Like A Butterflly
Preparation: Find butterfly stickers or pins, or some other representation of a butterfly to give to each officer. Be sure to have the names of each officer and the office to which they have been elected. Find the number of United Methodist Women in the conference; it is used in three places in this service.
LEADER: "Hope for the Flowers" by Trina Paulus is the story of a caterpillar named Stripe who watched fellow caterpillars climbing and stepping on and over others with no idea about what was at the top. When he asked others what was at the top, the answer was "No one knows but it must be awfully good because everybody's going there."
Stripe tried for a while and even met a lovely female caterpillar named Yellow and they tried together and gave up together. Stripe tried again, and one day, as Yellow was waiting for Stripe to come back, she discovered a grey caterpillar struggling to get out of a cocoon. She offered to help, but the grey caterpillar said, "No, I have to do this to become a butterfly."
Yellow asked, "What is a butterfly?" It is what you are meant to become. It flies with beautiful wings and joins the earth to heaven. It drinks only nectar from the flowers and carries the seeds of love from one flower to another. Without butterflies the world would soon have few flowers.
Yellow asked, "How does one become a butterfly?" The answer was "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."
As United Methodist Women officer, it may be that you are like a caterpillar, and need to do some changing. Giving up the cocoon, what is familiar and comfortable, and becoming all God meant you to be requires some intentionality on your part. Decide to read, decide to take advantage of training and other special opportunities, decide to get involved in a ministry or an issue.
(Call those to be installed to the front by name and office; give each a butterfly sticker or magnet.)
I am giving each of you a butterfly. Put it where you will see it often and let it be a reminder that you, like the butterfly, are meant by God to be something very special with meaningful and significant tasks to do.
To serve as an officer of the Conference United Methodist Women is to give two years of your life in rather intense ministry: meeting, planning, visiting, speaking, writing, listening, reading, studying, traveling, learning. You will never be the same again!
You have been chosen to lead, to lead (number of women in conference) women to new understandings of their faith and mission, into new areas of service. Never forget that, you were not chosen because it will be good for you, though it will. You were chosen to lead others!
You will be expected to do all of this in the context of your faith, and the biblical word. You will be expected to:
- Study the Handbooks and other resources of United Methodist Women;
- Read Response and New World Outlook, cover to cover;
- Attend all events of the Conference United Methodist Women;
- Nurture and stretch your own faith experience.
You have been called to lead.
PRESIDENT (name) Yours is a very special office: to meet the (number) women of this conference, listen to them, care for them, lead them into new experiences and growth. Will you work to build a conference team that will work together in love and caring commitment to the task? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
VICE PRESIDENT (name): Will you work at building the programming team, gathering new ideas, and helping them to be creative in work for the women of this conference; prepare yourself to be a good interpreter for the ecumenical work with which we are involved? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
SECRETARY (name): Will you study to know all the correct terminology so you can keep a clear and accurate history of this conference organization? Our connectional system means that there are persons in other places who need information about this conference. Will you see that this information is recorded and sent to the appropriate places? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
TREASURER (name): Will you study to be able to interpret mission giving? Will you keep careful and accurate records of the funds of this conference? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
MISSION COORDINATOR FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH (name): Will you help resource the committee on program by helping with new creative forms of worship? Encourage study of the faith and development of a personal theology? Actively promote the Reading Program? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
MISSION COORDINATOR FOR MEMBERSHIP NURTURE AND OUTREACH (name): Will you study to understand the Purpose and program of United Methodist Women so you will be in a position to call others to the organization? Build the Committee on Membership and help them work creatively to nurture and promote membership? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
MISSION COORDINATOR FOR EDUCATION AND INTERPRETATION (name): Will you lead the women of this conference to expand their concepts of mission, interpreting always the mission program of United Methodist Church? Promote the mission studies and the use of other mission resources? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
MISSION COORDINATOR FOR SOCIAL ACTION (name): Christians cannot be true to the Gospel and be indifferent to the plight of the hurting people of the earth. Will you help the women of this conference find ways to be involved in the social issues of this area, of the country, of the world? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
SECRETARY OF PROGRAM RESOURCES (name): Do you like to read? Will you read all the resources of United Methodist Women so you can promote their use among other conference officers and among women in local units? Will you make them available in Literature Rooms? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR (name): The words you write reach out to those who may be unfamiliar with United Methodist Women. You help determine how others view our organization as you work with both the church and secular press. Will you promote the organization and Purpose of United Methodist Women faithfully as you publicize the activities of the organization? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
CHAIR, COMMITTEE ON NOMINATIONS (name): You have the most important task of all. The future years of this conference organization and the (number) women in it, rests in your hands. Will you work to understand all the roles of these officers? Will you visit local units and district events looking for new faces and talents? Will you keep accurate records of your committee's work? Will you work as a team leader in this very important task? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
MEMBERS OF THIS CONFERENCE: Will you be more diligent in your reading and studying to understand the Purpose of this organization? Will you support these whom you have elected to be your leaders? Will you pray for them, encourage them, and call on them when they can help you? If so, answer "I will, with God's help."
Let us pray: O Most Holy One, we come this day with hope, knowing you are with us in all we do. Inspire our hearts to courage when the tasks seem overwhelming. Inspire our seeing to a new vision of your justice and peace. Bless our work that it might truly reflect your love for all creation. We go with joy, assured of your presence and forgiveness, In the name of the Christ. Amen.