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Thoughts to ponder…….
HOW IS IT WITH YOUR SOUL? This question itself comes from the Methodist class meeting, which has been called the ‘sinews of Methodism.’ The class meeting soon became the heart of the early Methodist movement in England, providing the most basic setting of spiritual formation. It was brought to North America by lay Methodists as they emigrated, providing the foundation of the movement here nearly a decade before Wesley sent over itinerant preachers to foster the growth. By 1815, more than seven thousand Methodist class meetings were up and running. Week by week, Methodists, according to Wesley, would ‘speak, each of us in order, freely and plainly the true state of our souls.’
You are probably wondering what this has to do with the UMW. An article in the July/August 2021 UMW magazine, response, reports that” United Methodist Women pilots first Soul Care retreat, a new membership growth initiative.” The first Soul Care event was held remotely Feb. 26-28 because of the COVID pandemic.
As part of United Methodist Women’s strategic plan for growth, the organization surveyed more than 24,000 women over the age of 18 in United Methodist Women, the United Methodist Church and beyond, to get their say on everything from how they prefer to meet, how they prefer to give, what’s most important to them and what they’re seeking. One need rose to the top across demographic differences: the need for soul care.
“We defined soul care as self-care and spiritual nourishment. So, our Soul Care events are about nurturing your mind, body and spirit while deepening your faith through spiritual practice and creating bonds of sisterhood,” said Khia Shaw, director UMW’s membership and engagement work.
“The research showed that young women wanted to gather with other young women. It showed that women wanted to gather by shared concerns and interests. It showed we have a good opportunity for growth if we meet expressed need of ethnically diverse women. Soul Care is one way we’re making this happen.”
The first Soul Care event reached out to African American members of United Methodist Women, ages 35—59, and asked that they invite a friend who was not a United Methodist Women member.
Future Soul Care retreats will include a change-makers retreat for women who advocate daily for social justice and an intergenerational retreat allowing women to invite daughters and nieces to share a space for mutual mentorship. The Soul Care pilot event will serve as a model for member-led events.
The centering message, given at the first session by Rev. Dionne Boissiere, chaplain of United Methodist Women’s Church Center for the United Nations, was based on Song of Solomon 1:5-6 that helped participants claim permission to take care of themselves. (Continued on next page)
The Soul Care retreat ended with a video that shared more about United Methodist Women to highlight ways the women can continue to stay connected through Facebook and attending a Mission event in their region. It is hoped that Soul Care will give participants a glimpse of United Methodist women, what we do, so they see there’s a place for them.
(This article was based on information taken from response written by Yvette Moore, Director of Public Relations and Marketing for United Methodist Women).
Photos of Family Fun & Fellowship Night
The UMWomen and friends were big supporters of the MMUMC Family Night held in September. Members came with donations and enormous creativity to make it a most meaningful night for all.
United Methodist Women’s Week