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United Methodist Women Gather at Orlando assembly

Feb. 27, 1998    CONTACT: Linda Bloom, New York (212) 870-3803 (10-21-71B){119}

Produced by United Methodist News Service, official news agency of the United Methodist Church, with offices in Nashville, Tenn., New York, and Washington.

Issues ranging from immigration to health care to concern for children and youth will be examined at the United Methodist Women's Assembly May 14-17 in Orlando, Fla.

With representatives from across the globe, the event will focus on the 1.1-million-member organization's commitment to women, children and youth.

"We are called to 'make plain the vision' – a vision of hope, grounded in Scripture, inherited from our foremothers, molded by our experiences, enriched by our diversity, inspired by our dreams," the 1998 Assembly focus statement reads.

The event will open with a communion service at 7:30 p.m. May 14. The 8:30 a.m. session on May 15 will include stories – presented through voices, images and drama – of mission work of the past and testimonies of women in mission today.

Sarah Wilke, executive director of Wesley-Rankin Community Center in Dallas, will speak on children's concerns. Wesley-Rankin serves a Hispanic community and receives financial support from United Methodist Women.

Sonya Wu, coordinator of the refugee program at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Atlanta, will speak on immigration issues. A 1995 recipient of the Theressa Hoover Community Service and Global Citizen Award, Wu helps provide emergency assistance and English-language tutoring to Bosnian and Vietnamese immigrant families.

Karen Anderson, who will speak on health care, is a Lutheran missionary and founder of a health-education ministry in Chile. She has created several health education games used by community-based organizations in more than 30 countries.

The 8:30 a.m. session on May 16 will focus on indigenous concerns. Worship will begin with a traditional Lakota tribe prayer. Janine Pease Pretty on Top, president of Little Big Horn College in Montana and the first woman of Crow descent to earn a doctorate, will speak. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant and has served on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.

Sistren Theatre Collective, an independent women's cultural organization based in Kingston, Jamaica, also will perform.

Bible study leaders for the Friday morning session will be Tex Sample, the Rogers Professor of Church and Society at the Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, and Emilie Townes, associate professor of Christian Social Ethics and Black Church Ministries at St. Paul's.

Elizabeth Tapia, an ordained elder from the United Methodist Church in the Philippines, will lead the Saturday morning Bible study. She is a professor at Union Theological Seminary in Cavite, Philippines.

Singer Cissy Houston and her gospel choir from Newark, N.J., will headline an evening of music at 8 p.m. May 15. Also performing is Ulali, a trio of a capella singers whose sound evolves from a blend of traditional and contemporary indigenous music of the Americas.

The 8 p.m. program on May 16 will feature songs written by women to express their visions of peace, caring, justice, community, mission and the new creation.

On the afternoons of May 15 and 16, participants have a choice of nearly 70 different focus groups to attend on subjects of social or spiritual interest.

The assembly concludes with the 8:30 a.m. worship service on May 17. Joyce Sohl, general secretary of the Women's Division, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, will offer the sermon.

United Methodist News Service
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