By Kristin Van Nort
As a newer member of The United Methodist Church, Melanie Dewey of Tulsa wanted to know more about the liturgical seasons United Methodists celebrate. She had spent most of her adult life in a non-denominational church and was unfamiliar with UMC traditions involving Advent, Lent, and Pentecost.
Melanie thought others might feel the same way. She began brainstorming ideas to learn more about these important seasons. She also has a strong passion for women’s ministry.
Melanie wove the two into the "Super Saturday at Centenary" program. She has been a member of Tulsa’s Centenary UMC for about three years.
The program was designed to bring together women of all ages throughout the year for fellowship and crafts, while learning about Advent, Lent, and Pentecost.
In November 2012, Melanie and more women in the church and from the community gathered for their first Super Saturday, beginning their journey with Advent. Each woman received a devotional resource to be used daily throughout that season. The morning program continued over brunch, and the women made Advent calendars to take home.
As February brought the season of Lent, the women met for another Super Saturday. Each received a second devotional book, to be used during Lent. They made jellybean jars, with prayers corresponding to the candy colors. They also made bookmarks and crosses. After that Super Saturday, they reached out to church members not in attendance and delivered the handmade crafts for them to enjoy.
In May, the women gathered for the final program, to learn about Pentecost. They received a third devotional book and made windsocks as their craft. For this program, they invited children and grandchildren to participate, affirming the importance of interaction across generations.
Reflecting on the three Super Saturdays, Melanie said the program achieved the goals of bringing together women in the congregation and neighborhood, as well as into a relationship with the church.
"This church is the most welcoming and embracing church I’ve ever been a part of. We truly are multigenerational and embrace and love everyone," said Melanie.
Super Saturdays became a stepping-stone for Centenary’s women’s ministry, which also has begun reaching out in the church’s neighborhood as well as in the downtown homeless community. A group of women now helps develop and plan activities. They hope to offer a daylong women’s retreat.
Centenary UMC received a Petree Grant from the Foundation to help fund the Super Saturdays program. Since 1996, the Petree Endowment Fund has awarded more than $1.6 million in grants to Oklahoma United Methodist churches and ministries. Applications are available each summer and are awarded in the fall. For more information, contact Barbara Gayle at the Foundation, 800-259-6863.