UMW Sunday Materials 2016
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN’S SUNDAY (UMW), 2016
UMW Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to share how God is working to further the well-being of women, children and youth around the world. Sharing your local efforts of support as well as community and world wide impact help the local church congregation understand the importance of your work and may inspire others to join.
While financially separate, UMW is an integral part of the foundation of the local church. Mission is essential to the life blood of the church. For the church to pulse brightly in a healthy glow, reaching out to others in mission is essential.
Plan to set up a booth or informational table with local UMW information as well as a representative(s) of your local unit who can share your message, answer questions, and invite people to join your group.
When planning your Sunday, the usual order of worship can be followed or you can “change it up” a little.
The following information is provided:
-- Sample service
-- Message based on "Created for Happiness"
-- Sample children's sermon
Welcome Each Other
Lord, we have come to this place from all walks of life . . . . from our chaotic lives and rusty, dusty routines, from all that was and is to all that might be, to the possibilities. We welcome you in our midst and ask that you be near us and breathe your gentle mercies on us so we may leave this place renewed. Amen.
Hymn FWS 2008 Let All Things Now Living
Sharing our Joys; Concerns and Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
Children’s Message: "Finding True Happiness in Jesus" Luke 6:20-22 (NIV)
Looking at his disciples, Jesus said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
Offertory Hymn: "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" FWS 2146
Scriptures: Matthew 5: 1-11
Matthew 5: 1-11…
5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Message: “Created for Happiness: Understand Your Life in God” Comments by Rev. Cindi McKee based on the study written by Cynthia A. Bond Hopson.
Hymn: "Christ Whose Glory Fills the Skies" p. 179 UM Hymnal
Closing Prayer: Gracious and holy God, we belong to you, heart, mind, body and spirit. You shower us with patience and mercy and for that we are grateful. Remind us Lord, that your plan is for us to be happy and whole and we will seek your will in being so. We will go now in peace. Amen.
Message for CREATED FOR HAPPINESS: Understanding Your Life in God
Comments by Rev. Cindi McKee based on a study written by Cynthia A. Bond Hopson
2105 Mission U Study for UMW
Let us pray….Lord, we have come to this place from all walks of life…..from our chaotic lives and rusty, dusty routines, from all that was and is to all that might be, to the possibilities. We welcome you to our midst and ask that you be near us and breathe your gentle mercies on us so we may leave this place renewed. Amen.
Are you happy? What would you say are the things that make for true happiness in the human life? What are the components that make our hearts sing with joy and that bring contentment to our spirits and allow us to say “it is well with my soul!”
The American forefathers thought being happy was so fundamental to our wellbeing that they included the concept in the famous words of the Declaration of Independence ….”Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!”
The writer of our study, Created for Happiness: Understanding our Life in God, Cynthia Bond Hopson, asserts in the books’ introduction that we live in a time when the search for happiness has become a dominant topic in our culture. Any Internet search for happiness and related topics will yield multiple searches-one count was 2,810,000! More than any human being could possibly read or absorb. Included in the information is everything from happiness reminders, quotes, sayings, stories, memories and songs, to special order pencils. People share techniques for being happy in magazines, books and even websites.
For many years now, it has been common for Christians to think of happiness as an unimportant goal, reserving the word “joy” for the true satisfaction of Christian life. This distinction between happiness (pleasant but temporary earthly feelings) and joy (lasting contentment in relationship with God), though, is a fairly recent development. For centuries, Christians did not see happiness as less than joy. Notable theologians such as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas shared their views on happiness. Augustine is well known for having said that we are restless until we rest in God, and resting in God’s blessed life brings us true happiness. Thomas Aquinas pointed out that the things (like wealth and power) that we think will bring happiness do not. He knew that the only happiness that would not disappoint us was happiness in God.
The early Methodist tradition used the language of happiness often. John Wesley preached about happiness almost as often as he preached about holiness. Indeed, for him, happiness and holiness were together the goal of Christian life. He had much to say about what genuine happiness ought to be, and when it was understood properly, happiness and salvation belong together.
Not only did John Wesley preach and teach about happiness but his brother Charles wrote hymns about happiness that the early Methodists sang. The Wesleys and the early Methodists could focus so much on happiness because they understood it to be biblical to do so. The happiness they sought was happiness in God, and so the happiness they found was the most secure and fulfilling. As we seek an active and meaningful spiritual life, we are about seeking and learning to live the life that God calls us to. A life of hope, of caring, of love, of forgiveness, of grace.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” –Denis Waitley
There is a story that’s been shared on social media that is helpful in thinking about how our choices and attitudes affect our spiritual life and then in turn affect our happiness. There was a 92 year old woman who was well-poised and proud, fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind and on this day was moving to nursing home. Her husband of 70 years had recently passed away, making the move necessary.
She had waited for several hours in the lobby of the nursing home when she was finally told that her room was ready and she smiled. As she guided her walker to the elevator, staff members provided a visual description of her small room, including many details. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room yet…just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”
She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Thank you for your part in filling my memory bank. I am still depositing.”
And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy.”
- Free your mind from hatred. 2. Free your mind from worries.
- Live simply. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less.
So what can we learn from this story about how we approach our own spiritual lives? What do you choose to focus on in the morning when you get up out of bed? Are you content with your choices or do you need to make some changes to what you pursue in your relationship with God?
Knowing that God desires happiness for us and that true happiness comes from a rich and right relationship with God gives us focus for our spiritual work all throughout our lives. It seems that we live in a constant tension between the altar of consumerism and the altar of the living God. An awareness of the influence of the media on our thoughts and behaviors is important. Where do we get our information about what is important in life?
Popular author and speaker Nell W. Mohney, who writes extensively on spiritual disciplines and joyous living, explains that, “the basic answer to happiness is a spiritual one.”
The Bible teaches us that happiness is based on our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus spoke specifically about happiness in the way the law of God does. The Hebrew word “asher” and the Greek word “makarios” both mean happy and blessed. Both Matthew and Luke use the word “makarios” to begin his sayings in the recordings of the Sermon on the Mount. Many English translations use the word “blessed” to begin each saying, but some translations begin with the word “happy”. When John Wesley wrote notes to the New Testament for his Methodist preachers, he began each beatitude with “happy”. Let‘s read this scripture out loud together using the word “happy” in place of “blessed”.
Matthew 5: 1-11…
5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Jesus is suggesting to us what our duty is by telling us what will make us truly happy. God will be with us in all these experiences of life and that will connect us to the source of life that brings ultimate hope, healing, love and peace.
Living in peace is part of those things that make for happiness. Peace is a living, growing network of relationships called “shalom” in the Bible. Shalom embodies positive peace. It is harmony, well-being, wholeness, and positive relationship with God, fellow humans, community, and creation.
The pursuit of happiness brings us into harmony and solidarity with all of God’s creation, with majestic creatures, both great and small, and allows us to seek, build, and live in the beloved community.
What are some of the things that you could do to simplify your life and increase your chances of happiness? What in your spiritual life needs to be “updated” for a closer walk with God.
John Wesley understood “scriptural holiness” as the goal of the Christian life, and he connected it with happiness through his understanding of the image of God. Theologians understood that we were made to be in relationship with God—to love and worship God. If human nature is made for this relationship, then human nature is fulfilled by this relationship. Wesley would assert that problems come when we allow our desire for other things to displace God in our lives. When this happens, we cannot be happy and find ourselves miserable. When Wesley talks about being happy in God, he is not talking about merely feeling lighthearted, nor was he talking about just having fun. He meant a deep contentment and fulfillment that comes from knowing that your life is what it is supposed to be. Wesley believed that the root of our misery is that we do not love as we should. We need to learn to love well, and grace enables us to do that. In order to direct our love to God above all else, we need to know how much God loves us. Each of us needs to know that God’s revelation of love in Jesus Christ is meant for us personally and is available to us now! When we know God’s love for us so that we are able to love God as we should, we are in truly right relationship with God. Loving God above all else changes us so that we begin to see the world as God sees it. We love what God loves and values what God values. Wesley believed that the love of a Christian must be expressed, it must lead to outward actions. If we love God, we will do the things that bring us closer to God. For Wesley, that meant we will make use of the means of grace available to us…prayer, reading, meditating on scripture and receiving Holy Communion. Wesley believed that when love is rooted in the heart, it cannot help but send out branches and bear fruit. Wesley believed that the only way to lasting, true happiness is satisfying the desire for God.
If the way to gain the happiness that Wesley talked about is to pursue holiness, then how do we do that? In the Methodist way it takes discipline to pursue the holiness that brings happiness. One part of this was to do works of “mercy”. These works of mercy meant that a person was present for another person in need-whether sick, in prison, or hungry—and by being present we grow in humility, patience, and other fruit that show how the Holy Spirit is working in us. If the spirit of God is at work in you, then you have something to share for the glory of God at work in the world.
In connection with works of mercy, Wesley believed that works of piety directly related to our relationship and dependence on God. These works of piety Wesley termed as means of grace and included searching scripture (reading, hearing, meditating), public and private prayer, and receiving the Lord’s Supper. Each of these activities serves the purpose of drawing us closer to God so that we are shaped by the power and presence of God that we encounter in these experiences.
Loving God with our whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves is the hallmark of the Methodist tradition. When we do these well and are fully surrendered to the gifts from God in these hallmarks, it is then that we will find the deep happiness we so long for and that we were created for in our relationship with God.
It is clear that we live in a tension between desiring God above all else and being drawn in to desire the things of the world first and foremost. When our main focus is our own gain, then we become less concerned about the effects of our lives on others. We displace God as the model for our lives when we allow ourselves to be shaped by the attitudes and actions of those who care nothing for God. If we desire true happiness in our hearts of hearts we must be true to the true God who gives us happiness. Our loyalty is always being tempted and our spiritual journey is in part an exercise to be faithful to the one who is always faithful to us.
A happy heart is one that lives for others, so the works God has given us to do for our neighbor also contribute to our happiness by making us more generous and helpful. A heart that is thankful to God and that lives for others will be truly content.
Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns. The words of “Christ Whose Glory Fills the Skies” illustrates how he thought we should look at our relationship with God and about what God offers us. Let’s sing the words together: (no. 173 in the hymnal)
Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Day-star, in my heart appear.
Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by Thee;
Joyless is the day’s return
Till Thy mercy’s beams I see;
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.
Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.
Let us be in a spirit of prayer….Gracious and holy God, we belong to you, heart, mind, body and spirit. You shower us with patience and mercy and for that we are grateful. Remind us, Lord, that your plan is for us to be happy and whole and we will seek your will in being so. We will go now in peace. Amen.
Children’s Message for Created for Happiness by Rev. Cindi McKee
Theme: Finding True Happiness in Jesus
Object: Bubble Blowing Liquid
Scripture: Luke 6:20-22
I am sure that everyone has experienced the joy of blowing bubbles. It is amazing to me that something so simple could bring so much happiness to so many people. It isn't just for kids either! I have even seen teenagers and adults laughing and having fun blowing bubbles and trying to catch them.
There is just one problem with the happiness that comes from blowing bubbles -- it doesn't last! The minute you reach out and touch one of the bubbles, it will burst. Many times we chase the bubble, but it is always just out of reach and as soon as it touches the ground, the bubble bursts.
I think this is the way it is in the lives of many people today. A lot of people are chasing after happiness, but like the bubbles, happiness is always just out of reach. Or, just when we think we have it, our bubble may burst. What are some of the things that people are chasing in their search for happiness?
Money -- Many people think that money will bring them happiness, but it doesn't. Once you spend it, it is gone, and you still don't have happiness.
Food -- We live in a day when many people seek happiness in food. They eat because they are sad or depressed and they think that food will make them feel better. It doesn't. After they eat, they are still unhappy, but now they are over-weight which makes them even more unhappy!
Entertainment -- Many people think that laughing and having a good time is the same thing as being happy, but it isn't. Many people who are laughing on the outside are crying on the inside.
Popularity -- Some people think that being popular with other people will bring them happiness. They will do anything or say anything to make other people like them, but popularity doesn't last. It is here today and gone tomorrow. There is no lasting happiness in popularity.
Jesus knew that people often look for happiness in the wrong places. He even suggested that we might be happier if we were poor, hungry, crying, and disliked by others. Why would Jesus suggest such a thing?
When we are poor, it may be easier for us to trust in God to supply everything we need instead of depending on our own wealth.
When we are hungry for God and his righteousness, we realize that only He can satisfy our hunger.
When we are crying, we can trust in God to comfort us and ease our pain.
When we think we have no friends, we have a friend in Jesus. Jesus is a friend who will never leave us.
Do you want to find happiness in life? Don't spend your time chasing bubbles. Look to God who is the source of true happiness.
Dear God, help us to realize that we can never find happiness in the things that this world has to offer. You alone are the source of true happiness. Amen.
EVALUATION OF THESE MATERIALS:
Please let us know if you used the materials provided and “how they can be improved”. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The above email can also be used to connect with the Conference Spiritual Growth Coordinator for help with this or other programs.
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN SUNDAY 2016
Church Name ____________________________ City _____________________________
District (please circle): Big Waters North Star River Valleys Southern Prairie Twin Cities
Suggested Materials You Used (please circle):
Order of Worship
"Created for Happiness: Understanding Your Life in God" message
Thank you! Please return to: Sandy Meyer, 8724 Valley View Place, Chanhassen, MN 55317-8421. email@example.com (952) 270-1157
Brief note on the material: Although the United Methodist Church provides in its liturgical resources a basic worship format, each congregation has its own variations. The materials offered here for UMW Sunday are merely “building blocks,” which can be changed, substituted, or rearranged for individual services.
BELOW IS A SAMPLE OF THE "CHARTER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE THEME" UMW SUNDAY MATERIALS PUT TOGETHER FOR DISCOVERY UMC IN 2010. FEEL FREE TO USE ALL OR PART OF EXAMPLE
[FILL IN YOUR CHURCH NAME] United Methodist Church
[INSERT CHARTER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE SYMBOL]
This image represents the United Methodist Women and the Women's Division commitment to work for racial justice. It symbolizes a world of racially and ethnically diverse peoples working together side-by-side to create a world in which every person has a voice, rights and opportunity for abundant life. Within the image are two hands joined together for justice for all God's children.
United Methodist Women Sunday
A Service on the Charter for Racial Justice
[FILL IN DATE OF YOUR SERVICE]
Great and rich is the legacy we bring. Many are the gifts we offer to each other. We are a rainbow of colors: a mosaic of cultures. Jointly we are a tower of wisdom and a fellowship of strength. Male & female, we are created in the image of one eternal God!
PRELUDE: "Come Now Prince of Peace" TFWS #2232
GREETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:
MUSICAL INTERLUDE: UMW PURPOSE SONG (Bulletin Insert)
CALL TO WORSHIP:
Liturgist: O Lord, you created us as equal; yet we have treated one another unjustly.
People: Forgive us, O God.
Liturgist: You created us in your holy image. Yet we have failed to recognize the dignity and sacredness if your image in every person.
People: Forgive us, O God.
Liturgist: Some of the old wounds of injustices are still bleeding, and the callousness of our scars prevent us from being as sensitive to others as we ought to be.
People: Heal us, O God.
Liturgist: Help us listen to those to whom injustices have been done until we hear your cry in theirs, and feel your pain in theirs.
People: Help us, O God.
Liturgist: As new, tender skin emerges from under old scars, create in us a new humanity through brokenness of our experience.
People: Create in us, O God, a new humanity.
Liturgist: That we may celebrate together the dignity and sacredness of humanity in one another for the sake of your glory.
All: For the sake of your glory. Amen.
"Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life" UMH #427 verses 1-4
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
All: We believe...
Women: that God is the creator of all people and all are God's children in one family;
Men: that racism is a rejection of the teachings of Jesus Christ;
Women: that racism denies the redemption and reconciliation of Jesus Christ;
Men: that racism robs all human beings of their wholeness, and is used as a justification for social, economic, and political exploitation;
Women: that we must declare before God and each other that we have sinned against our sisters and brothers of other races in thought, in word, and in deed;
Men: that in our common humanity in creation, all women and men are created in God's image, and all persons are equally valuable in the sight of God;
Women: that our strength lies in our racial and cultural diversity, and that we must work toward a world in which each person's value is respected and nurtured;
Men: that our struggle for justice must be based on new attitudes, new understandings, and new relationships and must be reflected in the laws, policies, structures and practices of both church and state.
All: We Commit ourselves as individuals and as a community to follow Jesus Christ, in word and deed, and to struggle for the rights and self-determination of every person.
Sung Response: What Does the Lord Require of You" (TFWS #2174)
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 25: 31-46
CHILDREN'S TIME: "We Are One in Christ Jesus"
Skit by United Methodist Women
HYMN: "Help Us Accept Each Other" UMH #560
MEDITATION: "How Are We Raced"
PRESENTATION OF SPECIAL MISSION RECOGNITION:
OFFERTORY MUSIC: "For the Healing of the Nation"
Women's Choir (UMH #428)
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD:
THE LORD'S PRAYER:
CLOSING HYMN: "Sent Out in Jesus' Name TFWS #2184
BENEDICTION: Go with commitment to do justice and in resistance to racism. Go in the power and freedom of God's love.
POSTLUDE: "Let There Be Light" UMH #440
The service was created from resources in the "Resources for Racial Justice: Tools for UMW Leaders" at
We Are One in Christ Jesus - Racial Justice Charter Skit (the Gloves)
This is a skit that I used when I chaired DELT, District Elected Leadership Training, for Louisiana Conference to highlight the Charter for Racial Justice.
I used gardening gloves from Dollar Tree, my favorite "everything is a dollar" variety store.
The skit is fun and effective. I hope that you will enjoy using it.
Rita M. Parham
Louisiana Conference, Baton Rouge District,
Women stand in front of the audience and hold their hands out as the reader tells the story and their hands act out the skit.
As members of United Methodist Women, we can be proud of those who have charted the way for us in many areas of social concern, who have committed themselves to follow Jesus Christ in work and deed, to struggle for the rights of every one of God's children.
The charter, which came out of years of struggle for justice, was an expression of our need to challenge our members and the whole church to confront racism and deal with it.
WE ARE ONE IN CHRIST JESUS
Once upon a time in a busy city, there lived a pair of bright YELLOW gloved hands. They were fun, intelligent and hard working. They could WIGGLE their FINGERS and say "O.K." They were good
citizens in their city. They were VERY FRIENDLY gloved hands and they liked people. They wanted to get to know other gloved hands, so they decided to go out and meet them.
When the YELLOW gloved hands saw the other gloved hands, they
REACHED OUT to them, but they were not very friendly. They thought that they were really weird looking since they weren't
PURPLE............ PINK............... or................. GREEN like them. They
certainly would not fit into their group!
They POINTED at them.......... and SHOOK THEIR FISTS at them. They
PULLED AWAY from them. "Bah - stupid yellow gloves," they said. "Get out of here! Ugh! Don't let them touch you. They'll poison us all! RUN! " The YELLOW gloved hands felt so terrible that they TURNED their BACK, SLUMPED DOWN & began to CRY!
The other gloved hands were certainly glad to get rid of them, but they wanted to make sure they didn't come back, because they were not their kind at all. They wanted to make that very clear. So they HUDDLED TOGETHER. They planned to beat them up and hurt them, so they would be sure to understand who was in charge here, and they would never return. They would be rid of them forever!
Silently and calmly they MOVED TOWARD the YELLOW gloved hands. Suddenly, they POUNCED on the unsuspecting YELLOW gloved hands with quick movements. With a LOUD BLOW and a wallop they POUNDED the poor yellow gloved hands. With a CLENCHED FIST they HIT them again and again. They KNOCKED them to the ground. When they got up, they KNOCKED them down again. In all the commotion and hassle, they PULLED THE YELLOW GLOVES right off their hands !
The PURPLE ........... PINK.......... and GREEN gloved hands were SO
SURPRISED at what happened that they PULLED BACK in utter shock! They LOOKED AT EACH OTHER. The PURPLE glove removed the PINK glove, the PINK glove removed the GREEN glove , and the GREEN glove took off the PURPLE glove. They LOOKED BACK at the
hands they had beaten............... why, they were all the same on the
inside! There was hardly any difference at all!
Gently and tenderly, the hands CAME TOGETHER as friends do. They
realized each one was OK.............. one of God's children................. a
part of the world. But most of all they needed each other. God had given each one gifts to be shared. They SHOOK HANDS and HUGGED and hoped that maybe their friendship would be an
inspiration to others............. and they might make a small difference in
a big world.
SAMPLE SERMON "HOW ARE WE RACED?"
by Sandy Meyer, TC District President 2009-2011
Please pray with me:
Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight oh Lord, our strength and our redeemer.
[ YOU WILL WANT TO PUT YOUR PERSONAL GREETING HERE:]
Human rights for all people is one of the historic principles of United Methodist Women. God is the creator of all people of all races, and we are all God's children. Therefore opportunities for fellowship and service, personal growth and freedom in every aspect of life are inherent rights of everyone.
United Methodist Women has tried to build a community and social order without racial barriers. In 1941, the organization voted to hold meetings only in those places where all members could be entertained without any form of racial discrimination. In 1942, the organization relocated its national Assembly from St. Louis, Missouri to Columbus, Ohio, where one hotel would accommodate a racially integrated group. Things did change for the better and the UMW 2010 National Assembly WAS held in St. Louis, Missouri.
I AM PROUD TO BE A MEMBER OF AN ORGANIZATION THAT TOOK A STAND AGAINST INJUSTICE...AND I HOPE THAT AS AN INDIVIDUAL I TOO WILL HAVE THE COURAGE TO WORK FOR JUSTICE AS MY UMW SISTERS DID BEFORE ME.
In 1952, the organization adopted its first Charter for Racial Justice, modeled after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the world community in December 1948. The charter was updated in 1962. The Charter for Racial Justice Policies in an Interdependent Global Community was written by the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries in 1978 and adopted by General Conference in 1980 upon the recommendation of the Division.
That's almost 40 years after a group of United Methodist Women took a stand against a racial injustice.
I AM PROUD TO BE A MEMBER OF AN ORGANIZATION WHICH WAS PERSISTENT IN IT'S BELIEF FOR RACIAL JUSTICE AND RECOMMENDED THAT THE ENTIRE CHURCH FOLLOW.
The Women's Division represents United Methodist Women, an organization of over one million members. The organization's purpose is to foster spiritual growth, develop leaders, and advocate for social justice. I AM PROUD TO BE A MEMBER OF AN ORGANIZATION WHICH raises more than $25 million a year for programs and projects related to women, children, and youth in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world
More than twenty-five years after the Charter was adopted by General Conference and more than 50 years since its creation, United Methodist Women are actively exploring what the Charter means in today's world and how they can re-commit themselves to racial justice The organization conducts regular racial justice workshops with members, and works in coalition with human and civil rights groups to track hate-crimes and to promote racial justice in the United States and the world.
A little bit about the history of Racial Justice:
Racism is the belief that one race is innately superior to all other races. In the United States, this belief has justified the conquest, enslavement and evangelizing of non-Europeans. During the early history of this country, Europeans assumed their civilization and religion were innately superior to those of both the original inhabitants of the United States and the Africans who were forcefully brought to these shores to be slaves. The myth of European superiority persisted and persists.
I HAVE TO ADMIT HERE THAT I HAD A REALLY HARD TIME READING THIS AND DIGESTING IT. IT WAS PAINFUL FOR ME TO HEAR. ...I NEVER SAW MYSELF AS SUPERIOR...BUT I CAN SEE HOW NON-WHITES MIGHT PERCEIVE IT DIFFERENTLY. I NEVER FELT THAT WAY SO TO HEAR THESE WORDS WAS A STUMBLING BLOCK FOR ME - EVEN IN THE PREPARATION OF THIS MESSAGE TODAY.
Other people who came and who are still coming to the United States by choice or force encountered and encounter racism. Some of these people are the Chinese who built the railroads as indentured workers; the Mexicans whose lands were annexed; the Puerto Rican, the Cubans, the Hawaiians and the Eskimos who were colonized; and the Filipinos, the Jamaicans and the Haitians who live on starvation wages as farm workers.
In principle, the United States has outlawed racial discrimination but, in practice, little has changed. Social, economic and political institutions still discriminate, although some institutions have amended their behavior by eliminating obvious discriminatory practices and choosing their language carefully. The institutional church, despite sporadic attempts to the contrary, also still discriminates.
IT'S HARD TO HEAR, ISN'T IT? WE ARE PART OF THIS. IT IS HARD TO HEAR THIS!
The damage of years of exploitation has not been erased. A system designed to meet the needs of one segment of the population cannot be the means to the development of a just society for all.
The racist system in the United States today perpetuates the power and control of those of European ancestry. It is often called "white racism." The fruits of racism are prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, and dehumanization. Consistently, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders have been humiliated by being given inferior jobs, housing, education, medical services, transportation and public accommodation.
Racist presuppositions have been implicit in U.S. attitudes and policies toward Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. While proclaiming democracy, freedom and independence, the U.S. has been an ally and an accomplice to perpetuating inequality of the races and colonialism throughout the world.
AGAIN, HARD TO HEAR!
The history of The United Methodist Church and the history of the United States are intertwined. The "mission enterprise" of the churches in the United States and "westernization" went hand in hand, sustained in their belief of their superiority.
In the racial justice brochure it states:
We are conscious that "we have sinned as our ancestors did; we have been wicked and evil" (Psalm 106:6, Today's English Version). We are called for a renewed commitment to the elimination of institutional racism. We affirm the 1976 General Conference Statement on The United Methodist Church and Race, which states unequivocally: "By biblical and theological precept, by the law of the Church, by General Conference pronouncement, and by episcopal expression, the matter is clear. With respect to race, the aim of The United Methodist Church is nothing less than an inclusive church in an inclusive society. The United Methodist Church, therefore, calls upon all its people THAT'S ALL OF US! to perform those faithful deeds of love and justice in both the church and community that will bring this aim into reality."
IT'S BEEN IN WRITING FOR MANY YEARS-WE NEED TO START PRACTICING WHAT WE SAY!
I won't read the entire Charter for Racial Justice. I have a copy if you would like to read it [BE SURE TO HAVE SOME COPIES TO SHARE] or you can look online at General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.
SKIP TO THE THEME OF THE MESSAGE TODAY "HOW ARE WE RACED"
A Charter for Racial Justice
ADOPTED BY THE 1980 GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Because We Believe
- that God is the Creator of all people and all are God's children in one family;
- that racism is a rejection of the teachings of Jesus Christ;
- that racism denies the redemption and reconciliation of Jesus Christ;
- that racism robs all human beings of their wholeness and is used as a justification for social, economic and political exploitation;
- that we must declare before God and before each other that we have sinned against our sisters and brothers of other races in thought, in word and in deed;
- that in our common humanity in creation all women and men are made in God's image and all persons are equally valuable in the sight of God;
- that our strength lies in our racial and cultural diversity and that we must work toward a world in which each person's value is respected and nurtured;
- that our struggle for justice must be based on new attitudes, new understandings and new relationships and must be reflected in the law, policies, structures and practices of both church and state;
WE COMMIT OURSELVES AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS A COMMUNITY TO FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST IN WORD AND IN DEED AND TO STRUGGLE FOR THE RIGHTS AND THE SELF-DETERMINATION OF EVERY PERSON AND GROUP OF PERSON. THEREFORE, AS UNITED METHODIST WOMEN IN EVERY PLACE ACROSS THE LAND...
UNITE OUR EFFORTS with all groups in The United Methodist Church
- to eliminate all forms of institutional racism in the total ministry of the church with special attention given to those institutions which we support, beginning with their employment policies, purchasing practices and availability of services and facilities.
- to create opportunities in local churches to deal honestly with the existing racist attitudes and social distance between members, deepening the Christian commitment to be the church where all racial groups and economic classes come together.
- to increase our efforts to recruit women of all races into the membership of United Methodist Women and provide leadership development opportunities without discrimination.
- to create workshops and seminars in local churches to study, understand and appreciate the historical and cultural contributions of each race to the church and community.
- to increase local churches, awareness of the continuing needs for equal education, housing, employment and medical care for all members of the community and create opportunities to work for these things across racial lines.
- to work for the development and implementation of national and international policies to protect the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all people such as through support for the ratification of United Nations covenants on human rights.
- to support and participate in the world-wide struggle for liberation in the church and community.
- to support nomination and election processes which include all racial groups employing a quota system until the time that our voluntary performance makes such practice unnecessary.
The theme of the message today How Are We "Raced"? comes from a reflection for a Bible Study on Racial Justice by Lois M. Dauway, from the Section of Christian Social Responsibility, Women's Division, GBGM, UMC.
One of the issues we will explore is an intriguing question raised by Dr. Carolyn Johnson, a former Women's Division President. The question is "How were you 'raced'?" This means: How were you taught about whom you are and how that impacts your relationships with those around you - whether they are like or different from you? Dr. Johnson says:
"We really have to know our own personal stories of how we were raced-not only how we were r-a-i-s-e-d.
YOU WILL WANT TO INSERT A PERSONAL STORY HERE
BEGIN HERE AFTER PERSONAL STORY
So basically what I'm saying is that how you are raised and how you are raced are different...you have to think about in your own background...in your own life...what were your experiences growing up...what ideas were you given? What ideas are our children being given today as they watching television viewing movies and playing video games which put down women and minorities and are all so violent. It is very troubling to me that children are getting these messages.
So we have to ask ourselves which aspects of how we were raced are we going to correct or let go. Do we have the willingness to act when action is needed, even if we have to stand alone? IF I SEE AN INJUSTICE HAPPENING ARE WE COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO TAKE A STAND? I HOPE I AM. IF PUT IN THAT POSITION AND I AM ALL ALONE, WITHOUT MY UMW SISTERS, WILL I HAVE THE COURAGE TO TO DO THAT? I HOPE SO! We have to continue to say that we will try to continue to discover and understand the complexities and the dynamics of racism. We have to continue to engage with each other around racism. We have to continue to learn."
Let's begin with a basic premise - if you were born in this country or if you immigrated/and have lived here for more than five minutes - you have been "raced".
Let me repeat: if you were born in this country or if you immigrated and have lived here for more than five minutes - you have been "raced".
Racial oppression in this country has occurred historically by the identification and treatment of some groups (i.e., African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans) as "less than." Sexism, ageism and classism are examples of additional forms of systemic oppression. That is, specific groups are systemically identified or treated as "less than" or "different from" because of their gender, age, sexual/affectional preference, and role or job status.
It is important to recognize that we are called to struggle against all forms of oppression. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "None of us are free until all of us are free."
Are you familiar with the song from the play/movie, "South Pacific" "You Have to Be Carefully Taught?" Then you understand that we are "raced at an early age."
BACKGROUND ABOUT THE SONG:
South Pacific received scrutiny for its commentary regarding relationships between different races and ethnic groups. In particular, "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" was subject to widespread criticism, judged by some to be too controversial or downright inappropriate for the musical stage. Sung by the character Lieutenant Cable, the song is preceded by a lyric saying racism is "not born in you! It happens after you're born..."
Rodgers and Hammerstein risked the entire South Pacific venture in light of legislative challenges to its decency or supposed Communist agenda. While on a tour of the Southern United States, lawmakers in Georgia introduced a bill outlawing entertainment containing "an underlying philosophy inspired by Moscow." One legislator said that "a song justifying interracial marriage was implicitly a threat to the American way of life." Rodgers and Hammerstein defended their work strongly. James Michener, upon whose stories South Pacific was based, recalled, "The authors replied stubbornly that this number represented why they had wanted to do this play, and that even if it meant the failure of the production, it was going to stay in."
LISTEN TO THE WORDS:
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear
You've got to be taught
From year to Year
It's got to be drummed
in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught
You've got to be taught
To be Afraid
Of people whose eyes
are oddly made
And people whose skin
Is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught
You've got to be taught
Before it's too late
Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
To hate all the people
your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught
WHAT A MESSAGE! WE NEED TO LISTEN TO THAT BECAUSE IT IS TRUE. BY OUR EXAMPLE, BY WHAT WE DO AND SAY AND BY OUR ACTIONS...OF WHAT MAGAZINES WE READ, WHAT TV WE ARE WATCHING...EVERYTHING WE DO WE ARE TEACHING OUR CHILDREN AND OUR CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE AND IF WE HOPE TO HAVE PEACE IN THE FUTURE WE NEED TO BE DOING IT RIGHT!
WE ARE ALL RACED DIFFERENTLY-FOR EXAMPLE:
Children of African descent, for example, are "raced" with a particular set of coping skills in order to maneuver their way around and past the barriers which society presents. NOW, I HAVEN'T WALKED IN THOSE SHOES, SO I DON'T UNDERSTAND THOSE BARRIERS BUT FROM TALKING WITH MY FRIENDS OF COLOR I KNOW THAT THEY ARE OUT THERE...I JUST HAVEN'T EXPERIENCED THEM. The coping skills for young Latina are different. As are those for Native American girls or a young immigrant from the Asian continent. Young White girls are also taught skills, "raced," for making it in society. THIS NEVER OCCURRED TO ME BEFORE. This may include privilege. THIS IS HARD TO HEAR. The point is that we are all developmentally impacted by issues of race in this country.
This information is acquired involuntarily at an early age through a conditioning process that is both emotionally painful and harmful. There are personal costs for all groups. This is not to say that the emotional experience of DIFFERENT groups are the same. It is not. However for everyone to empathize with the pain of oppression for target groups we have to reclaim our own ethnic background...understand where we came from and where we came up with the ideas that we have.
The challenge is not to compete with each other around the question of whose pain is deeper or more valid. We are committed to soothing the pain of all who hurt. It is counter-productive, and indeed, offensive to attempt to compare pain. Pain hurts -- that is enough to spur us to action.
Racism is the systemic oppression of people of color. It occurs at the individual, interpersonal, institutional and/or cultural level. It may be overt or covert, intentional or unintentional. Racism is different from racial prejudice,THIS IS SOMETHING I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND BEFORE IN MY SHELTERED LITTLE WORLD. IT'S DIFERENT FROM hatred. IT'S DIFFERENT FROM discrimination. Racism involves having the power to carry out systemic discriminatory practices through the institutions of our society. IT'S HAVING THE POWER. THIS MEANS IN THE UNITED STATES THE GOVERNMENT HAS THE POWER TO MAKE A LOT OF DECISIONS FOR US. WE NEED TO BE SURE THAT OUR GOVERNMENT IS MAKING DECISIONS THAT MATCH OUR PERSONAL BELIEFS.
RACISM ISN'T REALLY NEW. IF YOU REMEMBER THE STORY OF DANIEL IN THE BIBLE-HE WAS RACED. HE WAS!
Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians. King Nebuchadnezzar commanded that "Israelites of the royal family and of nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight and competent to serve in the king's palace" be trained to serve the needs of the king. Daniel was such a man, and because he was an astute and forthright man, he began to rise up within the government structures. Daniel was a Jew. He was "raced" as a Jew. He was a person on the margin, but was "raised" as a person of privilege. DO YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RAISING AND THE RACING? Resenting Daniel's favored position within the structure; Babylonian bureaucrats became determined to get rid of him because he was not "one of them." They realized that it would be unwise to engage in overt anti-Jewish behavior and, therefore, plotted to use institutional procedures to eliminate their rival. They intentionally established policies and procedures that Daniel, a devout Jew, would be unable to comply with.
Then, they convinced the king to mandate that anyone who did not worship the golden idol, fashioned in the image of Nebuchadnezzar, would be thrown into the lion's den. Aware that Daniel would worship only his God (because that is how he had been "raced") his enemies knew that he inevitably would suffer the penalty for disobeying the king. No racial slurs were heard nor were "Babylonians Only" signs displayed. Simply, the structures of the times were in place to keep those who were different from assuming too much power.
THINK BACK TO OUR US HISTORY...HAS THIS HAPPENED? IT HAS HAPPENED!
I JUST WANTED TO BRING YOU SOME INFORMATION AND GET YOU THINKING...MAYBE IT'S TROUBLING YOU AS IT TROUBLED ME....JUST TO BE AWARE.
Thank you for your attention to the history lesson and willingness to open your hearts to think about how you were r-a-i-s-e-d. and how you were r-a-c-e-d. I hope you will continue to struggle with the question of how we are "r-a-c-e-d" and the implications of that for the future of our country and the world.