By Cynthia Laird, Senatobia District Communications Coordinator
United Methodist Women (UMW) received a warm welcome
Back row l to r: Rev. Dr. Connie Shelton, Rev. Jeff Dalton, and Rev. Andy Ray; front row l to r: Edna Cave and Cheryl Denley
from the Reverend Andy Ray, Senatobia District Superintendent during the Senatobia district UMW annual meeting at Holly Springs First United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 26, 2013. Also present, the Rev. Jeff Dalton, host pastor; Edna Cave, UMW President; Susan Crell, host UMW president; Cheryl Denley, Senatobia district secretary and many others.
Ray introduced the Rev. Dr. Connie Shelton, director of communications and connection of the Mississippi United Methodist Conference, as a pastor who serves the church and the community. She formerly served at Galloway UMC, Court Street UMC, the Methodist Hour and now she works for the entire state and reaches out to the world through her appointment as a mission strategist to the Bishop's cabinet.
Rev. Dr. Connie Shelton as she sang "It Is Well With My Soul."
Shelton reminded everyone that as a connected people, Methodists belong to each other. She urged the audience to be real, truthful and to live authentic lives as a church. When she sang "It Is Well With My Soul" her voice amazingly sent a powerful message even before she preached. Her sermon, taken from I Corinthians 12, was about each person having something special to do that shows others who God is, through different strengths and abilities. Together all serve as the body of Christ, doing divinely gifted work, being supportive of each other, relying on Him to transform service together into greater achievements than one could do alone.
Nellie Smith, UMW vice president then led the memorial service, followed by Nathan Hickerson, Senatobia district United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) coordinator, who shared news about the district mission trip to El Salvador planned for July 12-19, 2014. Next was the awarding of the certificates of achievements and then the benediction.
After lunch, the group gathered at Asbury UMC to participate in the Stop Hunger Now packing event. Matt Casteel, program manager of Stop Hunger Now in Jackson, told the volunteers about the importance of the program and the need to provide for those who are hungry and those who are literally starving to death each day. Casteel organized participants into working groups, starting with those who prepared and labeled the boxes, next groups that placed the food and vitamins into the packets, then those who collected the packets to take to another group that was responsible for weighing and sealing packets and lastly, those who would load the boxes that were ready for shipment onto the truck.
This year's UMW annual meeting was a time of Christian fellowship, a time of worship and reflection and a time of serving in a mission project to care for the hungry. The day was a living example of the body of Christ, each member with an important contribution, worshipping and working together to share the love of Jesus in the community and the world.