Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"What are you doing....?"

I don't know about you, but the ice and snow kept us from going to church on Christmas Eve. The weather was awful and churches were closing by the dozen. We stayed in and watched a couple of old movies. Then, we ended up postponing our Christms Day activites until Saturday, when the kids could get here from across the river. A young friend from Kearney, Onikah Glenn-Whitford, shoveled out of her driveway Christmas morning, made it to the city, but ended up staying with us until Sunday morning.
The Kincaids are troopers, so we were able to make the most of an unusual situation and, believe me, everything came out just fine. But darn it, I missed church. I missed the prayers, the carols, getting dressed up and greeting everyone. I even missed the soloist singing "O Holy Night" (and that's my least favorite carol). I missed the lights, the communion, and the stillness of the drive to and from. It's such a special time.
I'm thinking, folks, that we don't really appreciate something until you can't have it. Until it can't be had. We should all be thankful for the special places where we worship. Come Hell or Holy Water, we are going to church on Sunday, somewhere. I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful...."

My daughter in D.C., has twenty or so inches of snow to deal with this week. My son in New Jersey, has around eleven. We have none. For that, I am very thankful. My girlfriend in Iowa, is bracing for yet another round of winter weather. She says when they have snow in November, it's Spring until they see the ground not covered in white.
Just another example of Global Warming, Al.
Sure hope you are all ready for Christmas. I am, I think. Of course, no one ever gets "everything" done, but I am satisfied that this year I have done my best. Our two youngest children and their spouses will join us for opening presents and brunch on Christmas Day. Our new granddaughter will be here, also. The out-of town presents were mailed last week and the Christmas Cards have been sent. The food for the feast has been purchased.
Scott and I visited Central UMC, last Sunday, and it was a really nice service, and people were friendly. We think we will go there on Christmas Eve, after we view the luminari in Coleman Highlands along Southwest Traffic Way.
Merry Christmas everyone, and blessings on your New Year. God bless us, everyone.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

Well, we've had our first measurable snowfall here in the city, and now we are all chillin' in the deep freeze. Christmas is still a couple of weeks away, but we received a wonderful early present in the form of a new granddaughter, Linnea Brighton Kincaid. She is just six pounds of perfectness and we are so happy for her parents, Ryan and Jennifer.
Music is such a part of our holidays, that even without a Church home, the Kincaids are going to "keep on singin". We went to see Ryan's play performed on Saturday night. The KC SYMPHONY presented "How the Symphony Saved Christmas" three times this past weekend to sold out crowds. We were mighty proud. Then Scott and the KC Chorale had a concert on Sunday afternoon and will sing again tonight. Lot's of Holiday Song for all.
I have 2 favorite Christmas Songs. "Christmas Rose" and "Santa Claus is Commin' to Town". To say that they are very different is an understatement. The first is a harmonious little tune with lovely words imaging Christ as a rose. And, in the second, well I just love the lyrics "ALL God's Children." I'll wager you have favorite songs for the holidays, too.
Keep on Singin', no matter what. God is listening.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Brood of Vipers

Scott and I visited First UMC in North Kansas City yesterday. We are familiar with that church and the folk that worship there. Scott was the Cub Master there for more years that I care to count and our 3 boys all participated in Troop and Pack 9 activites. It was comforting to see long time friends Audrey Phelps (the original), Katherine Smith, Pam Wark, Phyllis, Ione, and others.
Pastor Kate McClain's message was one of the most unique sermons we've heard in quite a while. She focused on Zechariah, undoubtably one of the lesser known figures in the Chirstmas Story.
To paraphrase her message, why don't our Christmas Cards say, "Wake up you so called Christians and look what God has sent you? God has sent his only son to save you from your sins!" She's right. Merry Christmas (when was the last time you used the work merry from January to November?) doesn't really cut it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The times they are a Changin'....fast

For the first time in 12 years, the Kincaids are not preparing for a Church Christmas Cantata. Scott resigned from his choir director job at Kearney FUMC on Sunday night, following a meeting with our Pastor and the head of the PPR. By Tuesday morning the news was published in the Church Newsletter and now by today, Wednesday, every trace of our mission in Kearney has been deleted from the FUMC Web Page.
Now, I hope I am not sounding bitter, because I'm not. We had a great run in Kearney. I am proud of the work Scott did Kearney, both as Music Director and as a Sunday School teacher. Most people did appreciate him and he has received dozens of complimentary emails regarding his service. But,I have been in church work long enough to know that there isn't a soul out there that can't be replaced. And, apparently very quickly.
Yesterday, I went up to retrieve our things from the Choir Room. As I struggled to load the stuff in the car (there was a 40 pound hand carved music stand to lift)the staff in the office who saw me, didn't offer to help. It was kind of, so don't let the door hit your backside going out, girlfriend!
Readers, if you know of a place where a couple of harding working, Kansas City United Methodists can pray, teach and sing, let me know. We're in the market for a new church.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Trot

In spite of the drizzle, spirits were hight at Della Lamb Community Services last Tuesday, the 24th. I had been waiting 12 months for this day. When I arrrived, at 8 a.m., people were already lined up around the corner of the Mabee Gym. Pat, our Board President, was busy handing our doughnuts and hot chocolate to the clients as they waited patiently in line. Rushing inside, I joined the other volunteers who were making last minute additions to the 1500 sacks of groceries lined up on the floor and on tables.
At nine we allowed the first people into the room. Volunteers helped move the families through the line, giving out groceries and a turkey to each, for their Thanksgiving Dinner. Over half of the Lamb's clients do not speak English. So, with heads nodding in thanks and a lot of gesturing, we experienced Operation Thanksgiving. For many of them, it would be there first holiday in the U.S.A.
People came through the line steadily until about 2 p.m. By then I was exhausted, but it was that really nice kind of exhaustion, when you know you have been doing the Lord's work.
I am so thankful for the mission of Della Lamb, and for Judy and her staff. I'm also thrilled and thankful that my Kearney UMC friends Kevin, Rick, Pam, Betty, Lisa, Fred, and Kate, were there to work at the Lamb with me. Special thanks to Eph Ehley and his pals from COR. We all went away truly blessed for the experience.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"...... as long as I keep rollin on."

Miss me? We'll I've been taking a train trip, girlfriends. Scott and I took the Southwestern Chief to Chicago, and then the Capitol Limited to D.C. While there we saw the grands, their parents, and a few of the "off-the-beaten path sights" within the Beltway.
My focus today is Train Travel in 2009. During our time on the train, both ways, no one told us to remove our shoes, wanded my chest looking for the explosives concealed in my underwire bra, or passed us a "free" bag of 3 mini pretzels. Our suitcases were checked to our destination as part of our fare. We ate numerous real meals, served to us warm, in a rolling restaurant, not on our laps. I did not have to read old magazines with previously completed crosswords, and best of all we met some marvelous people.
Dining Car seating, on Amtrak trains, is Community, which means you are seated with strangers until the table is full. Our first meal, right out of KC, was breakfast, which we shared with a young man in his 20s. He was a "gaming" contestant returning home to NYC, from a convention in LA.
Our next meal was shared with a couple from Indiana, who had been on a month long tour of the western states. Every dining experience was a chance to meet and listen to a little bit of another traveler's life story. And, of course we shared our stories, too.
It occurred to me that it's a shame we can't share a meal with strangers more often. If we could really sit and talk to those folk who visit our churches only once and never come back......well, we might open up to them and they might just be open to joining us in our Christian Journey.
Now, I know it would be a risk taking thing. We'd be stepping out of our comfort zones...away from eating those stale pretzels on our own.....we'd be sharing a table.
Sort of like what communion is supposed to be. Fellow Life travelers, that's food for thought.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Almost Ready to Stick a Fork In It

One more month until my stint as Missouri Conference UMW President is over. Since UMW has a strict policy of tenure limits, I finally have to admit that I've been there and done it all (offices that is)and my hat can no longer be thrown into the ring. It has been a most enjoyable four years, however 4 years is enough, girlfriends. I have been able to share my life, my struggles and my shortcomings with the wonderful women of this conference. They know that while I may not have been the most perfect of presidents, I have given them my best.....red outfits, bald head and all.
Many thanks to all of the many churches and pastors who welcomed me over the past four years. And, to the very few who were non-supportive of UMW, and to the several who were downright ugly to me and to the organization......it was your loss.I have learned that you cannot hope to please everyone, but I THANK GOD for the thousands of folk in Missouri, who know that United Methodist Women are at the very core of Methodism and that we are Mission Arm of the United Methodist Church.
Mabel Unser has been elected and duly installed to take over the UMW Presidency, this coming January 1st. She is going to do a great job. Mabel, too, has held lots of UMW positions and she comes well qualified. The women of Missouri will welcome her and her leadership style with open arms.
My last official duty as Pesident comes this weekend with the presentation of
MODOT II, Your Road to A Better UMW. (Missouri District Officer Training) We'll be at Fairview UMC (thank you Rev. Nick Campbell) in Hard Hats and Training Gear.
Oh, by the way, if you know of anyone who is looking for an slightly worn warrior for the Lord, look me up...I need a job!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods

It is almost time for Della Lamb's Operation Thanksgiving. For many years, now,
The Lamb has given a complete "Thanksgiving Feast" to over 1200 families in their neighborhood. The meal comes ready to prepare in a big brown paper shopping bag. Each family (singles, too) recieve a frozen pumplin pie, dressing mix, a can of green beans, gravy mix, instant potatos, cake mix, eggs, canned cranberry sauce, and margarine. There is also a small turkey or a large hen.
And, early on the morning of the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the people come! I have seen them lined up all around the block, ready to enter the Gym on the Lamb's main campus.
The Lamb has served immigrants in the Northeast area of Kansas City for over a hundred years. These days the immigrants come mostly from Africa and the Middle East. At Operation Thanksgiving many of the clients will arrive in native dress and more than a few women will carry off their groceries balanced on their heads.
Oh, The Lamb does have a screening process to determine the needs of their clients, but all you have to do is hear the heartfelt thank yous, from the people as they pick up their groceries, to know that God is at work in the Mission of Della Lamb Community Services.
You can bet that there will be smiling volunteers helping Judy Akers and her staff
give out those groceries on November 24, 2009. I'll be there and Pastor Gustavo will be helping. Folks from COR, and other churches have promised to help.
If you would like to donate your time or your cash just let me know.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Saw the Light.

Yesterday, our trusty handyman came to install a couple of new lights in our old 50's ranch house. One of the drawbacks to owning what is fashionably called a "mid-century dwelling" is that things die very ungraceful deaths. The light at the bottom of our basement stairs stopped operating one day last month. Click! Just like that.
We decided that we needed to replace that one and while we were at it, we would have a second light added at the top of our basement stairs. It was definitely a safety issue. Along with those two fixtures, I wanted a new light-fan in the hall bathroom.
Well, today I have light. Lots of light. And, with the new sources of light, I can see "all things new." Or should I say, lots of old things in a new way. The carpet on the stairs is filthy. I could weave a new rug with the cobwebs that I am seeing for the first time. The bathroom is in dire need of a new coat of paint and the towels are beginning to show their age. I'm not even going to talk about the old lady who stared back at me in the mirror this morning!
There is of course a purpose to this musing. When we finally choose to see life in the light of the Lord, so much is made clear to us. Scripture, reason, tradition, and experience become the way.
Precious Lord: Take my hand and show what needs to be done. I want to do it in your name. Amen.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Followers of the Lamb

Maybe you haven't noticed, but this blog has NO followers. That means, of course, that just as I have suspected, I am writing to myself. I'm okay with that, really. I've been talking to myself for years. It comes quite easily to me.
Talking and writing to oneself is very good therapy.
Now, back to Followers of the Lamb. My husband,aka the Singing Sewer Man, will be performing with the Kansas City Chorale on October 18th, in KC. The Chorale will be singing several Shaker Tunes including "Followers of the Lamb", and five versions of "Amazing Grace".
Here are some words of Blasphemous Heresy. I don't like the song "Amazing Grace". Why, you ask? (See, I can even talk for you.) Because, no one ever sings it like they are truly amazed at God's Amazing Grace. Ever since it became a Pop Song (can't remember if it was Judy Collins or Joan Baez who sang it) in the 1960s, people have been sadly droning on and on about "being lost, but now am found."
That's Good News, people!
That's a happy and wondrous thought.
It's a "bright shining as the Sun" thought.
I will change my mind about "Amazing Grace" when people truly believe it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Take Time......

Take the time today to be thankful. I know that sounds awfully simplistic, but with all of the stuff that we do every day, it is easy to forget to be truly thankful.
My first chore this morning was to visit the Imaging for Women Clinic for my annual mammogram. It's the third anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis and I'm very thankful that these nice people found that lump three years ago and because of their expertise, and the grace of God.....I am alive. PTL!!
My second task was to check my email. An old friend sent me the on-line link to an obituary of a fine gentlemen. He was a former junior high and high school teacher of mine back in Pittsburg, Kansas. Ernie Nelson was a tough teacher, but we kids all knew he was dedicated to his profession. The obit said he was 97 years young, and although I had not seen him for years, I can still remember the words of 2 plaques that hung on his classroom wall. the first plaque was the "Wise Old Owl". (The wise old owl sat in an oak. The more he saw, the less he spoke. The less he spoke, the more he heard. Why can't we be like that wise old bird?) Oh, my life would be so much easier if I would listen more.
The second plaque was longer, but the message began with the words "He who knows not," etc, and ends with "he who knows and knows that he knows is wise, follow him." Wonderful advice from a wise man.
I am thankful today for Ernie Nelson and for all of those who have guided me in my path. God is good.....every day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

PRETTY WOMAN

Plans for UMW Annual Meeeting have all been put into place. Registrations have been confirmed by Registrar Vicki, food orders have been turned in, and hotel rooms have been booked. Gail has all of her ducks, or shall I say barbeque, in a row and we are ready ladies!
Two years ago we found ourselves second guessing the decision to hold this event WAAAY DOWN in Poplar Bluff. "It's so far. No one will want to travel that far for a meeting," we all whispered. We wern't even quite sure how to pronouce the name of the place. But, we went ahead, on Faith of course, and we began the planning work.
Well, guess what. It appears that we will have a record crowd down there! Over 250 women, men, and children have registered. CHARLES BUCK look out! Here we come.
Oh, and this meeting will be my "Last Hurrah", so to speak. Mabel Unser will be installed as 2010 President of the Conference. Sometimes, I can't believe it's only been four years and other times these four years have seemed so short.
Now, here's a thought for you all.I sincerely believe that all the members of United Methodist Women are beautiful. Yes, they are. When I look out at any gathering of our Mission Warriors, I see beautiful women. I see thoughtful,caring, and loving women. OUR members think about others, they care about what happens to all of God's children and above all they love their God. Those things make them beautiful beyond words and appearance. Now sometimes, we get a little less pretty. We get fussy and prickly and we bicker about all kinds of stuff. But, then we get down to the Purpose of this organization and our beauty always shines through.
Blessings Beauties.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What's cookin?

Have you seen the curent movie "Julie and Julia"? Basically, it is a clever combination of two stories of two women. They never meet, but Julie tries to put purpose to her life by spending one whole year creating the recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.
I enjoyed the movie so much that I purchased a copy of Julia Child's book. I wanted to cook the infamous Beef Recipe from the movie. However, my cooking skills are such that I first had to buy a proper pan to cook the durn thing in. But VOILA'! I did it and it was tasty. Now, I can't wait to try other new recipes.
Why, I am telling you this? Well, because I think it is important that we, as Faithful Christians, try new things. Are you in a rut and always doing the same thing? (Cooking the same recipes, planning the same meetings, following the same worship service format, singing the same hymns....over and over) BTW, did you know that the Doxology may be sung to the tune of "Hernando's Hideaway?" OLE'!
Bon Appetit, mes amis! Get creative! Do something out of the ordinary. Try a Souffle' instead of that boring meatloaf! How about helping the congregation learn a new hymn? God knows that it might wake a few people up in that meeting or that worship service.
Let me know what you serve this week. Adieu.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Singing Sewer Man

The Singing Sewer Man (aka my spouse of 44 years, Scott) left for Korea yesterday afternoon. The Kansas City Chorale was invited to represent English speaking choirs at the Inchon Choral Festival in South Korea.
When the dates were set for the trip, I began to make all kinds of plans of stuff to do while he was gone.
Numero uno on my list was to re-do(strip wallpaper, prime and paint)our bedroom.I bought the paint, the primer, a new bedspread and shams. Then, I intended to finally sort through my tons of UMW paper and get ready to ship the important stuff to Miss Mabel Unser. And,I wanted to work a couple of days at my day job. Super plans, I thought.
Well, today I woke up with either a rotten cold, swine flu, or maybe seasonal allergies. Anyway, I can't breath. I feel really bad and I can't talk. Rotten isn't bad enough to describe how I am feeling.
Some wise woman once said, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." So the "best laid plans of mice and men..." and United Methodist Women, often get changed.
I'm not doing what I planned to do this weekend, but maybe I am getting some rest and relaxation that I needed. I read today. The Bishop's Daily Devotion Book is terrific. Right on in so many ways and the man can really put stuff into perspective.
I made it to the Della Lamb Community Services Board Meeting, and came away in awe of their Mission Work.
God is Good. His plans are best. I think he's trying to tell me something...I know he is.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

In the Jungle, the mighty jungle......

Kearney First UMC has a beautiful new amendment to its worship space. Until now, our sanctuary has been what I would call a "multi-purpose room with an undesignated design". Now, with the addition of a larger chancel area and increased choir/praise music space, the "barn" really invites worship.
Our pastor, Fred Leist, finally has space to really move around and preach.(There is a legend that he once fell off the "one step" pulpit area, right into the middle of the congregation. Someone in the congregation yelled, "Safe." Fred bounced right up, straightened his specs and kept preaching. He didn't miss a word of his message. PTL)
The entire congregation is amazed at the diffence that one stained glass window,one stone wall,and some subtle color can add to a room. The space that used to be so cold and uninviting now has warmth, texture and depth.
We are truly blessed to have this new space.
Kearney FUMC is a lively, growing congregation. We strive to be friendly and welcoming to all. Our youth and children's ministries are thriving and we offer 3 Sunday morning worship services. Mission is alive and well at FUMC Kearney, and of course I have to add that our United Methodist Women groups are extremely active.

Visit the FUMC Kearney website to get a great look at our new space. Or better yet, visit us.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Patsy Cline

I awoke last night about 2:30 a.m. and just couldn't fall back to sleep. Your first thought is probably "those crazy old ladies in UMW are giving their infamous Queen a bunch of trouble again. Poor thing, she can't sleep." But, actually you would be wrong.The Queen has her own issues.
I lay there, kicked off the covers, pulled them back up, turned over and turned over again. Then, I finally decided to get up. It was no use trying to sleep. I was overcome by the things I should have said or writen, and what I could have done, but didn't.
I wandered around the house a bit, observed a large moonlit doe munching on my hostas, emptied the dishwasher and eventually opened my giant crossword puzzle book. After completing a puzzle or two, the yawns began to come.
Back in bed, I tried to get back to sleep, but again my worries were keeping me awake. It was then that I recalled who it was that could put me into a state of calmness that would allow me to relax enough to get back to sleep.
"God Will Take Care of You" if you only "Trust and Obey, for there's no other way". "What a Friend We Have in Jesus".
The next thing I knew it was time to get up. God is Good.

Monday, July 27, 2009

MO UMW makes Cinamatic History!!!!

"You ought to be in Pictures". We've made it to the Movies, gals. Check out our own Marvelous Max Marble's Mission Cast for Monday July 27, 2009. You will see yourself, our youth and our Study Leaders at our 2009 Cooperative School of Christian Mission.
It was a wonderful event and a BIG THANK YOU goes out to the dozens of men and women who worked so very hard to make this project extremely meaningful to our membership.
And, thank you Max Marble for giving us the Conference recognition and publicity we
so deservedly need. Max is one of UMWs most ardent supporters. He is always quick to give UMW credit for his passion for Mission. Max grew up a Missional environment and witnessed first hand the work of women missionaries who were supported by our gifts to Mission. We love you Max!
Now, it's on to Poplar Bluff and our Annual Meeting. Don't forget to come early for "Chat and Chew". Carol Renfro and the Program Committee have some wonderful plans. So, put September 27th on your calendar and get your car tuned up for the trip.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What is Mission?

It takes a lot of work to produce a School of Christian Mission. Most of the work responsiblity falls on the Dean, Assistant Dean, and the Mission Team of the Conference United Methodist Women. Between today and Sunday afternoon, there will be buckets of sweat and a few tears shed as we work very hard to make this event pleasurable and meaningful for the 300 plus atendees.
There will be lots of talking about Mission this weekend. Mission to the people of the Sudan and to Native Americans. Those are two of our studies this year.
The third study, our spritual growth study, emphasizes Food and Faith. We'll look at food....from manna in Exodus to the loaves and fishes in Matthew. Our Faith is tied to our Food. Of course there will be a lot of food eaten in the CMU cafeteria.
Oh, and we have a group of ladies who do "hands-on Mission" while we are in Fayette, with their sewing projects. The leader of the Youth and Children's Schools have planned a visit to the local food pantry.
But, Cooperaive School of Christian Mission is mostly about Mission to ourselves, the participants. CSOCM is a time of learning and renewal of our Purpose and Spirits. It's a lot of work, but it's a whole lot of fun.
There will be so much laughter this weekend that CMU will be transformed. God has a marvelous sense of humor.....or he wouldn't have made us crazy Methodists!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pittsburg High School Class of 1964

Scott and I are taking a day off from working on the preparation for Cooperative School of Christian Mission to travel "back home" to our High School Reunion.
Our class is very close and many of the original 193 graduates of that year will be there with us.
No one really famous graduated from PHS in 1964 (unlesss you count the Queen of MO UMW and her husband, the Grammy winner). But, in 1966, there was Bill Russell, of the L.A. Dodgers, and in 1959 or maybe it was 1960, Gary Zukav frequent guest on the Oprah Show walked down the aisle at the Pittsburg Municipal Auditorium.
But, we "64ers have been and continue to be a class of interesting citizens. Take Shurleen, for example. After an unfortunate marriage and lousy career choices in California, she reinvented herself and became a rural Kansan, with a new career as a travel guide and a new name. She is very happy as Jean Marie.
Then, there's Billy. He was a roadie for Rock Bands in the late sixties and experimented with lots of stuff we don't want to know about. Now, he is a highly respected High School Administrator with lots of awards and expertise in dealing with troubled youth.
And John, who started out working for the water department...digging ditches, no less, and he's now the City Manager.
We've got teachers, preachers, sports agents, and doctors. Lots of good solid average folk. I can't wait to see them. They won't have changed one bit since we saw them last. In my eyes, they will be forever young.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ready for Cooperative School of Christian Mission?

It's July, once again, and almost time to hit the road to Fayette. I have been attending schools of Mission for a long time. Schools of Mission are an annual event in all of the UMW Conferences throughout the United States, but there are still many United Methodists who don't know a thing about them.
Our school is a cooperative one, which means that it is jointly sponsored by UMW and the UMC through it's Creative Ministries Team. So, why don't we have a ton more attendees? Beats me. But,I guess we aren't telling enough people the story of Cooperative School of Christian Mission.
Several hundred women, children, men and youth attend our Missouri Cooperative School each summer. We have a fantastic time. There are study groups, fellowship, great food, and exciting worship. This year we have a young new music leader and plenty of new songs to inspire and thrill our attendees.
Sometimes, "The Queen" even joins us. She last visited us in 2007. Perhaps she'll come again this year. Shari Habban is dropping by on Saturday. Several years ago a District Super dropped in. Oh, we ask a lot of other important people to come but so far they have declined. July is a really busy time of the year, I guess.
We are planning to host a missionary visitor this year and since one of our studies is on Sudan, we will visit with some Sudanese refugees, also.
Okay, so far as I can tell, CSOCM is the one of the largest gatherings of UM's on the yearly calendar. I'd like to make it the largest. Y'all come!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Assembly 2010

It has been suggested by the UMW Webmistress that I blog about the upcoming UMW Assembly in St. Louis. (BTW, my picture,on this site, is one taken at the opening worship event at Assembly in 2006.)
Assembly occurs every 4 years in different cities across the U.S. Kansas City hosted an Assembly 20 years ago. Assembly will be the largest gathering of UMs this state has ever seen. It's a big deal. As Women's Division makes plans for this event, I will keep you readers informed. Right now lots of volunteers are needed. Let me know if you plan to attend and can spare some time to meet and greet, usher, give directions, etc.
For now, my theme song is "Meet me in St. Louie, Louise. Meet me at Assembly."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Been There, Done That

Scott and I just returned home from UMW Regional School in New Orleans, LA. I think this was my 13th or maybe 15th Regional School. Regional School is sponsored by Women's Division for the purpose of training Conference Study Leaders and updating UMW Conference officers on their jobs. These Regional Schools are held on UMC College Campus'(Dillard this year). Men and women from each conference in our Jurisdiction were there.
Listen Up.....Don't go to New Orleans in the summer time. However, if you must, take lots of deodorant and plenty of extra underwear. OMGolly it was HOT and MUGGY.
But, weather aside, it was a great event. Our Cooperative School Leaders were trained in fine fashion. I gained a few pounds, in spite of the dorm food. Lordy, if I don't have to cook it, anything tastes good!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Annual Conference 2009

Well, I don't think it could have been better. WOO HOO...United Methodist Women in the Missouri Conference are alive and doin' splendid. Our third annual Walk for Mission Giving, at Conference, was an outstanding success. We sold all of the RED HOT Shirts and many individuals and Units contributed. About 200 actually walked!
We started off with a prayer from Bishop Schnase (who by the way was extremely gracious and interested in the event) and the women of Pitts Chapel, Mt. Carmel and the Springfield Districts out did themselves with tasty treats. We have such great members!
We were able to have a little time on the stage to announce Assembly 2009. Start saving your money now for the event of a lifetime in April in St. Louis. More details on our Website!
My heartfelt thanks to all who supported this event. A special thank you goes out to those of you who worked the Booth. The whole weekend was a textbook example of working together in Mission.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

And we do Local Mission......

Today, I received a call from Clara Black. In my mind, Clara is a shining example of what we as United Methodist Women are all about. Clara supports United Methodist women by attending Coperative School of Christian Mission and other events like our annual Spring Retreat. But, woo hoo,she also does local mission! Clara volunteers at the Clothes Closet for the Veterans' Administration Medical Center in Kansas City.(Most of us think of it as the VA Hospital.) Last month, she told me that there was a real need for men's items of all kinds, especially clean used jeans and soft duffle bags. Of course there are women Vets, too, and she needs shorts and tops for them.
Sometimes veterans come to the Hospital with absolutely nothing. They need the essentials. Our Vets are in need, people, and we who have so much to thank them for, could really help them out!
Clara is a member of New Hope UMC in Kansas City. And she is surely an angel of mercy.
If you can donate some items to this cause, (She is willing to receive donations at Cooperative School in Fayette, next month.)contact me and I will pass on her number.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ABORTION

My best UMW Friend and I agree to diasgree on the issue of Abortion Rights. Both of us feel very passionately about what we believe to be the "right" thing. While both of us know that abortion is legal, one of us feels that it is a fundamental right of a woman to choose what happens to her own body. That no government should force a woman to carry and birth a child that she does not want. The other friend believes that abortion is fundamentally wrong. She feels that no "person" should be aborted, for whatever reason.
We know that we are never going to agree on this issue. We discuss the issue. We argue, but, we remain friends.
Recently, I had to deal with a woman who had told her Unit that she had read that United Methodist Women funded abortions. I don't know what group is spreading this kind of misinformation, but I can make an intelligent guess.
United Methodist Women DO NOT fund abortions. United Methodist Women follow the Discipline in all matters pertaining to the Social Issues of the UMC. UMW, however, does belong, through the Women's Division of the United Methodist Church, to the Coalition for Reproduction Choice. This is not a group that funds abortions. This is an education group, dealing with information ONLY. This group has never told a United Methodisst Woman to have an abortion.
Neither my good friend nor I have any intention of leaving United Methodist Women over this issue. We feel fortunate to belong to an thinking woman's organization and to a thinking person's denomination. We have room to disagree.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Preparing for June

I've said it before....May and June are the busiest months of the year. Holy, Moley, I'm feeling stressed. Way too much is on my plate. Right now I am feeling that I won't get everything prepared for Annual Conference, the Wintle Family Reunion on the 10th in Pittsburg,Kansas, our son Ry's wedding on the 21st(that means house guests from the 11th of June to the 22nd), and Regional School in New Orleans on the 24th.
The only thing that is going to get me through this mess is PRAYER....a whole lot of it. I can only speak for myself, but Prayer centers and calms me. When I take the time to really talk to God and visit with him about my concerns, He shows me the way. And, you know what? When I let God talk to me,I know that everything is going to be just fine.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Most Excellent Retreat

HOLY COW! The United Methodist Women of Missouri sponsored a first class Spiritual Growth Retreat in Moberly, this weekend. Eighteen of the eighty women in attendance were teen and young adult women. (and Rev. Graham says that UMW is for old women!!!)
Not so Grandpa.
All of us had a simply spectacular time. The young ladies had three presenters and their focus was on spiritual, mental, and physical wellness. Our mature women were led in a particularly meaningful study presented by Diana Revelle. A great time was had by all.
The Reverend Dorothy L. Smith celebrated Communion with the entire group to close the event.
All UMW events are group efforts. Many thanks to all of our faithful members to helped to plan, present and attend this weekend's adventure.
I can hardly wait until next year.
Blessings,
NKK

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ROAD TRIP

Carol Refro, MO Conference Vice President, and I traveled down and over to Poplar Bluff on Sunday. We left Kansas City at 2 p.m. and made it to our hotel in beautiful downtown Poplar Bluff at 9 p.m. Our purpose was to meet with Southwest District Officers, Vicki and Gail, and the Rev.Charles Buck, pastor of First UMC, in Poplar Bluff.
Carol and I were warmly greeted by all three and we were able to work out some plans for our Annual Meeting in September. The Poplar Bluff church is a wonderfully usable facility. They have done a great job of blending old and new sections and making it all work together. We are all excited about "Coming to God's Table" in Poplar Bluff.
And Poplar Bluff is Beautiful. The azaleas were in full bloom all over town. Gorgeous red, pink, magenta, and white bushes.
On our return trip, Carol and I stopped off to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Home in Mansfield. Be sure to put it on your list of Missouri Places to see. All of the Little House Books,the prequels and sequels were written there.
Now, get this folks.....Laura Ingalls Wilder was a Methodist. She attended the Methodist Church in Mansfield. I think there is a story there or at least a reason to do some research.
Now, isn't that the coolest thing? Guess there is more than one famous Methodist author in Missouri!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Blue Ridge

Quit your whinning out there, girlfriends. We have circles (right here in Missouri) that are intergenerational and are making UMW work!
Congratulations to the EVEning Circle at Blue Ridge UMC. I visited with them last night and believe me when I write that they fit our MISSION Purpose to a "T".
First of all, they meet when it works for them. Most of them are employed, so they come right after work on Monday nights. They share a pot luck dinner. One young mom brings her teen son. Mondays are Scout night at the church so they eat together and go to their respective meetings.And, other moms bring their kids to share in the meal.They always offer child care during the meeting.
Then, the ages of the women range from early 20's to 70 something. I observed that they cherish one another and they are certainly a COMMUNITY of women, as they offered up their concerns and joys. They are involved in "hands on Mission" in their church. They have fun.(In February, their meal theme was red or pink food, or food shaped like a heart. How great is that?)
This group is a model for our future. The young and the experienced coming together for the Lord.
Now, like many of our circles, they have their issues. But, by golly, the women of the EVEning circle are continuing to fulfill our Purpose.
What a blessing.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Steve Cox Gets It

Yesterday was the UMW Spring Meeting of the Pony Express District. Snowflakes and ice crystals were blurring my windshield as I made my way from Kansas City to the First UMC in Maryville. Spring indeed!
But, the warmth of Spring was in the building. Quite a few local women and District Officers had braved the weather and ignored the impending forcast of doom and gloom to reach the meeting.
The day's business was accomplished with nary a glitch. Thelma Wyrick, District President, presided in fine fashion and the speaker, from the Missouri House, was informative. The women in the northwest corner of our state are doing mission.
(Trumpets Sound here) And Lo, Pony Express Superintendent Steve Cox came to the event. People....Steve Cox gets it. Steve Cox supports United Methodist Women. Steve Cox has read his UM Discipline. Steve Cox understands that UMW members are the functioning Mission Arm of the UMC. He also understands that UMW members are supporters of their local congregations AND that we take our Church Membership very seriously.
Steve Cox understands "leadership by walking around". Believe me when I tell you that I could count on 2 fingers the number of District Supers that have shown their faces at UMW District Meetings in the last 3 years! Gosh, this DS job must be one very time consuming appointment. One or two hours a year spent on UMW is a lot to ask of those 12 clergy folk. Obviously, some people DON'T READ THEIR DISCIPLINE!!!!!!!! (You know that section that says "every congregation SHALL have a unit of United Methodist Women.") I don't even think these folk have read the other major book on faith....the Five Practices (RADICAL HOSPITALITY, RISK TAKING MISSION, etc.)
I am reminded of a quote from a Methodist Preacher way back in the 1800's. The man said, and I quote...."about the women. Movements like this have begun before. Leave them alone and it will die out."
Blessings on you Steve Cox. Take a lesson, the other 10 of you (and you know who you are.) Thank you, Steve Cox, for Getting It.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm Trying To Understand.....

Today, several of my school friends suggested that I sign on to Face Book. They implied that I may be the only person living who is not already registered.
So, not wanting to be the one and only non-Face Book person left on the planet, I signed up. And, sure enough lots of people I knew were already there.
Now what? There were 91 folks who might want to be "my friends", but in order to know if they want to, I have to ask them. How am I going to feel if they say, "No"? What happens if I only ask some of them? Will the others know that I didn't ask them, too? I am so confused and torn. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
I really like having friends, but I'm not sure about electronic friends? Isn't true friendship more than just typing words to another person, or for that matter,91 of them? I want to have real friend. I want to touch my friends, hug my friends, pray for and be with my friends.
Is there anyone out there who would care to explain to me what this Face Book phenomena is all about? Maybe then, we can be friends?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Paddy's Day in NYC

I love parades. I'm the nut in back of you at those events that claps and screams for every band, every float and every horse. WOO, HOO! My thought is that if people are going to go to all the work to participate in a parade, then I am going to thank them for it. Yeah!
So this year we were in NYC for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. It went on for hours and there were thousands of green faced, green haired, and green bodies everywhere. Would you believe I was wearing red?
We loved the fun and festivities.
While in NYC, I attended a planning session for the 2010 Assembly of Women's Division, which is scheduled for April 2010 in St. Louis. The Staff at 475 Riverside Drive (affectionately known as the God Box) were so friendly and welcoming. I felt right at home with those ladies. Harriett Olson introduced herself saying that she worked for ME (Us...ladies of UMW.) How gracious is that?
After, the meeting I hailed another cab and returned to my hotel. Then, it hit me. I owe UMW, so very much. My lengthy involvement in UMW, and the opportunites it has given me to grow, is the reason that I can confidently hail cabs, speak in front of thousands of people, write this blog, and testify to my FAITH in Jesus Christ.
Amen, sisters.
PTL.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Warming Thought

On Monday,I gave away my kitchen stove. Now, before you start thinking of me as an incredibly generous person, let me add that my stove was 45 years old, lemon yellow in color, and only one of the four burners was working! It had to go away, and it did, to the scrap metal dealer.
Well, guess what? I haven't missed it. NO, Scott hasn't taken me out every night dining and dancing (although that is a good idea). Our kitchen is equipped with a microwave, and an electric skillet, so I have been able to prepare almost anything we wanted to eat this week.
Which leads me to the conclusion that we are a family of plenty. We can get by quite nicely on a whole lot less. It is so easy for us to complain about what we don't have, when we clearly should be thankful for the blessings that we do have.
That said, I know I will eventually have to purchase a new stove. I figure I have until Easter or maybe even Thanksgiving. That is, if someone will invite the Kincaids over for Easter Dinner.

Friday, March 6, 2009

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

We (that's the United Methodist Women of the Missouri Annual Conference) have just returned from our 37th annual Trip to Jefferson City, for our Legislative Event.
165 Women and Men registered for the Event and 164 came. I'll bet that's a record. I would challenge ANY small group within the Conference to match those numbers.
Our sesssions featuring Carol Jean Mays, former MO House Rep, were particularly popular. She spoke on how to meet and greet your Legislators. Susie Johnson, Women's Division Staffer, gave a presentation on "What's your ASK?" that was extremely informative.
It takes a whole bunch of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers to put on an event such as this. I would like for them to know that their work is very much appreciated.
Thanks to Scott Penman with MO Impact for providing us with up-to-date information on what's happening at the Capitol. And, a big WOOHOO to Fred for coming down to take pictures. Fred, you're our hero.
Thanks goes out to our Local Unit Members who attend Legislative Event. UMW has members who really care about Mission to others. We want to "do all we can."

Now.....on to our Spiritual Growth Retreat in May in Moberly.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rewriting History

I finally received my 2008 Conference Journal.I received my Northern Indiana Conference Journal in November.It takes less time to write and print a Harry Potter sequel! It's the same amount of time to have a baby, for Pete's sake. Why do we have to rush to get our written reports in by April?
But that's not the "main thing", as we ALL say in Missouri. To say that I was disappointed in the contents would be an understatement. I can overlook the fact that our 2nd Annual UMW Walk for Mission Giving was ignored and not mentioned at all. I know several hundred men, women, the Bishop, a couple cabinet members all walked the streets of Springfield in support of Mission. The walk also involved 2 Springfield Congregations. That's okay....it didn't really happen "In Session".
But people, to completely rewrite what happened at the end of the Sunday Morning Session....that's inexcusable.
In the style of the recorder of the proceedings I would have stated on page D-5
...APPROXIMATELY 200 UNITED METHODIST WOMEN AND THEIR SUPPORTERS PARADED ONTO THE STAGE CARRYING SIGNS IN SUPPORT OF THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHARTER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE POLICIES. MRS. MAI GRAY, FORMER WOMEN'S DIVISION PRESIDENT, AND FOUNDER OF THE CHARTER, SPOKE TO THE ASSEMBLY ON HISTORICAL EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE ADOPTION OF THE CHARTER BY OUR WHOLE DENOMINATION. SHE RECEIVED A STANDING OVATION AND A BIG HUG FROM BISHOP SCHNASE.
To fail to write that Mai Gray was there and was so honored is an insult to every United Methodist Woman in Missouri.
So, I suggest that all of you take a pen and write in the above paragraph, so that when your descendants want to know what really happened at the Missouri Annual conference of 2008, they will know that UMW and Mai Gray were there.
For too many years, historians have written history excluding the stories of women, minorities, and other disenfranchised persons. I thought those days were over. Apparently not.
AMEN, SISTERS.

Monday, February 23, 2009

MISSION MUSINGS

I'm totally blown away by the amount of Mission done by the United Methodist Women of Missouri. Much to the chagrin of our local pastors, the women of our churches are doing "all the good they can, to all the people they can, anywhere that they can". (sound familiar???? I sure hope so!)
Take for example the women and men of the Della Lamb Auxiliary. For years these diligent folk have spent hours performing grunt work for this mission organization in the heart of Kansas City. They stuff appeal envelopes, invitations, and fold flyers to be sent to supporters of the Lamb.
The Lamb was founded in the 19th Century by Methodist Women as an outreach to immigrant women and their children. Today it serves the urban poor and immigrants in the same area of the city where it was founded. In addition, the Lamb now operates an Elementary Charter School. The Lamb is an official United Methodist Related Institution, but members of the Auxiliary come from many denominations. They know that the work of Della Lamb Services is a worthwhile cause.
Curious about the work of Della Lamb?...need a program? Visit their website.
Then, just think about all of the community food banks, thrift shops, and tutoring that is done by members of United Methodist Women in Missouri. After that think of all the funeral dinners, teas, coffees, etc,, that we do for our local churches. We are doing and living our Mission Purpose. AMEN.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mr. Israel

Some of you know that I am a Professional Substitute Educator by profession. I'm in Middle and High School Classrooms in the North Kansas City School District two to three times a week. Lots of kids from age 12-19 know me as that crazy little old lady substitute. Actually, I prefer to be labeled as the "substitute from Hell".
Most school subjects, at any level, can be taught by an experienced substitute. I will teach everything on the schedule EXCEPT woodworking (no teenagers with sharp objects) and boy's gym (smelly sweaty boys).
So last Tuesday, I was assigned a morning of business classes at Oak Park High School. One of the classes was an upper level computer programming class. This class had a teacher's assistant who was so helpful to the other students, it was hard to believe that he himself was a high school student. I was really impressed by his patience, his knowledge of computers and his encouraging manner to the entire group.
In talking with the young man, I learned that he was a senior and he plans on attending JUCO in Moberly this Fall. AND, that he is the son of a UM Pastor. What a plesure it was working with him. I just know that he is headed for grand and glorious things.
Thank you Rev.David Israel and wife for raising such a terrific kid!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Identity Crisis

Many of you readers may have participated in last year's UMW Spiritual Growth Study, "I Believe in Jesus." One of the activities suggested in that study was to look at our own personal, social, and spiritual identities. Then after doing that, we were to look at Jesus' personal, social and spiritual identities.
It is a great exercise in that we all bring our individualities to the faith table. All of us use our identities to assign to Jesus many different traits.I believe that we "believe" in Jesus in different ways and for different reasons, because of our own identities.
Another activity was to create our own "creed". This was amazing, because if you really work at doing this, your creed may be radically different than the creeds we find in our hymnals.
As we approach Lent, I challenge you to write your own creed. What exactly do you believe and why? A majority of us, I bet,(oops, we UM's don't bet,do we)would have a difficult time putting our faith into words.
Try it, and let me know how it went.
BTW, this study makes an excellent small group or Sunday School Class topic.

Monday, February 9, 2009

HOG WILD

Frank-ly, Scarlet......Do you know anything about feral hogs? Well, you should.
For the record, the "Missouri Conservationist" Magazine has recently reported a serious infestation of feral hogs in Reynolds and Iron Counties. Feral hogs are domestic hogs that have been released in the wild.
Releasing domestic hogs into the wild is illegal in Missouri. Feral hogs are mean and dangerous. If you run across any feral hogs, call the Missouri Department of Conservation. Do not call me!
As President of Missouri United Methodist Women, I have experience herding wild groups of enthusiastic and sometimes out of control women. I don't do livestock.
By the way (and you pastors might make note of this) it is legal to hunt and kill feral hogs by any means you can dream up. Baiting and dogs are permissable.
The best way to deal with United Methodist Women is to REALLY listen to what they have on their minds. Channel their energy, appreciate their good intentions, and support their mission projects. They will in turn support all that you do. No traps or dogs needed.
By the way, our next event in the 2009 Legislative Event. We have over 100 Action Minded Men and Women Registered. Our Legislative Event is the oldest event of its kind in any Conference.
The date is March 3 and 4 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jeff City. Check our www.moumethodist.org/umw
Hope to see all of you there.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Recycling Rubish

Are you into recycling? I imagine that most of us (UMs being Socially Conscious in the Wesley Tradition)do our share. We fill our recycle bins with the right types of plastic, cans and paper. (KC does not take glass.) We make sure our bins are at the curb on the right day.
It seems that more and more people are shunning plastic shopping bags and are carrying reususable ones to do their toting. The women of the MO Conference UMW Mission Team all have hand crafted, one of a kind, recycled tote bags. I hope that they are using them.
But, somebody tell me, where is the corporate world on this recycling thing? Explain this to me. Why are there so many empty shopping malls and empty strip mall buildings? Yet, there are more shopping centers and strip malls being built every day. In my community alone there are 2 huge malls standing empty. And, in the same community there have been built three completely new shopping areas. Just last Spring, a new Lowe's and an Office Depot popped up (like overnight) on a beautiful patch of virgin pasture land.
Is it okay to recycle paper and plastic and not entire buildings? WHAT KIND OF FOOTPRINT IS THAT LEAVING FOR OUR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN? I cannot see how what we are doing makes sense financially. What makes a 5 year old building unusable? My house is 50 years old, for Pete's sake! And, trust me, it's quite liveable. Cluttered, but liveable. And, speaking of Pete, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is centuries old. Nobody is talking about replacing that one.
So, what's a gal to do? The recycling that I faithfully do doesn't amount to a hill of beans, when compared to the hundreds of unused, unrecycled buildings in this country. We can reuse notebook covers and cut down on paper copies till we are blue in the face and we'll never be able overcome the useless waste of an 40 store, 3 story mall!
Let's stop the madness.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Year's Plans

I'm not in the habit of making "New Year's Resolutions". It's not my thing. However, I always have a list of projects that I plan to do as soon as January appears on the calendar.
For my first project of 2009, I plan to create a new Address Book. I'm writing here about the old fashioned paper kind of address book. Believe it or not, I still take time to send a greeting card or write an occassional letter. Now, our old family and friends address book isn't that old, but boy is it a mess!
I need to create a NEW address book because our friends and family are constantly changing phone numbers. People have land phone numbers, or sometimes land and cell phone numbers, then they drop the land phones and go to only cells. Then they switch back. So, I have lots of cross-outs and added munbers. As a kid, my family had the same phone number for years, 3208R!
Then, there is the issue of changing addresses. Our 4 kids have moved 20 times in the last couple of years. I've used up all of the K space in my current book and now half of the L space is filled with Kincaids. And, Scott and I have been at the same address in KC North, for over thirty years.
Lastly, there is the issue of changing spouses and significant others. (We can't be the only family with this issue.) I actually use my address book to remember the names of the people that my kids are currently married to or presently living with.
So, I'm going to enter information into my NEW address book. Put in the right phone numbers, correct addresses and make sure all of the Mr., Mrs. and Ms notations are correct. However, nothing gets in my NEW address book unless it is written with a #2 pencil. I may love all of my noted friends and relatives, but they aren't going to be permanent!!!!