Report on “Connect And Learn — Joy for the Journey”

Once again, United Methodist Women from all over El Camino Real District (and beyond) discovered that, even if they weren’t feeling as well as they would like, they could still come to our annual leadership training day on Saturday,  February 5, because they could attend from the comfort of home on Zoom!

Our guest speaker was Marlene Ward, who has held many local, district and conference UMW offices over the years and who is now a member of the UMW National Program Advisory Group, representing all of the UMW members of the California-Nevada Conference.  The theme of her talk gave us a smile –  “Leadership!!! – Me???”  No doubt about it, the word “leadership” is a scary word.  Many of us don’t like to stand in front of a crowd.  We’d rather sit way in the back, unnoticed.  But Marlene says that God whispers, “I will take you through it all.” We may not feel that we are “leadership” material, but Marlene congratulated us for signing up for “Connect & Learn.”  The fact that we were there (and that you are reading this article) means that UMW matters to us.

Marlene Ward

Marlene herself credits other people who saw something in her, some “gifts and graces” that she wasn’t aware were hers.  She admits that while she is neither a visionary nor an “imaginer,” she is a good organizer, and that is her strong point.  She knows how to move the “pieces” around to make them fit.  On the other hand, she knows that she is not a good proofreader, so she asks others for help in doing that.  If you accept a leadership role, you do not have to be a one-woman band.  If you would like to review Marlene Ward’s Presentation, it is available here.

The format of the morning included two “break-out rooms” and, fortunately, one of those was a “talk back” session with Marlene where we could comment on her presentation.  There were two music video breaks during the morning.   The young girl singing “I’ve Got Joy” had us up and dancing.  The virtual choir’s rendition of “I Believe In The Sun,” sung together by several members of San Jose United Methodist churches, was so beautiful that we wanted to hear it again.  You may hear it at this address –

— Bonnie Home, Almaden Hills UMW