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UMW Turns 150: Wesley-Rankin

August 28, 2019
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Today, we continue our highlights of UMW at FirstChurch in honor of UMW’s 150th Anniversary by hearing from one of the organizations UMW has supported with time, talent and resources. Wesley-Rankin Community Center in West Dallas has been a long-time beneficiary of United Methodist Women. Below, executive director Shellie Ross shares heartfelt thoughts on how she’s seen UMW make a difference in the lives of those at Wesley-Rankin.

“Wesley-Rankin’s earliest history dates back to 1902. Our archives state, “Mrs. L.H. Potts called together women of six Methodist Churches; by September they had employed a settlement worker to minister to the influx of immigrants of 17 nationalities to Dallas.”  In the very beginning of our existence, United Methodist Women were there.  Even in times of crises, UMW collected pocket change to purchase a van and sewed clothes when buying garments was not an option. It doesn’t matter what church I visit; one thing is always certain: Sunday schools and congregations are full of personal stories of determination, desire for equity and daring love. And I find that mothers raise girls to carry the torch of this mission. Through the years and even today, UMW groups have donated supplies, volunteered in programs and quite frankly, when no one else would, UMW did…and still does.  The origin of Wesley-Rankin is UMW and their fingerprints can be consistently seen in the relationships and impact.

UMW member Kama Koudelka has been a long-time volunteer at Wesley-Rankin. She was recently included in a story on Wesley-Rankin produced by the North Texas Conference; she is pictured here with Maria, one of the girls she tutors in reading.

Currently two women from the Sarah Circle at First United Methodist Church are leading the initiative for reading intervention in the Afterschool program and the Scholars program at the Center. Influenced by their mother’s dedication to Wesley-Rankin, Kama and Brianna (Koudelka) tutor every Saturday, connect us with resources that come their way and consider the kids at the Center an extension of family. And at Wesley-Rankin, we always know when true relationships are made because the curriculum becomes more than what’s on a page. Curriculum transforms into friendships. For example, Brianna purchases books for her students and the tutoring space is adorned with posters that reflect their favorite basketball players and video games. Kama and her student, Mary Chuy, FaceTime family members on breaks and at one time, they had matching notebooks with their photo together on the cover. This brilliant love and engagement contribute more to students’ learning than a textbook. Having healthy relationships with caring individuals aids in childhood development and influences future family systems. The long-term impact is astounding! In addition to Kama and Brianna’s work, The Sarah Circle donates supplies for B3X summer camp and Afterschool, providing resources when needed. Valuable relationships and resources, two components of UMW influence throughout Wesley-Rankin’s history, make the story of Brianna, Kama and the Sarah Circle exceptional. And for this story and our connection to UMW, Wesley-Rankin is most grateful.”

Be sure to join us for the UMW 150th Anniversary Reception Sept. 8 following 11 a.m. service!

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