A Moment for Mission
"The Lord will guide you continually, … and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail." —Isaiah 58:11, NRSV
On Women's Ministry Sunday, United Methodist churches celebrate the ways they reach out to women and the ways women enrich the congregation's ministries.
How does your congregation welcome all women into its ministry? Are women included in all aspects of the church's outreach? Do you have an active United Methodist Women's group? Are women involved in Bible study and prayer groups? Are they encouraged to share their skills and mentor others? Do women serve in leadership roles on boards and committees? Are women an active part of your worship experience, by participating in music and educational ministries, assisting with Holy Communion, ushering and reading Scripture?
How do you teach all members that they are created in God's image, are of sacred worth and have a right to an equal place in the church's life? Beyond your local church, what is your annual conference doing to encourage the full inclusion of women in leadership?
Consider these words from the apostle Paul (Galatians 3:26-28, CEB): "You are all God's children through faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. … You are all one in Christ Jesus."
As your congregation observes Women's Ministry Sunday, take the time to consider what your church already does with and for women. Then go a step further by finding new ways to include all of God's precious children in your congregation's ministry.
Loving God, guide us all to serve you every day. In all we do, inspire us to bloom "like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail." In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost — God of creation and architect of the universe: you knew where to place the stars and when to set the cosmos in motion, and still you know each and every one of us. Before we were born, even in our mother's womb, you knew us and had plans for us to be filled with your love and light and to bring that love and light to the world. Mighty and gentle God, may these gifts we dedicate this morning be used to bring light and hope to sisters and brothers we haven't met yet. May our arms and legs be used to take that hope out into the world this day, and may our words and our prayers convey that love to those we meet. In the name of Christ, our Redeemer, we pray. Amen. (Jeremiah 1:4-10)
When Connie Bannister was released from prison, she prayed that God would help her find a church home. For three years, she visited many churches in Toledo, Ohio, looking for the right fit. Finally, a friend suggested "the church on the corner," St. Paul United Methodist.
When the processional started, Connie saw the Rev. Mary Sullivan—a woman pastor! Connie had found her church home. Today, she explained, "I work for God" at the Marketplace for All People, a free store, and encourages other women to believe in themselves and assures them that God loves them.
"I love helping people," Connie said. "I love having a conversation with people, and I love praying with people."
On Women's Ministry Sunday (date set by each annual conference), United Methodist churches celebrate the ways they reach out to the women who enter their doors, some for the first time, and seek new opportunities to guide women on their spiritual journey.
—Kay Panovec, West Ohio Annual Conference