Published 8:54 am Saturday, November 8, 2008
Church Women Unitedplacing an emphasison message of freedom
By BRANDIA DEATHERAGE
Church Women United wants the world’s people to know that God’s wisdom will set them free.
Freedom has been the group’s theme this year: In March for the World Day of Prayer, in May for May Friendship Day and now, in November, for World Community Day.
Church Women United, founded in 1941, is theologically inclusive, with people from different religious traditions working to achieve a common goal. This year’s goal, freedom, calls for people to reach out to others who have found themselves imprisoned, figuratively and literally.
On Friday, approximately 35 people from various churches throughout Beaufort County came together in the sanctuary at First United Methodist Church in Washington for a prayer service. The service was led by the local chapter of Church Women United in honor of World Community Day.
The group’s local-unit president, Muriel Brothers, a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, started the service by explaining that the illustration of a butterfly shaped key on the program’s cover represented that the key to freedom is God’s wisdom. That wisdom will “change us from creepy caterpillars to beautiful butterflies,” she said.
The prayer service followed a program prepared by the National Ecumenical Celebrations Committee and distributed to the local branches of Church Women United to be adapted for use at the local level. The local branch chose to focus less on prison ministry and more on people bound by human limitations.
Church Women United members took turns presenting the message “God’s wisdom sets us free,” leading the congregation through song, prayer and readings that reflect teachings of Christianity, Native American spirituality, the Baha’i faith, Confucianism, Islam and Judaism, each of which espouse its unique version of the Golden Rule.
The Golden Rule is presented by the Christian faith in Matthew 7:12, which reads, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Group member Florence Lodge, a member of Mount Hebron Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ), said the Golden Rule is God’s greatest piece of wisdom, and that it would set people free.
Brothers spoke of the value of employing the Golden Rule in everyday life.
New to the group is Pat Carlson, best friend of longtime member Toni Reiner, a member of Washington’s First Presbyterian Church.
When asked how she and her friend found time to do so much, she said, “We shop by day, and work by night. That’s our quote.”
Two men attended the service.
Harlan works with the Zion Shelter for Men and the Interchurch Forum to find temporary housing for homeless women in the community.