Moving its annual meeting away from Ridgecrest Conference Center caused the biggest stir at the Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina’s recent meeting.
“After 22 years of meeting at Ridgecrest, many have grown to expect it always to be here,” said Tana Hartsell, WMU-NC president. Many have come to expect the “mountaintop experience.”
Stressing that WMU-NC remains thankful for Ridgecrest, its staff and facilities over its 22 years of meeting at the conference center nestled in the mountains, Hartsell said the organization was looking at the changing needs and desires of its membership.
“The necessity to make a change of some sort was clear,” she said, and many of the details still need “to be worked through, but already there are new and exciting ideas that are beginning to surface.”
BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Debby Akerman, Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) president, shares with participants of WMU-NC’s Missions Extravaganza April 4-6 at Ridgecrest Conference Center. See photo gallery.
Next year the group will meet April 17-18 at Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Participants for WMU-NC’s 123rd annual meeting and Missions Extravaganza numbered 734 women gathered April 4-6 at Ridgecrest Conference Center at Black Mountain. Throughout the conference women had the opportunity to attend seven breakout sessions from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning with several major sessions featuring Debby Akerman, national WMU president. Mother-daughter team Melody and Sarah Moore led the weekend’s music.
“In spite of the headline news which would lead us to believe otherwise, God is at work in our world today just as He is at work within our own hearts and lives,” Hartsell said. “The foundation of [WMU] is the basic core value that we believe that Jesus Christ, Son of God, gave His life, a sacrifice for the salvation of all people of the world fulfilling God’s plan for the ages as revealed in the Bible, God’s Holy Word. This is what compels, this is what propels Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina to challenge, prepare and equip Christian believers to be radically involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.”
Hartsell said WMU-NC is not doing a good job of communicating its own story.
“It isn’t about what we in WMU will do but it’s about what God can and will do through us as we follow where He leads,” she said.
Churches started more than 50 age-level WMU groups in 2013, including Mission Friends, Girls in Action, Acteens and Women on Mission. “You may think those numbers small but it’s what those numbers represent that we must remember,” Hartsell said. “Those are organizations where [people] will be challenged with the knowledge of those around the world living in darkness.”
Hartsell mentioned its support from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) of North Carolina as well. WMU-NC is a “collaborating partner” with CBF, Hartsell said, but also mentioned CBF’s involvement in other Baptist entities in the state including Baptists on Mission (or North Carolina Baptist Men), Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, Baptist Retirement Homes, N.C. Baptist Hospital and the Baptist-affiliated universities.
An offering April 5 raised more than $8,200 for WMU-NC. Women learned about ministries such as the new partnership with Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina and Baptists on Mission (or North Carolina Baptist Men) to aid in an orphanage in Guatemala.
Building on the theme “We’ve a story to tell,” Akerman talked about story telling being “one of the few human traits that is truly universal, found in every culture since time began,” Akerman said.
She praised the WMU for being the best discipleship setting for all ages.
“WMU challenges Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God,” said Akerman. “Jesus came to proclaim a message with eternal value and purpose. God has purposed WMU to equip our churches to be on mission, to educate our preschoolers, children, students and adults to live missions lifestyles and to be intentional supporters for our thousands of Baptist missionaries.”
Akerman invited WMU-NC to come to Baltimore, Md., where WMU is holding its 125th annual meeting in June.
Beth Beam, chairwoman of the finance committee, shared the 2013 budget was $1,349,432 based on estimated monthly expenses of $112,453. Contributions totaled $967,343 from the WMU operating fund, Heck-Jones Offering, Crown Club contributions and CBF. Beam noted that the number is down more than $6,100 from the same category in 2012 and more than $22,000 from 2011.
Even with fewer dollars coming in WMU-NC had a net gain of $57,740. Beam said the only reason expenses were less than the income was because of the open position for executive director-treasurer and a preschool/children position.
WMU-NC’s goal of $385,000 for the 2013 Heck-Jones Offering fell short with $314,934. The 2014 goal is $400,000. So far the group has just over $106,000 toward that goal.
A detailed 2014 budget was approved. The budget was set at $991,387. It is available at http://tinyurl.com/2014wmuncbudget.
“This budget represents lives,” Beam said. “We have a dedicated and dependable full- and part-time staff that operates WMU North Carolina. They are fully committed to challenging, preparing and equipping Christian believers to be radically involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.”
Hartsell, a member of Kannapolis First Baptist Church, was re-elected as president while Denise “Dee Dee” Moody, a member of First Baptist Church in Salisbury, was approved as vice president. Beth McDonald, a member of McDonald Baptist Church in Rockingham, was re-elected as recording secretary, and Barbara Hill, a member of Fairview Baptist Church in Statesville, was elected as assistant recording secretary.
Members of the board elected were (by region): Region 1 – Nancy Scaff, Woodville Baptist Church in Hertford; Region 3 – Deborah Taylor, Great Marsh Baptist Church in St. Pauls; Region 5 – Linda Beaver, First Baptist Church in Salisbury; Region 5 – Kristie Foster, High Rock Church; Region 5 – Joyce T. Rogers, First Baptist Church in Asheboro; Region 6 – Linda Linderman, Deep Springs Baptist Church in Peachland; Region 7 – Jennifer Coffey, Indian Hills Baptist Church in Lenoir; Region 8 – Cynthia C. Marks, Alexis Baptist Church in Alexis; and Region 10 – Nelda Reid, East Sylva Baptist Church in Sylva.