“Grace UMW – This is Your Life” was the program and theme for the June 8 meeting of the Grace United Methodist Women.

After a delicious and bountiful carry-in meal, the devotion was given by Linda Highfield. She explained that the Loaves and Fishes Offering is a mission of the West Ohio Conference aimed at feeding people around the globe. It supports efforts to teach good growing techniques, nutrition and healthy cooking methods. The miracle of the five loaves and two fishes is used to demonstrate the power which is possible to curb world hunger through this mission. The offering was collected.

A very short business meeting was conducted by president, Karen Bernard. A thank you note was read from Meals on Wheels, and the treasurer’s report was given by Brenda Warner. Announcements were made about summer breakfast menus, Vacation Bible School, and the July mission trip to Washington D C. Donations of food and workers are needed for several projects.

In planning for the Grace Church Bicentennial in 2017, a Record-Herald article was uncovered about a 1954 meeting of the Grace Church women. Similarities between today’s meeting and the Women’s Society of Christian Service meeting in 1954 were many. The historical program for that day was titled “How and Why the WSCS Began,” and was performed by members in costumes of the late 1800’s.

Costumes for today’s “This is Your Life” program represented the time from the unifying of the women’s groups in September 1940 to become the United Methodist Women, to the forging of many of the projects and missions of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, some of which continue today. Rummage sales, church meetings and Lenten Luncheons were highlighted.

Historical women who visited the set included founders Mable Blessing, Ruth Schnell and Orpha Chaney Avann. More recent historical visitors were Pauline Lewellen, Wanda Wilson and Elsa Woodmansee. The story was retold about the rummage sale in the 1970’s when rummage was being collected in the old canning factory, which turned out to be infested by straw mites. A quick change to a new location had to be worked out, with many of the UMW ladies suffering the consequences.

The 40 ladies present enjoyed the look back at a rich heritage, and some of the women who made it happen. John Leland shared the newspaper article and Pam Rhoads shared costume accessories. All characters in the play were acted by the Deborah Circle Players. Scriptwriters Leslie Teter and Joyce Lott were responsible for bringing the stories to life. Inspiration and information containing the facts were provided by Norma Wilson, who shared her memories and her collection of printed historical data. The performance was dedicated to Norma Wilson, currently recovering at FCMH from a recent fall.

The meeting was closed with the same blessing often used during the early days of the UMW – the Mizpah Benediction, based on Genesis, chapter 31.

The next regular meeting will be on Sept. 7 at the Commission on Aging at 11:30 a.m. for lunch.

This article was submitted by the Grace United Methodist Women.

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