The Detroit Conference United Methodist Women gathered in Marquette to put focus on the Spirit.
United Methodist Communications
Marquette Hope UMC was the site of the 43rd Annual Celebration and meeting of the Detroit United Methodist Women (UMW) held on Saturday, October 22, 2016. A total of 240 women from all over the state converged on the city, many of them riding buses and getting a nice leaf-peeping tour. Some came all the way from south of Monroe on Friday.
The theme of the event was “Harvest Your Spiritual Gifts – Healing,” with the text of the morning worship service, as well as for the rest of the day, coming from 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 8-9, 11 read by Michelle Weston, Coordinator for Conference Spirit Growth.
The Keynote address was given by Vikki Crystal Prewitt, member of Ishpeming Wesley United Methodist Church, and long-time morning newscaster at the Marquette area’s WLUC-TV. “This year,” she pointed out, “God has been speaking to me about using talents.” Having made appearances at several community projects aimed at helping people, Vikki said she had noticed that many persons were beginning to ask her to explain how a person can use their skills to do God’s work.
Quoting the actor and music producer Harry VanDyke, Vikki dropped a clue as to how anyone should start out: “Use whatever talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there, except those who sang best.” She then added, “You’ve got to sing your song. “You’ve got to step out of whatever you think your ‘cumbersome’ is and starting looking to make a difference in the world.”
The keynoter went on to say, “Everyone has at least one talent, perhaps more.” She pointed out that when you put your talents together along with those of one or more persons in your church, it is amazing what God can do.
The annual meeting’s purpose is to act on the business of electing officers, adopting a pledge to mission, and appoval of a budget for 2017, plus hearing various reports. Conference President Marchelle “Micki” Phelps called the meeting to order, whereupon the report of Conference Nomination Chairperson Sherry Wagenknecht for the slate of 2017 officers was received and accepted.
Conference Treasurer Janet Munz presented the DAC UMW budget of $122,100 and proposed a conference pledge to missions of $225,000 for the coming year. It was reported that total mission giving in 2015 totaled $264,994.18.
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Taylorie Bailey, expressed greetings from UMW, Inc.’s National Board of Directors and spoke of her efforts with the Board to increase UMW membership and help eliminate institutional racism. She invited those present to the next UMW Assembly to be held in 2018 at Columbus, Ohio. She told how this next Assembly would be very special, because the first Assembly of the Women’s Society of Christian Service, held in 1942, would have taken place in St. Louis but was switched to Columbus after it was found that hotels and restaurants in St. Louis would not guarantee equal accommodations for persons of all races.
Also, speaking in behalf of UMW, Inc. and expressing her excitement about the upcoming assembly, Ruby Anderson, invited the women to attend the 2018 meeting, noting that 7,000 women attended the 2014 event and expressed hope that as many as 8,000 would show up in Columbus.
In 2019 the UMW will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of its predecessor organizations, established in 1869. A Legacy Fund Campaign has been started to create an endowment that may ensure that the direct service, advocacy, education and leadership development work that has been done for our first 150 years will continue for the next 150, and beyond. Linda Schramm, representing the “Legacy Liaison,” expressed hope that $60 million might be raised for this project over the next few years.
Wearing a second “hat,” Schramm also invited participation in “Mission u,” where women, men, and youth/children may get together in 2017 for studies on 1) our biblical call to covenant community, 2) mission in the U.S., and 3) the social action theme of global warming. These taking place at five locations throughout the Lower Peninsula next Summer and Fall.
West Michigan Annual Conference UMW President, Jenny Kroeze, and Suzanne Hewitt from the Board of Directors of the UM Community House in Grand Rapids, expressed how important it is that UM women work together to support their National Missional Institutions. It was pointed out that two thirds of these are run out of New York, while fully one third are spread out across the rest of the country. These include colleges, women’s residences, and community centers, such as the one in Grand Rapids which owns 17 city lots that will be used to help serve those in need.
Stephen and Gail Quigg, career missionaries with United Methodist Global Ministries and now working as Mission Advocates for the North Central Jurisdiction, gave a report encouraging the UMW’s continued support of missions.
Speaking in behalf of his ministry as a Church and Community Worker at God’s Country Cooperative Parish, based in Newberry, Michigan, Randy Hildebrandt talked about how he has been able to coordinate the work of Volunteers in Mission (VIM) to go to the homes of disabled persons to provide handicapped accessibility. He also told how their ministry has been able to help persons turn their lives around by doing simple things like providing gas cards.
The Celebration culminated with the breaking of bread and the giving of the cup with Bishop David Bard presiding.