In the year of our Lord 1888, the male delegates of the Southern Baptist Convention met at First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, for their annual convention. A group of Baptist women coming from many states, but united in their focus on support of Southern Baptist missionaries, also gathered. The women were determined to follow their hearts and to unite in prayer and financial support for this embryonic mission effort. It was time to come together. They walked one block to Broad Street Methodist Church where they were given a place to meet. In a nutshell, that historic walk marks the beginning of an organism still united in the support of missions today. What a walk of faith for the women of 1888!
Just a few years ago, the WMU Foundation launched a creative way to mark the legacy of WMU’s history. The proposed visual effort would enable today’s women to remember and honor faithful women who, for over 130 years, have carried out the original vision. Today’s WMU organizations and members continue to pray for, financially support, be actively involved in, and point others to Christ. These committed women have found their missions passion, and they serve with as much determination as the founding mothers. Over the years, WMU has been constantly evolving to meet the changing challenges each year brings. Many are the women who walk across the years of our history. The brick Walk of Faith that the WMU Foundation imagined is a creative way for today’s women to remember and recognize life-influencers.
In 2019, the first bricks were laid on the beautiful campus of the WMU headquarters on New Hope Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama. All who travel to WMU’s home may stroll on a beautiful brick walk that links the women (and men) of the past with the promise of the future. As people walk along the path, they notice the words of dedication etched in each brick. Some bricks along the walk were purchased by individuals to honor those who have personally influenced their lives. Other bricks were given by WMU groups to honor their leaders, or given by individuals to honor their WMU organizations. Families have donated bricks in honor of the dedicated service a family member has made through WMU. The reasons for the bricks on the walk go on and on as more people learn of its purpose and as they want to honor an influence in their lives.
And, now, it is the Year of our Lord 2022. The same Lord who emboldened and inspirited the women of 1888 is the Lord who does the same for today’s women. What better time than now for the women of 2022 to reflect on missions influencers and to place a brick or bricks in their honor?
The WMU Walk of Faith not only evokes remembrances but also generates revenue to support national WMU. Those who stroll along the Walk of Faith will be blessed; WMU will be strengthened in their ministries.
Visit wmufoundation.com/walkoffaith to learn more about how to honor your own missions heroes.
By Sylvia DeLoach, national WMU retiree and former WMU Foundation board member.