Reading Program

Reading Program 20202020 Reading Program

The Reading Program is a cherished United Methodist Women tradition that brings together members in mission as they explore, share and discuss the books.

Go to the UMW Reading Program page to find two versions (printable and online-book style) of the Catalog for 2020.  The Catalog has a description of the Program, and summaries of the books for the five categories:

  • spiritual growth
  • mission
  • social action & advocacy
  • leadership development
  • nurture for community

Note that the Program includes books for children & youth, and books in Spanish and Korean languages. The Mission u study books are “bonus books” – they count for double!

Your Program Resources Coordinator, Carolyn Bircher, has prepared a condensed 2020 book list which also shows nominal pricing and our regional library availability.

Books from the 2020 list, as well as 5 previous years, qualify for this year’s program.  See lists for the previous years at the UMW Reading Program page.

You can connect with other readers in the “United Methodist Women” group at

2020 Reading Program Sampler

When Others ShudderedWhen Others Shuddered:  Eight Women Who Refused to Give Up by Jamie Janosz

Learn about eight women (Fanny Crosby, Mary McLeod Bethune, Nettie McCormick, Sarah Dunn Clarke, Emma Dryer, Virginia Asher, Evangeline Booth and Amanda Berry Smith) who were called to serve God and change the world. Their stories inspire us to follow God’s calling in our own lives and teach us that each individual person can make a difference.

(Education for Mission)

Which Way, Lord?Which Way Lord? Exploring Your Life’s Purpose in the Journeys of Paul by Rob Fuquay

As Christians, we hunger to live out God’s purpose for our lives. But how do we know we are moving in the right direction? This study will help you understand God’s desire for your life by unpacking your experiences alongside those of the apostle Paul.

Discover how to:

  • Discern and follow God’s lead
  • Explore ways God can use your life experiences
  • Respond to God’s signals
  • Endure hardships and doubts
  • Persevere with hope and faith.

(Leadership Development)

Aging Of AquariusThe Aging of Aquarium: Igniting Passion and Purpose as an Elder by Helen Wilkes

Your career has wound down, the kids have moved out and your schedule is clear… for the next 30 years. Now, with the rest of your life ahead, you can make this next stage of your life the most powerful yet. But where to start? Helen Wilkes, a retired professor and activist, takes readers on an inspiring journey to find renewed purpose in retirement, helping readers as they transition to a post-work identity.

(Nurturing for Community)

Storming The WallStorming the Wall:  Climate Change, Migration and Homeland Security by Todd Miller

This book connects the dots between climate-ravaged communities, the  corporations cashing in on border militarization, and emerging movements for environmental justice and sustainability. Reporting from the flashpoints of climate clashes and from likely sites of futures battles, Miller chronicles a growing system of militarized divisions. Stories of crisis, greed and violence are juxtaposed with powerful examples of solidarity and hope in this urgent and timely message.

(Social Action)

We Pray With HerWe Pray With Her:  Encouragement For All Women Who Lead by Emily Peck-McClain, Danyelle Trexler, Jen Tyler, J. Paige Boyer and Shannon Sullivan

Leading while female can be incredibly life-giving and spiritually fulfilling—but also lonely and difficult. In a world of glass ceilings, harassment,  and “boy’s clubs,” women— both established leaders and those just starting up the ladder—need support and encouragement. This inspiring devotional is a collection of 100 entries written by women faith leaders of a grassroots-movement-turned-online-collective. You’ll be emboldened to support one another as you strive to live God’s calling. Favorite sermons given by the author. This is the 6th book in a series by Rev. Marjorie E. Palmer.

(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 your favorite bookseller. Many are also available at your local library.
  • 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. Reporting your Reading Program

In late Summer 2020, our Program Resources Coordinator, Carolyn Bircher, will request a report of your Reading Program participation.

If you have read at least one book from each of the five UMW Reading Program categories since September, 2019, you will be asked to submit a list of the books that you read to Carolyn Bircher so you can be recognized at our District UMW 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. 2019 and August 31, 2020.  Books read from lists going back to 2015 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.

If you found any of the books to be particularly inspiring, please add a sentence to tell us how it moved you.  I’m looking forward to receiving your book lists.

4. 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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