March 26, 2023 – Women's Ministry Sunday

Courtesy of Sandy Cross UMC website
Courtesy of Sandy Cross UMC website

A Moment for Mission

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in [God].” – Jeremiah 17:7, NIV

Throughout world history, men have dominated the narrative, and patriarchy has prevailed. Yet, God is a God of all people, regardless of their gender. Scripture displays women as wise teachers, leaders, organizers and prophets.

Individuals like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah laid the foundation for servant leadership and faithful witness among the Israelites. Deborah, a judge, and Queen Esther modeled courage and conviction to do what was right amid great struggle and strife. Prophets Miriam and Huldah delivered the word of God to others and provided wisdom and insight to lead the world into redemption.

Today, women continue to serve the church and the world, following the call of the Spirit. Women serve as bishops, elders and deacons, deaconesses, lay leaders, teachers, missionaries and organizers. You will find women serving in positions across the United Methodist connection, leading ministries that serve marginalized communities and advocate for social change and equity for all of God’s children. Women will continue to shape the history of our faith as they show us a path toward peace, reconciliation and sacrificial love that unites and heals.

On Women’s Ministry Sunday, we acknowledge and celebrate the wonderful ways that women live out their calls from God to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This special day is a perfect opportunity to display your generosity and thanksgiving.

Your faithful giving to the World Service Fund supports agencies like United Women in Faith and the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. Their work and programming continue to build world-changing leaders and support women as they contribute to the life of the church. Thank you for making a difference and believing in women!

Children’s Message
Lots of comic books and movies tell stories of superheroes with extraordinary powers that they use to fight crime and keep their communities safe. Who can name their favorite super hero? (Let children answer.)

They’re all rather incredible! Out of all the superheroes we named, how many are men and how many are women? (List examples of both.)

How about some heroes from the Bible? Can you name some men? How about women? (Let children answer.)

Woman have been doing amazing things for a long time. Sarah helped build the nation of Israel. Hannah prayed with so much passion that God gave her a son, showing us why we should pray and have faith. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was chosen specially by God to give birth to Jesus because of her pure heart. Mary Magdalene had many problems but chose to believe in Jesus and became one of the first people to tell the world about Christ’s Resurrection!

These women changed the world as they knew it and helped connect people to God in new and wonderful ways. They set the example for us. Today women in our congregation and our denomination lead us as we try to do God’s will. (Give examples of female leaders in your church/conference.)

Women are called to preach, teach and bring God’s word to people all over the world. Today is Women’s Ministry Sunday. We remember just how awesome the women like your sisters, moms, grandmas, aunts, cousins and others are and all the ways they serve God.

Prayer: God, thank you for the ways you call women to lead us and serve you. We are blessed by them and the many gifts they bring to the church. Amen.

Offertory Prayer
God of all creation, we praise you for your infinite goodness and the ways you have called women into service for you. Consecrate these gifts today that we might continue to encourage women leaders and strive for a church where all are seen as equal in your eyes. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries
Almighty and restoring God, we have been living through some difficult days, as churches and as individuals. We experience days when we rise, wondering if we will make it through one more day, whether the church will survive for another generation; and we feel like those dry bones in the valley. As we offer our tithes and offerings, help us to hear the word of hope the prophet shares, not just with our ears but also with our hearts. May it call us back to life and service, out of the graves of despair in which we have buried ourselves. In Christ’s holy name. Amen.

Newsletter Nugget
This Sunday, we will celebrate Women’s Ministry Sunday. Women are an integral part of the church, and they are called to share the good news with those who need to hear it.

Women have been influential throughout our Methodist history. They have been authorized to preach since 1787! Single women missionaries have been serving since the mid-1800s. The first ordination of a woman in Methodist history occurred in 1866. All along, women have fought for full inclusion in the life of the church, overcoming ordination bans and sexism.

We have come along way. Women now serve as bishops, clergy, deaconesses and missionaries, as well as strong lay leaders, helping to expand the ministry of the local church. All are faithful witnesses of the love of God displayed in Jesus Christ. They help to connect the church to the world and bring hope and healing.

Today, and every day, we give thanks for the women among us who share God’s grace in unique and beautiful ways. As we celebrate Women’s Ministry Sunday, your generosity and continued giving to the World Service Fund sustains vital women’s ministry across our denomination. Thank you!