United Methodist Women 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 is open to 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.

April  2021 :  A variety of ways to get involved with UMW

Betty Whitehurst Circle will meet via Zoom on Monday, April12that 7:00 pm.  If you would like to join us, visit  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form. The Circle made arrangements for a Dogwood Tree to be planted on March 29th in front of the church in memory of Lola Richards, Charter member of St. Stephens UMC and long-time member of the Betty Whitehurst Circle.

Faithful Friends Circle will meet by Zoom on Tuesday, April 13that 7:30 pm.  For more information, visit  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.

Frances Allen Circle will meet Thursday, April 8th from 9:30 – 10:30 am via Zoom. The program is “socializing” (sharing how we are getting along).We welcome all guests and prospective members visit  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.

The Teen Circle will meet on Sunday, April 11 from 10-11 am.  The program will be Just Because. 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) purchased items for Easter Care Baskets for the residents of Gartlan House.  The items were collected in March so the residents would have the baskets by  Easter.  Linda Stephens’ house was the drop-off location.  For more information visit  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.

 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):  Let’s emerge like butterflies in Spring and be ready to “interact” like we’ve never before!  Surprisingly, the Bible has a lot to teach us about relationships and how boundaries are so important to help with our problems and our successes.  Using Drs. Cloud’s and Townsend’s Boundaries, (as a sort of Biblical relationship resource) we will explore topics like “myths” of boundaries and developing “healthy boundaries.”   Starting the first week in April, various facilitators allow for everyone in the group to learn from shared experiences.  Come join this supportive and fun group by Zoom on Wednesdays 9:30-11am or Monday evenings 7-8:15pm.  Contact coordinator Patti Keppler  by visiting  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.

Friday Zoomversation – all church women can join this friendly Zoom-versation!   Come see who is on!  Fight isolation with others, and bring a friend, too.  Contact Patti Keppler for the Zoom link by visiting  the St. Stephen’s  Connect  Page and fill out our online contact form.

 UMW Reading Program: Girl Gone Missing: A Cash Blackbear Mystery, by Marcie R. Rendon.  Cash Blackbear is a 19-year-old college student, living in a rural area, who hears about a blonde girl in her Science class who is missing.  Cash begins to dream about blonde girls who are calling out for help and located in Minneapolis.  She discovers that the 19-year old is missing as a result of human sex trafficking.  This is an interesting mystery with a satisfactory ending.  This book is on the Recommended Reading List.

 UMW Board Meeting: UMW Board will meet by Zoom on Monday, May 24that 9:30 am. 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!