Service enriches woman’s spiritual growth

8/7/2015

By CINDY HULL

I have cherished the opportunity to serve the Oklahoma Conference United Methodist Women organization as Conference president for the past three years. Our theme this year is F.R.O.G. = Fully Rely On God: Leaping into UMW’s Future.

Paul reminds us, "We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." (1 John 4:16 NRSV)

My journey as a UMW member began when I was 19 years old. Over the decades I’ve grown spiritually and learned so much about myself, the organization, the Church, and Jesus Christ’s call upon my life.

Every Christian can find value in the three goals that form the purpose statement for United Methodist Women.

1. To know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ;

2. To develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and

3. To expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the Church.

These can be worthwhile pursuits for any individual, family, small group, or congregation. Oklahoma UMW members strive every day to fulfill our purpose.

Toward achieving those goals, the women pursue a more specific vision: "Turning faith, hope, and love into action on behalf of women, children, and youth around the world."

We live the vision by "providing opportunities and resources to grow spiritually, become more deeply rooted in Christ, and put faith into action. We are organized for growth, with flexible structures leading to effective witness and action. We equip women and girls around the world to be leaders in communities, agencies, workplaces, governments, and churches. We work for justice through compassionate service and advocacy to change unfair policies and systems. We provide educational experiences that lead to personal change in order to transform the world." (United Methodist Women Handbook 2013-16)

Quadrennial event in OKC

Our work in 2016 will involve co-hosting a very special event in Oklahoma. Worship and Bible study will flow throughout the event; its theme is "A Fresh Wind Blowing."

"The wind blows where it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit." (John 3:8).

Every four years, United Methodist Women and guests gather for Quadrennial Meetings in five regions of the country.

The South Central Jurisdiction UMW Quadrennial Meeting will be held April 15-17 in Oklahoma City.

The UMW members of the Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conferences are hosting this event.

Janet Wolf will be the Bible study leader, and Marcus Briggs Cloud will be musician and worship leader.

We anticipate an inspiring, educational time together. All are welcome!

You’ll learn a great deal about our Church in mission worldwide — and especially ministries with children, youths, and women. Business will include electing directors for the National Organization of United Methodist Women.

More information is available on the website www.umwscj.org.

Women in all of Oklahoma’s districts are preparing items for the welcome bags, and specific hosting duties will be assigned in the fall.

Serving the poor

The Quadrennial Meeting will include an optional tour of Neighborhood Services Organization, which is a UMW National Mission Institution in Oklahoma City.

It’s been helping people in need for almost a century.

NSO is in the process of completing a new building at S.W. 11th and South Walker.

This agency offers transitional housing for homeless families, single women, and single men, helping them move to self-sufficiency. Permanent housing is provided for homeless persons with mental disabilities. A dental clinic offers low-cost services to anyone, regardless of income or insurance.

NSO also operates one of the largest Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) clinics in the state of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma United Methodist Women are proud to help NSO serve the at-risk population by providing housing solutions and teaching skills to transform lives.

Join us in Woodward

We anticipate a great crowd of witnesses to the many aspects of UMW work — locally and globally — when each local unit sends representatives to our Conference UMW Annual Meeting, set for Oct. 2-3, 2015, at Woodward-First United Methodist Church. We will celebrate the leap of faith that the women take, represented by our F.R.O.G. theme — the many ways we spring into action as we seek better outcomes especially for children, youths, and women everywhere.

At Annual Meeting, UMW leadership for the Church’s eight new districts in Oklahoma will officially organize. Bishop Hayes will install both Conference and district UMW officers. They begin their terms of service on Jan. 1, 2016. And we will give ourselves anew to the work of Jesus Christ when we worship through Holy Communion.

It has been said that United Methodist Women operate as the greatest "free university" in the world. To that I say a hearty "AMEN!"

— Hull, of Waynoka, is the Oklahoma Conference UMW president.

 

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