By Julie Walters
BALTIMORE (BP) — Celebrating historic milestones and the highest offering ever for international missions was the focus of national WMU’s report to the Southern Baptist Convention.
Wanda Lee, WMU‘s executive director/treasurer, and Debby Akerman, national president, said WMU wrapped up a yearlong celebration of their 125th anniversary at this year’s missions celebration, June 8-9, complete with historic tours in the area.
Days prior to the gathering, 100 people toured sites in Virginia significant to Lottie Moon and her legacy as a pioneer missionary to China, and on June 9 some 600 people toured sites around Baltimore where Annie Armstrong lived and worked as the first leader for WMU, which was founded in 1888.
On June 8, WMU in conjunction with the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board sponsored the first joint commissioning service at a national event in 25 years, encompassing more than 100 new missionaries.
“It is a privilege to work with the two mission boards to inspire and challenge churches to share the Gospel with a waiting world,” Lee said. “Will you join us? The world is truly in desperate need of the Gospel and we have it in our hands.”
WMU also celebrated and thanked Southern Baptists for the largest amount ever given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, more than $154 million in 2013.
“When the women organized as WMU in 1888 and accepted the challenge of raising funds for a church in Cuba and for women to help Lottie Moon in China,” Akerman said, “I know they never dreamed an offering of this size would be the result many years later. And yet, because they were faithful in their day, we have the opportunity to continue their legacy today in our giving.”
Lee reported that during the WMU missions celebration on Monday, Akerman of Myrtle Beach, S.C., was re-elected to a fifth and final term as president of national WMU, and Linda Cooper of Bowling Green, Ky., was elected as recording secretary. Cooper follows Rosalie Hunt of Guntersville, Ala., a retired international missionary who served as recording secretary the past five years.
Julie Walters is the corporate communications team leader for WMU (Woman’s Missionary Union), based in Birmingham, Ala.