You are invited to Shine with UMW in 2021

A quick recap to celebrate where we’ve been :

·       Our Bible studies, circles and small groups have continued to meet during the pandemic – mostly through Zoom.

·       We’ve celebrated together, sustained each other, and also grieved together on the loss of family, friends, and several long-time UMW members. We planted a tree in honor of one of St. Stephen’s founding members, Lola Richards.

·       We’ve continued our Christmas ornament exchange (this year in the church parking lot) and hosted  Valentine’s and Easter events online.

·       Our prayer shawl ministry has been busy. We’ve also sent out birthday cards and cards to nursing home residents. We’ve put up signs thanking our essential workers; and provided lunch for the Fairfax public health department and dinner to the nearby police station. We’ve given donations to many organizations including to help the campers of the All God’s Children program. We’ve donated toiletries and clothing to help men and women getting out of jail. Letters and cards have been sent to people in the Fairfax Adult Detention Center. And much more!

·       We’ve upheld our prayer partners and valued our prayer time alone and together.

UMW Shines is our theme for 2021! Shining in SO many ways as we continue to connect and share God’s love with each other and our community in 2021!

An invitation to what’s ahead:

  • UMW small groups and circles (for details on meeting times and events check the weekly church email or the church website or add a note to the worship Comment Card):
    • Bible studies: Monday evenings and Wednesday mornings
    • Service 4 Others
    • Creative Hearts/Creative Hands
    • Teen Circle
    • New Dimension Circle
    • Betty Whitehurst Circle
    • Faithful Friends Circle
    • Frances Allen Circle
  • We invite all women of the church to join!

About UMW at  St. Stephen’s Church

Our Purpose:  The organized unit of United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in global ministries of the church. Membership is open to any woman who indicates her desire to belong and to participate in the Global Mission of the Church through the United Methodist Women.

UMW welcomes all women in the church and our activities include six circles (including a teen circle and an e-mail circle called the New Dimension Circle), a Bible Study, a book club, the Creative Hearts, Creative Hands sewing group (which includes the Prayer Shawl Ministry), an annual Women’s Weekend retreat, and the Maranatha Singers.  For more information on any of our activities please pick up a blue UMW Activity Sheet in the Gathering Place or on the UMW Bulletin Board or visit the St. Stephen’s Connect Page and fill out our online contact form.

A variety of ways to get involved with UMW

Below is list of other events and group meetings offered by the UMW this summer. We hope you will attend one or more of these events.

Betty Whitehurst Circle will meet via Zoom on Monday, June 14, at 7:00 pm.  If you would like to join us, visit  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.

Faithful Friends Circle will not be meeting this summer and will start again in September.   For more information, visit  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.  

Frances Allen Circle will not be meeting this summer and will start again in September.  Please contact Nancy Collier via the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page.   for more information on this group.

The Teen Circle will meet on Sunday, June 6th  from 10-11 am.  The program will be Quotations. For more information please visit  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.

Earlier this year, the Service For Others Circle contributed 20 Hygiene Kits to OAR (Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources) for men newly released from Fairfax Adult Detention Center. These kits will help them get a fresh start with their futures and remind them of God’s love.

Service4Others (S40) does not have any particular plans in the next couple of months. please contact Linda Stephens for more info  via  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page.

 New Dimension Circle: Please help spread the word! This group is for all women of our church – in any season of life – who might not be able to participate in UMW in person or on a regular basis, but who would like to feel connected to current UMW activities at St. Stephen’s, in our District, and beyond. We invite you to help us grow – you can join and encourage others to join the New Dimension Circle email list for a monthly update and occasional  emails about specific events, opportunities, or prayer concerns, just visit  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.

Creative Hearts, Creative Hands: The Prayer Shawl/Comfort Quilt sub-group is busy sharing our handiwork with those who have experienced a serious illness or death in the immediate family.  We would LOVE to have additional people assist us in making knit or crochet shawls or lap-gans (lap-sized Afghans) and lap-sized sewn Comfort Quilts for both men and women.  Please contact Judy Ryan or Nancy Dubiell by visiting  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.

Wednesday Women’s Bible Study (same as Monday Women’s Bible Study): will not be meeting this summer and will start again in September. For more info on this group,  contact coordinator Patti Keppler   by visiting  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.

 UMW Reading Program:  The book Woman of Troublesome Creek, is by Kim Michele Richardson.  Cussy Mary Carter was a traveling librarian.  She was part of a program started by President Roosevelt, called Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project.  Cussy brought books to the residents of a rural area, by riding a mule through treacherous wooded areas.  Her skin was a shade of blue, due to a blood disorder (an enzyme missing from the blood).  As a result of this, she experienced discrimination, and she wondered if she would ever find love.  This book is inspired  by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky.  This is not on the recommended reading list.  However, several United Methodist Women have been reading and discussing this book.

 UMW Board Meeting: UMW Board will next meet by Zoom on Monday, September 27th at 9:30 am. For more information on the meeting, please contact  Patti Keppler or Debbie Eshelman by visiting  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.

Jeanette Parham

Taking a “timeless” tradition to a new level 

After we all received our Advent ornament and our Prayer Partner name for 2021, I spoke with Jeanette who takes this “timeless” tradition to a special level.   Here are some ideas we get from her.  She says, “Every month I send a card to my prayer partner for that year.  I send birthdays, yes, but also I include a card every month for a holiday.”

She includes the friend’s anniversary, or even a card which may say, “in honor of your Dad” on Father’s Day.  In December, she ends the year with a Christmas card that includes her note: “The cards will stop, but the prayers will not.”  What this means is quite astounding!  She CONTINUES to pray for every single prayer partner over the years.

And here’s another tip that you may want to adopt:  When Jeanette prays, she prays the pneumonic SEMPLE which includes prayers for all parts of the person’s life:    Spiritual, Emotional, Mental, Physical, Life Eternal.    So, if you have been on her list for years, you are certainly blessed by a Prayer Warrior!

We can keep Jeanette in our own prayers this week, and of course, keep praying for our “prayer partner.” Feel the love from the fact that they are doing the same for you.  (If you don’t have a name yet, please let Patti know.)

UMW Officers – 2021

 President – Patti Keppler                                                                   Senior Vice-President – Debbie Eshelman

Secretary – Wendi Prothero                                                              Treasurer – Judy Ryan


Decorating –Rachel Martinez                                                             Nominating – Patti Keppler, Debbie Eshelman

Publicity – Nancy Hoyler, Cathy Liverman

Mission Coordinators

Social Action – Marion Gunnell                                                          UMW Reading Program – Suzanne Winnard

Spiritual Growth – Joyce White

Circle Leaders

Betty Whitehurst –Rue Nunnally                                                       Faithful Friends Circle – Valerie Bates

Frances Allen Circle –Priscilla Parrott, Nancy Collier                      New Dimension Circle (e-mail circle) –Laurie Perry

Teen Circle – Betty Baumgartner , Kathryn Jedlicka                         Service4Others – Kathy Hennemuth, Cindy Sbrocco

Other Activities

Bible Studies – Patti Keppler                                                              Creative Hearts, Creative Hands – Nancy Dubiell

Card Ministry – Carol Luczak

 At-Large Board Members

Darlene Allison, Kay Burrier, Kathy Hennemuth, Margaret Heinbaugh, Kathy Hoffman, Connie Moody, Judy Nemecek, Lois Seard

Past UMW Events

UMW held an Advent Ornament Exchange on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 2-4 pm.  All UMW members and potential members were invited to come to the church parking lot and get an angel ornament from the Christmas tree and a small goodie bag.  The ornament had a person’s name on it to pray for in the coming season and year to come.  For certain members who are unable to attend, arrangements were made to pick up ornaments.  The tradition of an ornament exchange exists from past Advent Coffees; this modification of the tradition enabled our group to keep this fun practice going!

A second part of the plan for Christmas celebrations was a Christmas Tea and Tree social event via Zoom on Saturday December 19 starting at 1pm.  UMW members and other women in the church joined this celebration from the comforts of their home.  This celebration included past members who have moved far and wide!