response: How to Use This Issue (April 2013)

responseapril2013cover247This month I hope you find your faith renewed and your Spirit alive. This issue of response explores the topic of hearing God’s call and serves as a supplement to this year’s United Methodist Women spiritual growth study: The Call: Living Sacramentally, Walking Justly. The best way to use this issue this month is to partner it with The Call, as you read it independently or as part of a class study.

How and where we hear God’s call is as unique as the person hearing it. And each person’s call is unique. Not everyone is called to be—or should be—ordained pastors. It is certainly not the only way to serve God. In “Somebody’s Calling My Name” on pages 20-22, United Methodist Women member Maggie Johnson explains, “I’m a laywoman. I was called to be a laywoman. My ministry is teaching social work. Wherever God places you, that’s your ministry.”

What is your ministry? What calling are you fulfilling? Do you feel a nudge to dig deeper or to try something new? As you read this issue, what do the stories, studies and reflections ignite in you? After reading “What Happens at Sager Brown Hits the Road,” do you want to volunteer to provide disaster relief? Does “The Migrant Trail” make you want to learn more about Humane Borders or hold an immigrant rights rally? Should your local group host an Ubuntu Day of Service, like the New York Conference United Methodist Women did in “Experience Ubuntu”? Write down any and all ideas that come to mind as you read this issue. Don’t just read—listen.

In “The Call” on pages 23- 24, Tavye Morgan quotes Fredrich Buechner’s definition of vocation: “The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” I’ve never been more spiritually liberated than the moment I realized God’s plan for my life was reflected in my plan for my life. I didn’t have to eschew my gifts, talents and pleasures to follow God. I could follow God right where I was—even if that meant knowing the Associated Press Stylebook as well as I know the Bible.

This month, be sure to thank one another for your ministries, whether it’s sewing or farming or preaching or Tweeting or cleaning or cutting hair or dancing or building or selling or fixing or any other saintly task a person engages in that makes this world better.

The ways to serve God are limitless. United Methodist Women is a laywomen’s organization, but that doesn’t stop it from being a body full of ministers.

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