Reading Program

New 2017 Reading Program

The 2017 Reading Program book list is now available.  Go to the Reading Program page and click on the brightly-colored tiles to see the books for the five categories, plus books for children & youth, and books in Spanish and Korean languages.

Most of the books are available as e-books (for Kindle), some are available in braille and audio (see “Special Formats”), and many can be found in your local library. See “Find the Books” for more information.

Books from the 2017 list, as well as 5 previous years (that qualify for this year’s program) can be purchased from United Methodist Women Mission Resources or from your favorite bookseller.


2017 Reading Program Sampler

Wherever the River Runs: How a Forgotten People Renewed My Hope in the Gospel by Kelly Minter

This beautiful journey through the Amazon invites readers to search their souls and follow Jesus wherever the river runs—experiencing the adventure of knowing the poor and forgotten people He loves.

In Wherever the River Runs, Kelly Minter invites us on a jungle adventure down a river teeming with piranhas, caymans, a beautiful people, and, especially, God’s presence.

(Available in print, Kindle, audio download, and audio CD.)

(See more selections from Education for Mission.)


Not Safe for Church: Ten Commandments for Reaching New Generations by F. Douglas Powe Jr.and Jasmine Rose Smothers

Congregations say they want to reach new and younger people, many of whom are simply turned off by church. To really connect, congregations have to start doing new things that are out of their comfort zones. F. Douglas Powe Jr. and Jasmine Rose Smothers give ten ways to help, providing tools to reframe the good news in non-traditional ways and move from merely stating your intentions to taking action. This book includes study questions for leadership teams.

(Available in print and Kindle editions.)
(See more selections from Leadership Development.)


Pre-Post-Racial America: Spiritual Stories from the Front Lines by Rev. Sandhya Rani Jha

Those people. Their issues. The day’s news and the ways we treat each other, overtly or subliminally, prove we are not yet living in post-racial America. It’s hard to talk about race in America without everyone very quickly becoming defensive and shutting down.

What makes talking race even harder is that so few of us actually know each other in the fullness of our stories. A recent Reuters poll found 40% of White people have no friends of other races, and 25% of people of color only have friends of the same race.

Sandhya Jha addresses the hot topic in a way that is grounded in real people’s stories and that offers solid biblical grounding for thinking about race relations in America, reminding us that God calls us to build Beloved Community.

(Available in print and Kindle editions.)
(See more selections from Social Action.)


The Perfect Place by Teresa E. Harris

Treasure’s dad has disappeared and her mom sets out to track him down, leaving twelve-year-old Treasure and her little sister, Tiffany, in small-town Virginia with their eccentric, dictatorial Great-Aunt Grace. GAG (as the girls refer to her) is a terrible cook, she sets off Treasure’s asthma with her cat and her chain smoking, and her neighbors suspect her in the recent jewel thefts. As the hope of finding their dad fades, the girls and their great-aunt begin to understand and accommodate one another. When a final dash to their dad’s last known address proves unsuccessful, Treasure has to accept that he’s gone for good. When she goes back to Great-Aunt Grace’s, it is the first time she has returned to a place instead of just moving on. Convincing, fully realized characters, a snarky narrative voice, and laugh-aloud funny dialogue make The Perfect Place a standout among stories of adjustment and reconfigured families.

(Suitable for youth, available in print and Kindle editions.)
(See more selections from Nurturing for Community.)


The Blessings and Bling: How Faith and Fashion Helped Me Survive Breast Cancer by Sheron C. Patterson

Sometimes our greatest blessings come from the most unexpected places. If you’re facing a difficult life situation- including a cancer diagnosis- you may be searching for a way to get through the day. Blessings and Bling gives an upbeat take on a serious matter and shares real-world tips for helping you cope. Author Sheron Patterson uses her story to help others facing some of life’s toughest challenges In the book you will:

  • Find inspiration
  • Get practical tips for dealing with life-changing diagnosis
  • Learn to live in the movement
  • Find purpose in your pain
  • Realize that God has not abandoned you

When Sheron Patterson put off a shopping trip to drop by a medical center for her annual breast exam, she thought she’d be in and out and back to her shopping. But when the results came back positive for cancer, she was stunned. That diagnosis eventually produced a life’s work focused on helping others face challenges. Bling- fashion- helped Patterson face her cancer head-on. From the depths of despair surrounding her diagnosis to a heart filled with a gratitude as she looks back on her journey, she tells the story of Blessings and Bling to help you see hope.

(Available in print and Kindle editions.)
(See more selections from Spiritual Growth.)


Frequently Asked Questions About the Reading Program

1. How Can I Participate in the Reading Program?
See the full details of the current Reading Program plans on the UMW website Reading Program Page. There are four plans to choose from, and you may choose books from the current year’s list and/or the previous 5 years.

2. What is the timeline for participating in the Reading Program?
The Reading Program year runs from October of one year through early September of the following year.
October – The new book list is published in the October issue of “Response”. The new book list brochure is available at the District Annual Celebration (typically the
first Saturday of October), and a small supply of the new books is normally also available for purchase. You can also purchase books through United Methodist Women Mission Resources or your favorite bookseller.
October through August of the next year – Read! Keep track of the books you have read, their category, and the plan you are working toward.
September – Report your participation in the Reading Program to your unit, who will in turn send a report
to the District Secretary of Program Resources. (Each unit will receive a request for this report in late August.)
4th Saturday of October – Annual Celebration! Awards for Reading Program participation are given.

3. Who can I contact if I have other questions about the Reading Program?
Please contact your District Secretary of Program Resources.

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