By Kay Barksdale
Special to the Advocate
Building on a story told by the Rev. Will Campbell about a fluffy, lovable, purple Easter chicken that became a mean Rhode Island Red when it grew up and was placed in the coop with the other chickens, Ward charged the gathering of 375 women to be “faithful to this life to which we are called.”
Speaking at the historic
“We have something to say to a world that tells us to be afraid, be terribly afraid,” Ward said. She reminded her listeners that the way in which Christians engage a difficult issue is more important than their personal opinions, recalling John Wesley’s words: “If your heart is as my heart, give me your hand.”
She invited the UMW to tackle two important goals as they continue their work to improve the lives of women and children. First, she asked them to continue to emphasize in their local churches the goals of Congregations for Children. She also charged them to lobby for full funding for education and to get behind the work of state Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds to support
Her second request was that UMW groups become actively engaged in the conversations that are planned to take place in every county during Lent in 2007 about ways to celebrate the Gospel Feast. She asked: “Forty years out from the Civil Rights Movement, how far are we from the Promised Land?
“God wants us to live as teachable, humble spirits,” Ward said. “I challenge you to be Easter chickens forever!”
Prior to Friday evening’s opening worship, more than 150 women participated in a tour of three of the historic churches in downtown
The Saturday session opened with a service of remembrance for those women who have died during the past year. Lining the balcony rails of the sanctuary were some of the more than 200 prayer shawls created by local units. The shawls were distributed to the districts to be given to persons who are ill, grieving, suffering loss or experiencing other difficulties.
Among the business of the day, recipients of the Frances Perry Scholarship were announced. Receiving $1,000 scholarships from the United Methodist Women for 2006 are Diane L. Braman and Ada C. Williams, Memphis Theological Seminary; Benjamin Hartford Butler, Elizabeth Carpenter, Travis Carpenter and Amy Denise Pearson Roller, Asbury Theological Seminary; Pamela Cameron and Russell Casteel, Candler School of Theology; and Amanda Lea Seward, St. Paul School of Theology. United Methodist Women contribute $4 per person each year to the scholarship fund, which was endowed in honor of the late Frances Perry.
The status of Arlean Hall, the UMW retreat center on the
Sixty-nine UMW units received special recognition for completing the requirements to be Mission Today units. A budget of $237,400 was also approved for 2007. The proposed budget represents an increase of $2,500 over the 2006 budget.
Nancy Bearden of