The United Methodist Women (UMW) of the Wesley United Methodist Church in Hampstead, MD, has endured for over 100 years. UMW has recorded minutes dating back to 1908. We are an industrious and energetic group that has accomplished many great works over the years.
Our earliest record books are fragile and the minutes are hand-written by pencil in cursive script. In 1908, UMW created the Constitution and By-Laws. Our name was originally “Ladies Aid Society of Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church”. The name changed to “Ladies Aid Society of Wesley Chapel” and then “Women’s Society of Christian Service” and finally to what it is today, “United Methodist Women”.
Our initial objectives were to benefit the church, provide social interaction and raise funds for the parsonage. UMW also was responsible for upkeep of the church and cemetery, organ fund, hymnals and home charity. Our meetings were held in members’ homes until 1917 when a Social Hall was built. We had devotional time and shared joys and concerns. UMW had many fundraisers including oyster and ham/fried chicken suppers, strawberry festivals and other socials. Dues were originally 5 cents per month and enforcement was very strict—UMW members were sent a letter if they did not timely pay. Today, members donate a free will offering.
On September 3, 1920, fire destroyed Wesley Chapel and UMW was committed to pay for rebuilding the church. Each member contributed $10 and solicited funds for the building fund. Monthly fundraisers were held for years to raise money. UMW held suppers, plays, spelling bee and pie socials, rummage sales, auctions, fairs and put together a church cookbook to sell. We also rented the Social Hall out for other activities. One humorous fundraiser was the members measured their waists and donated a penny per inch. Another fundraiser was 40 cents per day was donated for 40 days, presumably during Lent. Our new church was rebuilt in 1922.
In 1924, each member paid 10 cents to have their name appear on a quilt that was made by the Ladies Aid Society of Wesley Chapel. We still possess that “treasure” and it is stored at our church. In 2012, a second quilt was made by a church member in honor of Wesley Church’s 225 year anniversary. Church members paid $25 to have their name appear on the quilt.
UMW was very supportive of service people over the years. During World War I, we purchased a service flag for the church and had a reception for “Boys in Color” after the war ended. During World War II, money was collected for churches in Baltimore, MD, to open their doors to soldiers who had no place to stay. Cards were sent to service people and during wartime, UMW’s meetings were held every other month because of gas rationing.
UMW’s role has evolved over the years and today our mission is women and children—we support them locally, nationally and overseas. UMW contributes to the District for Mission Giving and makes Designated Gifts for Call to Prayer and Self Denial. We give to Conference Projects such as the Scholarship Fund, Susanna Wesley House and Shepherd’s Staff. We sup-port Special Missions including Camp Wesley, Long View Nursing Home Birthday Parties, Graduation Gifts, Carroll Hospice, Church Women United, Board of Child Care, Northeast Social Action Program (NESAP) and other charitable organizations. We also host funeral service luncheons. We support those in our church family as well as others in need both financially and with personal help. We are committed to growing as disciples of Jesus Christ in community with other women, children and youth around the world.
All women of Wesley UMC are invited to the United Methodist Women’s meetings from September through May! Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month. Please consider being a part of the century-long work of the Wesley UMW!