In many parts of society, girls don’t matter much.
During her annual report to the Woman’s Missionary Union of
North Carolina (WMU-NC) annual
meeting, Ruby Fulbright shared the story of a missionary driving through a
heavily populated area overseas. A crowd surged near a bus stop pushing a
four-year-old girl in front of his car. A policeman said it was an accident but
urged the missionary to pay for the child’s funeral.
The missionary, who was
also a father, wanted to do more.
The four-year-old’s father said, “Don’t worry about it. It
was only a girl.”
Fulbright pointed out that it was only girls who began WMU
125 years ago. Fannie E.S. Heck, 24, and Sallie Bailey, a teenager and daughter
of the Biblical Recorder editor, began meeting with other women in borrowed
Methodist churches because their Baptist brothers “did not favor women in
missions endeavors or church business,” Fulbright said.
Fulbright shared this story April 9 during her WMU-NC
executive director’s report with more than 1,000 girls. The 1,036 registered
women gathered at Ridgecrest Conference Center April 8-10 for its 120th annual
During the weekend of sessions the women focused on Heb.
12:1-2 and being Unhindered.
When Fulbright was just a girl, she recollects her time as a
Sunbeam, learning that God loved her. She was still a girl when she learned
that she could pray and bring money.
Fulbright recognized two girls and their leader. Cassie
Taylor and Kianni Curry are serving as National Acteen panelists. Their leader,
Deborah Taylor, guides the Acteens at University Hills Baptist Church in
North Carolina has had eight national panelists since 2000; five of
those have been from University Hills.
During 2010 WMU added 133 new organizations in 55 different
Fulbright mentioned the recent news of the Royal Ambassador
program returning to the national WMU.
She said she and Richard Brunson,
executive director of North Carolina Baptist Men, “are excited” about providing
missions education to these boys.
The women approved the budget during a business session. It
takes $100,000 each month to keep the WMU-NC office and ministries running.
In January, the leadership met with Chris Gambill of the Center
for Congregational Health to discuss strategic planning for WMU-NC’s future.
Five things need to be addressed:
- Financial development
- Camp Mundo Vista
- Volunteer base
- Strategic planning
During the weekend sessions women were open to discuss these
items with Gambill and help WMU-NC focus on dreams and hopes for the future of
She also encouraged the ladies to help WMU find a volunteer
grant writer as well as some donors with deep pockets to help ensure a brighter
“We’ve used all our time and energy and resources just
surviving,” said Fulbright. “May we have the same courage and wisdom and
strength to see further and to walk boldly into the future. I think that’s what
girls would do.”
In its offering WMU-NC collected $24,127. The funds were
designated: $15,235 for Crown Club; $170 for Heck-Jones Offering; $50 for
prison ministry; $75 for Camp Mundo Vista; $345 for operating expenses; and
$8,252 for the Missions Extravaganza (ME) offering.
Each year a ministry or two is highlighted and an offering
is taken. This year’s ME is divided among Project HELP: Human Exploitation in
North Carolina and Project Dorcas, the first Christian Women’s Job Corps site
in South Africa. The Crown Club was introduced at the meeting. In 1913 Heck
penned a book In Royal Service that followed the mission work of Southern
Baptist women. Those donating $125 will be recognized as prince or princess
giving to royal service of missions. A king/queen gift is $1,250, and the royal
plan is $5,000 (divided as $1,250 a year for four years).
One of the rooms was set aside for Project HELP: Human
Exploitation Interactive Experience. Participants could learn about many areas
of human exploitation in the world as well as in North Carolina and ways to
respond. Women put together 300 backpacks and boxes of stuffed animals,
blankets and books for ministries across the state.
Past, present, future
Three speakers highlighted being unhindered in the past,
present and future. Nancy Curtis, former executive director-treasurer talked
about the past.
Curtis, who lives in New Mexico, discussed the failed first
effort to organize.
“Fannie and Sallie only did it because they were so young
they didn’t know better,” Curtis said. “They were not perfect … but they did
not back away from work.”
Curtis talked of the nameless ones who gave of themselves to
ensure missions was supported.
“It was seldom easy,” she said. “We must tell our story for
no one will do it for us.”
In highlighting the present, Christine Harper, a Sisters Who
Care facilitator within the WMU-NC leadership network, urged the women to run
with passion, purpose and perspective.
“I believe greatness was imagined for this organization,”
Women should consider those who ran before them and what
they personally must lay aside — “not necessarily a sin but a weight that keeps
us … from sharing the love of Christ,” she said.
Over these last 125 years, God has been refining the women
of WMU-NC, said Gina Smith, WMU leadership network specialist for children.
“We just have to be available,” Smith said. “Our future
depends on us being willing to be moldable and fillable.
“We don’t know what the future holds. God carries that for
us. All we have to know is who holds the future.”
The Nominating Committee report was approved with the
following for 2011-2012:
- Officers — Tana Hartsell, president; Robin Penninger, vice
president; Beth McDonald, recording secretary; Dee Dee Moody, assistant
- Members-at-large — Claire T. Presley, region 1; Brenda Rose,
region 2; Jeanette Walters, region 2; Christine Matchett, region 3; Dorothy
Barham, region 4; Laura Davis, region 4; Linda C. Beaver, region 5; Linda B.
Plummer, region 5; Delores Thomas, region 6; Beth B. Beam, region 8; Sandi
Heavener, region 8; Kristen Trull, region 9.
Sandra James, past president, led a time of dedication for
the new officers and members.
In her parting address, outgoing president Delores Thomas,
said she had enjoyed serving the WMU-NC and the prayers of the women involved.
She pledged to continue to serve and was approved as an at-large member.
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