May Friendship Day: Kindling News Fires of Love
Traditionally held the first Friday in May
May Friendship Day focuses on “Kindling New Fires of Love” and how we might extend loving hands and hearts to address the needs of children in our community and the world. Listen for places in the worship service where children’s needs are expressed, and be thinking how you might help meet those needs.
May Friendship Day dates back to May, 1933, when two independent groups planned luncheons to focus on “Child Health” and “Children of Migrant Families.” The first event was sponsored by the Women’s Council for Home Missions in New York City, and the second one, called “Dedication Day,” was sponsored by the National Council of Federated Church Women. in order to bring the group’s dream of unity into full expression in each local community. Under a variety of names, this event continued and expanded until 1939, when they merged under the National Council of Church Women, which called for an annual observance “to strengthen a growing sense of unity, the joy of Christian fellowship, and the power of Christianity in the day of need.” In May 1945, a few years after the founding of Church Women United, the celebration was formalized as May Fellowship Day. In 1999, the movement of Church Women United changed the name of the celebration to May Friendship Day, as we continue to celebrate unity in our journey toward wholeness in all communities.
Materials written by: ~ Kathy Kuenzer and Jan Sandos
Human Rights Celebration: Kindling News Fires of Hope
A floating holiday, to be celebrated any time during the year
Human Rights Day focuses on “Kindling New Fires of Hope”, by spreading a message of hope through our history with the United Nations. In this way the CWU story gets out to more people, and it may bring interested persons into the movement. The Church Women United Human Rights Celebration was started in 2006 in the hopes of bringing to light those who have and are working towards equality for all. Awards have honored amazing women and men whose work has made an impact on their community or on the world at large.
We take this time to remember that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms… without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status” (Excerpt taken from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written by the UN in 1948).
These words should be in the forefront of our minds as we support, work towards, and fight for the rights of all humans. This is the same message that Jesus gave while on earth. When he said, “Love one another as I have loved you,” he did not mean for us to love just some people, he truly meant for us to love everyone. This has been the message of CWU since our beginnings in 1943 and will continue to be one of the pillars that supports and drives our movement.
Materials written by: Bettie Durrah and Karen Mitchell
World Community Day: Kindling News Fires for Peace
Traditionally held the first Friday in November
World Community Day focuses on “Kindling New Fires for Peace’ with the invitation to prayerfully approach this celebration with open hearts, willing to leave our comfort zones and become more inclusive communities, living peacefully together
World Community Day began in 1943 from discussions at a meeting of denominational presidents and executive secretaries asking that a day be set aside in the fall for the study of peace by church women. Although many denominations were printing their own studies on the new world order, it was determined at this meeting that their unity would be strengthened on one day of united study.
WCD continues to emphasize peace but has been broadened to include justice, a vital partner of peace. The once clear categories of “domestic” and “foreign” were consciously blurred so the global scope of the wide range of problems could be emphasized on World Community Day.
The 2016 CWU celebrations theme is “Gathered at God’s Table.” WCD will focus on sharing gifts at the table. Although we come with different cultures, family traditions, religious practices, and are of different ages, those differences provide gifts that we can share with one another. Let us honor and rejoice in those differences, and may they unite us in new ways.
Materials written by: Shirley Atencio and Brenda M. Tillman
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Kindling New Fires
The initial discussion was about how to proceed into the future with enthusiasm. What can we do to light a fire in our movement and create positive growth? Church Women United (National) brainstormed for an entire morning, throwing out words and phrases that would give life to and represent our vision and goals. “Kindling New Fires” is the result of our sharing time and it was the task of our committee to find ways to put flesh on that phrase in our three celebrations. This year’s celebrations center on the theme “Kindling New Fires,” taken from Luke 12:49: “I came to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already kindled.”
Agreed to Differ, Resolved to Love and United to Serve