Happy New Year! It’s a particularly busy time for United Methodist Women as we prepare for Assembly, May 18 -20, in Columbus, Ohio. Assembly is an opportunity for all members to come together to network, worship and participate in a host of exciting activities we have planned. Join us in celebrating The Power of Bold! Visit http://www.umwassembly.org/ register to register by April 9.
I’m reminded of our quote “When women unite, bold and courageous actions happen!” in this month’s Bible study, “A Powerful No,” by the Rev. Sara Baron on pages 8 to 11. In it, Baron references the courageous acts of Queen Vashti and Methodist foremother Abigail Harkness as inspiration for us all to be courageous in the work and advocacy we do. Together, she says, “we have the power to say no to what is wrong and yes to opportunities for justice.” What’s an issue that your group would most like to tackle with a powerful no? Come up with ways to let your stance be known and enlist other women, within and outside of your church, to join in.
“I felt very strongly God wanted me to be a bridge between church and the world,” says Deaconess Melba McCallum in “Walking in the Will of God,” by Michelle Bearden, on pages 16 to 20. McCallum speaks about how she stepped out on faith, committing her post-retirement life to God and community as founder of Partners in Ministry, a nonprofit operation in Rockingham, North Carolina, that helps at-risk youth, low-income seniors and underserved women.
“Sisterhood of Survivors,” by Jessica Brodie on pages 22 to 25, tells the story of Killingsworth, a century-old residence in South Carolina that was once a residence for young women students and now houses women who are emerging from crisis. Killingsworth board president Flo Johnson considers United Methodist Women the “heart” of this institution. Through your donations, volunteer help and prayer, she says, residents “move on in life and contribute to society.” In this issue, we’ve also provided our annual response index, a comprehensive list of articles and topics contained in each issue from 2016, on pages 26 to 33. Please refer to it for articles and mission focuses that you may have missed or those you’d like to reread or use as source material.
In “Young Women Find Their Voices” by Mary Beth Coudal on pages 36 to 38, read how United Methodist Women recently addressed lack of women’s voices in the peace process at the 10th Asian Young Leadership Development Seminar, held in Ho Chi Minh City , Vietnam. Says the Rev. Hikari Kokai Chang, one of the event’s organizers, “Asian women need to find and raise their voices and learn what they can do.”
These days, raising teenage girls to be confident and self-assured amid celebrity culture, explicit song lyrics and relentless social media is not an easy task. In “Raising a Teenage Daughter,” on pages 39 to 41, Melissa Abdool speaks frankly about the challenges she faced during her daughter’s adolescence and how being a United Methodist Women member helped her gain perspective and gave her the tools to establish positive communication between them both. As a group, think of ways that you can better support teens and include them in your faith community in this new year.