Bright Lights (March 2018)

BLMar18

Cross Lanes United Methodist Church ministry aids drug-addicted babies
United Methodist Women at Cross Lanes United Methodist Church in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, support “Soothe & Glow” program to provide musical comfort to babies born addicted to drugs.

A growing symbol of gratitude: Woman receives oak tree honor for service to community
Local United Methodist Women president Ilene Miller honored in Temple, Texas.

Mrs. Sarah P. Robinson Celebrates 100th Birthday
United Methodist Women member Sarah Robinson in Savannah, Georgia, turns 100.

Letter to the Editor-United Methodist Women advocate for climate justice legislation
Missouri Conference United Methodist Women encourage Missouri lawmakers to enable new models that make affordable, local community solar energy an option for building energy independence and resiliency.

Forrest Burdette UMC’s candy egg factory
United Methodist Women at Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church in Hurricane, West Virginia, made 3,600 candy Easter eggs for church’s spring festival.

Shoes for Students collection already starting at St. Matthew UMC
United Methodist Women at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Weston, West Virginia, collect shoes for students in need.

Elegant Clutter sale features upscale items
United Methodist Women at Elmont United Methodist Church in Elmont, Kansas, hold upscale good sale for mission.

Giving Back: Cunningham Children’s Home Festival of Quilts
Local United Methodist Women make quilts for United Methodist Women-supported Cunningham Children’s Home in Champaign, Illinois.

United Methodist Women plan annual rummage sale
United Methodist Women of the Lehman-Idetown United Methodist Church in Lehman, Pennsylvania, to host rummage sale fundraiser for mission.

Hoover police hold forum on human trafficking
United Methodist Women at Bluff Park United Methodist Church in Hoover, Alabama, host human trafficking education event.

United Methodist Women celebrate spring
United Methodist Women at Harpersville United Methodist Church in Harpersville, Alabama, host spring luncheon.

Serving others strengthens Anderson’s faith
United Methodist Women member Anita Anderson in Monmouth, Iowa, puts faith, hope and love into action.

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How To Use This Issue (March 2018)

Little Ladies Sewing Circle Oklahoma

United Methodist Women members of First United Methodist Church in Enid, Oklahoma founded the Little Ladies Sewing Circle to develop creative fellowship and mission among grade school girls. From right to left Sue Schmidt, Sue Ann Niles and Janet Bennett help the girls make Christmas stocking that will be filled and donated to Cookson Hills Center United Methodist Mission. Photo: Boyce Bowden

March is Women’s History Month, a time for observing and commemorating the vital role women play in society. As United Methodist Women members, we’ve played a vital role in the lives of women, children and youth since our inception. Share the articles in this special legacy issue of response with your church members, family and friends to promote the work that we all do.

One of the strengths of our mission institutions is how they have been able to assess and respond to changing needs in the communities they serve. Richard Lord writes about one such institution, Wesley-Rankin Community Center, in his article “When Housing Is Unaffordable” on pages 20 to 23. In it he describes how the 84-year-old center is currently helping area residents who are being displaced from their neighborhood because of gentrification. Lack of affordable housing is at a crisis point in the United States, affecting people in cities, suburbs and rural areas alike. Research shows that low-income households with children and those headed by women face the highest rates of eviction. Dedicate a group meeting to a conversation about housing insecurity and how it affects communities. To prepare, visit Just Shelter (www.justshelter.org), a resource raising awareness about the human cost of insufficient affordable housing.

Sankofa is a Ghanaian word that translates to “go back and get it.” The concept of Sankofa is that by reflecting on the wisdom of the past we ensure a strong future. This issue reflects on United Methodist Women’s past and serves as inspiration for our future.

We reached back into our archives for “In the Beginning” by Yvette Moore on pages 24 to 27. It’s a brief history on the group of women that formed United Metho-dist Women. To learn more about our rich history, visit http://www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/
legacystories. Another great historical resource is the book With Unveiled Face by Theressa Hoover, passages from which appear in the section introductions in this issue.

“A Legacy of Service” on pages 28 to 31 focuses on long-time United Methodist Women member Vera Moore, whose distinguished legacy includes serving in numerous positions on local, district and conference levels as well as on boards and committees of The United Methodist Church. A self-described “multitasker,” at age 81 she continues her service by helping keep our online and social media presence on track and by mentoring the next generation. We’re always eager to hear from you about how you came to be a United Methodist Women member and how doing so has helped you grow. Send your stories to response editor Tara Barnes at tbarnes@unitedmethodistwomen.org so that we can share them with others.

“Ministries of Love, Justice and Service,” on pages 34 to 37, traces the evolution of the deaconess and home missioner movement in The United Methodist Church. Says writer and deaconess Amanda Mountain, “We form a covenant community that is rooted in Scripture, informed by history, driven by mission, ecumenical in scope and global in outreach.”

March 23 marks our fourth annual Day of Giving that supporting the Legacy Fund, a permanent endowment dedicated to the work of future generations of United Methodist Women. Organize a Day of Giving fund-raiser at your church and share articles from response to enlighten your congregation about the many ways that we put faith, hope and love in action.

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From the President (March 2018)

Making an Imprint

Your life is about the imprint that you’re making. Use your voice. Be vocal. Women fought for us for years, and years, and years, so that we would have the rights that we do. Not using your voice is an assault on them and what they did for us.
—Chelsea Handler

I wouldn’t normally pick a comedian for inspiration, and Chelsea Handler can be seen as polarizing. However, this month as we celebrate United Methodist Women and the building of our Legacy Fund, her words are spot on—especially as they come from an interview in which she talks about leaving her talk show to help work to get women elected to public office and women’s rights prioritized.

Growing up with a mother active in United Methodist Women, I listened as the small groups of women spoke of spiritual growth through Bible studies and service to others. I watched as cookies were baked and sold, as funds were sent to mission, as support was given to women in need. These simple acts made up what would become the foundation for my choice to be part of United Methodist Women. I don’t believe these women in the local units ever knew that anyone was watching and learning, quietly taking it all in. These women made an imprint on my life.

I was invited into United Methodist Women, not once but many times and in many different ways. I became a United Methodist Women member by choosing to attend circle meetings and participating as a local and then a conference officer, and I learned to use my voice. First I modeled my voice on the women I watched stand in faith and solidarity with the marginalized. Then I found my own voice, knowing I was not standing alone. I may not be the loudest voice, but because of United Methodist Women, I know I am not the only voice. United Methodist Women has a legacy of growing leaders.

As a United Methodist Women member, I continually share stories of our work and of the opportunities we offer for leadership development, spiritual growth, transformative education, and service and advocacy. I am always amazed when women from United Methodist churches say things like, “I had no idea United Methodist Women did that!” Obviously, we need to practice using our voice! And we better invite women to join.

I am called to be a United Methodist Women member. My life’s work is to become the disciple of Christ God created me to become. I do this with United Methodist Women, with a community of women developing a creative, supportive fellowship and expanding concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church. The women who came before us stand next to us. It is in every mission dollar raised and in the personal gifts we give to support the Legacy Fund, a permanent endowment to help future generations of United Methodist Women put faith, hope and love into action. I invite you this month to reconnect, invite and give to United Methodist Women, especially to the Legacy Fund (visit http://www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/150 or call 800-278-7771). Become the legacy you want to leave for future women.

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From the Editor (March 2018)

My daughter, Iris, was born Sept. 18, 2017. She’s a happy, funny little girl who definitely knows how to use her voice. You’ll find her most Sunday mornings sleeping on her daddy’s shoulder in the back pew at church. She played Baby Jesus in our church’s Christmas pageant and regularly attends the church’s women’s book club. I’ll soon be reading her children’s books from the United Methodist Women Reading Program. If you go to United Methodist Women’s Assembly 2018 this May, you’ll likely see her there.

It’s my job to provide my children food, clothing, safety and love, a love that enables them to love boldly in return, that lets them know how to be good people. A faith community, to me, is an essential part of their learning the actions of love. So I’m working to provide this for them as well. Our local United Methodist church and the worldwide connection of United Methodist Women will give them a strong foundation of faith, hope and love in action.

Being part of United Methodist Women has taught me so much about the role of faith in my life and in the world. Being Christian is not a solitary act. It requires a creative, supportive community in which to grow and change and one in which prayers lead to action. The church needs women organized for women. The world needs women organized for mission. Iris needs women organized for mission.

On March 23, the anniversary of the founding of what would become United Methodist Women and our annual Day of Giving, I will be making a donation to the Legacy Fund in Iris’s name to help ensure future generations have the same benefit I—and many women around the world—have had by having United Methodist Women at work in the world.

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Bright Lights (February 2018)

BLFeb18

Continuing the tradition
United Methodist Women at Middleport United Methodist Church in Middleport, Ohio, continue longtime tradition of making and delivering cookies to those needing cheer.

Community pulls together to help those in need
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Paris, Texas, join others to help those who are homeless in Lamar County.

Canton United Methodist Women donate stuffed lions to funeral home
United Methodist Women at Canton United Methodist Church in Canton, NY, purchased and blessed 10 “Rory the Lions” for local funeral home.

Chocolat’ Fare returns for 15th annual event
United Methodist Women at Destin United Methodist Church in Destin, Florida, hold Chocolat’ Fare fundraiser for mission.

Hit songwriters to play Brentwood United Methodist Church to benefit Healing Housing
United Methodist Women at Brentwood United Methodist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee, host 10th annual songwriters night.

Woman of Wilson: Desirre Starks
United Methodist Women member Desirre Starks is a leader in her community in Wilson County, Tennessee.

United Methodist Women recognizes Special Mission Recognition recipients
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas, award Special Mission Recognition pins to women in mission.

Lions support Disney band trip
United Methodist Women at Reading United Methodist Church in Reading, Kansas, help support local band trip to Florida.

“Mom’s Cornbread” by Jeanie Hall from the Kilgore United Methodist Women Cookbook
A recommended recipe from United Methodist Women at Kilgore United Methodist Church in Rush, Kentucky.

Marking 96 years
United Methodist Women-supported United Methodist Community Center in Warren, Ohio, to host anniversary gala.

United Methodist Women of Marietta First United Methodist Church to have benefit
United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia, hold fundraiser for local human trafficking outreach program.

 

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How To Use This Issue (February 2018)

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Doris Maria Trillos stirs cacao drying in a greenhouse on her family farm in Garzal, Columbia.

When I noticed that Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day this year, my initial thought was, oh well, no chocolates for me since I give up sweets up for Lent. How ironic that the first day of an observance of self-denial occurs on a holiday marketed for indulgence. Yet what both have in common is love. Beyond the commercialism of gifts and cards, Valentine’s Day celebrates love. And during Lent we become mindful of how Jesus sacrificed his life out of love for us. As you observe Lent, make it a season of love as much as one of sacrifice.

Brokering peace in the Middle East has been a decades-long struggle that has sometimes seemed hopeful and other times futile. Despite efforts spanning from the U.N. Security Council resolution in 1967 to negotiations under the Obama Administration in 2010, the strife between Palestinians and Israelis has created a humanitarian disaster with generations of suffering. United Methodists have long advocated for a two-state solution, but that’s not enough, says David Wildman in our Bible study, “Fasting for Justice in Palestine/Israel” on pages 8 to 11. Wildman describes the region’s unjust power structure and offers resources and sustained actions we can take to help.

Increasingly , churches, universities, unions and city councils are divesting from and boycotting companies that support military occupation. However, several elected officials have proposed anti-boycott bills—a violation of free speech—to appease lobbyists who support them. Take time this month to learn more about this movement.

Through Mission Giving and special offerings, United Methodist Women is helping improve the lives of women, children and youth around the world. This issue features our biennial Mission Maps on pages 15 to 31. Use them to familiarize yourself with current mission outreach in Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico and Central America, the Middle East, South America, and the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

In “Colombia’s Search for Peace” on pages 32 to 39, Paul Jeffrey reports on how the residue of years of war and drug trade corruption have hindered progress toward peace in the country. While talks between rival rebel forces resulted in a temporary ceasefire last September, Jeffrey says the country must address underlying inequities that caused
such conflict. In the article’s sidebar, “Women Essential to Peace Process” on page 38, activist Gloria Amparo Suarez says efforts for attaining lasting peace in Colombia must include women. “Through all these decades of war, women have been looking for nonviolent solutions, and the country needs that now more than ever.”

In 2000, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1325, declaring that women are key to peacebuilding. As a group, research and share the ways women past and present have made their voices heard in the struggle for peace.

In this month’s “The Amazing Adventures of Methodist Women in Mission” on page 41, we look at the contributions of Theressa Hoover, a determined achiever in the face of legal segregation who went on to become deputy general secretary of the Women’s Division in 1968, making her the first African-American woman executive in The Methodist Church. Share our illustrated series with your church community, especially girls and teens, to promote the history and importance of our organization.

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From the President (February 2018)

I love geography. I love maps and investigating where I am going and figuring out the best way to get there. This is one of my favorite editions of response, with the maps of where the work is happening. You know that we make it possible with each mission dollar. When I look at a map, I see possibilities and connections. I look for the cities I know or projects I have heard of. I investigate the areas around places I have been or where women I have met live and work. I go online and look at the maps. Maps makethe world seem a littlesmaller and more connected.

I have a goal to visit every continent, some more than once. This may have been a strange goal even 20 years ago, but now it seems more possible than ever before. What will visiting every continent accomplish? For me it brings me one step closer to our mission around the world. Georgia, Lithuania and Russia don’t seem so foreign because I have visited the region. South Korea and the Philippians are closer than ever because of friends I’ve made through United Methodist Women and the travel stories of others.

The maps are important for you, too. When prayerfully considering a financial commitment to United Methodist Women, this is where the money goes. This is the work of United Methodist Women. This is you! When you talk about United Methodist Women, most people see the church dinners and fundraising. Take out this map and show the expanse of the work your Mission Giving accomplishes. Now take it one step further and invite them to join in the work! You want to bring in new members? Share the story, then send an e-mail to “meet” the partner receiving of the scholarship or grant. Christians are called to service. We want our lives to have purpose. Mission Giving
is a purpose all women can share.

I love to travel. Not everyone does. Connecting through the map, showing the world
the impact of United Methodist Women, allows those who may not want to travel to see
the world beyond their front door. I can put a pin in my hometown and look all the way to the other side of the world and see our mission dollars at work. Mission Giving, the Prayer Calendar, and reaching out to missionaries and mission institutions builds the connectional ministry that you are a part of! The eight women from Boston in 1869 could share the news of the work of their missionaries because they kept in touch with Isabella Thoburn and Clara Swain and learned about what they were doing. In those days letters took months. Today, emails take seconds!

Mission Giving and the mission maps bring our work to life. Don’t hide it under a bushel.
Don’t leave your response on a shelf. Show it off. Pass it on. Share the good news that United Methodist Women has been doing for almost 150 years!

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