UMW valued: ‘People in this state need you’
United Methodist Women elected Glenda Gilpin of Hooker as their new Conference president during the group’s Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City.
She follows Cindy Hull of Waynoka, who will complete her quadrennium of service as president on Dec. 31.
Gilpin will be joined by officers Ramona Paine of Enid; Sue Helms, Chandler; Karen Mitchell, Stillwater; Harri Williams, Harrah; Ann Cornelius, Sapulpa; and Joyce Alfred, Oklahoma City.
"A Fresh Wind Blowing" was theme for the meeting Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at OKC-St. Luke’s.
"What is a fresh wind? A force that influences," said keynote speaker Derrek Belase, who is new director of discipleship for all Oklahoma United Methodists.
He gave examples of the seven UMW circles for girls at Boston Avenue UMC in Tulsa, of home-cooked meals prepared by UMW members for campus ministries across the state, of the Mission u spiritual and social justice studies that lead to Christian action.
"This is what it looks like when you are that force that carries and influences," Rev. Belase said. "People in this state need you. You are that sweet spirit; you are the fresh wind."
Heartland District Superintendent Greg Tener recalled his mother’s enthusiasm for UMW. He treasures a 1945 sympathy card found among family keepsakes, signed and sent by the members of Wheatland (Kansas) Women’s Society of Christian Service, a UMW predecessor.
"Your fresh wind blowing strengthens us," said Rev. Dr. Tener.
The 159 participants heard updates from UMW-supported missions in the state.
• Cookson Hills Center provided seeds and help to plant 250 gardens this year.
• Stacey Ninness introduced new mom Jessica and baby Graham, who have been assisted through Neighborhood Services Organization. NSO is one of 96 UMW mission institutions nationwide.
• Missionary Fuxia Wang said about 100 Chinese/English Bibles have been distributed through the Chinese International Fellowship in Norman.
Among other highlights, Kathy Caldron of Ponca City urged Oklahoma members to support the Legacy Fund as the national organization nears its 150th anniversary, in 2019. A video and more resources are at www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/150.
Yolanda Faye Perry of Oklahoma City was introduced as the South Central Jurisdiction’s UMW guide to assist units. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
New units have been chartered at Tulsa’s Asbury and Christ churches, and at Grove, Miami, and Stillwater-First, according to the Annual Meeting program book.
"Mission Today Awards" went to 183 units. Also, 445 women across the state participated in the UMW Reading Program.
Beginning this year, the organization’s historic focus on women, children, and youth is centering on four areas of advocacy and service.
• Maternal and child health
• Economic inequality
• Climate justice
• Criminalization of communities of color and mass incarceration
Oklahoma’s members approved a 2017 Conference UMW Pledge for Mission totaling $290,000.
Dates to reserve for 2017:
• April 21-23, Spiritual Growth Retreat, Canyon Camp;
• July 21-23 and July 23-24, Mission u, Oklahoma City University; and
• Oct. 6-7, Annual Meeting, Tulsa-Boston Avenue UMC. — Holly McCray
Above: Graham and mom Jessica highlighted help available from Neighborhood Services Organization. Below: Meet the 2017 Conference UMW officers. Front (from left): Sue Helms, treasurer; Karen Mitchell, nominations; Harri Williams, programming; Joyce Alfred, mission. Back: Ramona Paine, secretary; Ann Cornelius, membership; and Glenda Gilpin, president.
Photos by Holly McCray