M. Garlinda Burton: Shine Sisters
by KIM FRY
M. Garlinda Burton challenged the sisters of United Methodist Women to shine individually and collectively in her Saturday morning Bible study.
Ms. Burton, general secretary of the United Methodist General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, drew on the Assembly's theme of "Rise! Shine! Glorify God!" with her study from Matthew 5:14-16 on being the light of the world.
"You are all walking around, shining like the sun!" said Ms. Burton paraphrasing theologian Thomas Merton. Her study explored ways that the women can celebrate their "unique lightness of being while shining as one when God requires it."
"Not only are the poor, the forgotten, the rebuffed and the misused people of our world objects of ministry for good Christian folks, they are to be our partners in ministry, our sisters and brothers on the journey; they are even sometimes the doers of ministry to and for us," she said.
"It is only by being in love and charity and reconciliation and justice-making with our neighbor
"...and by understanding that our sisters and brothers don't have to be like us to be God's children that we can truly say that we are walking in the light."
Ms. Burton asked each woman to turn to another whom she did not know and share a story of how she had been a light in the world. She concluded:
"My shining sisters! My sensible-shoes-wearing, fund-raising, bazaar-hosting, prayer-shawl-making, all-people-loving, Light-filled, wonderful United Methodist sisters and Methodist sisters!
"We've got the love of Christ, the chutzpah of the Holy Spirit and more than 200 years of shining backing us up as Methodists!"