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.