How to Use This Issue (July/August 2017)

Bethlehem Center

A teacher rocks a baby in one of the early childhood development programs at Bethlehem Center, a United Methodist Women-supported national mission institution in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo: Jim West)

A recent segment of CBS Sunday Morning featured Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and cofounder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, speaking about a cause dear to her: assisting women. Gates had to sell her husband on her new focus. “He thought women’s issues … were ‘soft’ issues,” she said. “Now, it’s a priority for him.”

United Methodist Women members know that women’s issues are not “soft” issues. They deserve serious attention. We know that empowering women has positive ripple effects that benefit families and communities. We must continue to enlighten the world.

Jesus lived a life of service and encouraged those around him to do the same. In “Therefore Go With the Winds That Carry,” on pages 8-12, Regional Missionary Elmira Sellu points out how the directive “go” appears throughout Jesus’ ministry. Going forth to improve the lives of the disadvantaged is what United Methodist Women is about, and we must continue to “leave our comfort zones and go out to make a difference in this hurting world.” Think about how you as an individual, unit or conference have made a difference, then think of ways to go further in mission. What would it require?

Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence report that nearly 20 people are physically abused by a partner every minute in the United States. Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are victimized most. “Providing Shelter in Vermont,” on pages 18-22, tells how Vermont District United Methodist Women, through Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter, are providing a haven to women and children. Some safe houses accept gently used women’s and children’s clothes, bed sheets and towels. Identify one in your area or a national mission institution and arrange for your group or church to make donations or volunteer in ways the organization needs.

The rate of gentrification in cities across the country is displacing low-income residents and hindering access to resources. Such is the case in Charlotte, North Carolina, where United Methodist Women-supported Bethlehem Center has been a resource since 1940. “Support for a Changing Community,” on pages 24-29, tells how the center continues vital work in the face of change. The current presidential administration’s plan to cut $10.6 billion from the education budget means the end of a host of programs that serve students in need. How can we help children succeed academically? Encourage your group members to learn about educational disparities in your area and brainstorm some ways to address it, from homework help to school supply drives to advocating for funding for education programs.

The Maasai of Kenya have maintained 400-year-old culture, but industrialization is now disrupting their way of life. “A Foundation of Hope for Maasai Women,” on pages 30 to 36, describes how one foundation is training the women with skills to give them more agency within their society.

In “Our One Great Big Beautiful Biblical God” on pages 38 to 39, the Rev. Leigh Goodrich offers an interesting perspective on our language for God. Expanding it, she says, can be a liberating step in our spiritual journey. Give it a try!

reponse will resume in September. Until then have a happy, safe summer.

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