World Thank Offering


United Methodist Women and our foremothers have used the World Thank Offering since 1881 to give thanks to God for our blessedness and to share our love with others. As one of the five channels of giving, the World Thank Offering supports United Methodist Women-related national mission institutions and projects as well as international ministries. The November program [PDF] in the 2015-2016 United Methodist Women Program Book focuses on the World Thank Offering and offers a great way for your United Methodist Women group to share God’s love and celebrate God’s abundance in this season of Thanksgiving.

Both the Program Book and World Thank Offering boxes and labels are available at, or download boxes and labels free at At that site you can also give online. We thank God for United Methodist Women and for giving us the opportunity to meet the physical and social needs of women, children and youth around the world. May we act with courage, strength and generosity to be the blessings we are meant to be in the world.

Let your thank-yous to God be blessings for others this month as you continue our tradition of joyful giving so that all may live joyful lives. Happy Thanksgiving.

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How to Use This Issue (November 2016)


I love traveling. Most years, Thanksgiving and Christmas are times to visit family in upstate New York, Illinois or Florida. But this year, we’re staying put. That’s right—the holidays can also be a time to enjoy the blessings of home.

So it is with the gifts of United Methodist Women. You do not have to go far to find the joys and hopes of our sisterhood. As you plan your United Methodist Women gatherings, consider building a program using this issue as your guide. Follow the eight sections of the magazine: Think, Learn, Live, Give, Feature, Listen, Act, Pray.

Think: Start with the “r list.” November is American Indian and Native Alaskan Heritage Month. Ask for a moment of silence to remember and celebrate the gifts of the indigenous peoples of our lands.

Learn: Take note of two or three paragraphs from Sharon Delgado’s “Climate Change and Global Migration: Signs of the Times.” She says, “Climate justice is an extension of United Methodist Women’s decades-long work on environmental justice, in solidarity with those who are disproportionately impacted by toxic pollution.” Lift up the topic of climate justice as a call to creation care for United Methodist Women.

Live: We definitely have a sense of humor! Consider the good-natured fun of the women at Winona Park United Methodist Church in Waycross, Georgia, written about by Debbie Ragsdale on page 15. Using 20 pink fla-mingos, the women planted them on neighbors’ yards as a fundraiser. People paid to have a flock visit or not visit a nearby yard. Read this funny Bright Light and share a smile as you enjoy our lively gift of humor.

Give: Give your time. This holiday season remember the nearly 100 national mission institutions in our United Methodist Women family, such as the Wesley Education Center, featured in this issue, which has been a haven for children for nearly a century. Reach out to a national mission institution near you and find out how you can volunteer.

Feature: “The Continuing Struggle for Roman Rights” by Beryl Goldberg follows up on the 2013-2014 mission study The Roma of Europe. Ask your United Methodist sisters and brothers to attend Mission u this summer. The upcoming studies are on human sexuality, climate justice and Latin America.

Listen: Read the powerful story “Love, Hope and Second Chances” by Meghann Perry. These words are a call to understand and love those whom others might judge. Or invite a member of your circle or church to read from the Korean and/or Spanish language stories. The beauty of our diverse languages surely reminds us to include many voices in our shared sisterhood.

Act: Shake a box for the World Thank Offering and hear it jingle. Order and use these foldable cardboard boxes or attach a label to a container to collect money for mission. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to count blessings and share them through the World Thank Offering.

Pray: Close your gathering with the prayer. Use the call and response and close with this unison prayer, “Creator, bless these women.” Amen.

May you, too, feel blessed this holiday season, whether you travel or stay close to home.

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From the President (November 2016)

A Thankful Heart!

Time passes by so fast. Sometimes when I look back I think, “I should have …” or “I could have …” or “Dang it—why didn’t I do that?” I am sure you can relate. I hope United Methodist Women helps you turn “I could have” into “I am so glad I did!”

I am so thankful for this organization called United Methodist Women. My life has been blessed and enriched beyond measure, so this November for Thanksgiving I am making sure to share this blessing with others, with our young women, the next generation to carry forth this vision of turning faith, hope and love into action.

Special relationships have formed over the years that have impacted my life in United Methodist Women, so many opportunities have been given to me. Call it paying it forward or, what I like to call it, simply having fun with the young people. I appreciate the younger generation’s willingness to engage in mission work. We all have gifts of God’s talents and treasures to offer one another. Spending time together as multiple generations leads to new understandings of ways to worship and serve God. The scripture tell us, “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). From newly graduated to newly retired—we must partner with everyone in learning the new ways of coming together.

We know that our work together brings greater awareness to the importance of issues affecting our society. My heart fills with joy when I see a young person who grew up in this organization remain a part of it throughout her stages of life. I am grateful to one particular young lady for providing some extra special care during Assembly 2014, when my broken arm was in a bright pink cast.

Ariel Murphy has been going to United Methodist Women meetings with her mother, Tanya, and grandmother, Irene, all her life. Naturally she would carry on the legacy. She is part of our Limitless: Redefine Tomorrow movement, and she is finding her own way as a United Methodist Women leader by starting a circle on campus at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia. Ms. Murphy has called United Methodist Women important in her life because it has opened up doors for her.

“I’ve been in United Methodist Women since I was born,” she said, “and I have meet people that have impacted my life ever since. Mentoring has a positive impact on my life because it has help me to stay on the right path and keep relationship with people.”

You too can be a mentor. Give a young woman a subscription to response. Invite her to a meeting or event as your guest. Provide a scholarship to a United Methodist Women event, such as Mission u or Leadership Development Days. Offer her an opportunity to plan part of the annual meeting or spiritual growth retreat (and then actually let her plan it). Send encouraging message through cards, texts or phone calls.

Be a blessing to someone! Make it a time in your life showing God how you are thankful. Pass it on!

United Methodist Women

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From the Editor (November 2015)

Response November 2015 Front Cover“The necessity of a periodical to represent this missionary work was soon discussed. Some feared it might not be sustained; but friendly hands were ready to support it, among the rest Mr. Lewis Flanders, who offered to aid the experiment to the extent of $500, if necessary. So encouraged, the first number of the Heathen Woman’s Friend was issued in the month of May, under the editorship of Mrs. Wm. F. Warren, and it has since proved its great value to the enterprise. It now ranks as one of the first missionary papers of the world.”

This excerpt comes from The Story of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society by Frances J. Baker (pages 17-18).  Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the founding organization of what would become United Methodist Women, was established March 23, 1869. At the very time of its founding these women who met at Tremont Church in Boston, Massachusetts, knew they needed a way to tell their story. A periodical. And two months later their first magazine was published. The necessity of a periodical to represent our mission work lives on today through response magazine. I’m honored, proud and blessed to get to continue this work of sharing stories of women in mission—your work. Thank you.

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Announcing: Digital response!

United Methodist Women is excited to announce:
response digital subscriptions are now live!


response, the official magazine of United Methodist Women, now has a digital companion. The 48-page magazine published 11 times a year can now be read on your tablet, e-reader, phone or computer.

And for your patience during this launch, we are offering full download of the November 2015 issue for free. (November subscribers will receive a bonus December 2016 issue.)

One-year digital subscriptions are available for $20—15 percent off the print price. And current and new print subscribers can access the digital version for free!

Now is a great time to subscribe to response, or give response as a gift!

Help us share the story of women in mission as we continue to put faith, hope and love into action for women, children, youth and families around the world.

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Bright Lights (October 2015)

Vigil Remembers Domestic Violence Victims, Honors Survivors
United Methodist Women from Rock Grove United Methodist Church in Salisbury, North Carolina, attend community vigil on domestic violence awareness.

For the Love of Noodles and Angel Food: Berthoud Church has Annual Fair
Since 1975, United Methodist Women at Berthoud United Methodist Church in Berthoud, Colorado, has hosted an egg noodle and angel food cake fundraiser.

CASEY’s Cupboard Helps Those in Need With Household Items
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Newark, Ohio, begin new outreach mission offering household goods to those who need them.

Margaret’s Memories: Church Women’s Group Gives Gereaved Parents “Memory Boxes”
Margaret’s Memories is a mission project of the Circle of Grace United Methodist Women’s circle at Riverside Park United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, making bereavement memory boxes for parents who lost a child to miscarriage, stillbirth or death shortly after birth.

Local Church’s Annual Guest Night Provides Talk from Award-winning Climate Expert
United Methodist Women at Faith United Methodist Church in Waseca, Minnesota, host community forum on climate change.

Floresville Methodist Church to Mark 140 Years
United Methodist Women at Floresville United Methodist Church in Floresville, Texas, are a key part of how the church has served its community for 140 years.

Church’s Sale, Luncheon to Benefit BRASS, SERRV
United Methodist Women at Broadway United Methodist Church in Bowling Green, Kentucky, host fundraiser to support the Barren River Area Safe Space and Sales and Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation and Vocation.

United Methodist Women to Host Annual Bazaar
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church of Maryville in Maryville, Missouri, host annual bazaar fundraiser with the theme “To everything there is a season.”

Choir Presents Concert to Benefit Talbot Interfaith Shelter
United Methodist Women of Union United Methodist Church in St. Michaels, Maryland, host concert to benefit local homeless shelter.

Joyful Noise at Gospel Song Fest
United Methodist Women at Curtis United Methodist Church in Bishopville, Maryland, host (and sing in) gospel song festival.

Toberman Reunion and the Challenge of Recovering Forgotten Memories
United Methodist Women supported national mission institution Toberman Neighborhood Center in San Pedro, California, hosts reunion and reflects on United Methodist Women’s role in the center’s history and outreach.

Plenty to See, Taste at Apple Butter Festival in Shelby
United Methodist Women at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Shelby, North Carolina, host Apple Butter Festival.

It’s Apple Butter Time! Local Church Stirs Up Season’s Best Spread
United Methodist Women at Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church in Chuckey, Tennessee, host annual apple butter fundraiser.

Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church Annual Bazaar
United Methodist Women at Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church in Reisterstown, Maryland, host annual bazaar fundraiser.

Holiday Harvest
United Methodist Women at Los Altos United Methodist Church in Los Altos, California, host Holiday Craft Faire to support local and global mission.

Bazaars Feature Tasty Fall Favorites
Apple dumplings from Fontana United Methodist Women and oatmeal cake with broiled coconut icing by Osawatomie First United Methodist Women are hits in Missouri.

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How to Use This Issue (October 2015)

tearsI cried in church last week. The song “Here I Am, Lord” moved me. I was coming to terms with worries and sorrows—my children growing up, and my husband’s Parkinson’s Disease.

I felt embarrassed crying in public, worried that my fellow worshipers would think I was weak or in need of help. I know intellectually that church is a safe place for tears—after all, we cry for joy at weddings or with grief at funerals. But I could not shake the feeling that I should not be crying on an ordinary Sunday. At times, I am caught in this trap of caretaking, feeling I should be the one to comfort others and not need comfort.

Then I remember that it is through our tear-filled, vulnerable moments when we discover what truly matters. The next day I read this quote from Brené Brown in her new book Daring Greatly: “Vulnerability isn’t good or bad. … Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.”

I cry because I am vulnerable and because I care. Perhaps, like me, you have tears for yourself, family, work, church, community, nation or world. After a good cry, we can share our vulnerability. I like to write about my emotions. After expressing feelings, we can then roll up our sleeves and see how to make it better. This can-do attitude, of which United Methodist Women is famous, resonates with me.

Some of the articles in this issue of response offer opportunities to discuss the vulnerable places in our lives and communities. In Rachel Patman’s Bible study, “Holy Nagging: Advocating for Domestic Violence Survivors,” we are led to talk about unequal status and power and control. We can also read one woman’s experience of growing up in an abusive situation and her resolve to not pass on that abuse to her daughter in “Ending the Cycle” by Samantha York.

Take note of “Strengthening the Ties that Bind Us” by Laura Sonnemark for National Justice for Our Neighbors. This story may inspire you to volunteer. Or follow in Dixie Liggett’s footsteps, described in “Having a Heart.” Visit a local community center, send funds to a mission partner on the border or organize a churchwide workshop, providing the facts around the United Methodist policies on immigration. Build a supportive community so that all women feel welcome into United Methodist Women. Notice the times and places where you tear up, be it reading, writing or singing in church on Sunday. Set aside judgment about how women express their vulnerabilities.

After all, emotions are a gift from God, a chance to share our common humanity and show us what really counts. Believe that your prayers and tears are heard. As the first line of the song “Here I Am, Lord” by Daniel Schutte, expresses, “I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry.” Take comfort.

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