CHURCH WOMEN UNITED IN AUSTIN
ANNUAL REPORT 2017
Submitted by: Johnnie M. Overton, President
Church Women United in Austin began its year with focus on the Quadrennial Priorities established by our National CWU – “Learning and Leading…Using the Principles of God’s Word.” In doing so, we accepted the challenge to involve ourselves in programs and activities that allowed us to use God’s word as our guide to address issues related to human rights, hunger and poverty, health and wellness, diversity and inclusiveness.
Our meetings are held on the first Friday morning of the months February-May and September-November. Our Wellspring Bible Saturday is held on the firs Friday in June. Meetings are hosted by a variety of churches, enabling us to experience diversity and inclusiveness. The Executive Board meets on the third Friday of each month, with the exception of June-Jul. An annual retreat is generally held in August to allow time for reflections and planning ahead.
Our electronic monthly newsletter is our main source of communication; U.S. Mail is used for those who may not have access to electronic media or those who simply prefer to have a hard copy. We use our Geographic Co-chairs and member volunteers for telephone contact. We have established courtesy guidelines and a designated member to handle courtesies. Class II officers were elected in October.
The year 2017 was a good year in the life of CWU in Austin. We reflect and highlight the following activities and celebrations as we embraced the theme: “Kindling New Fires of Love, Hope and Peace.”
Annual Meeting – February 3, 2017: Outgoing President, Vernell Moncure presented the Annual Report for 2016 and commended for a job well done. The 2017 budget was approved. Each member present was given a “Red Dress” pin in recognition of National Wear Red Day for women to fight heart disease. Our Health and Wellness Leader shared health tips. “Kindling New Fires – Telling Our Story” was the theme used in recognition of Black History Month. The guest presenter was the Site Coordinator of the George Washington Carver Museum, Genealogy, and Cultural Center. She shared the history of the museum and its significance to our communities and the City of Austin.
Prayer for the Nation: At the request of our CWU National Office, the Austin Unit participated in the 100 Days of Prayer for the Nation Campaign, January 20 2017 – April 30, 2017.
World Day of Prayer Worship Service was held in St. James Episcopal Church. Theme: “Am I being Unfair to You?” The service was conducted by our Ecumenical Celebrations Committee.
Ecumenical Development/Outreach: Presented an Ecumenical Forum: “Kindling New Fires in New Places.” Guest, Penny Smith-Kerker shared experiences of St. John’s United Methodist Church in partnering with Refugee Services of Texas to help refugee families make new homes in Austin. Refugee Services of Texas was the recipient of our charitable project for April. Unity Church of Austin was the host church.
May Friendship Day Celebration: Theme: “Kindling New Fires of Love, Peace & Hope”, with special emphasis on “Love” and how we might extend loving hands and hearts to address the needs of children in our community and world. University Presbyterian Church served as host. Charitable project for the month was Micah 6 – Austin Food Pantry. Fellowship of the Least Coin was dedicated. The highlight of the day was presentation of our Valiant Woman Award to our immediate past president, Vernell Moncure.
Wellspring Bible Study: Held June 2, 2017 at Simpson United Methodist Church. Our leader was Danita Nelson, whom we are proud to claim as one of our own. Theme: “Thirsty? Kindling the Fires of Hope,” Scripture Reference: John 4:3-43.
Annual CWU Board Retreat: The retreat was held August 18, 2017. It provided time for reflection and planning ahead. We treated ourselves to a potluck lunch and enjoyed moments of fellowship and bonding.
Ecumenical Action brought us back to focus in September 2017, when members of our Ecumenical Action team continued “Kindling New Fires of Love, Peace, and Hope: by selecting the Rainbow Room to be the recipient of our charitable project fights for the month. Kori Gough, Executive director of Partnerships for Children, which supports the work and workers of Child Protective Services, was guest presenter. St. Mark United Methodist Church hosted this meeting. Also , the Young Church Women Award: Awards were presented to three charming young ladies – Hannah Joanne Smith, Mirand Zepeda, and Shenea Edison.
Church Women United in Texas: September 8-10, 2017; three members of the Austin Unit attended the State Assembly meeting held in Fort Worth, Texas. It was a rewarding experience led by CWU State President Myrtis Parker and National CWU President Patti Polk.
Human Rights Celebration: In October 2017, “Kindling New Fires of Hope” was the theme. Program guests were Rebecca Thomas and Letty Villamin, who were from the Philippines. The Human Rights Award was presented to Erin J. Walter, a Unitarian Universalist minister, who focuses on interfaith human rights work. Erin’s charity of choice was JOLT. This celebration was hosted by Crestview United Methodist Church.
World Community Day Celebration: November 3, 2018, this celebration was hosted by Hyde Park Christian Church. Guest speaker, Mr. Walt Shelton, reflected no the work, “Amos and Social Justice: Yesterday & Today.” Charitable project – Church World Service –Blanket & Tools Offering.
Jail Ministry: This team is open to all and provides abbreviated versions of our four worship celebrations for the women at the Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle.
CWU Sewing Group: This group’s dedication to providing quilts to the needs is beneficial and appreciated.
In Summary, 2017 has been a successful year for CWU in Austin. According to our financial officers, we have seen a slight increase in membership and fair shares. We remain open to new and creative ideas to promote the mission of Church Women United and look forward to 2018.
File: Annual Report CWU Revised