Vol. XXXI, No. 2 | May 2021
I have been working hard as your President these past five months on communication. My goal is that all communication that comes out from the United Methodist Women in Iowa is guided with our Purpose in mind. That our communication be open, available to all, honest but respectful and framed in “Knowing God”.
I have realized that Words Matter; whether they are spoken, written, or left unsaid for a variety of reasons.
Words that are spoken cannot be unspoken. My mother used to tell us that God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we speak. I also think it is so we can listen to the feedback given to us regarding the words we have just spoken which may not have been well thought out or received in the manner we intended the message. The only way we can grow is if we are open to listening to another’s perspective on a multitude of issues.
Words that are written should be carefully re-read to ensure they are honest but respectful. These words also must be our own words, or if using another’s work properly credited with quotes and citations. As United Methodist Women we are charged with being a “community of women…to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ, to develop a creative supportive community” through our messaging, written or action, regarding United Methodist Women. I have wondered many times if I am open to exploring what experiencing freedom as whole persons means. It is plural as in “persons”, not singular as in “person”, so this is not about one person (me), or one race/ethnicity, but “persons”; reminding me Jesus Christ came for everyone. We must ensure that we are honest but respectful in our messaging; not harsh and judgmental or we may lose the chance of our message being heard regarding the outstanding mission, learning and spiritual growth opportunities offered through United Methodist Women.
Words that are left unsaid for a variety of reasons are the toughest types of words for me. They are tough because we often are not aware there was a message left unsaid. Did you know that most communication is not achieved through verbal communication but non-verbal? At times, we believe that a person who does not say anything has no opinion, or they agree with what was said/happening, or we make a judgement based on that person’s physical appearance. This is a two-way street, as all communication is. If we are offended or uncomfortable by what was said, let it slide and do not come back to it, then we are not being open in our communications. We are not taking the opportunity to grow ourselves or to allow the other person to grow in our relationships and understanding of one another. We are not building a community of women who develop a creative, supportive fellowship.
I challenge each of us to remember in all our messaging: Words Matter; whether they are spoken, written, or left unsaid for a variety of reasons.
Gladys Alvarez, President
Gkna2001@aol.com phone: 515-277-7337
|Myra Bowman, Co-Vice President||Barb Trulson, Co-Vice President|
|911 Golfview Ave.||667 6th St. SW|
|Britt, IA 50423||Britt, IA 50423|
|A Note from our NCJ Secretary|
|Committee on Nominations|
We know that all things work together for good, for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Nomination has been busy getting new officers for the conference and are meeting with presidents and nomination members of all five districts to explain the order for new officer nomination.
I would like to remind all chapters that you need a president, secretary, treasurer and a chairman of nominations. The other officers—vice president, mission coordinator for spiritual growth, mission coordinator for social action, mission coordinator for education and interpretation, mission coordinator for membership nurture and outreach, secretary of program resources and communications coordinator are not required if your unit is small. All officers are elected for two two year terms, except treasurer is three two year terms.
They are elected as follows: even years—President, Secretary, Education and interpretation, social action, and program resources secretary. Odd years—vice president, treasurer, membership nurture and outreach, spiritual growth, communications coordinator and the chairman for nominations. Clear as mud--right? If you have questions, call me and I'll try to answer them.
612 Grand Ave, C-3
Creston, IA 50801
PROVERBS 18:15 An understanding mind gains knowledge; the ear of the wise is knowledge. (CEB)
Blessings! I want to thank you for your interest in UMW and all of its facets. Like a diamond, we shine best when we are polished and in the proper setting.
Reading is an excellent way to polish the mind. And there is so many ways that we can read. In looking for a scripture for this article,I found 30 for learning just alone. We are commanded to search the Scriptures. We are instructed to learn.
I am just about finished with A Road Called Down on both Sides: Growing up in Ethiopia and America. The author is Caroline Kurtz. She is one of five children of a Presbyterian missionary to Ethiopia. Her growing up years were during the rule of Haile Selassie and following. She talks of the land and the people of the time, the revolution and killings, the dissonance of going to the USA as a young adult. The stories are filled with powerful descriptions and emotions. She talks of finding faith in the midst of depression. Excellent! EDUCATION FOR MISSION
My next read is Women Rise Up: Sacred Stories of Resistance for Today’s Revolution. by Katey Zeh.
I must admit that this may be rougher on my stone as it polishes some of the hard edges down. It tells the stories of 10 women of the Bible in the context of today’s issues that women deal with. It is scriptural and personal. From the Introduction: “This book is an exploration and an affirmation of women’s live—yours and mine, ancient and new, near and distant. It is an invitation to connect, commune and converse with the foremothers of our faith. These women are complex figures deserving of our attention, sometimes our admiration, and other times our critique. Oftentimes all three at once.” I am looking forward to it. SOCIAL ACTION
I would suggest that if you have a computer that you look up this website. It is a letter from National about the changes in the reading program starting this year. Reading Program 2021: Letter from Andris Salter (unitedmethodistwomen.org)
One major change is the addition of Faith Talk podcasts and Movies to the reading program. Three Faith Talk podcasts count as a Bonus Book in Spiritual Growth. The movies Just Mercy, The Hate U Give, and Pushout will also count toward the reading program. I am working on Just Mercy on my own in reading form and am overwhelmed at times. The Hate U Give is on the reading program and Pushout is a Mission u book.
One more topic: Recognition. It too has changed. You can participate in a one year or two-year program. Continue to send your information to your District representative of Program Resources. You may send it in at the usual deadline of June 30. The books you read this year may be added to next year as a two-year certificate. Any book from the 2015 through the 2022 year may be used.
Summer is coming. Grab a book and read!
Much love and blessings,
Think Outside the Box
Hallelujah!! I have seen quite a few different approaches to UMW recently. There is no one right way. Each circle can have a different goal or purpose within their group.
There are very few rules that we are required to follow. Start talking to your friends in and out of the church, Methodist or not. Come together on any interest. Explore. Learn. Get to know the members of the group and support each other. Enjoy and have fun!
Social Action Coordinator email@example.com
Charter for Racial Justice Committee Report
The committee met on January 16th for their first organizational meeting of 2021. We discussed white privilege and several ways we can help educate our UMW sisters. In addition to Social Action articles in the newsletter, there will be additional information from our committee. These articles will include discussion points, videos links, and additional resources. Articles will also appear in the 360 on the UMC website. A virtual event is being planned for May on White Privilege. We choose to be on this continual journey to spread the love of UMW and to help us become antiracists. An antiracist will walk with their fellow sisters on a journey to end racism.
Let's get started!
The Charter for Racial Justice Committee
How do we live out the Charter for Racial Justice?
On Jan. 6, we witnessed a mob attacking the U.S. Capitol as our Congress worked to complete the Electoral College vote count from the 2020 election. Despite the shock of this attack, law enforcement agencies’ response was mild, especially as contrasted with the response to Black Lives Matter protestors last summer. It’s unlikely BLM protestors would have been given access to the national mall or a federal building.
As Emily Jones, United Methodist Women Executive for Racial Justice, wrote: “The mob behavior today reflects the extraordinary entitlement of White privilege: violent White protesters stormed the Capitol and threatened democratically elected legislators performing their Constitutional duties as President Trump offered tacit praise and encouragement to the mob.
“If law enforcement can demonstrate this much restraint with wantonly violent gangs when they’re White, then how can we justify as 'inevitable' or 'normal' that people of color — Black and Native people, especially — who have committed far lesser crimes or no offense at all are regularly killed and injured by law enforcement?”
This question reflects the concerns of the United Methodist Charter for Racial Justice. In 1978, this charter was created and adopted by the Women’s Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. It was adopted by the entire denomination in 1980, and it has been readopted every eight years since.
This year, our Iowa Conference UMW Committee on the Charter for Racial Justice will be providing opportunities for all of us to learn about how racism and privilege create an unequal society. In addition to some excellent books in our reading program, including our study Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, we’ll be sharing resources and perspectives in this newsletter and developing events exploring race and bias. Our hope is units can use these articles, resources, and events to open conversations about race, prejudice, and privilege.
Where do we begin?
I suggest we start with Social Action Coordinator Deb Streff’s review of the book White Fragility in this issue of Connections. She recommends we admit we all have biases, giving us much to learn.
And for the white majority in America, our race means we benefit from systems, i.e., educational, employment, financial, etc., designed to restrict access of those outside the majority. The following short video provides a simple illustration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffWhWnIH16E.
In this second video, Brandon Leak, spoken word artist from America’s Got Talent, performs his poem on why his mom prays for his safety. It’s a very moving perspective and starts after his intro poem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie-MEV1XfAA.
Use these resources to start some conversations about racial justice. Read the Charter using the link above and explore the scripture and discussion questions posted with it. And watch for more opportunities to learn and grow.
Committee on the Charter for Racial Justice: Gladys Alvarez, Donna Burkett, Lynn Calvert, Cherie Miner, and Deb Streff
Save the date for May 22 Why Racial Justice? Zoom event
As daily events remind us, we have a lot of racial justice work to do. As this was written, the officer charged with killing George Floyd was on trial in Minneapolis, and each day more attacks on Asian Americans are reported. What precipitates these events and what can we do to interrupt and prevent them? How do we replace fear and hate with love and justice?
In 1978, the United Methodist Charter for Racial Justice was created and adopted by the Women’s Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. It was adopted by the entire denomination in 1980, and it has been readopted every eight years since.
As part of our effort to learn about how racism and privilege create an unequal society, our Iowa Conference UMW Committee on the Charter for Racial Justice decided to host an event. We asked Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. to lead this event. His presentation is:
America is Changing: #StayWoke
10-11:30 a.m. CST, Sat., May 22 via Zoom
The session will challenge the audience to examine and explore issues related to bias, privilege, supremacy and #BecomingAntiRacism.
In 1996, Dr. Moore started America & MOORE, LLC to provide comprehensive diversity, privilege and leadership training/workshops. Dr. Moore is recognized as one of the nation’s top speakers and educators. His interview with Wisconsin Public Radio won the 2015 Wisconsin Broadcasters Association's Best Interview in Medium Market Radio, 1st Place, and he is featured in the film “I’m not Racist….Am I?”
Dr. Moore is also the Founder/Program Director for the White Privilege Conference (WPC). In 2014, Dr. Moore founded The Privilege Institute (TPI) which engages people in research, education, action and leadership through workshops, conferences, publications and strategic partnerships and relationships. He is co-founder of the on-line journal Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, co-editor of: Everyday White People Confront Racial and Social Injustice: 15 Stories; The Guide for White Women who Teach Black Boys; The Diversity Consultant Cookbook: Preparing for the Challenge (2019); Teaching Beautiful Brilliant Black Girls (forthcoming, 2021); and Lil’ e - The Big Misunderstanding (2020). Dr. Moore received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in Education Leadership. His Ph.D. research is on Black Football Players at Division III Schools in the Midwest. *IDI Qualified Administrator https://idiinventory.com/
Please register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUvfuugqzwpEtB0MZMPQ98dr24GHdyqXcoA
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
|Education & Interpretation|
Spring has sprung – a new day has come! Thanks be to God for bringing us through a long and challenging winter. May new possibilities give us renewed energy and commitment to improving life for women, children, and youth at home and around the world!
It is time for our units to look back on what has been accomplished over the past year in spite of our isolation. Mission Today Unit reports are due to your District Chairpersons of Education & Interpretation by June 30. I’ll attach the revised form again so we are sure you have it in hand. We decided that we would like to have you report anything you were able to do that fulfills the Purpose of United Methodist Women. Therefore, you will see the possible activities divided into four sections:
If you look carefully at the sections, I think you will discover that you HAVE accomplished much even though you thought you were “on hold.” There is no competition for “awards” this year – just tell us how your unit is doing. It’s important that we get a sense of how UMW has stayed alive through our Covid year.
We’re all very excited to be able to offer MISSION U 2021 in a new format in July. Having the chance to join a virtual 4-week study will give many the opportunity to participate! Look for the details elsewhere in this letter. Next year we’ll be able to report on our Mission Studies again!!
“See” you via Zoom over the next few months yet.
319-377-5977 or 563-542-3583 (c)
Ignited for Justice – Mission u 2021
“But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (ESV)
Mission u 2021 to be presented by Iowa Conference United Methodist Women offers topics fit our current reality. The public health emergency duration has exceeded 365 days, social distancing had become a common phrase, lives change daily due to another’s own perceived authority, and demonstrators take to the street in solidarity. In a time such as this, we offer a study of finding peace and a study of criminalization. Please join us Tuesday evenings and/or Wednesday evenings in July 2021 to learn, grow, and share to transform the world. Registration details can be found within this newsletter.
After Mission u 2021, participants are encouraged to host their own small group book club discussion for those who may not have the opportunity to attend in July. Book club groups may be held either virtual format if you have the technology or in-person if conditions allow and are acceptable by those participating. Discussion guides are available if you need starter questions or ideas. If you host a book club, please send details (contact information below) so activity of Iowa Conference can be recorded to National Office.
Linda Blazek Garvin
606 Phillips Street, Polk City, IA 50226
Mission u Dean 2021-2022
Iowa Conference United Methodist Women
Mission u, like many activities in our lives, has moved online. While virtual, we are still creating spaces for spiritual community, lifelong friendships, lessons that change us and our communities, and spiritual practices that arrive when we need them most.
|Participants of Mission u 2021 are encouraged to lead small group, book club discussions in your respective district/local area. Please contact Linda Blazek Garvin (firstname.lastname@example.org) for website to discussion guide for each study, if needed.|
Will you join us?
Our 2021 Mission u will offer the following studies:
Finding Peace in an Anxious World
2021 Spiritual Growth Mission Study
Finding Peace in an Anxious World, the 2021 Spiritual Growth Study by staff of the Urban Village Church, uses the book of Proverbs and “The Serenity Prayer” as a guide to help Christians find their way through anxiety, worry, and fear and move towards God’s peace that surpasses all understanding. Using “The Serenity Prayer” as a scaffold, Finding Peace in an Anxious World explores ways to discover peace through scriptural and spiritual disciplines so that we can be rooted in God and energized to live fully as disciples of Christ.
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools
2021 Issue Mission Study
Despite increased attention to the mass and over-incarceration of black men, the plight of criminalized black women and girls is overlooked, underreported and under analyzed. Monique W. Morris' Pushout shows how even with obstacles, stigmas, stereotypes and despair, black girls still find ways to breathe remarkable dignity into their lives in classrooms, juvenile facilities and beyond, and challenges the rest of us to do the same.
RSVP: Email Sally Barrett, Mission u Registrar, with the following information: (email@example.com)
Name, mailing address, and local church
Name(s) of class wish to attend
Link to Zoom platform will be sent closer to start of class via email.
UPDATE: Virtual Mission u has no registration fee to attend.
During the Legacy Fund Endowment Campaign’s six-year history, United Methodist Women across the globe, raised over $34 million dollars, surpassing 56% of the $60 million goal in December 2020! That campaign phase ended in December 2020.
A new fundraising space under the heading of a Sustaining Phase, Building on Our Success, began in January 2021. Additional gifts received during 2021 and beyond will allow United Methodist Women to have access to financial resources used to expand our mission and transform the lives of women, children, and youth.
How can you participate in this campaign, you ask? By choosing one of several options listed below. Further information about planned giving will be included in explained in later Connections.
Donate Online - Make a secure gift by credit card. Your gift can be made in honor or in memory of someone special. An e-card is available for your use. www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/150/give
Give by Mail
Mail your donation to United Methodist National Office
475 Riverside Drive 15th Floor
New York, NY 10115
Become a Legacy Builder
A Legacy Builder commits to make a monthly gift of $18.69 or more to the Legacy Fund Endowment in honor of United Methodist Women’s 150 anniversary.
Marcia Young Legacy Fund Liaison
In our last issue, I asked these four questions. I received few answers, so I assume no one has the answers. But I’ll ask the questions again:
My first goal is to collect Directories, going back as far as we can. Since then, I’ve received all Directories from 1997 on, thanks to Jean Sheets, Jan Yungbluth, Barb Oakland, Sharon Boen, and Becky Herron. And Mary Morris and Sandy Oswald have promised to meet with me soon to exchange older materials.
But I really want more older things. A collection going back to 1997 isn’t really history. What might YOU have that you’d be willing to give me? Let me know, and we’ll connect!
1100 Brookridge Circle, Apt. 3B
Atlantic, IA 50022
|National UMW Program Advisory Board|
Keep on Moving Forward . . . Never Turning Back
Most recently national United Methodist Women held a Federal Legislative Day on April 14th with almost 40 states across the nation discussing climate justice issues in Zoom meetings with Senators and Representatives. These were the primary asks of the sessions:
Ten Iowa UMW members organized and attended three Zoom meetings with staff from offices of Sen. Ernst and Rep. Axne. An additional meeting was held on Earth Day (4/22) with two staffers from Sen. Grassley’s office, one of who is a member of an Iowa UMC.
National UMW Board members approved signing the Net-Zero Emissions pledge “to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 across ministries, operations, and investments and to leverage the gifts of our connection putting equity and justice at the center as we build a net-zero emission economy by 2050.”
Are you using the United Methodist website, program book, Prayer Calendar, Reading List books, and response magazine for your personal education, programs for units and districts? There is a wealth of excellent materials for you and UMW members to explore!
In addition, be sure to connect with Faith Talks on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month hosted by Jennifer R. Farmer with a wide variety of topics and diverse presenters. The last one was on Gun Violence Solutions. Did you know that these now count as items for your Reading List report? (Also at least three films—Just Mercy, The Hate U Give, and Pushout—will count.)
Have you been to Africa or Arizona or Tennessee this past year to meet the women who are leading and working in the programs UMW funds? You can if you take part in Voices from the Field online events. Another session is planned for May 10th, 9-10:30 a.m. Register here. Previous recordings are viewable at www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/voices-from-the-field.
Please plan to participate in the Iowa Charter for Racial Justice Committee’s “Why Racial Justice” event on Saturday, May 22nd, 10-11:30 a.m. featuring Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. In addition, I encourage you to consider joining Let Our Children Learn: A UMW Virtual Bible Study on Interrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline on Thursdays, May 20 & 27 and June 3 & 10 at 5-6:30 p.m. Register here.
Let me know if you have questions or comments. I’m here to connect with you about UMW!
Rita Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-979-0605,
7218 El Rancho Ave, Windsor Heights, IA 50324
|Church Women United in Iowa|
Church Women United in Iowa and World Day of Prayer USA May 2021
Church Women United Inc. Agreed to Differ – Resolved to Love – United to Serve. Since 1941, the women of the Church Women United movement have held a vision of Christian unity and prayerful action. CWU was founded as a racially, culturally, theologically, inclusive Christian women’s movement to celebrate unity and diversity and work for peace in the world.
CWU 2021 celebration materials available on www.churchwomenunited.net planning November World Community Day on November 5 and Human Rights Day to be celebrated at any date during the year.
Needed: Donations of tabs from beverages, cat food cans and other aluminum tabs to fund personal items for survivors of human trafficking. Tabs will provide support to current residents in the 3 Safe Houses in Iowa: WINGS of REFUGE of Ames area; LILA MAE’S HOUSE of Sioux City area; DOROTHY’S HOUSE of the Des Moines area. Thank you!
Virtual 2021 Vanuatu Service may be viewed at: YOUTUBE.COM WORLD DAY OF PRAYER USA VIRTUAL SERVICE VANUATU 2021. It is led by the current national WPD USA board members. Other virtual 2021 Vanuatu services held globally may also be viewed on YOUTUBE.COM and Facebook. Learn about this beautiful country. Pray for solidarity to support its women, children and families.
Dubuque, IA CWU in Iowa liaison to Iowa United Methodist Women World Day of Prayer USA National Board
International Women’s Day 2021 “Ring the Bell” Dubuque, Iowa
St. Luke’s United Methodist Women(Sue Hattel, Marcia Young), Rockdale/Grand View United Methodist Women (Helen Schaub) and Dubuque Church Women United planned International Women’s Day(IWD)) 2021 observance at Rockdale United Methodist Church. 2021 international theme is #Choose to Challenge.
What is International Women’s Day (IWD), held annually on March 8?
Dubuque 2020 IWD event featured women and girl speakers: international women students from U of Dubuque; young Girl Scouts; a worker assists human trafficking survivors; a member of P.E.O. Sisterhood; and a Presentation Lantern volunteer teaches English to immigrant women. Each impacts lives of females!
Dubuque 2021 IWD was held noon until 2: 00 p.m. as a “come & go” event with masks and social distancing required due to COVID precautions. Attendees completed a “self-guided reflection” and prior to departure, rang the tower bell committing to supporting solidarity of women and girls. The tolling of the large bell was heard throughout the community every 10 minutes.
Why does International Women’s Day Matter?
On IWD we remember, that as long as one woman faces discrimination, inequality or oppression - we all do. Yes, IWD matters - we have come a long way—but we have much more to accomplish. Summary of compiled global challenges:
As women, as United Methodist Women, we are called to
Church Women United Representative to IA Conference United Methodist Women
Board member National WDP-USA.
|Youth In Ministry|
Let Our Children Learn:
A UMW Virtual Bible Study on Interrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline
May 20, May 27, June 3, June 10
6-7:30PM ET / 5-6:30PM CT / 4-5:30PM MT / 3-4:30PM PT
You are invited to join United Methodist Women members and friends for a four-part Bible study on the sacred place of children and youth in God's eyes, antiracism and interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline.
What can I expect?
This study includes four 90-minute sessions:
Each session will build on the previous session. We encourage you to register for and attend the full series.
We believe that God is presently active in the world. The Bible is not just a story we read about the past; rather, the Bible points to a Gospel story that is alive and at work in the present, as well. God seeks justice and liberation for all people. God's love flows freely towards children and youth. The school-to-prison pipeline is contrary to God's vision for creation.
A variety of gifts are needed in the work of interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. Just as there are many parts to the body and many varieties of spiritual gifts, so there are many ways of being an "interrupter."
We invite you to:
You can expect opportunities to participate and interact with other study members in small groups. Participation in small groups is voluntary but highly encouraged. Your experience of this study will be enriched if you are able to participate via video on a computer or cell phone using the free Zoom application. However, there will also be a Zoom call-in option for phone-only participation if you do not have access to participate by video. There is no cost to participate. Sessions will be live/interactive and will not be recorded. No prior knowledge is required. All are welcome.
About Your Lead Facilitator:
Neomi Fletcher holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Policy Studies with a concentration on urban and social policy from Rice University in Houston, TX. Neomi is the founder of Peace Ground LLC.- a household management organization dedicated to supporting families in establishing healthy family ecosystems. Neomi is pursuing ordination as a Deacon in the UMC and is a member of the Texas Annual Conference. Neomi will complete her Master of Divinity in May 2021 from Emory University. Neomi currently serves as a board member for Bishop's Retreat and as the grant manager on the Strategic Management Team for the Nett Church in Atlanta, GA. Finally, she is the UMC Young Adult Delegate for the Churches United in Christ. She brings a commitment to empower others, a strong awareness of the various social structures hindering individuals opportunities to choose their course in life and a deep hope that God’s love is powerful enough to unite humanity.
Pre-registration is required and capacity is limited. Registrations are approved on a first-come, first-served basis.
* If the registration link does not work for you, please copy and paste this text into your browser window: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0vcOispzwtGdfoRKaSO_pwfAUJtgpDZuIP