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United Women in Faith enjoy ‘family reunion’


By Tara Jones, South Georgia Conference UWF President
The gracious hostesses at Baxley First United Methodist Church in Baxley welcomed United Women in Faith members from across South Georgia October 15, 2022, for quite the celebration. After two years of virtual annual meetings, the women enjoyed a “family reunion” greeting sisters in person. 
After beautiful opening music by Sandra Smith and an offering of prayer by Laurie Jo Upchurch, attendees were inspired by Dee Dee Salgado’s lovely solo. Miriam Johnson and Rev. Steve Meguiar greeted and welcomed the group who enjoyed a wonderful day in the church’s beautiful sanctuary. 
Conference President Tara Jones presided over the meeting. Conference officers participated in the time of celebrating United Women in Faith, which included a virtual message by General Secretary/CEO Harriet Jane Olsen. Rev. Steve Mequiar, Dr. Paula Lewis, Rev. Craig Hutto, and Rev. Jimmy Cason served as Communion Celebrants.
A special highlight of the day was the keynote message on the theme “Healing and Joy on Our Journey to God” given virtually by Sally Vonner, Transformation Officer at the UWF National Office. 
Vonner began by thanking the women of South Georgia for all they have done and are doing to make mission possible. She then challenged the group: we must refresh to welcome the future God is calling us to.
Vonner shared that materials for local units on the need to embrace change are available on the United Women in Faith website. 
“God is calling us to be bold, to show up, to make a difference,” said Vonner. 
She shared that her prayer is that we keep creating and evolving as we say ‘yes’ to God’s calling for us today to ensure that women, children and youth can thrive.
“We will inspire and influence the church as we model unity through our sisterhood and our continuation of being focused on organizing and mobilizing for mission,” said Vonner.
She then implored the group not to let “weariness, fear, or brittleness weigh us down. Lean into each other. We don’t have to be wishing things were different. We are the generation with more tools than any other to reach new women, new supporters. We can work together to add to our legacy.”
Conference Treasurer Diane James led the pledge service and accepted the offering, which was designated to Ian-impacted National Mission Institutions. Diane also presented newly consecrated deaconess Linda Laye with a Special Mission Recognition. The Conference pledge to United Women in Faith was set at $100,000.
Committee on Nominations chairperson Cheryl King presented the committee’s nominee for Spiritual Growth Coordinator - Sarah Faulkner - whom the attendees elected and who then was installed by former Conference President Carol Banks. Love and appreciation were expressed to Nancy Hudson who was recognized as an outgoing member of the Conference Leadership Team.
Appreciation is expressed to the Baxley First United Methodist Church, their members of United Women in Faith, pastor Rev. Steve Meguiar, Administrative Assistant MaRandy Mincey, and local arrangements chairperson Laurie Jo Upchurch for a wonderful day in Baxley.

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