Honoring a mission of service that began with the group's charter in 1880, the United Methodist and Congregational Women of West Chicago, led by current President Judith Horsley, has been a quiet yet powerful force for good in the community at home and around the world.
Recently, Horsley took time out of a packed schedule which included serving the annual holiday lunch for the West Chicago Lions Club, assisting the less fortunate who find food and shelter at the First United Methodist Church every Thursday night from October through May through DuPage PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), and making visits to the DuPage County Convalescent Center to offer friendship and cheer to residents, to talk about the group and its tradition of service.
She, along with the 31 other active members who represent a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and religious affiliations, meet monthly at the church located at 643 E. Washington St. to share creative and supportive fellowship and plan their schedule of charitable acts.
"We're just a group of women who enjoy helping people, and who have a lot of fun doing it," said Horsley.
That is an understatement when compared to the impressive list of charitable organizations the UMCW supported this year through vigorous fundraising events that included Lenten calendar and pecan pie bake sale, an annual rummage sale, an annual bazaar and luncheon, and more.
The group was responsible for donating over 200 items, including hats, mittens and gloves, to needy students from West Chicago School District 33 and adopting a family for Christmas through Winfield Township.
Hand-made pillows are crafted and delivered on a regular basis to breast cancer patients at Central DuPage Hospital. "There is such a need in this area, we can't make them fast enough," said Horsley.
Their reach extends further to regional organizations like Lifespring in Aurora, which assists abused women and children in transition; and global ministries that sponsor two children each year from Haiti and South America through Compassion International.
"The children we sponsor write to ask us for a photo of ourselves so they can feel connected to those of us on the other side of the world that care for them. That 'compassion communication' is an important part of the support we provide."
Horsley stresses the inclusive nature of the group that welcomes members from all backgrounds, walks of life and surrounding communities. Anyone interested in joining may contact Horsley through the church secretary by calling (630) 231-3344.
"The rewards are boundless," she said, "you end up feeling so good about what you are doing to serve others it becomes something of a guilty pleasure."
This well deserved recognition for the efforts of the United Methodist and Congregational Women of West Chicago, who are raising the bar for our community, coincides with a milestone for the First United Methodist Church of West Chicago that celebrated its 175th anniversary this past September. Congratulations!