United Women in Faith Reading Program


2023 Reading Program

The Reading Program is a cherished United Women in Faith (United Methodist Women) tradition that encourages us to read some excellent books that promote the priorities of UWF. It brings together members in mission as they explore, share and discuss the books. The books are grouped into categories as follows:

  • Education for Mission
  • Leadership Development
  • Nurturing for Community
  • Social Action and Advocacy
  • Spiritual Growth

Go to the UWF Reading Program page to find the 2023 Reading Program Catalog in .pdf form.  The Catalog has a description of the Program, and summaries of the books for the five categories, as described above.

For your convenience, we have attached condensed, printable lists of the books that includes prices and availability at your local library.

Note that the Program includes books for children & youth, and books in Spanish and Korean languages. Any of those books may be counted. Many of the books are available as audio books or e-books. The Mission u study books are “bonus books” – they count for double!  In addition, Faith Talks podcasts* count toward the Spiritual Growth category.

Selections can be from the 2018* to the 2023 reading lists if not included in previous reports. See lists for the previous years linked above or at the UWF Reading Program page.

For more info, see the Frequently Asked Questions below.


Book Reviews

The following is a sampling of a book review. For more book reviews, see the book review archives here.

Finding Jesus At the Border – by Julia Lambert Fogg. As Californians, we grapple with the complex issues of immigration.  It is heart wrenching to consider life challenges so severe that they motivate people to leave everything they know in order to take a long, dangerous journey to a land that likely won’t welcome them.

Julia Fogg is a pastor and New Testament scholar who has been serving immigrant families in Southern California for a number of years.  In her book, “Finding Jesus at the Border,”…

Read more…

2023 Reading Program Sampler

The following sections contain a sample of a book in each category.

Education for Mission

“I Am a Man”: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice, by Joe Starita. In 1877, Chief Standing Bear’s Ponca Indian tribe was forcibly removed from their Nebraska homeland and marched to what was then known as Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), in what became the tribe’s own Trail of Tears. “I Am a Man” chronicles what happened when Standing Bear set off on a six-hundred-mile walk to return the body of his only son to their traditional burial ground. Along the way, it examines the complex relationship between the United States government and the small, peaceful tribe and the legal consequences of land swaps and broken treaties, while never losing sight of the heartbreaking journey the Ponca endured. It is a story of survival—of a people left for dead who arose from the ashes of injustice, disease, neglect, starvation, humiliation, and termination. On another level, it is a story of life and death, despair and fortitude, freedom and patriotism. A story of Christian kindness and bureaucratic evil. And it is a story of hope—of a people still among us today, painstakingly preserving a cultural identity that had sustained them for centuries before their encounter with Lewis and Clark in the fall of 1804. Read more on goodreads ..

Leadership Development

Change Sings: a Children’s Anthem, by Amanda Gorman. A lyrical picture book debut from Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman and illustrator Loren Long

“I can hear change humming
In its loudest, proudest song.
I don’t fear change coming,
And so I sing along.”


In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by inaugural Youth Poet Laureate and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves. (from goodreads).

Nurturing for Community

Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, by Vivek H. Murthy.

In this groundbreaking book, Murthy argues that loneliness is the underpinning to the current crisis in mental wellness and is responsible for the upsurge in suicide, the opioid epidemic, the overuse of psych meds, the over-diagnosing and pathologizing of emotional and psychological struggle. The good news is that social connection is innate and a cure for loneliness. In Together, the 19th Surgeon General will address the importance of community and connection and offer viable and actionable solutions to this overlooked epidemic. (from goodreads)

Social Action

Black Was the Ink, by Michelle Coles. Forgotten heroes still leave their mark.

Malcolm Williams hasn’t been okay for a while. He’s angry and despondent and feels like nothing good ever happens for teens like him in D.C. All he wants is to be left alone in his room for the summer to draw or play video games–but no such luck. With growing violence in his neighborhood, his mother ships him off to his father’s family farm in Mississippi, and Malcolm is anything but pleased.

A few days after his arrival, his great-aunt tells him that the State is acquiring the farm to widen a highway. It’s not news Malcolm is concerned about, but someone plans to make it his concern. One minute Malcolm is drawing in the farmhouse attic, and the next he’s looking through the eyes of his ancestor Cedric Johnson in 1866.

Read more on goodreads ….

Spiritual Growth

Until Unity, by Rev. Francis Chan.

New York Times-bestselling author Francis Chan calls for believers and churches everywhere to align our hearts with God and start taking seriously His numerous commands to unify.
 
It is absolutely clear from Scripture that God passionately desires supernatural unity within His Church. Unity is what Jesus prays for, what He commands, and what He says will be our greatest witness to the world.

If unity is so important to the heart of God, why is the Church one of the most divided groups on earth? While many believe doctrine is at the root of the problem, Francis argues that the real problem is the shallowness or non-existence of our love for each other—rooted in a shallowness in our understanding of the gospel. This is what desperately needs to change.

Read more on goodreads …


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 September of one year through August of the following year.

  • September – The new book list is published on the UWF website reading program page and in the October issue of “Response”. Purchase the books through your favorite bookseller. Many are also available at your local library.
  • September of the current year 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 of the next year – Report your participation in the Reading Program to your unit, who will in turn send a report to the ECRD Reading Program Coordinator, Carolyn Bircher . (Each unit will receive a request for this report in late August.)
  • October – Annual Celebration! Certificates for Reading Program participation are given.

3. Reporting your Reading Program

In late Summer, our ECRD Reading Program Coordinator will request a report of your Reading Program participation.

If you have read at least one book from each of the five UWF Reading Program categories since the previous September, you submit a list of the books that you read to the ECRD Reading Program Coordinator so you can be recognized at our District UWF Annual Celebration.  You may use the Reading Program Reporting Form found here or just send an email with your name, church name and the list of titles read.

You may count books read between Sept. 1 and August 31.  Books read from lists going back for 5 years may be counted as long as they weren’t counted in previous years.  Youth and children’s books may be counted.  Mission u textbooks also may be counted. Faith Talks podcasts count toward the Spiritual Growth category: listening to two podcasts counts as one book; listening to three counts as a bonus book.

If you found any of the books to be particularly inspiring, please add a sentence to tell us how it moved you. 

4. How can I find other UWF members to discuss the books with?  Several of the units in our district host book clubs.  Contact the Reading Program Coordinator to get contact information for those groups.  Or, better yet, start a group in your unit.  Also, the national UWF leadership has started book talks with some of the authors.  To receive information about UWF Reading Program events throughout the year, click here and subscribe.

5. Who can I contact if I have other questions about the Reading Program?
Please contact your ECRD Reading Program Coordinator, Carolyn Bircher .

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