A Letter from Lynne
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May 5, 2014, 9:41 AM

“UMW Sisterhood”

During my recent trip to Italy I had time to read the last two issues of response magazine.  I’m always so excited about the work of the women and impressed with the creativity of the projects described.  I want to encourage each local UMW organization to send in an article to “Bright Lights” describing what your local group has done and include a photo or two.  I know you’re doing great things following the servant role of Jesus because I’ve seen them listed on the Mission Today forms.  Please set that as a goal for this year.

United Methodist Women are movers and shakers.  We have power when we bind together on issues that help women, children, youth and the disenfranchised.  We should all write letters or call our legislators on important issues as well as being active locally.  Work for justice!  “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.”  Amos 5:24

Remember the four focus areas for this quadrennium: immigration, domestic violence, human trafficking and climate control.  Help to educate your UMW and your church about these four priorities.  See what action you can take to help bring about change.  We still have the CTC UMW t-shirts that say “Make It Happen” available for $15.  Call or email me if you’d like one. 

Remember to check out the ctcumw.org website for registration and information on upcoming events plus photos of past events.  Remember to put these dates on your calendar:

 

  • “Make It Happen” - UMW Assembly, April 25-27 in Louisville, KY

  • UMW Workday at United Community Centers – May 17 from 9am – noon

  • UMW Luncheon at Annual Conference – Tuesday, June 10, at noon at the Aristide Event & Conference Center, Mansfield, TX.Purchase $15 tickets by May 25 from the conference or district UMW Presidents.

  • Mission u – first full week in August at First UMC of Temple, at Genesis UMC in Fort Worth and the weekend event at Glen Lake Camp.

  • CTC UMW Annual Autumn Gathering, Oct 4 at Trinity UMC in Arlington

     

    Linda Hutchings, CTC UMW President

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March 24, 2014, 3:15 PM

Lenten Letter from Rome

 

I’ve been in Italy for a week now and have seen a multitude of beautifully decorated cathedrals.  But what do I long to see – my church with unadorned walls and ceilings, my friends who speak a language I can understand, my husband and family, whom I dearly love and eat simple, home-cooked meals.  These are what I look forward to experiencing.

Lent has been a great time to be in Italy.  I’ve had time to focus on the Holy.  The unbelievable artwork visually conceptualizing the story of Jesus heightened my awareness of his life and his sacrifice for each of us.  Thus making way for the glory of the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

I hope each of you is allowing time for study and reflection during this Lenten season.  Perhaps you’re also doing something special each day. Maybe you’re making a phone call to a loved one, writing a note of appreciation for a kindness done, creating a special time for prayer and meditation or even taking a walk each day and praying for your neighbors as you pass their homes.

There are many ways to experience the Holy.  One great way is to attend the CTC UMW Spiritual Growth Retreat March 28-29 at Lakeview Camp and Conference Center.  Come and be a part of this blessed experience.  Register now at ctcumw.org.  Call me if you want more information at 817-293-3393.  Remember to ask FRAN, your friends, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors to join you.  “Make it Happen” is the theme for Assembly April 25-27 in Louisville, KY.  You can still register at ctcumw.org and there’s room on the bus for you. 

Reflect, renew, and be restored.

 

Linda Hutchings

CTC UMW President

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January 4, 2014, 8:21 PM

Happy New Year!

Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas are special.  But my favorite time of year is the beginning of the new year.  This is the time to start anew, fresh, and turn over a new leaf.  Strive to be better than the previous year – more organized, more prayerful, more faithful, and yes, even eat less, stress less, exercise more and be more healthy.  Doesn’t it sound wonderful?  Making plans for the new year revs up my engine.  But I need to shift into high gear to accomplish all of the above and stay focused on the task at hand.

I share this with you because it’s that time of year.  It’s time to put our great plans into action!  Remember the UMW vision statement: Faith, Hope and Love in Action.  That’s who we are and what we do.  We follow Christ’s lead in glorifying God and putting faith, hope and love into action.  We can make all the plans in the world but we must then put them into action.  We must take steps to make positive changes come about and we can “Make it Happen!”  So plan for this wonderful new year and then take the steps needed to put your plans into action.

Your UMW local organization, your district and your conference have great plans for the new year and they include you.  Be sure to take advantage of every one of the events that you can.  For starters there is the Legislative Event in Austin, January 26-28 with an optional day on January 25.  You can attend each day or register for each day individually.  Great speakers will motivate you on a variety of topics.  Register now and prepare to get excited!

Salado UMC is the site for the Sing-a-Rainbow Charter Event February 22, 2014.

You will be blessed by the message of Clara Ester, a deaconess who will share her journey including being a community organizer in the ‘60’s.  She was the featured speaker at the National Leadership Development Days Event this year in St. Louis and will be coming from Mobile, AL.  I hope you will make a special effort to come and be blessed by her message.   Be sure to bring your Bible and be prepared for updates on several subjects pertaining to the Charter for Racial Justice plus a wonderful worship experience entitled “Listen, Listen, Listen!”

Other upcoming UMW Conference events include the Spiritual Growth Retreat March 28 & 29 at Lakeview Camp and Conference Center near Waxahachie with Revs. Bob and Judy Holloway; the Young Women’s Mission Event and Spa Day at Joshua UMC, April 5, designed especially for young ladies ages 12 – 22; and the UMW Assembly in Louisville, KY April 25 – 27.  We can “Make it Happen!”

 

I’m looking forward to seeing you often in 2014.

Blessings, Grace and Peace in the new year and always,

 

Linda Hutchings  

CTC UMW President

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December 8, 2013, 12:24 PM

A Time for Giving Thanks

“A Time for Giving Thanks”

 

Yesterday our electricity was off for about 13 hours.  I didn’t realize that so much of what I do depends on electricity.  I even tried reading by the light of the fireplace.  It made me reflect on Abe Lincoln and how hard it must have been for him and those on the prairies long ago with no electricity.  I’m so glad I live when and where I do.  I count electricity as a blessing.  It may not have made my list if I had written this a week ago.

But whether I had written this letter a month, a week ago or today know that I always give thanks to God for you.  This was part of the scripture shared Sunday from Colossians.  I am grateful to have sisters in Christ who love Him and follow his lead in giving glory to God and serving others.  I love the way you are in mission in your communities and around the world putting faith, hope and love in action as well as working to enrich the lives of children, youth and women in countless ways.

This past month Billie Ray, Ann Pleasant, Rev. Ginger Watson and I had the privilege of attending the Healthy Families Healthy Planet Advocacy Training in Washington D.C.  We had a wonderful experience, which culminated in visits to our representatives’ offices to advocate for the continuance of funding for maternal health and family planning worldwide.  Two weeks ago seven from our conference, including four UMW District Treasurers, the CTC newly elected Treasurer and CTC Communications Coordinator, attended the Leadership Development Days sponsored by United Methodist Women National.  We experienced informative workshops to help us with our UMW offices and inspiring worship to feed our spirits.  I feel blessed to have attended both of these events and I look forward to sharing with you what I have learned.

Thanksgiving Day is near but we always want to live in a state of thanksgiving for our freedoms, our faith, our families, our friends and our health.  I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and I know each of us is anticipating the beginning of the church year with Advent and Christmas.  I send God’s blessings to each of you.

 

Grace and Peace,

 

Linda Hutchings

CTC UMW President

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October 22, 2013, 10:55 PM

President's Report for 2013

Central Texas Conference

United Methodist Women

President’s Report for 2013

“Faith, Hope, Love in Action”

 

     Albert Schwitzer once said, “Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being.  Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”  I always thank God for you, sisters in Christ, United Methodist Women of Central Texas Conference, for your encouragement, creativity, inspiration and involvement in mission during this past year. All accomplished in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior.

     The District Leadership Development event was held Oct. 5 at First UMC of Temple.  Josephine Lopez Paul and Mahlon Hight from Allied Communities of Tarrant (ACT) led the group session.  Also, Mary Weathers led an abc “all things wonderful about UMW” group activity.  Then individual Leadership Development classes were held.

     The gracious ladies of First UMC in Temple also hosted the 2012 Annual Autumn Gathering on Oct. 6. Jerri Savuto was the guest speaker.  A Korean   choir provided special music and three past CTC UMW presidents installed the CTC UMW officers.  After lunch we had several presentations, liturgical dancers, letter writing to those in the military plus a grand time of fellowship.

     McCurdy Ministries in Espanola, NM provided a fantastic mission opportunity one week in October for 20 missioners from our conference.  Everyone enjoyed learning about McCurdy, their history and their present ministries in Espanola.  There was work to be done on the grounds, in the kitchen, the dormitory, the office complex, their museum plus some construction for able hands.  The experience was so great that plans are underway to go to McCurdy again in October of 2014.  Won’t you consider joining the group?

     Under the leadership of Katey Zeh a Healthy Families, Healthy Planet Seminar was held in early November at Arlington Heights UMC.  Thanks to everyone who helped with this event.

     Several conference officers, including the district presidents, attended the Leadership Develop Days in St. Louis led by UMW National staff in November.  We experienced inspiring worship and informative small group sessions.  Our women’s missionary heritage was reviewed.  We had a preview of the 2013-2016 UMW Handbook and learned about upcoming changes as we  better prepare for the future in mission.

     The United Community Centers ACT lll Youth Christmas party was held December 11 at Poly Center.  The youth enjoyed chicken wings and pizza, group games, a multitude of crafts and a grand cookie walk of homemade cookies to end the evening.  Special thanks go to the leadership of Acton’s Mary-Martha Circle, conference officers and other United Methodist Women who helped to make the evening a success.  The collection of needed items for United Community Centers has been the UMW conference project for 2013 and will continue as the conference project for 2014.

     The Legislative Event was held at a new venue January 27 – 29 with Harriet Jane Olson as one of the featured speakers.  The Legislative Priorities set for this year are: 1. Water – To address Texas’ long-term water needs and to plan for Texas’ water and energy future.  2. Education – To increase funding to provide a high quality public education and to explore alternatives to testing.  3. Medicaid – To extend Medicaid.  4. Predatory Lending – To increase regulation of pay day and car title loan companies and to allow partial payments of loans.  5. Criminal Justice and Mental Health – Guarantee humane treatment of those in the criminal justice system, to increase access to mental health professionals and to limit prolonged administrative segregation (solitary confinement).  On the last day Legislative visits were organized for all participants so we could share these UMW priorities with our legislators.

     Sing-a-Rainbow, the Charter for Racial Justice event, took place at Joshua UMC February 16.  The Joshua UMW did an amazing job preparing for and hosting us.  Willie Bennett from Dallas Area Interfaith and Josephine Lopez Paul from Allied Communities of Tarrant gave the morning presentation, “Pressures on Families: Is the Family at Risk?” Table discussion followed as well as feed back on the topic.  The afternoon session emphasized the Legislative Priorities followed by a closing meditation by Rev. Shannon Murray.  And of course, we did enjoy singing at Sing-a-Rainbow.  The music was led by Mary Rarden and accompanied by Jeanette Burns.  We were glad to welcome UMW from the North Central Texas Conference into the leadership of this event for the first time this year.

     The Spiritual Growth Retreat, “Unplug, Unwind, and Retool Our Spiritual Lives,” led by Deaconess Pat Hoerth was held March 15 – 16 at Lakeview Camp and Conference Center.  Pat is a deaconess from Turtle Rock Farm, OK.  We were excited to celebrate with Pat the 125th Anniversary of the Deaconess program.  Judy Holloway blessed us by serving as the worship leader.

     May 18 was the Workday at United Community Centers.  15 women went to the Poly and Bethlehem Centers to clean and help prepare for the summer enrichment program.  Pablo Calderon, the program director for UCC, met us before we started to work and gave an update on the building projects and summer enrichment activities planned for the students at UCC.

     325 attended the UMW Luncheon at Annual Conference at Arborlawn UMC on June 10.  Linda Cox explained the Storybook Project.  Many children’s books decorated the tables and were collected to be sent to incarcerated mothers to be read and recorded by them for their children.  This way the children can hear mother’s voice as they turn the pages of the book.  Retiring missionary Susie Canafax was also available to bring greetings.  Special thanks go to Lynne Grandstaff, Susan Adcock, Debbie Wood, the UMW of Arborlawn UMC and others for planning the luncheon.  Great job!

     CTC UMW hosted a mission trip in June to the Sager-Brown UMCOR Depot in Baldwin, LA.  18 of us truly were blessed to be able to serve and worship for a few days there.  Our ages ranged from early twenties to eightyish.  Much was accomplished in a seemingly short amount of time.  Plan on attending the CTC Mission trip to Cookson Hills, OK next summer!

     Mission u was held at 3 locations in early August – Genesis UMC, Glen Lake and First UMC in Temple.  The new studies for this year are The Roma of Europe and Living Sacramentally, Walking Justly.  The third study was Poverty.  The study leaders and studies were outstanding as was the hospitality at all three locations.

     September 4 many from our conference attended the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Societies evening event at TCU with Congresswoman Kay Granger as well an earlier get-acquainted coffee.

     Let me encourage you to register for Assembly in Louisville, KY April 25 – 27.

     Let’s “Make it Happen!”  Also be inspired to participate in your local, district and conference events, mission activities and spiritual growth opportunities.  They’re planned with you in mind.  You will be blessed by using your Prayer Calendar.  Read response magazine and see where your mission dollars are at work in the world.  Remind your local group to send funds to all five areas of giving.  Participate in the Reading Program.  Challenge yourself to do something new this year.  Volunteer to serve as an officer and support the other officers.  Become or continue to be a Charter Club member.  Encourage your local UMW organization to be a Mission Today unit and celebrate each step along the way.

     Call on your district and conference officers for clarification or for help on programming.  Remember we’re here to serve you.

     Heartfelt thanks go out to the inspired and creative efforts of the Conference, District and Local organizations of United Methodist Women.  Thanks also for the support of Bishop Mike Lowry, Dr. Don Scott, pastors, and the supportive families of UMW.  We appreciate Karla Rodriguez and her work as webmaster and Heidi Careaga as the Spanish language coordinator.  Great job, girls!  Check out our web site at ctcumw.org.  Blessings for energy, vitality, and growth as we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of women, children and youth worldwide.  In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, go forth.

 

Linda Hutchings

CTC UMW President

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