WMU-NC feels called to push forward
    May 3 2010 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

    In the midst of a weekend of laughter and learning, a meeting took place describing the best and worst of times. Quoting Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Ruby Fulbright, executive director of Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC), shared of the tumultuous year it has been for the organization during her annual report April 17 at “Called” Missions Extravaganza (ME) April 16-18 at Ridgecrest Conference Center.

    “We had the challenge of learning new and different ways to do our work,” Fulbright told 921 in attendance. “We were able to pay our bills for 2009.”

    Sharon Allred Decker, former vice president for Duke Power and founder of The Tapestry Group, was the featured speaker. Kyle Matthews, who ministers at a church in South Carolina and is a songwriter/singer, led worship.

    BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

    Ladies at the Woman's Missionary Union of North Carolina annual meeting prepare for the parade of flags at Ridgecrest April 16. The parade opened the first session of the weekend. See photo gallery and videos (list below story).


    The proposed 2010 budget — $1,192,482 — was 10.4 percent less than 2009. The WMU-NC had to reach into its reserves several times to fund the 2009 budget.

    She said the year was full of great contradictions and extremes.

    In 2009, WMU-NC began 149 new organizations at 60 different churches. But they also had a decline in magazine subscriptions, which fund national WMU.

    “We found and developed new relationships but there were still strained relationships with others,” she said. Fulbright said she uses an exercise with the staff to reflect on what’s good and what’s bad. She’s learned that “we have a pretty amazing ability to adapt.”

    Fulbright said it is the duty of WMU to help individuals, churches and associations in “building relationships that tear down barriers. We are invited, challenged, commanded … to follow Christ.”

    A special offering raised $12,476 that WMU-NC will use mostly for a conference/retreat center in Lebanon and WMU-NC mission trips.

    “2009 was the best of times, the worst of times, but the Father was with us in both,” Fulbright said. “In 2010 the commitment of the Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina is to be obedient and faithful. The Father will take care of the rest.”

    Budget requirements last year drew reserves down to about $600,000. She thanked her faithful staff who have accepted downward adjustments in compensation and benefits, but none have left and none were laid off.

    WMU-NC approves annual meeting dates three years in advance. The 2013 dates of April 19-21 were approved.

    Ladies accomplished two projects during the weekend, assembling 55 birthing kits for Zimbabwe, along with eight to 10 boxes of children’s vitamins, baby toys and scarves. They also assembled 850 food kits and 350 hygiene kits for the homeless for ministries in North Carolina and Georgia.

    Officers elected for 2010-2011 were Delores Thomas, president; Tana Hartsell, vice president; Chris Harker, vice president of development; Tammi Ward, recording secretary; and Beth McDonald, assistant recording secretary.

    Members-at-large for 2010-2011: Jennifer Carter, Region 3, Bladen Association; Lucille Yancey, Region 3, Eastern Association; Kim Bounds, Region 4, Raleigh Association; Whitney Edwards, Region 4, Raleigh Association; Pamela Whitted, Region 6, Metrolina Association; Ruth Anne Johnson, Region 7; Linda Sutton, Region 7, Three Forks Association; and Ann B. Stamey, Region 9, Transylvania Association.  

    Specially called
    Decker, who lives in Rutherfordton, spent time in the sessions and at the dining hall encouraging women.

    As a leader of Duke Power, Decker said she sensed in her soul that “somehow things weren’t right.” All of the responsibility she had taken on herself was taking its toll. While the outside looked perfect, she felt spiritually dead.

    “Inside I was empty,” she said, sharing that all the voices were competing. “Voices telling you you’re too tall, too thin, not right. Whatever it is it’s not enough. You and I have fallen into the trap of listening to the voice. All of us hear it; you’re not good enough.”

    Decker is now a full-time student at Gardner-Webb Divinity School. She also hosts a radio show — “The Satisfied Life” — in Charlotte on Sunday mornings.

    “God has uniquely equipped you to be His person, now,” she said. “It’s about trusting God to make of us what He wants us to be. You are uniquely and wonderfully made. If you desire to understand God you have to be in relationship with Him.”

    Part of that relationship requires you to be still and surrender your heart.  

    National level
    Jean Roberson of national WMU spoke of the importance of praying for missionaries and giving. She highlighted the values of WMU: diversity, community, social change, and embracing change.

    “It’s not just about me growing as a mature Christian,” Roberson said. It’s about “bringing about the kingdom of God around me. We can’t just sit in a church cocoon.”

    Over the last couple of years WMU has focused on poverty. The next emphasis will be on human trafficking.

    “By and large as a group we are a people who are willing to try new things (to better the kingdom),” she said. “People are choosing to participate in things because they know someone involved. We want to be part of something.”

    WMU has been making changes to meet the needs of the women it reaches and wants to reach. Missions Mosaic magazine has made some design and content changes including adding a Shades of Red book club with a mission project related topic.

    Roberson highlighted two web sites (womenonmission.com and mymissionfulfilled.com) to appeal to a wider spectrum of women.
 The 2011 meeting is set April 8-10 celebrating WMU-NC’s 125th anniversary.

    Related story
    VIDEO: Kyle Matthews
    VIDEO: Ruby Fulbright
    Photo Gallery
    NC Job Corps wins national awards
    VIDEO: Sandra Wright
    VIDEO: Shandale Hodges
    5/3/2010 10:02:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments




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