Hope for a Brighter Future
Preparation: Have for each officer a beeswax candle and a book of matches. Also give each officer a copy of the response: " With God's help, I will let my light shine so that women, children and youth will realize hope in their lives." Be sure to get the name of each officer and the office to which they have been elected.
(Call those to be installed to the front by name and office. As they come, hand them each a beeswax candle. Give a book of matches to the person on the end.)
Leader: You have said "yes" not only to United Methodist Women, but more importantly you have made a commitment to God. You are ready to be used by God in this specific way. In doing so, you have said "yes" to untold thousands of women, children and youth whose hope is in God and for many, their future will be brighter because of United Methodist Women.
The scriptures are full of hope for a brighter future. There are 142 references to "hope" in one concordance - individuals or peoples searching for or assured of hope in God! In the fifth chapter of Job, it relates that God does great things - sets on high those who are lowly and those who mourn are lifted to safety; the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth; the devices of the crafty are frustrated and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.
Doesn't that sound like the work God does today through United Methodist Women? We are a people with hope - we have comfort in the resurrection hope. You are a light of hope. In Matthew 5:14 Jesus said that you are a light, a light on a candlestick that others might see your good works and give glory to God who is in heaven. Each of us is to be a light. There are many kinds of light: candle, flash, search, stop, beacon, laser... Think about what kind of light you are.
I ask you now: Will you light your candle of hope as a symbol of your commitment to fulfill the responsibilities to which you have been elected and to United Methodist Women? If you are ready to do this, please answer: "With God's help, I will let my light shine so that women, children and youth will realize hope in their lives."
To you who have elected these women to be your officers, I ask you "Will you also be a light to others as you work as a member of this unit of United Methodist Women, fulfilling the Purpose and supporting your officers?" If you are ready to do this, please answer, "With God's help, I will."
Let us pray: Most Holy One, your word gives us hope, your love feeds us so that we can bring hope to others. Go with those gathered here as they work for your justice in the world. In the name of the Christ, who came that we might know you more fully. Amen.