Carol Banks has followed in her mother’s footsteps in more ways than one.
The newly elected United Methodist Women president is carrying on the legacy of service her mother instilled in her from a young age as Banks saw her mother, former United Methodist Women president Eugenia Yawn, attend Woman’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) meetings and actively serve in missions and ministry.
A strong influence in her daughter’s life and faith, Yawn served as the South Georgia United Methodist Women Conference president from 1984 through 1987. A retired home economics and high school science teacher, attending WSCS was part of Yawn’s upbringing, and she raised Banks similarly.
She encouraged Banks to attend United Methodist Women meetings and to become involved in mission work, believing that serving others is what gives one meaning.
“The mission work is what you feel like it means to people all over the world,” Yawn said of the important work United Methodist Women do around the world.
Banks, also a retired educator, became increasingly active in her local United Methodist Women circle, through Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, and on the district and conference levels, upon her retirement. During her tenure as president her goals include education and raising awareness among United Methodist Women about how their mission dollars are spent.
“Sometimes we give without fully realizing what all it is we are accomplishing,” she said. “We serve women and children all over the world.”
Having been on four Ubuntu Journeys – to Ecuador, Cambodia, and twice to Africa – Banks has seen firsthand how United Methodist Women are serving, working, and supporting women and children around the world.
“It makes me proud to be a part of it and I want everybody else to feel that way,” she said.
Service has become a way of life for both Yawn and Banks, and they feel that it is intrinsically linked with their faith.
“I have realized that you can’t just say you believe in Jesus and God. There’s more to it than that. You have to serve in some way or you’re not accomplishing anything as a Christian,” Banks said. “When you realize how much God loves you and He tells you to love others the same way, you have to find some way to do that. I find it very fulfilling to do that through United Methodist Women.”
Yawn agrees, and says that it’s the United Methodist Women’s focus on serving others that has most drawn her through the years, and allowed her to fully live out her faith.
When asked about the parallels in her daughter’s life to her own she looked at Banks and smiled.
“I’m very proud to have a daughter following in my footsteps,” she said. “I think I had a quiet influence on her life.”