April 4 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee. We all know about that tragic day either because we remember it or learned about it at some point. But let’s also remember why he was in Memphis: to lead a peaceful march in support of sanitation workers who endured horrendous job conditions in which two men lost their lives. Let us be inspired by King’s steadfastness as we, too, advocate for the helpless and those whose voices aren’t heard.
“Embrace Wholeness” is the title of this month’s Bible study by Faye Wilson, on pages 8 to 11, as well as the theme of this year’s spiritual growth study. When we embrace the sacred in creation, in our communities and in ourselves, we begin to see how connected we are to one another and to earth and all its bounty. It’s a realization that fortifies us and helps us to focus on the ways in which we can work to make the world better. At your next meeting, use the reflection exercises contained in the Bible study to engage members about their personal experiences in covenantal living.
According to Ellen Lipsey, a jurisdiction guide for United Methodist Women’s Be Just. Be Green program, being whole means seeking wholeness for everyone and everything around us. In her article “Spiritual Wholeness and Climate Justice” on pages 18 to 20, she shares what led her to environmental activism. Caring for creation, she says, requires changing systems and structures that marginalize whole communities of earth.
Honor creation by celebrating Earth Day on April 22. This year’s theme is “End Plastic Pollution.” The Earth Day Network offers three toolkits—“Plastics Pollution Primer,” “Earth Day Action” and “Plastics Pollution Teach-In”—that you can download and use to plan events at your church or in your community.
I’m an Assembly newbie and am looking forward to attending this enormous gathering of United Methodist Women. Irma Clark’s “See You at Assembly,” on pages 16 and 17, offers a personal retrospective of every Assembly she has attended since 1982. By the way, she plans to be at Assembly 2018. Will we see you there? To register, visit UMWAssembly.org/register. The deadline is April 9.
Annette Spence had the opportunity to travel around to various conference Mission u events during 2017. In “Transforming Through Education at Mission u,” on pages 22 to 25, read what first-time and returning students say about the experience. Mission u offers an in-depth look at current mission study topics and how they play out in the world. Conferences are already preparing for this year’s studies. To learn more, visit unitedmethodistwomen.org/mission-u.
For Kimberly Burton, becoming part of United Methodist Women brought her back to the church and immersed her in mission that eventually took her to Cuba. Our organization, she says, “…gives me wonderful purpose and shows me what life can and should be like.” Read about her journey in “Limitless Cuba” on pages 38 to 40.
The United Methodist Women Legacy Fund is a forward-looking permanently invested endowment, the earnings of which will strengthen our organization so that future giving can be even more directly linked to our projects and partners, addressing injustice and alleviating suffering. Please help us reach our goal of $60 million with a regular contribution. In the 21st century, the world needs women organized for mission.