It all started when...
United Methodist Women today inherit the vision and toil of women’s missionary societies of eight denominations since 1869. Its 145-year legacy started when the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society first organized in Boston in response to a lack of women’s health in India.
In 1880, we find the first record of women's activity in Plano Methodist Church. Mrs. Abbie Allen, Secretary of the Dallas District of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society met with five charter members. This was the second society to be organized in the North Texas Conference. The meeting was held in the home of Mrs. L.E.R. (Louise) Schimelpfenig and those present were: Mrs. J.H. Bowman, Mrs. Eliza Bowman, Mrs. W.D. McFarlin, Mrs. Kate Mister and Mrs. Schimelpfenig. The name of the society has been changed many times, but was first known as Woman's Parsonage and Home Missionary Society.
In 1884, The Juvenile Missionary and Aid Society for Girls was organized by Mrs. Fred Schimelpfenig with twenty charter members. The society met one Sunday afternoon each month for fourteen years in the Schimelpfenig home. More than a thousand dollars was contributed to the missions by members of this Juvenile Society through the years. They also purchased and presented to the church its first silver Sacramental Set.
Mrs. Schimelpfenig also organized and taught the Young Ladies' Sunday School Class between the years 1882 and 1907. She kept a record of the class Bible readings, prayer life, and all of its activities, and in 1908, the class was named in her honor. Mrs. Schimelpfenig also served as church organist for a time, as did her daughter, Irene. Mrs. Irene Schimelpfenig Schell (Mrs. A. R. Schell, Jr.) was active and a very special member of First United Methodist Church in Plano, along with her son, A. R. Schell, III, and his family, until her death in January of 1983.
A Boys' Juvenile Missionary Society was organized by Mrs. Dora Bowman in 1887. The meetings were held in her home on Sunday afternoons. This group lasted eleven years. In 1901, Richard Bowman gave a thousand dollars toward establishing a Methodist Mission School in Crenfuegas, Cuba. The school was named Eliza Bowman School, honoring the memory of his mother.
A Young Woman's Missionary Society was organized in 1902 aided by Mrs. Schimelpfenig and Mrs. Bowman, known as Golden Links, and May Dye and Ruby Kendrick were charter members of this society.
During the summer revival in 1902, May and Ruby dedicated their lives to missionary service in the foreign field. Following their graduation from Scarritt Bible and Training School, they received appointments from the Board of Missions to their respective fields of work. Ruby was assigned to Korea, her chosen field of service, at her request. Only eight months later she died and was buried in Korea. Inscribed on her tombstone were her own words: "If I had a thousand lives to give, Korea should have them all."
May Dye received her appointment to Brazil in 1907. Four years later she married Reverend C. L. Smith, a missionary stationed at Puerto Allegre, Brazil. Their marriage was blessed with five children: three sons and two daughters. May Dye passed away December 4, l967; however, her children continue to carry on missionary work today. Her eldest son, Dr. Wilburn Smith, was ordained a Bishop. One of her daughters, Gladys, married John Betts, and they spent most of their married life in the missionary field in Brazil where they still reside. They are now retired.
In 1944 Minnie “Mitzi” Mae Bomar dedicated her life to full time missionary service. Following her college work at Texas State College for Women (now Texas Women’s University), she entered Scarritt Bible and Training School in Nashville, Tennessee. She also attended Kennedy School of Missions at Hartford, Connecticut for special training on India, at the Missionary Conference held at Buck Falls, Pennsylvania. She served as a village Evangelist in the Unkarrabad District of the Hyderabad Annual Conference. In 1951, she married Richard E. Sturges, a teacher in the Methodist Mission School in Gulbarge, Deccar, South India. Mitzi passed away in 2009.
Mrs. Irene Schell, daughter of Mrs. L. E. R. Schimelpfenig passed away in 1983. To memorialize her life, United Methodist Women organized an Irene Schell Circle. Tot George Dickson served as President of the Women’s Society of Christian Service from 1957-1960, in what is now the North Texas Conference.
Mrs. Augusta Angel, a former President of the Wesleyan Service Guild, was famous for her visitation of new members and for her service. She regularly baked birthday cakes for all the children enrolled in the Plano International Pre-School and when the Guild merged with WSCS in 1973-74, to form United Methodist Women, its members formed a circle in her honor and named it the Wesleyan Angels.
In 2003, the Executive Board voted to retire “Christina Bowen” as a circle name and to replace it with “Linda Graves.” The late Linda Graves, wife of former First Plano pastor Dr. Tom Graves, was especially dedicated to mission work and to UMW.
Traditionally, United Methodist Women circles at First Plano bear the names of women from our church. They are women who have led outstanding lives dedicated to mission: L.E.R. Schimelpfenig, May Dye, Irene Schell, Ruby Kendrick, Gladys Betts, Mitzi Bomar, Augusta Angel, Mitzi Bomar, and Linda Graves. This tradition continues today.
In 2009, our first youth circle was formed and named after Charline Chronister. Charline is a member of two circles: Wesleyan Angels and Ruby Kendrick, has held many board positions including Unit President, member of the Chancel Choir, and head of the Quilts for Kids program. She is a tireless member of our church and is much loved throughout the congregation.
In 2010, the Bettye Dunbar circle was formed by women with young children who wanted an opportunity to come together for mission work and fellowship. The circle’s namesake, Bettye Dunbar was UMW Unit President for 2002-2003. Bettye was a Mission Recognition recipient in 2000. She was known for her smile and for her love of teaching. Bettye, a retired teacher, was the English Coordinator for Plano Independent School District. In 1970, she was named Plano's first Teacher of the Year. In 1971, she was recognized as Texas Teacher of the Year. At First Plano, Bettye was the teacher of an adult Sunday school class and led numerous Discipleship Bible studies.” Bettye passed away in 2004.
For several years, UMW at FirstChurch Plano has included a circle of Hispanic women that meets regularly. The circle meets for fellowship, Bible study and mission work within their community. In 2010, the Executive Board voted to rename this circle the Mary Alice Garza Circle. Mary Alice is an active member of our UMW unit, and a long-time member of First Plano. She served as UMW Unit President in 1990 and 1991, and a Mission Recognition recipient in 1991. She has continued her work with UMW at the District and Conference level. She currently is an active member of the Irene Schell Circle.
In 2014, the May Dye Circle reluctantly decided to disband. The remaining three members joined other circles.
United Methodist Women of First Plano is one of the largest units of women in North Texas with 10 active circles and over 230 members. We continue to be a major force in mission locally, nationally and internationally. Mission work is a spiritual enterprise. There is little interest in mission when the spiritual tide runs low. Our unit has a wonderful heritage.
GLADYS BETTS Circle: 3rd Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the Parlor
Elaine Nunez, 972-422-4445, firstname.lastname@example.org
MITZI BOMAR Circle: 3rd Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in member homes
Tish Mulkey, 972-424-1404, email@example.com
CHARLINE CHRONISTER Circle, (Youth circle): Wednesday Evenings, Open
BETTYE DUNBAR Circle: 2nd Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in church parlor (childcare provided with reservation)
Connie Calhoun-Amox, 972-633-2560, firstname.lastname@example.org
MARY ALICE GARZA Circle (Spanish-Speaking Circle): Meet in Parlor; frequency varies
Teresa Gonzalez, 214-550-6673, email@example.com
LINDA GRAVES Circle: Day, time and location vary
Heidi Lawrence, 972-423-8986, firstname.lastname@example.org
RUBY KENDRICK Circle: 3rd Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. in church parlor
Debbie Hollingshead/Doris Mott
IRENE SCHELL Circle: 3rd Thursday at 7 p.m in church parlor
Mary Alice Garza, 972-596-3534, email@example.com
L.E.R. SCHIMELPFENIG Circle: 2nd Monday at 7 p.m. in member homes
Linda Irby, 972-881-2370, firstname.lastname@example.org
WESLEYAN ANGELS Circle: 2nd Monday at 2:30 p.m. in church parlor
Diane Johnson, 972-423-5403, email@example.com
President: Tiffany Seitz
Vice President: OPEN
Website & Facebook: Becky Smith
Publicity: Connie Calhoun-Amox
Nominations: Connie Calhoun-Amox
Program Resources: Kristy Boog-Scott
Membership Nurture & Outreach: Anne Puhala
Social Action: Mary Alice Garza
Spiritual Growth: Roxie Lara
Historian: Jill Stoel
Yearbook: Connie Calhoun-Amox and Kris Wieland
1880 Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society
1886 Woman’s Department of Church Extension
1890 Woman’s Parsonage and Home Missions Society
1900 Woman’s Home Mission Society
1912 Woman’s Foreign Mission and Home Missions Society
1940 Women’s Society of Christian Service
1973 United Methodist Women