by Sandy Kerr, West District Associate Lay Leader for Yuma and Ajo
Proverbs 31: 8-9 “Speak out for those who can not speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
We celebrated International Woman’s Day recently. What better way, as United Methodists, to focus on the work of women than to see what is happening in the Yuma area United Methodist Women, now known as United Women in Faith to be more inclusive.
Gila Mountain UMC and First UMC-Yuma have robust units working for the good of the church, community, and world.
First UMC-Yuma will have four women going to the National Assembly in Orlando, Florida. Gila Mountain UMC will have one going. These ladies will bring back to the units the lessons and enthusiasm from the Assembly to keeps us going for the year. They will sing, learn, and share. We are so grateful for those women to step forward to serve and lead. They will fly to Orlando in May to participate in the 2022 Assembly of United Women in Faith. They will participate in an Ubuntu Day of Service, as well as attending all of the exciting workshops and worship services at Assembly.
Debbie Pallack, United Women in Faith president at First UMC-Yuma, shared the wonderful work at First UMC-Yuma.
They held their Annual Journey to Bethlehem Nativity display this year. The Journey to Bethlehem is a fundraiser for the Yuma Community Food Bank. They display over 300 different nativity sets donated for the event by church members and community members. The entrance “fee” is either $1 or canned goods for the Yuma Community Food Bank. We also have a Bake Sale; and sell soups and sandwiches. The money also goes to the Food Bank. The Bee Attitudes Boutique moves their shop from its regular location down to Asbury Hall, where the event is held. Any funds that they raise are donated to various charities in town. This year, in addition to $947 given to the Food Bank, they were able to donate $3000 split amongst Crossroads Mission, Safe House, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Alzheimer’s Foundation, Relay for Life team at Trinity UMC-Yuma, Amberly’s Place, Saddles of Joy, a female prison inmate associated with our congregation, and a $500 in-kind donation to The Hansen House.
They was also able to hold their Rummage Sale again. There was a break in 2020 or 2021 due to Covid, so there were lots of treasures to be sold. After nearly a month to set it up, and the sale was held over two weekends. With a smaller sale in the summer of 2021, $7351 was raised, which will be donated to various community organizations as well as in kind donations from the Rummage Sale to Friends of the Library, Humane Society, Crossroads Mission, Precious Treasures, and Roosevelt School.
First UMC-Yuma have developed a relationship with Roosevelt School, an elementary school in the neighborhood. Providing them with various supplies that they need, as well as a bimonthly treat for the teachers and staff. They continue to participate in The Period Project, a program through the Yuma Community Food Bank that provides sanitary supplies to women as they request them. Sewing menstrual health items for the Days for Girls International and sending products around the world. Most recently, Days for Girls is sending menstrual products to the border of Ukraine and Poland for distribution to those displaced. The United Women in Faith Reading Program is going strong, with about five members actively reading books.
Judi Linderman, Gila Mountain UMC United Women in Faith president, shared the work of the unit. They had four or five readers for the reading program in addition to a self-growth, the quilting group has donated over 14 quilts for various charities.
The money raised from a silent auction went to Saddles of Joy, Safe House, Precious Treasures, and Crossroads Mission and they support one of their women taking food, blankets and clothing to the homeless not served by the Mission for various reasons.
Gila Mountain UMC will begin having a bake & craft sale once a month for the congregation. They also hope to institute a monthly potluck lunch. They are trying to move out of the Covid era and slowly return to normal. They have gained four new members and hope to interest more ladies to join them. Some of members are taking part in the “Love Wednesday” service where baked good trays are taken to different places of business, care homes, fire halls, and police stations to thank them for their service to our community. It has been very well received. They are looking forward to having speakers from different ministries that they donate to come and speak to them and acquaint them with their programs.
As one can see, the women of Yuma are actively sharing the love and work of Christ. We understand we are the hands and feet of Jesus, and it is through us work for the Kingdom is done.