By Verna Wilson, President - Samuel Chapel UMW
Photo right: Mississippi Conference Lay Leader, LaToya Redd-Thompson and Rev. Paula Milo-Moultrie, pastor of Samuel Chapel UMW. Photo submitted to The Circuit Rider.
When the Samuel Chapel UMW planned their 2016 Women's Day celebration this past summer, they knew they wanted a very special guest -- the new Mississippi Conference Lay Leader, LaToya Redd-Thompson.
Lucky for the UMW, she accepted the invitation. On the rainy Sunday afternoon of July 24, 2016, at Samuel Chapel UMC in Itta Bena, the women of Samuel Chapel were honored to have the renowned Lay Leader and face from The Methodist Hour take the time to expound on the theme "Women -- Created to Serve, Generation after Generation." Her message embodied the understanding of how women have overcome many struggles throughout many generations to be recognized as being due equal opportunities the same as men. She noted several women in the Bible whose service was important in bringing about change. She also tied in the theme scripture, 2 Timothy 1:5, in which Paul tells Timothy how he is "reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you." Redd-Thompson cautioned that women would be tested, but they must remain faithful in service to humankind.
Dollie M. Purnell, a member of Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, said, "I thought the Women's Day program was great! Mrs. LaToya Redd-Thompson gave a powerful and prolific message about Christian women, and I was truly blessed by it. In her message, she talked about real issues facing women today and provided practical applications for our lives families and communities. She is truly anointed!"
June Hutchins, a longtime member of the Samuel Chapel United Methodist Women, commented that "Mrs. Thompson was a dynamic speaker, and her message was enjoyed by everyone. Yes, keep God always as your leader, and you will be successful. We need strong reminders like these in this day and time."
The Samuel Chapel UMW was so glad to have their oldest living lady and member, Hattie Doyle, come out to join them. At age 101, Doyle inspires the UMW to trust God every day. The Conference Lay Leader's words made a lasting impact. Two of Samuel Chapel's United Methodist Women were installed as Greenwood District officers in October 2016 after accepting the call to step into a new level of leadership. The group prayed that God blesses the officers in their new positions and that God blesses the message and ministry of the Conference Lay Leader.