Messenger - March 2020
Dear Webster Hills UMC,
I have been volunteering as a helper, and now as a small group leader, in our Kid’s Ministry since my 9-year old daughter, Mazie, was a toddler. However, my original Kid’s Ministry experience at Webster Hills was as a student. As I navigated adolescence, I was served by important Webster Hills volunteer teachers: Jackie Smothers, Trish Wright, Terry Dessent, Susie Garrison, Bill Heyde, Nancy Copeland, Cindy Doht, Bill & Carol Kraemer -- just to name a few! Their wisdom, personal stories and teachings of our Methodist traditions and rituals was the genesis of my life-centering Christian values. My personal experience was the original motivator for me to step up my commitment to our children. However, there are now five more important reasons as to why I serve every Sunday, even when I’m tired from a late Saturday night party or concert:
1. I love these kids. Although my love pales in comparison to Jesus’s unconditional love, this love inspires me to teach our children about Jesus’s love. On most Sundays, I leave Webster Hills feeling motivated from a successful teaching session, but there are also the Sundays where I’m ready to throw in the towel. Thankfully, my love for these kids motivates me to return. In turn, I’m rewarded with a meaningful relationship with each child. More importantly, I know our relationships will help guide each child toward their ultimate relationship with God.
2. Time is of the essence. I am compelled to teach children, as opposed to adults, because childhood is the time when our personal value system is established. Beliefs and behaviors can change throughout our lives but values are permanent. I want our children to love God and love others for the rest of their lives. One of my favorite modules from the Think Orange curriculum is when I spent months teaching about each fruit of the Spirit, essentially each Christian value, from Galatians 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
We are living in an ‘attention economy’ where advertising, social media & entertainment are stealthy influences that compete for our children’s precious time. We should enjoy modern life but not at the expense of lost time in teaching children to embrace Christian values.
3. I want our children to become servants for Jesus. I tell them that Jesus teaches us to be aware of people in need and serve them by offering love through acts of service. We discuss ways to serve friends, family & strangers. My fellow teacher volunteers & I model this teaching by consistently serving them and sacrificing Adult small group time. Additionally, in order to help our children become servants for Jesus, we have recently launched ‘Change for Change’ where our elementary children are collecting quarters to fund mission & service projects as determined by them. My hope is that our children know the importance & feel the fulfillment that comes from serving others.
4. I am inspired by our children to practice what I teach. We frequently apply bible teachings to scenarios that occur in their daily lives, especially at school and at home. For example, we taught our children that Jesus instructed us to love your enemies. We illustrated this teaching by associating the word ‘enemy’ to the school bully. We taught our children that while bullying is not tolerated, we can still learn to love and forgive the school bully. When I hear our children talk about how they applied the teachings in their everyday lives, I am inspired to intentionally approach my work week with a Christian lens, even when there are corporate pressures to act differently.
5. Kid’s Ministry strengthens my relationship with God. Since increasing my commitment, I have felt the need to be in both prayer and worship in order to be closer to God. I pray for wisdom. I pray for encouragement. I pray for better classroom management skills! I praise God for blessing us with these children and giving me the opportunity to serve them.
Even if you do not want to formally teach our children, hopefully my reasons for serving encourage you to grow your relationship with them. If so, please interact with them beyond hallway nicety exchanges. Learn their names. Learn their interests. Support our program by learning & reinforcing the Think Orange curriculum by asking to join the ‘What’s Happening in Kid’s Ministry’ e-newsletter. Visit us from 9-10AM on Sunday mornings on our remote island i.e. Education wing, second floor! Share your personal stories about your relationship with God. Please know that you can be a powerful contributor to establishing our children’s Christian values for life.
Messenger - December 2019
Hanhane Women's Shelter
Webster Hills United Methodist Women have supported the dispossessed women of Mozambique at Hanhane [pronounced han-yah-nee] Women’s Shelter for almost twenty years. Their contributions of $700 per year were pooled to build one of the three permanent residences when their houses made of local materials (reed huts) had deteriorated. These houses made a vast difference in the lives of these women. Carol Kreamer, the former Missouri Mozambique Initiative Coordinator, says, “Without this shelter, these widows and elderly women would be left to die in the bush. This shelter is indeed life-saving.”
Ezequiel Nhantumbo, Missouri’s representative in Mozambique, says that the United Methodist Church continues to serve the elderly women at the shelter in Massinga. Lately, they have focused on providing food and hygiene materials. The Missouri Mozambique Initiative has transformed a hand water pump into a solar tower, which now supplies safe, running water to the Center and surrounding community. “Twenty-one women reside at the Center.”
According to Ezequiel, this ministry has ongoing needs. As the women age and ailments increase, there are growing medical challenges. The Center needs a proper outdoor kitchen and a refrigerator-freezer. Meal preparation now takes place in an open, unsheltered space.
The women need sweaters to protect them during the winter months.
According to Webster Hills member Caroline Greene, the UMW is going to increase their giving from $700 to $850 next year. “This is why we have the rummage sale each year,” says Caroline, “to give to our missions. UMW member, Ann Zimmerman says, “Look at the photos, the women are using the prayer shawls that we made and sent over!”
Ezequiel expressed gratitude on behalf of the United Methodist Church in Mozambique. “Thanks once again for your continuous support to the center.” Lucas Endicott, who recently visited Mozambique on behalf of the Missouri Conference, said, “What excellent support for a wonderful ministry!”
Webster Hills can take heart in knowing that our UMW does indeed make a difference to ‘change the world’!
Webster Hills Leadership Board
Your Webster Hills Leadership Board is working on wrapping up 2019 and charging ahead into the next decade. We will thank the four board members rotating off the board, Doug Walker, David Austin, Jorje Quinn and Meaghan Rettke, and we will welcome four new board members, Alex Lee, Dan Ruzicka, Perrin Marchionne, and Marti Bates. It is an honor to serve as your Leadership Board and we look forward to the year ahead.
Our Finance Team thanks those that have already submitted giving pledges for next year and reminds you that it is never to late to submit a pledge. Your pledges inform our budget process so we can more accurately prepare a balanced 2020 budget. The Leadership Board will approve the 2020 budget at our January 14th board meeting and then in late January, after 2019 financials are complete, we will offer a date and time after worship to present our 2019 financial report and 2020 budget to the congregation. We hope you will make time to attend.
The board is excited about the coming new decade. We have an amazing staff, re-energized members doing great things and people coming to us seeking a new or stronger relationship with Jesus Christ. Remember our Leadership Board meetings are always open to all to attend. Please join us on the second Tuesday of every month in E204 and participate in leading the church’s mission, to follow
Jesus and change the world.
As the orange glow of fall turns into the green and red of Christmas, it is time for us to report on this year’s success of the Annual WHUMC Pumpkin Patch. This still stands to be the biggest fundraiser for the church and the most fun, in my opinion. The 2019 Pumpkin Patch raised $21,400. We would like to extend a special thank you to all that volunteered for shifts, helped unload pumpkins, purchased pumpkins, and assisted with our activities this year. It takes our entire church community to run this month-long patch and it would not be possible without all of you. We met many new faces, saw many repeat visitors, and received fantastic comments all month long. I am especially grateful as this project allowed me to connect with so many members of the church that I do not otherwise see on a regular basis. It also gave me the chance to find my inner CEO, thanks in part to Kathy Dessent and Barrett Schroeder’s tutelage. Cheers to another successful year and thank you all again for your help
Lauren Harris and the Pumpkin Patch Team