FLORENCE—After dealing with a heartbreaking event in her family, Missy Faulkner Brown approached the Rev. Meg Bryce Jiunnies about developing an event that would reach out to other women at their church and in their community.
As she noted, it is apparent in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement there is some uncertainty about what happens after stories are shared. As Christians, we want to hear where we find God in the midst of tragic circumstances. We want to go beyond #MeToo.
Central United Methodist Church held their Beyond #MeToo event April 12. The event was organized by Women Wanting Wisdom, a women’s ministry group at Central that focuses on women of all ages and in all stages of life with the purpose of providing Christian support and nurture using periodic series, retreats and events. Sharing honest stories of struggles, and encouraging conversations in which women share life wisdom as well as their faith story, is the starting point for these events. Brown and Jiunnies, along with former pastor at Central, the Rev. Cynthia Taylor, began the ministry group in 2011.
Beyond #MeToo started as a discussion, an idea to bring an event that combined testimonies of survivors, sound advice and resources, good food, good music and lots of door prizes.
Brown and Jiunnies realized there were several high-school aged women at Central who had endured challenging circumstances. The young women each shared their brave and inspirational stories at the event, allowing the 175 attendees to hear their testimonies of turning to God and seeking professional help, as well as being supported by their Christian community.
The event was organized by a Women’s Task Force that was developed with the help of Linda Segars, Central’s director of adult and family ministries, and included women of various ages and experience. The group divided to oversee the music, food, door prizes, testimonies and resources available at the event, as well as publicity, ticket sales, decorations, donations and additional fundraisers. More than 40 donations were received from local businesses to be used as door prizes including original art, art prints, carwash certificates, beauty products, jewelry, exercise class certificates, manicure certificates and much more.
The CARE House of the Pee Dee, a child advocacy center in Florence, was chosen as a partner for the evening. They provided additional resources and received the money raised through ticket sales and donations for the event. The Pee Dee Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Assault was also highlighted as a resource. The Beyond #MeToo event encouraged not only important discussion, but also seeking help if needed. Books covering topics such as eating disorders, depression, grief and prevention of child abuse were highlighted from Central’s Schofield Library.
God was at the center of the discussion and testimonies. Each speaker emphasized the importance of women seeing themselves as beloved children of God.
One speaker shared during her testimony, “I had never felt so lost in my life or defeated in my life, and I can vividly remember seeing one person who was with me who seemed to know me extremely well. His name is Jesus.”
For information on developing a similar event, contact Jiunnies at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-662-3218.