Ward speaks to Hattiesburg UMW


Bishop Hope Morgan Ward delivered the keynote address when the Hattiesburg District United Methodist Women gathered for their annual meeting and training on Oct. 14. 

Meeting at Williamsburg United Methodist Church, Ward spoke on peace and emphasized the denomination’s slogan “Open Hears, Open Minds, Open Doors.” Ward also led a communion service with assistance from the Rev. David Price, superintendent of the Hattiesburg District; the Rev. Mattie Gibson, pastor of St Paul UMC in Hattiesburg; and the Rev. Mack Strange, host pastor. 

The event was Ward’s second visit to the church. When she attended the church’s 175h anniversary celebration on Sept, 12, 2004, it marked her first sermon in the Mississippi Conference. 

Also on the program was the Rev. Carol Burnett, director of Moore Community House in Biloxi. 

Burnett explained the purpose of the community center and showed pictures of before and after Hurricane Katrina, which caused extensive damage to the facility. She explained the progress in the recovery and the necessity of more funds. 

Members from churches across the Hattiesburg District attended. The theme of the meeting was “Rise! Shine! Glorify God!” District President Wema Blackledge conducted the leadership training by presiding over the election of new officers and the present officers explained their responsibilities. 

Other presentations included spiritual growth, an offering for the Mississippi Rural Center at Columbia, candle burning led by DeBeth Hodges, presentation of certificates, and program resources.   

Kay Smith, president of the Williamsburg UMW, and Blackledge welcomed participants, while Jackie Worthy and Mechelle Duckworth provided special music.