Walda Letson welcomed the following members Joanne Dahl, Debbie Kadzielewski, Sarah Snow, Nadine Morers, Mary Ratliff, Sarah Sweers, Jo Parrott, Elizabeth Duncan, Linda Greenwood, Mackaylla McDonald, Marilyn Owen, Linda Waugh, Sharleen Bennett, Dyane DePaolis, Jennie Smith, Nancy Way, Paula Johnson, Jeanne Lemmon, and Kathy Griebel.

She then read a poem by Debbie Kadzielewski:” We gather in Fellowship, We gather in Love, We Thank God for Blessings from Heaven Above”

The hymn “We Are the Church” was sung by all accompanied by Debbie Kadzielewski on the piano.

The UMW Purpose was read by all.

The devotion was given by Linda Greenwood by Joyce Meyer titled “Walk with Boldness”

For Social Action Kathy Griebel passed out brochures on Racial Justice.

The new part of the UMW Reading program was described by Debbie Kadzielewski and encouraged all to check out the new books from 2017 and advised more books will be purchased soon.

March 23 is Legacy Fund Day. Donations could be by mail or at www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/150

April 14 is Quiet Day at Fisher Chapel, Hardeeville SC. Walda encouraged all to attend as this is a new UMW unit and we need to show our support.

May 13th is May Fest. UMW will participate in the Bluffton Village again this year.  Each of the circles will have their own table, but we still need a lot of people to work all the tables, help set-up and clean-up. A sign-up sheet will be passed around at the next circle meetings. We will be collecting small “white elephant” items, jewelry, purses, hats, etc. but nothing too big. WE ARE NOT ACCEPTING CLOTHES ANYMORE.

June 9th is the Walterboro District’s Come Together/Be Together in Islandtown, SC. Registrations can be found in the Angelic Times or just email Walda Letson and one will be sent.

The Meeting was closed by reading Lamentations 3:22-23 RSV The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.

Walda then introduced Shelia Roemeling from Fresh Start Healing Heart. Shelia introduced her guest Miss Okatie. She is a law student and will be working with Shelia as part of her degree. Shelia shared with us their Mission which is to compassionately walk beside Survivors of Human Trafficking, Providing safe housing, immediate need and restorative services for spiritual, emotional, physical and financial healing. Their organization uses a mentoring system to set new boundaries and work on the survivors self-esteem. They have been in operation for 3 years. Thirteen survivors’ lives have been impacted. Eleven are still in the program and six stay with a Host Family. She shared with us the story and a poem written by a survivor. It was very moving.

Facts that she shared with us:

  •  There are more in Human Trafficking that slaves in the 1800’s
  • Average stay is 7 years
  • 70% in the United States are American Citizens
  • 46% are African American the remaining percent are Caucasian, then Asian, and least Hispanics
  • Atlanta is the biggest Hub in the East U.S. for Trafficking
  • It is a 40 Billion Dollar Industry bigger than Drugs and Guns combined
  • Low Country is a Prime Area due to Highway Access, Major Ports, Military, Tourism, and Poverty

There is going to be a YOUTH ASSEMBLEY on Human Trafficking at the Bluffton High School on Wednesday April 18, 2018 and volunteers are needed

She closed by passing out literature about this organization and encouraged us to share this message, be aware, and report anything we see that could be Human Trafficking.

We all agreed this was a very informative and enlightening Program.

We then had a wonderful potluck luncheon and an Ice Cream Bar with all the toppings for dessert.

Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Kadzielewski