United Methodist Women is part of the global community of women working on behalf of women. This past September United Methodist Women participated in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, an annual meeting to promote women’s rights and empowerment and gender equality. Anissa New-Walker shares her experience at this powerful summit in “Empowering Women.”

Finally, in “Care on the Margins” Nile Sprague reports on the very necessary health services International Child Care is providing for children and women in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and is still recovering from the devastating earthquake of 2010 and more recently Hurricane Matthew, with a death toll still counting at the time of this writing. As we keep our mission and missionaries in our prayers, let us be especially mindful of the hardships that Haiti continues to endure.

This Thanksgiving, as we gather with family and friends and give thanks for our blessings large and small, let’s think about the enduring ways in which we can continue to put faith, hope and love into action.

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Right relationships 

As Native American Heritage Month closes and Advent begins, learn more about the Doctrine of Discovery with the documentary “The Doctrine of Discovery: In the Name of Christ.”

This 43-minute film features the history of the Doctrine of Discovery and its basis in Christian theology and scripture, what it means to the live the doctrine and how we work to undo it. 

In the documentary you’ll hear again from Sarah Augustine, contributor of the article “The Ongoing Harm of the Doctrine of Discovery” from the October issue. 

Take time to build right relationships as we prepare for the birth of the Prince of Peace.

Posted in Christmas, Environment, Racial justice, Social justice | Leave a comment

From the President (November 2016)

Face to Our Faith

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
—Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

It is a month of thanksgiving, in many ways, for many reasons. This month, as we prepare for our U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving, and as United Methodist Women members for the World Thank Offering, remember all you have to be thankful for. I encourage you to remember God’s abundance in your life and share it.

I have to cross two sets of railroad tracks to go from my house to downtown Indianapolis for work. One morning I was stopped by a train. I put the car into park and counted my blessings waiting for the train to pass. Each and every United Methodist Women member was included in that list. I may not know you by name, but we share a faith and a call to mission, and for that I am thankful. I use the railroad tracks every day to become more intentional in my giving thanks to God.

I received a call from a college friend the other day. We hadn’t really talked much over the past two years. We follow each other on Facebook and will “like” each other’s posts, but this friend reached out to talk and reconnect. She is truly a blessing. Make these calls, make these connections.

This month, celebrate the joys of your life and share them with others. Use this time of thanksgiving to reach out to old friends, family and neighbors.

The World Thank Offering is an opportunity for individuals to respond to God’s abundance and grace with spontaneous gifts of gratitude. The funds collected are used in the total program of mission carried on through United Methodist Women’s national office in the United States and around the world. The World Thank Offering gives a face to our faith. It is hope and love in action.

Take this month to put your faith, hope and love into action with others. Share with the people you celebrate about the glory of God in your life. Let your gifts of gratitude multiply by including others, through your local unit or your church. Embrace others in your giving and show the impact that every gift makes for mission around the United States and around the world.

SHANNON PRIDDY
President
United Methodist Women

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From the Editor (November 2016)

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In addition to stories of the great work of and supported by United Methodist Women, the section introductions in this issue include excerpts from “Remembering the Sand Creek Massacre: A Historical Review of Methodist Involvement, Influence and Response,” a report by Gary L. Roberts to the 2016 General Conference. Now a book titled Massacre at Sand Creek published by Abingdon Press, it tells of a prominent Methodist layman and a Methodist preacher’s involvement in the slaughter of 230 peaceful Cheyennes and Arapahos—primarily women, children and elderly—living under the protection of the U.S. government along Sand Creek in Colorado Territory.

The Church has not always fought systemic injustice; it has sometimes been an instrument of it (or silent witness to it). In this time of Thanksgiving in our country we must remember that some of our blessings came at a cost. We must also remember that we are the Church, and it is our job to create a world in which all thrive—not just a few at the expense of the many. I believe we can do this. I believe we are doing this, or I wouldn’t be talking to you now. Women in mission, driven by faith, have changed, are changing and will continue to change the world for those on the margins, even in the face of powers perpetuating a status quo that leaves women, children and youth behind. You are disciples making disciples. I join you in repenting and working toward reconciliation with those our church has wronged, and I pray this month and every day that you are blessed as you bless. Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted in From the Editor, History, Opinion, Racial justice | Leave a comment

Bright Lights (October 2016)

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Business and Professional Women Selects Honoree
Jane Swickard, local United Methodist Women president at Salem United Methodist Church in Newton, Kansas, named Woman of the Year by Newton Business and Professional Women Organization.

Walk for Homeless Held in Rehoboth
United Methodist Women at Faith United Methodist Church in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, holds its 10th Annual Walk for the Homeless.

Former Ithaca Resident Turns 100
United Methodist Women member Vera Hagemen in Ithaca, Nebraska, turns 100 years old.

Conference Aims to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking
United Methodist Women at Broadway United Methodist Church in Bowling Green, Kentucky, partner with Phoenix Rising to host forum on human trafficking.

Tuckaleechee United Methodist Plans Fall Festival
United Methodist Women at Tuckaleechee United Methodist Church in Townsend, Tennessee, host fall festival to bring together the community and raise money for mission.

Community Angels Harvest Festival
United Methodist Women at Community United Methodist Church in Fairfield, California, host “Community Angels” Harvest Festival Saturday to support programs that help women and girls.

First Methodist Hosts Annual Book Review Event
United Methodist Women of First United Methodist Church in Muskogee, Oklahoma, host annual Book Review and Bake and Book Sale fundraiser.

Annual Holiday House Bazaar
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Gaylord, Michigan, host 58th annual Holiday House bazaar.

Bridgeport Hosts Annual Conference for United Methodist Women
West Virginia Conference United Methodist Women gather at Bridgeport United Methodist Church in Bridgeport, West Virginia.

Staying Busy and Enjoying It
United Methodist Women member June Smith, at Smiths Chapel United Methodist Church in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee, celebrated by community.

Church Plans 61st Annual Barbecue
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Waverly, Nebraska, hosts annual barbecue to raise funds for mission.

Volunteers Lead to Rummage Sale Success
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Michigan, host successful rummage sale.

Supper Guarantees a Full Plate of Goodness
United Methodist Women at Menomonie United Methodist Church in Menomonie, Wisconsin, host annual Meatball Dinner and Fall Fest.

Methodist Women Set for Election Day Bazaar
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Maryville, Missouri, host election day bazaar and quilt show.

Methodist Group Holds Harvest Bazaar
United Methodist Women at Valdosta United Methodist Church in Valdosta, Georgia, hold harvest bazaar to raise funds for mission.

Hawley Memorial Women Plan Fall Bazaar
United Methodist Women at Hawley Memorial United Methodist Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, host bazaar to raise funds for mission.

Local Woman to Serve on United Methodist Women Board of Directors
Cynthia Rives, United Methodist Women member at Stephenville United Methodist Church in Stephenville, Texas, elected to United Methodist Women Board of Directors.

Local Woman to Serve on National Women’s Mission Agency Board
Cindy Saufferer, United Methodist Women member at Blooming Grove United Methodist Church in Morristown, Minnesota, elected to United Methodist Women Board of Directors.

Longtime St. James UMC Member Named to National Church Panel
Brenda Breeden, United Methodist Women member at St. James United Methodist Church in Abilene, Texas, named to United Methodist Women’s Program Advisory Group.

Dayton Business People in the News
Jane Benner, United Methodist Women member at Church of the Cross United Methodist in Dayton, Ohio, elected to United Methodist Women Board of Directors.

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How to Use This Issue (October 2016)

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Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well: A window from St. Pancras’ church in London illustrating John 4:5-42. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

Often people think that affecting change in the world requires grand gestures. But a photo that went viral on the Internet recently reminded me of how simple acts of kindness can also spark change.

In the photo, Florida State University football player Travis Rudolph eats lunch with 6th-grader Bo Paske during a visit to Montford Middle School in Tallahassee. According to Mr. Rudolph, he noticed Bo sitting alone, asked if he could join him, and the two shared a nice conversation. What Mr. Rudolph didn’t know at the time was that Bo is autistic and more times than not eats lunch alone.

When Bo’s mother, Leah Paske, received the photo from a friend, she immediately posted it on to Facebook and expressed her gratitude: “This is one day I didn’t have to worry if my sweet boy ate lunch alone, because he sat across from someone who is a hero in many eyes.” The photo got lots of attention, with Mr. Rudolph, Bo and his mom appearing on news shows and making the papers. One small gesture made a marginalized kid feel less like an outcast, lifted his mother’s spirits and, hopefully, made his classmates and school administrators reevaluate the way they treat him. Simple acts of kindness can go a long way in helping others feel worthy and loved, as this issue of response points out.

Starting with “A Fresh Wind Blowing,” Janet Wolf recounts Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan women from the Gospel of John. Here was a woman on the margins of society, an outcast among her own people. According to the mores of the day, Jesus should not have even spoken to her, and she certainly should not have been talking to him. But his simple act of kindness—engaging someone deemed unworthy and an outsider—transformed her to joyously go forth and spread the Gospel. What can you say to someone to bring them closer to God?

Rural Mission in Johns Island, South Carolina, works hard to offer shelter, food and family services to rural coastal residents and runs a Head Start program for migrant children. Recently, a group of United Methodist Women from across the Southeast lent them support by cleaning and painting and sprucing up its grounds. Read about it in “Day of Mission in South Carolina,” and give some thought to how you can assist a group or organization that may be understaffed or overtaxed.

When poor women from south of our borders flee violent circumstances in their home countries to seek asylum, sometimes with children in tow, they can meet with harsh treatment from the U.S. immigration system. “Welcoming Refugees in San Antonio” reports on the horrendous journeys that Central American woman undertake for safety and opportunity and the ways in which area United Methodist Women provide them with comfort and hope.

I’m new in my position as managing editor for response, but I’ve worked with this publication previously and have always been inspired by members’ many acts of service and advocacy for women, children and youth throughout the world. I’m thrilled to be a part of your team and mission to put faith, hope and love in action.

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Posted in Disabilities, How to Use This Issue, Immigration, service, Social justice | Leave a comment

From the President (October 2016)

Purpose in United Methodist Women

It is an honor and a privilege to introduce myself to you as your new president of the national organization of United Methodist Women. I am truly blessed to be writing this message. We are entering a time of great celebration, and it is together that we as United Methodist Women can grow and share our Purpose with all.

I was baptized and confirmed in The United Methodist Church. I was born and raised to become a United Methodist Women member.

In my 20s I lived in Boston, Massachusetts, while attending graduate school and working as a Delta flight attendant and retail manager. I moved back home to Channahon, Illinois, before leaving for the Peace Corps. It was then I officially joined United Methodist Women, in the church in which I grew up, surrounded by women who guided me toward the woman I was becoming.

Moving back to the United States after living abroad, I found work in Indianapolis, Indiana. There I found a church home North United Methodist Church. I immediately searched out United Methodist Women—in a big church, in a new city, I knew I would find comfort and purpose in United Methodist Women.

I was 11 years old when I learned about apartheid in South Africa. I cried because I
didn’t understand how children my age didn’t have the rights and freedom to go to school and learn. I ran into my mother’s arms. She explained apartheid and the injustice taking place. It was then that I realized that I would learn more and speak out against injustice.

My first School of Christian Mission, now Mission u, was in the Northern Illinois Conference, where we studied Israel-Palestine to help understand the context and conflict in the area, where men and women of faith are separated by a wall and land is being traded for life. I had taken an Islamic civilizations class in college and it helped me see a beautiful religion with more similarities than differences.

During my first year in Indianapolis, I said to my local United Methodist Women that I wanted to go to Mission u—a great way to see the conference and connectedness of this amazing organization.

When called by my conference chair of committee on nominations about serving as director on the United Methodist Women Board of Directors, I looked at my next four years, what was going on in my personal and professional life, and prayed for direction.

Clearly, my answer was yes.

My path is winding, but I have never walked it alone. Whether I knew it or not, I have always had the support of my sisters in Christ and mission through United Methodist Women. My heart is filled and my strength is renewed when I am immersed among women of faith, service and advocacy in Christ. This story is mine; what is yours? I encourage you to share your story, and to celebrate it.

SHANNON PRIDDY
President
United Methodist Women

Posted in From the President, Leadership, Legacy, Mission u, News | Leave a comment