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Kentucky WMU 'Rise Up and Shine' at 115th annual meeting


FRANKFORT—Members of the Kentucky Woman's Missionary Union can "Rise Up and Shine" by ministering to the "quartet of the vulnerable," Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director of National WMU, shared with the 445 attendees at the 115th annual meeting and missions celebration of the Kentucky WMU on April 6-7.

David Buie

Members of the Kentucky WMU gather at Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort for their 115th Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration

The quartet in Zechariah 7:9-10 includes the widow, the fatherless, the foreigner, and the poor, explained Wisdom-Martin, who delivered the theme interpretation throughout the weekend. Wisdom-Martin encouraged Kentucky WMU to "Rise Up and Shine" in various areas of their lives and in different ways.

"It doesn't matter what we think we're doing for the Kingdom if our hearts are not right. Do you want to 'Rise Up and Shine?'" she asked. "Lay your heart bare before the Father. Offer Him the grease-stained rags of your life and let Him clothe you in His light," she urged.

Wisdom-Martin shared stories of those she has encountered who have dedicated their lives to serving these vulnerable individuals and in doing so, shining Christ's light on them, including her own adoption story.

Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, and his wife Michelle, along with Dale Suttles, president of Sunrise Children's Services, shared adoption/foster care stories as well, and compelled Kentucky Baptist to get involved in orphan care. (Read related story here.)

Music was led by Rebecca Oliver, accompanied by Pat Cole, with a time of worship led by the Kentucky Baptist Women's Chorale on Friday evening.

Rosalee Hunt, a former International Mission Board missionary, shared the story of Ann Hasseltine Judson, who, alongside her husband, Adoniram, was the first Baptist foreign missionary from America. Hunt, who saw Judson as a hero her whole life, penned a biography of her life, "Ann Hasseltine Judson: A Life Beyond Boundaries" after retiring from the mission field and donated the proceeds to missions.

Keeping with WMU's purpose, acteens panelists presented the missionary prayer calendar, and Stacy Nall, Kentucky WMU's preschool/children's consultant, shared about various ministries to missionaries. Before the offering of $7,360 was collected, Susan Hatfield, a Baptist Global Response missionary in Africa for the last 30 years shared how gifts provided by the WMU have blessed her family greatly over the years.

The meeting was held at Buck Run Church in Frankfort, and the weekend included a prayer rally and prayer walk around the Kentucky State Capitol Building. Steve Weaver, the KBC's Capitol Commission chaplain, shared how members of Kentucky WMU can "Rise Up and Shine" at the state capitol.

Friday afternoon, before the prayer rally, the WMU held their business meeting. During her executive-director report, Joy Bolton reminded Kentucky WMU of various events that are upcoming this summer, including SALT training for associational WMU leaders, GA mother/daughter overnight camp, Camp Courage for boys, and Kentucky Changers.

Cheryl Hatfield, development specialist for Kentucky WMU, shared how the Heritage Fund has grown significantly. Bolton updated attendees on the Eliza Broadus Offering, WMU's new website, and a shift from DVDs to online downloads for the state missions material.

Bolton, who announced in November her intent to retire (read related story here) no sooner than Sept. 2018 but no later than Sept. 2019, said, "Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I will not coast in these final months. There is much to be done and my prayer is for a smooth transition. Please join me in praying for the search committee and our new leader."

Retiring board members were recognized, including Susan Bryant, who completed her term as president. Rosetta Vaught was elected as new president, serving with Cathy Terrell in her fourth term as vice president and Marcia Ballard in her third term as recording secretary. Other newly elected board members include: Margaret Dunn, Ruth Gray, Deitra King, Linda Egbert, DeAnna Smith, Jan Powell, Sharon Gilliland, Sharon Taylor-Carrillo, Robin Warren, Lisa Crenshaw, Lisa Salyer, Dana Jenkins, Lorene Heskett, Rachel Dermon, Rhonda Wilhoite, Diane McDaniel, Dawna Clark, Martha Birdwhistell, Edwina Rowell, Melanie Jones, Jennifer Butler, Joyce Scroggs, Kay Underwood, Wanda Riddle, Anne Partenheimer, and Jim Baxter. (Read related story here.)

Friday evening, presentations were made by Susan Hatfield on how Baptists are taking seriously the call to "Rise Up and Shine" through Baptist Global Response in Africa and by Travis Smalley on the Send Cincinnati initiative. A panel of participants from the WMU mission trip to Swaziland late 2017 shared about how God worked during the trip. (Read related story here.)

On Saturday, in appreciation for Joy Bolton and the partnership WMU has shared with the Western Recorder, Todd Deaton presented Bolton with a resolution of appreciation and a gift from the Western Recorder Board of Trustees to the WMU Heritage Fund in her honor.

Additionally, Terry Kelley shared an entertaining presentation on creative ministries, equipped with balloon animals and juggling, Coy Webb brought greetings from the KBC and shared about its Disaster Relief ministries, and Eric Allen reminded attendees of the importance of the backpack project.

The 116th annual meeting and missions celebration of the Kentucky WMU will be held at First Baptist Church of Bowling Green in April 2019. (WR) 

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