December 5, 2019
Living a Life of Service in Brewton
Irene Johnson presents a certificate while Brenda Stallworth speaks.
Trainer Irene Johnson has been part of Communities of Transformation in Brewton from the beginning. Her dedication is no surprise to the people who know her. Site coordinator Shae Hines says, "Irene truly loves what she does! She goes above and beyond for Communities of Transformation without ever expecting anything in return."
Irene is a retired social worker who stays busy helping others. She volunteers with Christ Kingdom ministry center in Brewton where she works in the food pantry. She often cooks meals for the elderly. Irene volunteers with Escambia County Habitat for Humanity, too. But Tuesday nights are reserved for Communities of Transformation meetings where she works alongside Brenda Stallworth to teach Awaken classes. Thank you, Irene, for a life of service!
A Positive Outlook in Phenix City
Rev. Ralph Wooten serves Communities of Transformation in Phenix City in so many ways! Lately he has led classes in Appreciative Inquiry. Have you wondered why negative comments and conversations stick with us for so long after they occur? Our bodies have very different physical reactions to criticism and negative conversations than we do to praise and positive conversations. We can’t undo the past, but we can make changes in the present to create a better future. Appreciative Inquiry is about looking for the best in people and in situations; it is a perspective shift that allows us to make positive changes. For Communities of Transformation, Appreciative Inquiry is a method our members can use to create lasting change. At weekly meetings, that means we begin with good news end with affirmations to set up a framework for positive thinking.
There are five basic principles of Appreciative Inquiry:
- Words Create Worlds- what we think about shapes our reality
- Inquiry Creates Change- when we ask a question, we begin to change
- We Can Choose What We Study- what we learn about creates our reality
- Image Inspires Action- we get more of what we focus on
- Positive Questions Lead to Positive Change-looking for the best
When we shape our conversations in a way that leads to a positive outlook, we become calmer and happier. Think about how you can use these ideas for more positive thinking!
Connecting with United Methodist Women
The Alabama-West Florida Conference UMW Spiritual Enrichment Retreat at Blue Lake on October 11-13 gave attendees some insight into Communities of Transformation. Reba Wiley, former site coordinator for Communities of Transformation Pine Hill, was the speaker. The theme was "Love in Action," and Reba spoke about loving God, loving ourselves, and loving others. Reba talked about Communities of Transformation as a way of loving others. After their Saturday night dinner, Reba asked members to arrange their chairs in a circle and share good news, just like members do at COT meetings. Reba and Katy Wrona shared about Communities of Transformation, then the evening closed with affirmations.
In South Walton, we are grateful for Kate Smart. She's been with us from the beginning, first as a volunteer and Leadership Team member, and now as an Awaken student. Every week, Kate arrives at our host site an hour and a half early to start setting up, and stays late to help make sure all the dinnerware gets reorganized and put away neatly. She is passionate about hospitality and often brings extra decorations or signs with inspirational messages to make our folks feel welcome. She is also passionate about making sure we are guarding each other's dignity in the process of helping. In fact, it was our initial book study of Helping Without Hurting in Church Benevolence that got her fired up about helping to launch Communities of Transformation in South Walton. She often opens our Leadership Team meetings with the most thoughtful prayers, and she has made an effort to get to know many of our COT members one-on-one outside of our weekly Tuesday night gatherings. With her humble, open and courageous spirit, she lives out every day our conviction that we are all on a journey of transformation. It's hard to imagine COT without her!
Remembering Mrs. Irby in Pine Hill
Mrs. Irby surrounded by COT friends at the library
On November 10, 2019, the Pine Hill site lost one of our precious members, our beloved Lora Irby. She will be truly missed by COT, UMW, Junior Achievement, and her home church. Mrs. Irby was very active in the community. She was always ready and willing to help wherever the need was, especially with small children. Please remember her family in your prayers.
December 3- EAT South Growing Your Own Food presentation in Montgomery
December 4- Luncheon in Evergreen
December 5- Cookie Swap in Evergreen
December 7- Gift Hope alternative gift fair in Montgomery
December 10- Christmas Potluck in Montgomery; Celebration in South Walton; Meeting with DHR in Mobile
December 14- Wreaths Across America Event in South Walton
December 15- Senior Citizens' banquet in Pine Hill
December 16- Ecumenical Service of Remembrance and Healing at Community Church in South Walton at 1 p.m
December 17- Christmas party in Phenix City
January 11- Awaken workshop in Dothan
January 20- MLK Day Walk in Pine Hill; Day of Service in Montgomery
January 25- COPE event in South Walton
January 28- Taste and See in Pine Hill