Celebrating United Methodist Women
After a day filled with workshops on topics ranging from health care reform to salsa dancing, United Methodist Women opened its quadrennial Assembly in St. Louis with a plenary worship rich with thanksgiving for more than 140 years of Christian mission.
The service included live web-cast greetings from United Methodist Women units in offsite locations, including Haitian-American members at a church in Florida, retired deaconesses and missionaries at Brooks-Howell Home in Asheville, N.C., and a college unit in Texas. The service also included videotaped greetings from unit members in the women’s prison in Topeka, Kansas, and women in Sierra Leone, Honduras, Costa Rico, Russia and El Salvador saying the Assembly theme of “Faith • Hope • Love in Action” in their native languages.
Former presidents of the Women’s Division, United Methodist Women’s national administrative body, recounted the organization’s mission history in a litany giving thanks to God for foremothers who established schools for girls in India and Korea in the 19th century, trained deaconesses, and served immigrants and women, children and youth in the United States. Performances by Della Lamb Children’s Choir of Kansas City, Mo., and dancers from Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House of East St. Louis, Ill., both United Methodist Women national mission institutions, confirmed that the organization continues to serve immigrants, children and families today. In a sermon preceding Holy Communion, Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala of Mozambique urged United Methodist Women to continue in this tradition of mission.
“We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ in our communities,” Bishop Nhanala said. “Continue in prayer to connect with God, the source of power ... and know it’s God’s will for us to act with faith, hope and love.”
*Yvette Moore is staff writer for United Methodist Women and editor of United Methodist Women News.