June is my favorite month—a time for weddings, my anniversary, the last day of school, graduation and the first day of summer camp. It is also a special time for a favorite new hobby: I take photographs of flowers in nearby Riverside Park. The most eye-popping beautiful weekend of the year for nature in New York City, to me, is the first weekend in June.
New York City may not be known for nature, but living near and working in United Methodist Women’s offices which abut Riverside Park, I cannot help but notice the beauty of the summer blossoms.
Reading this issue’s challenging Bible study, “Do Not Be Conformed to This World,” reminds me that God’s beautiful creation is in crisis. Author Carol Barton gives us a wake-up call. We are called to practice justice—for the climate and for our fellow humans. We must do this every single day. Ms. Barton asks us to look at our patterns of garbage disposal, car use, food sustainability and carbon emissions. She also asks us to advocate for society’s divestment from fossil fuel reliance. Her message? Do not conform. Transform.
This nonconformist message and public witness is found in another call for justice. Members of United Methodist Women in Florida stand with the farmworkers who grow our food. In Michelle Bearden’s “Victory for Farmworkers” we learn of their social action.
To bring disparate people together for the betterment of the community is one nonconformist message woven throughout the issue and throughout United Methodist Women. The national mission institution written of in “Building Bonds at Murphy- Harpst” by Ansley Brackin is a place to cherish children who have shown great resilience in trying life circumstances. Celebrate our United Methodist Women sisters who have made personalized pillowcases for children who have been abused or neglected. This is one small, meaningful action members of United Methodist Women take to create a home for healing. Visit a national mission institution near you and discover the amazing people there. When we come to serve, we discover we are served.
Members of United Methodist Women have a passion for serving alongside survivors of difficult circumstances. Take note of “Life After Trafficking” by Gohar Grigoryan. Women caught in trafficking can reenter society safely, the result of a partnership between UMCOR and United Methodist Women. In our United Methodist Women circles, we too connect with other United Methodist, ecumenical and local agencies. We are always stronger when we are united.
In our local community, church and nation, we are inheritors of a great many women who showed us how to build bridges. I am inspired by the life and witness of Pauli Murray, also featured in this issue. I first learned of Ms. Murray through an animated video produced by United Methodist Women.
So as I set out to snap my pictures of June’s abundant flowers, I invite you too to embrace a new hobby as if it were your morning prayer. Thank you for your continuing work on behalf of God’s creations. And I pray we continue to make justice for all a reality.
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