By Brant Mills, Director of Communications

With a rich history of leadership and service within the organization, Stacie Hawkins brings a wealth of experience and vision to her new role as President of the South Central Jurisdiction for United Women in Faith. Hawkins has been active in the organization since 1994 and has held leadership roles at every level.

As a cradle United Methodist, Hawkins was baptized at St. Mary’s UMC in Houston and raised at McKinney Memorial UMC in La Marque. She said she thought all women were part of UMW. “It was just a part of being in church. My grandmother would make crafts to sell at the local bank on Saturdays to raise funds for her local circle. Women were leaders at school and in the community, and they were also actively leading the church, so I always attributed what was then United Methodist Women to leadership. That’s really how I was drawn into the organization in the beginning.”

Later, when she joined Windsor Village UMC, it was natural for her to become an active member. Her dedication and leadership led her to becoming District President in 2000. From there she held roles of Conference Spiritual Growth Coordinator from 2004-2008, Secretary of the South Central Jurisdiction from 2008-2012 and then National Board of Directors 2012-2020. From 2023-2024 She served as VP for the Conference and has now accepted the role of President for the South Central Jurisdiction from 2024-2028.

“I’ve been blessed to work at every level of the organization,” Hawkins noted. “Being involved at the district and local church has always been fun work and rewarding… Back then our district had over 40 local churches and all were going out and ensuring each local church had what it needed. From Lake Jackson, to Jerusalem, Jordan, and Palestine, I have been around the world, and am so grateful for it.”

“I’ve seen how ladies do mission at every level,” she continued. “We all have the same goals, but how does that look in different districts, and across the conference? We’re able to come together as a whole and do great things together.” 

And she is passionate about their work. “United Women in Faith offers resources to groups of ladies and to individuals, she added. “We are taught to be leaders in the church and in our communities. And there are opportunities to gather as a body and train in person through leadership development days on different topics with different foci and help ladies to grow in leadership overall.” 

She says people are probably more familiar with their local mission projects such as assembling kits to help others in need, but noted they also have an advocacy arm.

“Here in Texas, groups from different conferences attend a legislative event in Austin for 3 days on different topics. We hear from speakers and learn about important issues such as education, women’s reproductive rights, the school to prison pipeline… topics that are at the forefront of our important conversations. We learn about current legislation and visit the capital for a day. This is hosted by Texas Impact, a group that helps with advocacy work for ecumenical organizations.”

“We’re interested in what’s going on today and closely follow issues involving racial justice, social justice, climate change, and other advocacy issues.” These are things Hawkins believes younger women in the church are really interested in and she says there are real opportunities for them to engage. “I think that as we open up what is possible, more and more will get involved,” she concluded.

At her installation ceremony, some of Hawkins’ family members were able to attend. She was happy that her mother, her aunt, and two cousins were present. “United Women in Faith often has strong ties across generations. At the SCJ Meeting, I saw so many family members attending together, and it’s important to continue sharing our ministry together in this way.” 

Hawkins also said that she sees her current role as setting an example of leadership, showing joy in service, and offering encouragement and cheerleading to those wanting to be involved across annual conferences. “I really want them to understand how the work they do is important and very much needed… We’ve lost connection with some during the pandemic, and renewing those relationships is important… Also, when I first became a part of the ministry there was a strong relationship with female clergy. I think we’ve lost some of that too and I’d love to see the UWF be stronger connected to support to one another and help strengthen one another in ministry.”

For those wanting to learn how to get connected, she says they can always reach out to their local conference or district or to her directly. “I see that as part of my purpose too – getting ladies reconnected and helping them find the resources they need… I’m excited for this new journey and I want the ladies of our jurisdiction to feel the excitement I feel and to get as excited about our organization as I am!”