"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What took me so long?

I have been a member of my church for almost 27 years. I have been a part of many circles, fundraisers and committees. I have taught Sunday school, was even Sunday School Superintendent for a few years. I baked for bake sales, made quilts for craft sales, served at dinners, made tickets and posters, designed and managed the church website, and was Church Treasurer for over seven years.

In all that time I never joined The Reading Group, which is one of the groups sponsored by our woman's group, the United Methodist Women (UMW) even though I love to read. I always thought this was a bible study group that met during the day, while I was working and just didn't fit into my schedule. It wasn't until a couple of years ago when I was the Communications Coordinator for the UMW in our conference that I found out what the Reading Group really was all about. I was editing an article submitted for the newsletter (which was the main job of the Communication Coordinator) about The Reading Group and was I surprised.

The purpose of the Reading Program is to encourage United Methodist Women members:
 --to expand understanding of 
and participation in God’s mission;

 --to increase sensitivity to all human beings
— their needs, interest and concerns;

 --to encourage critical thinking about 
issues facing humanity today;

 --to grow in understanding of  Scripture
as it relates to Christian faith in contemporary life;

 --to enhance self-knowledge and to act
from that knowledge;

 --to strengthen involvement in local and
global Christian mission.

United Methodist Women recommends a diverse range of books with the intention of broadening exposure to a variety of concepts. United Methodist Women does not intend that readers accept each word or idea contained within each volume. Some books you may agree with. Some you may not. Either is all right. United Methodist Women cares and wants you to be a knowledgeable and caring Christian about current issues.

For 140 years, members of United Methodist Women and predecessor organizations have been involved in mission that includes prayer, study and action. The Reading Program is a study opportunity, but it should
also lead to action.

The Reading Program has four different plans depending on the number of books you want to read. So when I was called last month by a woman from our church who I truly love, respect and admire and was asked to join The Reading Group how could I refuse. I read over 100 books a year and she was just asking me to read 4 (1 from each category set up by the program).

  • Education For Mission
  • Nurturing For Community
  • Social Action
  • Spiritual Growth
Today I finished by first book.  The Shack by Wm. Paul Young which falls under the category of Spiritual Growth. (review in post below) I will keep track of my UMW Reading Group books along with my other challenges in the right hand column.  I will also review them here on my blog so hopefully you will be enriched my their content too, but they will be true reviews.  Just because they are Christian reading material chosen by a group for reading does not  mean they are automatically good reads.  If they are not "my cup of tea" I will tell you honestly.

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