“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
At the UMW closing meeting in our beautiful Garden, I listened as Rev. Phyllis Barren paid tribute to Betty Kelly, Judith Lokey, Mildred Sutter, Elaine Jutson, Nelda Gathings, Nadine Hester, Wanda Martin, Bernice Davis, and Mary “Betty” Adams. I was touched at just how many hearts have the names of these carved on them. And I know the members left to carry on UMW’s rich heritage of service to others and camaraderie with one another will no doubt carve their names on all the hearts they touch through UMW.
The women we remembered this year ranged in age from 66 to 101 and served our church and community in a wide variety of ways. They gave their time as ushers, choir members, and children’s Sunday School teachers — and as volunteers at hospitals, First Street Methodist Mission (FSMM), Meals on Wheels, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and the Red Cross. “These women had a generous, loving spirit and chose to give selflessly to both FUMCFW and UMW. It was so special for me to visit with their family members and hear the stories about each of them,” says Rev. Phyllis Barren. “Chris and Judith Lokey served as Lead Ushers and Chris continues to faithfully serve as a Lead Usher for the 11:00 traditional service every week. Wanda Martin learned to use a computer at age 57 in order to oversee the bookkeeping and formula orders for the FSMM Infant Formula program — and that program is still going strong. Bernice Davis was an artist whose works live on in the homes and businesses they grace in Texas and the Midwest. I could go on and on; these nine women all left a legacy that continues to this day.”
In the time I have been at FUMCFW, Anne Paup, Anita McCrary, and most recently Dorothy Hudson have served as president for this amazing group. In the past four years, UMW has raised over $150,000 for the support of women, youth, and children in need within our community and church. And while that is quite an accomplishment, the beautiful friendships these women have formed and the bond they share is just as impressive. They support one another as much as they support FUMCFW and the community.
When asked about her time as president for the past two years, Dorothy Hudson replied, “When I became president Anita McCrary made this statement to me: ‘Dorothy, there is a lot of love in this group.’ I found that to be so true! When we had our ‘Intentional Acts of Love’ campaign in February the response from UMW members was over the top! Everyone wanted to shower love on the entire FUMCFW staff, as well as reach out to organizations and individuals in our community! It was overwhelming to see everyone join together and put this campaign into action. That’s who United Methodist Women are: women who love and serve others! I am thankful for the privilege to have been president of such a loving group that truly ‘Goes out to be God’s people in the world.’”
Lynn Cockrell is the incoming UMW President and when asked what she loves most about UMW and what she envisions for next year, she said, “I have loved working with Dorothy this year! What has been most special to me is realizing that women of different ages are truly relating and working together! I believe this has been nurtured through the loving, spiritual environment that Dorothy has created. Next year I am looking forward to interacting with a team of wonderful UMW officers and getting to know our membership even better! I cannot wait to see, with God’s direction, where we will go and what we will do!”
As I looked around at the amazing group of ladies gathered to honor those nine wonderful women lost this year, I was struck by the amazing legacy that is UMW. Following these sweet tributes, the celebration of this wonderful year UMW has had, and a brief look toward the coming year, I agree with Lynn. I can’t wait either to see what our UMW will do next — and how these wonderful ladies will continue to carve their names on our hearts for many years to come!
Director of Welcoming Ministries