Bright Lights (April 2015)

United Methodist Church Held Its Annual Roast Beef Dinner; Troop 72 Helped Serve
The United Methodist Women at Parsippany United Methodist Church in Parsippany, New Jersey, offer homemade baked goods and gently used jewelry for sale at the church and served their roast beef dinner with the help of a local Boy Scouts troop.

United Methodist Women to Hold Conference to End Human Trafficking in Tennessee
Cumberland District United Methodist Women in Tennessee host anti-human trafficking program “Faith-Lift to Benefit End Slavery Tennessee” conference.

April Jefferson Award Winner: Mary Adkins
Mary Adkins, vice president of United Methodist Women at Duff Street United Methodist Church in Clarksburg, West Virginia, wins local award.

Rieke’s Many Activities Have Earned Her Recognition
Longtime United Methodist Women member Mary Rieke praised by her community in Sterling, Colorado.

Carol Burnett: Raise Minimum Wages to Help Single Working Moms
Carol Burnett, executive director at national mission institution Moore Community House in Biloxi, Mississippi, offers her opinion on the way the community can better support women by raising the minimum wage.

Boundary Waters Adventures Will be Flowing During CUMC Father-Son Banquet
United Methodist Women at Chatfield United Methodist Church in Chatfield, Minnesota, bake pies for church’s annual father-son banquet, which the United Methodist Women started hosting in 1940.

Market Raises Funds for Mission
United Methodist Women at Jefferson Street United Methodist Church in Natchez, Mississippi, host successful Community-Wide Market to raise funds for mission.

From the Community: Stop Human Trafficking!
United Methodist Women at Grace United Methodist Church in Naperville, Illinois, host human trafficking forum to raise awareness.

Methodist Women Focus on Fundraising, Outreach
United Methodist Women at Hamilton United Methodist Church in Hamilton, Illinois, host cookie walk and craft show for community outreach and fund-raising for mission.

Mt. Pleasant Township Church Group Crochets “Mats for the Homeless”
United Methodist Women at Calvary United Methodist Church in Acme, Pennsylvania, use plastic grocery bags to make sleeping bags for community homeless.

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How to Use This Issue (April 2015)

He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

This month we celebrate Easter. When Jesus appeared to his disciples after the Resurrection, they didn’t recognize him. This month, look for Jesus in unexpected places, in maybe the least expected places.

The best way to use this issue is to supplement your reading or teaching of Latin America: People and Faith, the 2015-2016 United Methodist Women geographical mission study. This book will be studied at this summer’s Mission u events across the country and in Sunday school classes and United Methodist Women meetings year-round. To find the Mission u event in your area, visit www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/mission-u, and to purchase this year’s mission studies, visit our e-store.

The stories featured in this issue of response focus on Latin America, which encompasses Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Begin with the Bible Study, “An Old Problem, Always New,” by Midiam Lobaina Gámez on pages 8- 10. In this Easter month we also remember Jesus’ birth—and his family’s migration to Egypt soon after. Our foremothers and forefathers in faith have been migrating since the first stories in the Bible. Migrants are not the “other”; migration is a part of all of our stories.

What do you know about Latin America? Are you Latin American? Currently living in a Latin American country? Or is your knowledge minimal? This issue can begin or deepen your understanding of our neighbors in the south.

Paul Jeffrey’s article “Leaving Home in Central America” focuses on the countries of Central America, part of Latin America, and the socioeconomic and environmental reasons people who live in Central American countries may leave home. Our global responsibility is not just to be a welcoming place to which migrants can flee but to make all countries, everywhere, a place in which anyone would want to live. International corporations place profit over humanity everywhere, but the global south is especially vulnerable for reasons this article describes. Pick one of the countries or issues in this article and learn more about it this month.

This month we also celebrate Earth Day. United Methodist Women believes God’s creation is one for us to love and sustain, not exploit. God’s creation includes nature and our fellow humans. “Climate Change and Latin America” by Barbara Fraser on pages 30-33 helps us understand that changing our impact on God’s creation is more than just recycling (but please do keep recycling). What step toward sustainability can you vow to practice this month, individually or as a group? Our Be Just. Be Green. page on the United Methodist Women website has ways you can begin.

Ending domestic violence is another priority area for United Methodist Women. María de los Àngeles Roberto shares some of the unique—and not so unique—ways domestic violence affects Latin America and some of the steps being taken to prevent it. Let this article inspire you to revisit your church’s standing as a safe place for survivors of intimate partner violence to turn. One in four women in the United States has experienced domestic violence; she may be the woman next to you in your pew.

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From the President (April 2015)

Say What?

I have been known to have excellent hearing. Sometimes I can smile and walk away from conversations I wasn’t meant to hear, but other times my heart tells me to share some faithful insight. Some might call it being “nosy,” but I call it being responsible.

Recently I overheard one United Methodist say to another, “I can’t believe the women’s group doesn’t give money to the church for its building funds.”

I politely asked if he was speaking of the local United Methodist Women. He was.

I explained that United Methodist Women members do give financially to their local churches. “As members of God’s church we are required to give to the church of which we are members,” I said. I told him that pledged funds to United Methodist Women are second mile giving—beyond what members give to their church. They support United Methodist Women’s national mission institutions, international scholarships and grants, leadership and educational training events and more.

The man just stared back.

I asked, “Does your church have a building fundraising committee? Have you asked some of those wonderful, dynamic United Methodist Women members to serve on the committee?”

He gave me a nod and walked away.

As people of God we give so our local churches will continue to be a beacon of hope as they shine the light showing the way for others.

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse,” says Malachi 3:10, “so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.” We are proud, faithful and loyal members of our churches and of United Methodist Women.

United Methodist Women members who are members of local churches give first to their church and second to United Methodist Women. Second-mile giving supports the work of United Methodist Women as tasked to us by The United Methodist Church.

This second-mile giving allows women to come together on a spectacular faith journey living out our Purpose. It allows our national mission institutions to transform communities, helping survivors of human trafficking, providing affordable child care, feeding homeless children, offering job skills and parenting programs, offering a home for retired missionaries and deaconesses, restoring pride and dignity to individuals across the country. It trains women to be leaders in their church, community and country. It empowers women, children and students around the world to achieve a better life. It puts faith, hope and love into action.

As United Methodist Women members we are called to listen—and to be ready to say, “Say what? Let me tell you the real story.” Speak up! We have a lot to say about turning faith, hope and love into action on behalf of women, children and youth around the world. We’ve been doing it for almost 150 years. Continue to listen, and to be ready to say, “Say what?”

YVETTE KIM RICHARDS
President
United Methodist Women

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Nepal Photo Essay

The March issue of response features a photo essay by Nile Sprague on our partnership with United Mission to Nepal. Nile has won a Wilbur Award for this personal photo essay from Nepal! Congrats, Nile!

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A Year of Mercy: An Extraordinary Jubilee

The April issue of response features an article from Jubilee USA, an alliance of more than 75 U.S. organizations, 400 faith communities and 50  global partners working to build an economy that serves, protects and promotes participation of the most vulnerable by promoting poverty reduction and solutions to the international debt crisis. United Methodist Women and The United Methodist Church are part of this coalition (see Resolutions 4053 and 4054 in The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church).

Recently Pope Francis declared a special jubilee year from December 2015 to November 2016. The Catholic Church celebrates “ordinary” jubilee every 25 years but a few times has celebrated “extraordinary” jubilees. Many have high hopes that this Year of Mercy really will be extraordinary. Jubilee USA was recently featured on NPR’s Marketplace talking about this jubilee year in the report “Pope pushes on with Vatican financial reforms.”

Leviticus 25 explains the biblical Year of Jubilee in which slaves are freed and debts are forgiven.

Jubilee USA’s article in April’s issue of response discusses the global harm of vulture funds which take advantage of developing countries and hurt the most vulnerable.

In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus states, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

What do you think about Pope Francis’s declaration? How is The United Methodist Church fulfilling its jubilee intentions? What role do all people of faith need to play in reforming global economic practices?

How can we release the captives and set the oppressed free? As followers of Christ, it’s our calling. Let’s figure it out.

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From the Editor (April 2015)

Apr15coverUnited Methodist Women foremothers learned early on that education was going to be a key factor if they were to be effective in answering God’s call to mission with women, children and youth. Their zeal for mission was certain, but it was soon apparent to them that more than passion would be needed. And so in 1930 their Woman’s Home Missionary Society started the Schools of Christian Mission program with a study on India and Caribbean Islands. The women quickly added youth and children’s studies, spiritual growth emphases as well as geographic and contemporary issues. Over the years the program grew, and the women also learned the importance of not only learning about neighbors around the world but also listening to them as the experts of their own lives. And over the years, the women began to understand that they were also in mission with themselves, as the Holy Spirit turned the knowledge they gained in the studies into wisdom that transformed them and informed their daily lives and mission outreach.

Today the structured mission education program the foremothers began is called Mission u: Learning Together for the Transformation of the World. Each year more than 20,000 people participate in Mission u events organized by conference organizations of United Methodist Women, sometimes in cooperation with the annual conference. Women also use the mission studies in district and local events.

And we are still learning about the benefits of learning about and from our neighbors across the globe. As we hear the stories of sisters around the world, we learn that while deserts, rivers, oceans and more may separate us, we still have much in common. This issue of response focuses on the 2015-2016 geographic theme that will be studied in Mission u events in every conference: Latin America—People and Faith. Read this issue of response and plan to attend a Mission u near you. Find one at www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/mission-u.

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Bright Lights (March 2015)

Elm Creek United Methodist Women Assist Driver’s Education Students
United Methodist Women in Elm Creek, Nebraska, helps students pay for driver’s education classes.

Over 100 Families Signed Up for Help
United Methodist Women at Paupack United Methodist Church in Paupack, Pennsylvania, help church help the underserved.

Dyersburg Alternative School Adopted by Churches, Fraternity
The United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men of Hughlett, Lighthouse and Ross United Methodist churches have partnered with the local chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity to adopt the Dyersburg/Dyer County Alternative School to begin a mentoring program in Dyersburg, Tennessee.

United Methodist Women Dishes Up Hundreds of Potatoes
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Stephenville, Texas, host annual potato luncheon fundraiser.

Albion Church Honors Sandy Andrews
United Methodist Women of Albion First United Methodist Church in Albion, New York, honor Sandy Andrews with a Special Mission Recognition pin.

Food Brings Crown to Annual Thomaston United Methodist Church Easter Bazaar
The United Methodist Women at Thomaston United Methodist Church in Thomaston, Connecticut, sponsored a cookie walk, baked goods for sale, a teacup auction and food at its annual Easter bazaar.

First United Methodist Church of McKinney Hosts Event on Child Sex Trafficking
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in McKinney, Texas, co-sponsor forum on child sex trafficking with Traffick911.

Holly Neal Has Her Day
United Methodist Women member honored in Cumberland County, Tennessee, for Women’s History Month.

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