2016 Missions Celebration & Annual Meeting

WMUAnnualMeetingPostCard2016corrected-page-001One of the most exciting times of the year for me is when we are preparing for our annual meeting. This year is no exception.  Here is a little of what is in store, April 8-9 at First Baptist Church, Madisonville.

Our 2016 theme is The Heart of the Story and will focus on how we share the heart of the story, Jesus, through missions around the world. We have a great program line up and we want to encourage you to make plans now, including hotel reservations. Hotels space is tight this year and you will want to make your reservations early. There are additional hotels within an easy commute to nearby towns if rooms fill up.

2016 Schedule. The two-day event begins on Friday morning with an opening session at 9:00  a.m. (Central Time). A parade of flags will begin with the prelude music. See the detailed time schedule for conference and general sessions times.

Linda Cooper, new national WMU president from Kentucky, will share theme interpretations. Join us in congratulating Linda on her election as national president.
Wayne & Barbra Myers, Swaziland, will tell about their work and how Hospice Care Buckets are being used to share the gospel. Plan to bring a bucket!
Terry Sharp, Urban Mobilization Strategist, International Mission Board will share insights on reaching the nations in our midst.
Meet Ron and Marilyn Leonard, along with Molly the Therapy Dog, as they share about their ministry to military men and women. The Leonard’s are NAMB MSC missionaries living in Hermitage, TN.
Ruth Ripken will be with us for a special preview showing of the new “Insanity of God” movie. If you read the book, you will not want to miss hearing Ruth and seeing the movie on Friday evening. This brand new movie will be released later in 2016. We are showing it by special arrangement with the IMB.
Benita Decker, Minister of Music, Farmdale Baptist Church, Frankfort will lead the music for our missions celebration.  Melody Stafford will be our pianist.
The Childress Family singers will present a gospel concert at 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening. Come for a time of  worship and great music by this family group from Madisonville.
Kentucky missionaries will be featured through conferences on both Friday and Saturday. The Missionary of the Year Award and commissioning service for new Kentucky missionaries will take place in the Saturday morning session.
Donna Fegenbush will be on hand to portray Eliza Broadus! Get your picture with “Eliza.” There will also be a photo booth at registration with life size pictures of Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. Bring your camera (or smart phone).

Children/Students are especially invited to attend on Saturday morning for a special time with the Leonard’s and Molly at 9:00 a.m.

A boxed lunch will be served on Friday. Preregistration required.  Cost $9.00.

Missionary Parents are invited to gather in Room 113 during lunch for a time of sharing. If you are a missionary parent, just bring your boxed lunch and join the group.

Baptist Nursing Fellowship will have a supper meeting on Friday at 5:00 p.m. This is open to all nurses and medical professionals. At the same time, current and former members of the Kentucky WMU Executive Board will gather for a special meal. Preregistration required for both groups. Cost is $12.00.

An offering for Kentucky WMU ministries to missionaries will be received during the Missions Celebration. We receive the offering in the Friday morning, evening, and Saturday morning sessions. NEW this year: If you are not able to attend the Annual Meeting, please consider sending a $10 gift for the offering with someone else who will be attending. You may also mail in your offering or give online: www.kywmu.org/givenow.

There are two ministry projects this year.  First, fhe Bucket Project returns! Kentucky Baptists collected over 3000 buckets in 2014 and will collect hospice care buckets for Baptist Global Response again in 2016. Bring completed buckets to our Missions Celebration. Disaster Relief volunteers will load the buckets onto a truck for shipment to the port selected by Baptist Global Response. Note: Please use only the updated bucket shopping list which has changed. Also, a $10 donation per bucket is requested to help defray shipping costs.

A collection of needed food items by Breaking Bread Ministry will also be received during the meeting.  Help meet the needs of people in the Madisonville area.

There will be a special Heritage Fund mailbox on site where you can leave Heritage Fund donations and a card to be sent to the person you would like to honor with a gift or to the family of a person you would like to remember through your gift.  Bring your address book!

For Registration, a printable information piece, and other information, go to: www.kywmu.org/annualmeeting

The Kentucky WMU Missions Celebration/Annual Meeting is the gathering place for people who care about missions. Join us!

PS: If you would like to receive other information from Kentucky WMU by email and are not already signed up, please subscribe. kywmu.org/subscribe

KY_WMU_notag_large   Kentucky WMU – Helping churches learn,pray, give, go, and send!

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You can still enjoy the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting!

10464239_10152875803111275_8851690690471843571_nThanks to the great work of Larry Brannin, Media Department Director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the general sessions of the 2015 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting were shown live on the internet through Livestream.  Larry also video taped the sessions and they are now posted on Vimeo. You may watch them on line or download them to your computer.  Please share the sessions with others!  We are also grateful to Drew Nichter from the KBC Communications Department, who assisted.

A link to each session is on the Kentucky WMU web site: kywmu.org/annualmeeting/2015.   And if you missed our meeting in 2014, those sessions are online, too!   kywmu.org/annualmeeting/2014

11117831_10155410487165035_2035384715207766277_nWe are grateful for the wonderful attendance and for your generous giving during Annual Meeting. There were 700 registered (though we know of a few more that did not register!).  You gave $7,500 to the offering for Kentucky WMU Ministries to Missionaries and $4,800 to the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund.  Your generous giving allows us to continue our work in missions education and involvement.  If you were not able to attend or would still like to give, online giving is available for all areas of Kentucky WMU work.

We are are also grateful for your gift to the Eliza Broadus Offering. A number of EBO grant recipients had displays at our meeting and were given an EBO Grant Recipient ribbon to place on their display. Please note that we are in the final months of the 2014-15 offering year and we are running a little behind this time last year and have not yet reached our goal of $1,250,000.  When we do not reach the goal, funds for church planting, language missions, evangelism, collegiate ministry, church and community ministries, missions education, and much more are reduced for the year.  The offering is received all year long and you can check our progress on our website.

Plans are underway for our next gathering in Madisonville, April 8-9, 2016.  Mark your calendar and plan NOW to be be with us.  The Annual Meeting is the gathering place of everyone who cares about missions. The inspiration, challenge, and fellowship are worth the trip.  Be there!

PS: More photos are posted on the Kentucky WMU Facebook page.


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2015 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting

We are in the countdown to Annual Meeting!  My thanks to Melissa Logsdon-Young who has again this year posted 40 days of prayer requests for Kentucky WMU.  Thanks to all on Facebook who have seen these and have prayed for us.

Debby Akerman 10 14 10 Sisterhood rooted in the faith logo Many people tell me that our Annual Meeting is a must attend event for them. There is excitement about missions, the fun of seeing friends from across the state, and the varied activities we have each year. This year we have the Sisterhood Christian Drama Team back with us.  I can’t tell you how many times someone has written on an evaluation form, “please bring back Sisterhood.”  You spoke and we listened.  We are also thrilled to have our national WMU president, Debby Akerman, with us once again. She is wrapping up her term as president in June, so you will want to be there to hear her reflections and to thank her for serving.

Our international missionaries represent three continents – Asia, Europe and Africa.  Join us as they share about their ministries and how your praying and giving through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering makes their work possible. And we will welcome new Kentucky missionaries in the Friday evening session as they are commissioned to serve among us.

The Friday afternoon activities offer something for everyone. There are missionary conferences, ministry projects, and a Prayer Rally at the State Capitol.  Displays and the Book Store will also be open. Saturday will be lots of fun with the Missions Block Party following our morning session. The Block Party will take place rain or shine, so come dressed casually and enjoy the morning.

25 years of HFThe Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund is 25 years old this year.  We will have a special celebration in the Friday afternoon session.  And you don’t want to miss the WMU staff report which covers Kentucky WMU from A to Z!

No preregistration is required to attend Annual Meeting. Meal reservations have closed, but if you have not ordered one, just bring a sack lunch for Friday at noon. The schedule and additional information about Annual Meeting are posted online: www.kywmu.org/annualmeeting.


In addition to all of our Annual Meeting activities, there is one more special opportunity. Please plan on staying after the conference on Sunday afternoon for an exclusive sneak preview of a film to be released nationally in May 2015. Christi and David Eaton, the creators, writers and producers of the film Hope Bridge will be here to share their experience and their film. After being impacted by suicide in their family, they felt a strong calling to do something about it. What began as a local movie or video exploded into a true movement in the area of suicide prevention. This feature film will be released in selected theaters on May 7 and nationally on DVD on May 26. Hope Bridge stars Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, God’s Not Dead) and Booboo Stewart (Twilight, XMEN: Days of Future Past) and is the story of a young man who tries to reconcile the suicide of his father. It is a powerful film and story, filmed right here in Kentucky. Christi and David will share their personal story and we will watch the film. We will begin at 1:15 and you should be on your way home by 3PM. Join us for this special event and join the movement to break down the stigma of suicide and get people talking. You can see the trailer and a preview of Christi and David’s story at www.hopebridgemovie.com.

If you absolutely cannot make the meeting, sessions will be shown via Livestream on your computer.  Links to each session: kywmu.org/annualmeeting/livestream.

It’s going to be a great Kentucky WMU gathering!  Join us in person or online.

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Why the Heritage Fund Matters

hf banner 12015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund.  I am grateful for the foresight of WMU leaders to begin this endowment which was established for the purpose of developing, promoting, strengthening and sustaining the work of Kentucky WMU.  There is not an area of our work that the Heritage Fund does not touch.

The Heritage Fund matters to our work in missions education and involvement. It is one of several sources of funding that are vital to our on-going work. These include the Cooperative Program, Eliza Broadus Offering, and other endowment funds with distributions designated for Kentucky WMU. We are also blessed by the Second Century Fund of the National WMU Foundation which provides a distribution to each state WMU and by the Kentucky Touch Tomorrow Today endowment.

These various funding sources, plus event fees, make it possible for Kentucky WMU to offer first rate events and missions opportunities led by a wonderful staff and many volunteers. At a time when Cooperative Program (CP) funds coming to Kentucky WMU have declined, we have been able to maintain our staff and services in part because of the growth of endowment funds.

The decline in CP funds is a good thing in that in 2010 the Kentucky Baptist Convention made the significant decision to raise the portion of CP funds going beyond our state for Southern Baptist work, including international and North American missions. I was a member of the task force that made that recommendation and we gladly adjusted our budget to make more funds available for missions beyond Kentucky. The original plan was to reach the 50-50 split by 2018, but under the leadership of Dr. Paul Chitwood, Executive Director of the KBC, we reached this milestone effective with the 2013-14 budget year. A decline in CP giving since 2010, however, has made the budget adjustments even more challenging.  In 2009-10 Kentucky WMU received $496,395 in CP funds. For the 2015-16 budget year, we expect to receive $415,000.

Our work is also funded in part by the Eliza Broadus Offering. Kentucky WMU is the sponsor of the Eliza Broadus Offering and has the responsibility and privilege of setting the offering allocations. We do this cooperatively with Dr. Chitwood based on requests from KBC staff for missions mobilization, evangelism, church planting, collegiate ministry, language missions and much more. A portion is also used for our work in missions education for all ages which includes resources, training, events, camps, and much more. Even with the adjustments in CP funding, we have raised the level of Eliza Broadus Offering funding going for missions through the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the amount for associational and special ministry grants. In 2009-10, EBO funding for KBC missions ministries and grants was $840,000.  In 2015-16, it will be $990,000. Thank you for increased giving to the Eliza Broadus Offering making this report possible!

Kentucky WMU has been able to absorb the decline in the Cooperative Program and increase EBO distributions in part because of the Heritage Fund and other endowments and investments. Kentucky WMU is blessed to have these resources and we seek to be faithful stewards in using them for Kingdom work.  We have also been able to help several smaller state WMU’s as well as assist with some international projects. While we are careful in the use of our resources, we do not hoard them when they are needed. This year we plan to purchase needed equipment for Kentucky Changers and build our own storage facility for this ministry. Kentucky Changers takes a significant amount of equipment and good stewardship requires that we take care of it between summer seasons.

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Heritage Fund, you are invited to give $25 in honor of someone who has impacted your life for missions.  We invite you to give 25 in honor of the past 25 to fund the next 25! There will be a special Give 25 emphasis at Annual Meeting. But you don’t have to wait.  Online giving is available for giving anytime to support the ministries of Kentucky WMU.

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Countdown to Annual Meeting

WMU2014AnnualMeetingPoster-page-001I am writing this blog late on Sunday evening.  In just a few days, we will gather in Winchester for the 2014 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting. I relish each year’s event – the excitement of being together, the challenge from our speakers, the inspiration to keep on doing missions, and much more. It’s hard to put an annual meeting into words. You just have to be there to experience it.

Annual Meeting is more than a meeting. Yes it includes speakers and sessions, displays and conferences, meals and projects. But there is a synergy that is greater than all of the elements that must be experienced. We are glad that this year’s meeting will be broadcast via live streaming and hope that those who watch will catch just a bit of the excitement and energy of our 2014 gathering. Our theme is “The Celebration Continues” and we will continue the celebration of WMU’s 125th while moving forward to the future before us.

TorchHere are some highlights of this year’s meeting:
– The meeting begins with a parade of flags led by a torch from the 2013 national WMU Annual Meeting.
– Wanda Lee,executive director of national WMU, will share a theme interpretation at the start of each session.
– Gordon Fort, senior vice president of the IMB, will share missions stories that will touch your heart and challenge you to new involvement.
– Lori Funderburk, director of the bucket project with Baptist Global Response, will share the ministries of BGR and the impact of buckets of love.
– “Miss Bertha and Berniece,” will make us laugh while helping us see truths that have been shared in the meeting that we might have missed.
– Kentucky missionaries will be commissioned on Friday evening and Gordon Fort will preach. An invitation will be given.
– We will fill a truck with Buckets of Love to send to people with AIDS in Africa.
– There will be conferences, displays, bucket assembly, prayerwalking, tour of local ministries, and more.
– A WMU history room will feature WMU memorabilia from across the years.
– Heritage Fund Mite Boxes will be collected in the Friday afternoon session.
– A GA Fashion Show showing 100 years of fashion and GA history will be presented on Friday afternoon.
– We will elect a new president, vice president and recording secretary, as well as the 2014-15 Executive Board.

It’s not too late to make plans to attend. No preregistration is required. If you have not preregistered for the boxed lunch, just bring a sandwich or snack with you on Friday so that you will not need to leave for lunch, but can take in a conference, help with the bucket project, visit displays, or go by the History Room and WMU Book Store. More is planned than you can do (and some will complain about that), but the idea is that we have plenty planned and there is something for everyone!  We keep you on the go for two days!

For more information about all aspects of Annual Meeting, including links for live streaming, please visit the Annual Meeting page on our web site: kywmu.org/annualmeeting.  We will be posting on Facebook and Twitter all week leading up to the event and even during the meeting. Anyone using Facebook or Twitter, please use the identifier #kywmu14 in your posts to help others find your posts about Annual Meeting.

I was a music major in college and seminary. I don’t do too much in the music field these days, but I will say that Annual Meeting reminds me of directing a big musical production.  There are lots of elements that must come together. There is an ebb and flow to the event.  It is vital that we start well and end well, even if there are a few “bobbles” along the way. My role is like a conductor.  We’ve planned, rehearsed, set up, and now it is time for the “show” to start.  But it’s not a show (though it is a production!).  What happens this weekend is not about the meeting and certainly not about having a “perfect” meeting (not going to happen!). This meeting is about outcomes.  What is going to happen in our lives because we came? What is going to happen in missions because we were challenged? Who is going to hear the gospel because we prayed and gave? Who will say “Here am I, send me?” when the invitation is given on Friday evening? Who will go home with new determination to teach missions?  My questions about outcomes could go on and on. My prayer is that we will one day look back at this weekend and say “God was at work through the 2014 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting.”  Don’t miss what God is doing in Winchester this weekend.  Be there!

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Mite Box Project

In the early days of WMU, a popular method of saving money for missions by many missionary groups was the use of small wooden or cardboard banks called Mite Boxes.  Named after the story of the Widow’s Mite (Mark 12:41-43), the women used them to save for missions.  The boxes were sealed and once coins were saved, the money was kept in the mite box until Mite Box Day.  On that day, the women would bring their boxes to be opened and counted for missions.  Thousands of dollars were raised by missions groups, making these boxes known as the Mighty Mite Boxes.

As we celebrate the 125th birthday of WMU, in tribute to the spirit of our founders, Kentucky WMU has created a Heritage Fund Mite Box.  These were introduced at the 125th Celebration Banquet during the 2013 Annual Meeting.  During the year, we are asking people to use the Heritage Fund Mite Boxes to save 125 of something: dimes, quarters, dollars or whatever you choose!  Then bring back the Heritage Fund Mite Box to the 2014 Annual Meeting.  Proceeds will benefit the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund, a permanent endowment which supports the missions education work of Kentucky WMU.

One thousand mite boxes were ordered.  In addition to those distributed at the banquet, they will also be given to participants at SALT (Association Training, May 18) and Excel (WMU Leadership Development, July 27.) For those who would like to obtain a quantity to use in your WMU group, a one-dollar donation for each mite box is requested to help defray printing costs.  We  will make them available as long as quantities are available.  If you would like to print out a copy of the mite box and make your own, you can also print the pattern available at kywmu.org/hfmitebox.  Print on 11×17 paper to make the bank as large as possible.  Use card stock weight paper if possible.  (Note: It will be slightly smaller than the one available from Kentucky WMU.)

In “The Missionary Mite Box,” a brochure prepared many years ago by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, it said of the mite box:
What is it?  A simple paper box.
– What is it intended to hold?  Offerings from grateful hearts.
– Why are the contents always of value?  They are offered willingly unto the Lord.
– How shall we use the mite box?  Keep one for your own use…let it be a constant reminder of the daily, ordinary blessings of your life.  Put one where friendly eyes can see it; let it remind them of duty and privilege. Treat it as a sacred thing (this feeling will grow upon you).  Encourage children to use it, and be ready to answer their questions about it.

Join us in celebrating the 125 years of WMU by participating in the Mite Box Project this year. Bring yours to the 2014 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting!


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