Assembly 2014 displays impact of United Methodist Women worldwide

By Danita Waller-Paige Special Contributor “People from every nation and tongue, from generation to generation, we worship YOU! Hallelujah, hallelujah, we worship YOU for who you ARE!” As I entered the worship center and began to take in the many different cultural garments, the different hues of skin, the different age groups this contemporary worship song by Israel Houghton came to mind. It was amazingly wonderful; and emotion began to set in. I am in a place where the nations are represented in the name of our Lord! Women whose hearts are after God’s, and who are not afraid to do God’s work and speak God’s Word! Assembly 2014, held April 25-27 in Louisville, Ky., was a life-changing experience for me. It was my very first time to attend Assembly, and I found it inspiring. It offered a much broader concept of the powerful impact the women of the United Methodist Church make. I enjoyed every interaction that took place: the wonderfully diverse worship experiences, the thought-provoking classes that were offered, and even mere hallway conversations were a delight to my spirit. I was able to meet missionaries from across the globe, deaconesses, women clergy, a prayerful yoga instructor, and even a “laughter specialist.” The Arkansas delegation was large and in charge! We were extremely proud when our state and nation’s former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, presented to the larger group. She was thought-provoking, inspirational, and on fire! She represented the United Methodist Church in her role as a proud member of United Methodist Women. I personally appreciated the fact that as a gesture towards her commitment to the cause of the United Methodist Women, she paid for her own travel and other expenses. Additionally, she did not receive any form of payment for her appearance. This in itself spoke volumes to me and others about the woman who is Hillary Rodham Clinton. As a first-time attendee, I would strongly encourage every woman (young, middle aged, older, lay or clergy) to make plans to at one point or another to attend an Assembly—something we only have the opportunity to do every four years. I loved my experience and plan on making every effort to attend Assembly 2018 in Columbus, Ohio, if at all possible. Ultimately, I have been set on fire in an area of ministry in which I honestly had minimal interest. I’m moving forward charged to do as Hillary Clinton boldly encouraged, “Wake up our country and wake up our world about the work that can and should be done; and we each are called in our own ways to lead.” Waller-Paige serves as Spiritual Growth Coordinator for the United Methodist Women of the Arkansas Conference. She is a member of Theressa Hoover UMC Little Rock.  To see video and stories from Assembly 2014, visit http://prod.umwomen.org:88/assembly.