In the midst of a
weekend of laughter and learning, a meeting took place describing the best and
worst of times.
Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Ruby Fulbright, executive director of Woman’s
Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC), shared of the tumultuous year it
has been for the organization during her annual report April 17 at “Called”
Missions Extravaganza (ME) April 16-18 at Ridgecrest Conference Center.
“We had the challenge
of learning new and different ways to do our work,” Fulbright told 921 in
attendance. “We were able to pay our bills for 2009.”
Sharon Allred Decker,
former vice president for Duke Power and founder of The Tapestry Group, was the
featured speaker. Kyle Matthews, who ministers at a church in South Carolina
and is a songwriter/singer, led worship.
The proposed 2010
budget — $1,192,482 — was 10.4 percent less than 2009. The WMU-NC had to reach
into its reserves several times to fund the 2009 budget.
She said the year was
full of great contradictions and extremes.
In 2009, WMU-NC began
149 new organizations at 60 different churches. But they also had a decline in
magazine subscriptions, which fund national WMU.
“We found and developed
new relationships but there were still strained relationships with others,” she
Fulbright said she uses
an exercise with the staff to reflect on what’s good and what’s bad. She’s
learned that “we have a pretty amazing ability to adapt.”
Fulbright said it is
the duty of WMU to help individuals, churches and associations in “building
relationships that tear down barriers. We are invited, challenged, commanded …
to follow Christ.”
A special offering
raised $12,476 that WMU-NC will use mostly for a conference/retreat center in
Lebanon and WMU-NC mission trips.
“2009 was the best of
times, the worst of times, but the Father was with us in both,” Fulbright said.
“In 2010 the commitment of the Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina is to
be obedient and faithful. The Father will take care of the rest.”
last year drew reserves down to about $600,000.
She thanked her
faithful staff who have accepted downward adjustments in compensation and
benefits, but none have left and none were laid off.
WMU-NC approves annual
meeting dates three years in advance. The 2013 dates of April 19-21 were
Ladies accomplished two
projects during the weekend, assembling 55 birthing kits for Zimbabwe, along
with eight to 10 boxes of children’s vitamins, baby toys and scarves. They also
assembled 850 food kits and 350 hygiene kits for the homeless for ministries in
North Carolina and Georgia.
Officers elected for
2010-2011 were Delores Thomas, president; Tana Hartsell, vice president; Chris
Harker, vice president of development; Tammi Ward, recording secretary; and
Beth McDonald, assistant recording secretary.
2010-2011: Jennifer Carter, Region 3, Bladen Association; Lucille Yancey,
Region 3, Eastern Association; Kim Bounds, Region 4, Raleigh Association;
Whitney Edwards, Region 4, Raleigh Association; Pamela Whitted, Region 6,
Metrolina Association; Ruth Anne Johnson, Region 7; Linda Sutton, Region 7,
Three Forks Association; and Ann B. Stamey, Region 9, Transylvania Association.
Decker, who lives in
Rutherfordton, spent time in the sessions and at the dining hall encouraging
As a leader of Duke
Power, Decker said she sensed in her soul that “somehow things weren’t right.”
All of the
responsibility she had taken on herself was taking its toll. While the outside
looked perfect, she felt spiritually dead.
“Inside I was empty,”
she said, sharing that all the voices were competing. “Voices telling you
you’re too tall, too thin, not right. Whatever it is it’s not enough. You and I
have fallen into the trap of listening to the voice. All of us hear it; you’re
not good enough.”
Decker is now a
full-time student at Gardner-Webb Divinity School. She also hosts a radio show
— “The Satisfied Life” — in Charlotte on Sunday mornings.
“God has uniquely
equipped you to be His person, now,” she said. “It’s about trusting God to make
of us what He wants us to be. You are uniquely and wonderfully made. If you
desire to understand God you have to be in relationship with Him.”
Part of that
relationship requires you to be still and surrender your heart.
Jean Roberson of
national WMU spoke of the importance of praying for missionaries and giving.
She highlighted the values of WMU: diversity, community, social change, and
“It’s not just about me
growing as a mature Christian,” Roberson said. It’s about “bringing about the
kingdom of God around me. We can’t just sit in a church cocoon.”
Over the last couple of
years WMU has focused on poverty. The next emphasis will be on human
“By and large as a
group we are a people who are willing to try new things (to better the
kingdom),” she said. “People are choosing to participate in things because they
know someone involved. We want to be part of something.”
WMU has been making
changes to meet the needs of the women it reaches and wants to reach. Missions
Mosaic magazine has made some design and content changes including adding a
Shades of Red book club with a mission project related topic.
appeal to a wider spectrum of women._ÑŒ The 2011 meeting is set April 8-10
celebrating WMU-NC’s 125th anniversary.