Category Archives: District Team

An Evolution of Gratitude

By K Stone – Almaden Hills UMC, San Jose – El Camino Real District – CA NV Conference United Methodist Women

In 1869, a small group of women in Boston raised enough money to send the first Methodist missionaries to help change the lives of women and children in India. One of those missionaries was Isabella Thoburn, a teacher who built a girls’ school later named for her. Isabella Thoburn College, in Lucknow, northern India, is now a highly-reputed school associated with Lucknow University.

Not too many years later, a young woman – my mother, Eileen Betty Hakim Townsley – attended and graduated from Isabella Thoburn College. This was the beginning of her life-long passion for education, advocacy, service & leadership.

Mom graduated at the top of her class in education and economics.  As a high school Principal, she had been groomed to be the next President of Isabella Thoburn College, when she met my father, her “prince-charming”.  She made the difficult decision, with the help of her Bishop, to leave the path of Isabella Thoburn, educator, and join the world of Global Methodist missions, service, and life as a minister’s wife.  

My mother was molded by her parents, her mother being one of the first Christian women doctors in India and father being a second generation Christian.  Both were active lay leaders in their church.  Throughout her life, she was an epitome of leadership, mentoring & activism for the W.S.C.S organization in India, including being a Board member of the Bible Society and an advocate for the Indian Methodist church. 

My recollections of Mom were of holding leadership training events in large outdoor meeting tents.  She travelled to villages to connect with women, to teach about the goodness of Jesus and advocacy for women & children.  With gavel in hand, she led the ladies to organize service projects.  The W.S.C.S. ladies supported church “melas” for fundraising events.  As a child, I had a special job….to help welcome the ladies!

My sister, Colleen, and I are blessed to be direct products of the work & intentions of the Boston women in 1869, for the establishment of Isabella Thoburn College, and of the many leaders and teachers who have spent a lifetime to nurture & guide young women to their full potential. 

I believe God’s world is amazingly connected, for perfect purposes!  My heart is filled with gratitude for the direct legacy I have with the vision of the United Methodist Women, thru my mother, from Isabella Thoburn and the forward-thinking women of 1869.

Learn more about the legacy of Isabella Thoburn here.

From the President: Sharing the Journey

K Stone, Outgoing President, El Camino Real District United Methodist Women

Dear sisters,

It has been a very special highlight of my life to belong to the San Jose District, changed to El Camino Real District United Methodist Women, Leadership Team!

My heart is overflowing with gratitude at this time.  I want to share a journey —

  • Say ‘YES’ to the invitation to attend….UMW accepts us just as we are.
  • Keep saying ‘YES’.
  • Invite a friend.
  • Keep inviting friend/s …. Someone said it took an invitation repeated 6 or 7 times before she said ‘YES’!
  • Step outside the comfort circle…. Baby-steps are OK.
  • Reach out, connect with new sisters.
  • Say ‘YES’ some more.
  • Share stories, ideas, and thoughts.
  • Listen, giving other sisters space to share.
  • Learn, Grow, Laugh, Praise God!
  • Repeat over & over & in any sequence …. Enjoy the journey of United Methodist Women!

Thank you for giving me …. Friendship, Laughter, Spirituality, Overcoming Hurdles, Adventures, Self-awareness, Learning more, and, led by the Spirit, you’ve enriched my life immensely!

With Love & Gratitude ~
K Stone

P.S. See my personal “back story” in the article “An Evolution of  Gratitude.”

Treasurer’s Report, Q3 2021

By Debbie Ow, Treasurer

Thanks to your continued giving and our modest administrative expenses, our finances are in good shape.  All funds for the third quarter Mission Giving have been sent to the Conference and checks have cleared.  

  • Balance in the Pledge Account as of Sept. 30, 2021:  $63.41
  • Balance in the Administrative Account as of Sept. 30, 2021:  $4,292.37
    • Expenses for Annual Celebration not included in the above balance: $591.26
    • Pro Forma Balance: $3701.11 as of Nov. 17, 2021

In addition, the offering taken at Annual Celebration, for the UMW Legacy Endowment Fund, was $940 plus additional online giving. Thank you for your generosity!  These have been sent directly to National UMW.  Get more information about the Legacy Endowment Fund at

Please contact me with any questions.

Farewell, Welcome to District UMW Team members

By Betty Spencer Dickey, Nominations Chair, and Carolyn Bircher, Reading Program Coordinator

Following the election of ECR District Team Members at our October Annual Celebration, it’s time to bid farewell to the outgoing members, and welcome the new members into active participation in the team.  As Rev. Dr. Linda Holbrook described at Annual Celebration, even as the team composition changes, we remain linked together as United Methodist Women.

Continuing on the team, several with new roles:

  • Debbie Ow (President)
  • Carolyn Bircher (Treasurer)
  • Karen Hall (Secretary)
  • Angelica Martinez (Team member)
  • Katherine Kim (Team member)
  • Sandra Nesheim (Team member)

We are happy to welcome five women as new members of the District UMW Team.  With their varied backgrounds, they add a wealth of experience and interest.  May the year 2022 be a year of learning, inventiveness and joy for the whole team.

  • Saniata Melchor (Chair of Nominations) is a preschool teacher who is passionate about her work with young children.   She is patient as teachers need to be and as a person who serves on multiple committees and is involved with the many ministries at her church.  She enjoys learning, music, dancing and occasionally plays the piano.  She speaks English, llocano, and Tagalog, and is interested in Social Action and in broadening our group to young women to show them all that UMW is about and all that we can do together.  
  • Laurie Lindsey (Communications/ Web Manager) is a Software Engineer who has worked in the computer field for most of her career.  She is interested in Social issues and is willing to work on any of the many programs that we produce to increase awareness of Social Justice and promote learning through her work on the website, and our other communication tools.  She serves on the Finance committee and is a great piano player.  She has played for our church many times as well as participating as an alto in the choir.  Thanks for your willingness to serve on the District, Laurie.  
  • Joyce Wilkinson (Leadership Team) is a recently retired High School Science teacher who has been involved in UMW as Secretary and President of her local UMW in Marina. She has been a church treasurer, educator, on many committees, Administrative council and a Trustee!  She is interested in professional development, working on presentations and workshop organization.  We are excited to have her and think she has come to the right place.  
  • Esther Ribeiro (Leadership Team) has been involved in jobs that required her accounting, Management and administration skills.   She has been a Treasurer and Vice Chair in the Hollister UMW.  She is bilingual in English and Spanish and enjoys translating for Spanish speakers and readers.  We know that she will be able to help bring more understanding about UMW and the exciting programs we offer to our Spanish sisters.  Welcome Esther.
  • Leslie Fisk (Leadership Team) is busy managing a commercial real estate company and also serving in her church on Finance, Trustees, Bell Choir and on the Joint Youth Group.  She is interested in working on Social Issues, Spiritual growth, retreats and concerned with public policy, community building and inclusiveness.  She is hoping to become more familiar with the District UMW and we are very happy she has decided to join the team.

Now for the sad part – it’s time to say farewell to five members who have served us well.  We have been graced with wonderful women leaders over the years and have been lucky to be able to work together with these special ladies.  Thank you all for your service, good humor and dedication to UMW.  

  • K Stone has been our district president for several years.  It has been a pleasure to work under her.  She is so gracious and kind and has the contacts to bring in some wonderful speakers.  We will miss her and hope to see her at conference events as she starts her new UMW life in Sacramento.
  • Betty Dickey has headed our nominations committee for many years, in addition to past roles she’s held in our district.  I joked about how you better watch out if Betty calls and wants to have coffee.  But she always asked in such a nice way and she put together such supportive teams that I’m glad she called.  She has also worked hard on the jurisdictional team for Climate Justice.
  • Wanda Garrett is leaving some big shoes to fill.  She’s been an awesome communications leader.  Her expertise in website design and email technology have made us look so good to the outside world.  But, mainly I’ve admired her organization skills, keeping us all on task to create newsletters, plan events and run meetings.
  • Lynn Hermoso has been our cheerleader.  She brought a lot of enthusiasm to our meetings and our events.  She was full of ideas about how to do things in new, exciting ways.  She also served as our liaison to the Mary Elizabeth Inn in San Francisco.
  • Kat Teraji has been such a calm presence on the team.  Although she has been offline for chemo treatments this last year, her spiritual thoughtfulness has benefited us in previous years.  She gave an awesome sermon at our 2018 Mission Springs Sunday worship.