The Clifton Chapter of United Methodist Women meets on the second Monday of each month at 2:00 p.m. in the fellowship hall. All women are welcome!
UMW Collects World Thank Offering
By Eva Donner
The World Thank Offering is and has been for many decades an opportunity for personal thanksgiving and learning of mission outreach.
Through the years, mission has been the main focus of the members of United Methodist Women and its predecessor organizations. Being in mission is sharing our lives and gifts with others that all may be whole persons through Jesus Christ. Mission is creating new persons and a new society as we do away with those things that create barriers or cause separation. It is working to eliminate racism, sexism, and loneliness. Mission is Christ’s challenge to us to bring the possibility for food, shelter and fulfillment to all of humanity.
Through Thank Offering contributions mission projects are supported in all 50 states and in almost 100 countries. These projects vary from support to schools, hospitals and clinics, day care centers and homes for senior citizens to educational training courses to prevent soil erosion, leadership development, sewing and nutritional courses, and medical training. The number of persons reached by this type of caring and sharing is almost incalculable.
The first Thank Offering was observed in Lansing, Michigan due to the inspiration of Mrs. H.E. Taylor 131 years ago. In 1881, Mrs. Taylor recorded this account:
The World Thank Offering was not thought out—it was by some freak I was elected District President. In my extremity I called upon the Lord, and He helped me and blessed me in my work. In the lessons of 1881 the subject was “Free Giving” and it made such a strong impression on my mind: building the Tabernacle, then the peace offering, then God’s plan of building the kingdom by free will offering.
Soon after this we had one of our very best District meetings where a wonderful sense of Divine power was felt. At this meeting I was surprised by being made a Life Member. You know, the real blessedness of a meeting is when you get home and live it all over again. I did not think that I had any special desire to become a Life Member, but when I was home and thought that by the kindness of others, $20 in my name was sent to bless the world with Gospel light, my heart was all broken up and I cried aloud, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits?” A voice said, “You can make a Thank Offering.”
I had just sold dried apples and had a $5 gold piece. At once I thought of the money and said, “Yes, Lord! I can and I will!” I left my work—not the poetic kind, but the washtub kind—and told my husband that the Lord had given me a wonderful thought, and I was going to write Mrs. Lathrop, our district corresponding secretary and tell her about “Thank Offering”. Step by step, our women were guided to make a Thank Offering.”
At first each woman was asked to give two cents a week. (This was 1881—two cents per week was a great deal of money then.) Last year, 2011, the amount given through Thank Offering was around one million dollars. This beautiful story of “Thanksgiving” shows what can happen when one person responds to the still small voice.
United Methodist Women is the largest denominational faith organization for women with approximately 800,000 members whose mission is fostering spiritual growth, developing leaders and advocating for justice. Members raise up to $20 million each year for programs and projects related to women, children and youth in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world.
If Mrs. Taylor, in 1881, had not said, “Yes, I can and I will” and had instead said, “No, I can’t and I won’t”. If she had not sown that seed upon rich, fertile soil, nurtured it, protected it, and brought it to maturity, how do you think today’s world would be affected by her answer? Several of many scenarios come to mind:
- This morning a small village in Ethiopia would have no clean water, because there was no well.
- A small boy in Kenya would not be able to read and write because there would be no teachers.
- A tiny infant in Haiti would not see her first birthday because there was no medical care.
Man, woman, or child…we each can choose to impact the world around us. All we have to do is say, “YES! I CAN AND I WILL!” and then follow through, faithfully relying on God for strength, courage and the will to see whatever we say “yes” to till the end. God will help you use all that He’s given you and will bless you in your work.