UWF presents annual Special Mission Recognitions

St. Stephen UMC   -  

On Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024, St. Stephen’s United Women in Faith unit presented their annual Special Mission Recognitions. These recognitions honor members of the church family who have gone above and beyond in their devotion to church life and community missions.

If you missed the presentations, you can read more about each of the honorees below.

Al Monroe

Our first recipient has been a long-time resident of Charlotte and a member of St. Stephen since the early 1970s when Rev. Jim Armstrong was our pastor.

This person was Chair of the Administrative Board back when Genie Warner was our choir director. He has also served on the Finance Committee, Stewardship and Nominations Committees. These committees are essential to keeping this church running smoothly and enabling us to carry out our missions. He installed siding on many a Habitat house for 10-15 years. He delivered plants to guests as part of the Welcome Committee for years. The purpose of this program was to show first time visitors how important they are to us.

He delivered Friendship Trays for over 15 years. Thus, providing a good meal to needly folks around the city.  He is a frequent usher — helping all of us in the sanctuary. Our Room in the Inn program provides food and shelter for homeless people and our honoree is a frequent Overnight Host for our Room in the Inn program. He taught computer science at Central Piedmont for 10 years and applied that knowledge to helping senior members of the congregations learn to use their computers.

He is perhaps most loved for his kind and generous care of others by visiting shut ins to give support and encouragement to them and their care givers. He has personally transported many a church member to numerous medical appointments. In fact, at Dick Dunn’s funeral last November, Dick’s son, Richard, stood right here and thanked many people for helping to care for Dick and Charlotte and the first person he thanked was our honoree. The person we honor today frequently states, “He would rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” Stop and think about that for a moment.  And he believes in the value of walking with people rather than merely showing them the way. Important words for all of us to live by.

He is one of those people who works quietly and never wants praise or recognition.

He is a member of the Expressions Class. He is the husband of Deloris, father to Jill and David and grandfather of two.

Our honoree is Al Monroe.

— Written and presented by Donna Parsons

Dee Sutton

This honoree has been a member of St. Stephen for over 40 years combined — having been a member, moved away, and returned. A person’s work experience can help with skills to use in service — and this is the case with our honoree. Having worked as a legal secretary for 27 years, followed by working as a financial secretary in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System, she developed organizational skills that would help her serve others.

Here are just a few examples:

Within St. Stephen United Women in Faith, one of the positions she had was to serve as liaison with Alliance Center for Education. This encompasses two major events: The Holiday Gift Stars and Soup for Missions. For the Holiday Gift Stars, volunteers have to be secured to help the district cut out over 600 stars, label them with a child’s info, punch holes and add a ribbon. Stars are then distributed to various UWF units so that each child served by Alliance Center for Education will have a gift bag that includes a hat, a pair of gloves and a book. Here at St. Stephen, our honoree makes sure a tree is decorated with the stars that we received. She sets up a sign-up sheet, listing every child and giving information on how to complete the project for those who sign up. This year 95 children were served by St. Stephen — and the stars were all taken in two Sundays. But that is not the end of the project! Once the Star gift bags are returned and checked in, our honoree sets up a time for UWF members to check each bag and wrap the gifts so that all of them can be delivered back to Alliance Center in a timely manner.

We hope that you will experience the second event today:  Soup for Missions. Another organizational feat! She sets the menu with the help of the board; arranges for sign up sheets for food and work details to be sent out; oversees everything prior to the lunch and then makes sure that everything is in place so that all enjoy a lovely luncheon. The donations collected during this event are given to the Alliance Center for Education so that children who might never have the opportunity otherwise will be able to go to summer camp.

Her daughter says it best:

“If we made a bouquet of flowers for every beautiful attribute my mom possesses, it would rival the tulips of Holland. If we shared the facets of her love and kindness, you would imagine the Paris Opera Ballet dancing Swan Lake at sunrise. If we harnessed her strength…the Panthers could have a winning season. My mom is not only kind — she is generous with her kindness. I see the joy she gets from giving to others—loving, caring and being present when she’s with you.”

And now I present an unsung hero working tirelessly behind the scenes to make a difference in the lives of others. Her selfless dedication and hard work often go unnoticed, yet their impact is profound. Whether it’s organizing events, coordinating logistics for charitable initiatives, or quietly supporting friends in times of need, she is the backbone of positive change. This behind-the-scenes hero doesn’t seek recognition but instead finds fulfillment in knowing that her efforts contribute to the well-being and happiness of those around her. In a world that often celebrates the spotlight, her commitment to making a difference from the shadows is a testament to the quiet strength and compassion that defines a true hero.

She is the wife of Don; mother to Dave, Christie, Jeff, and Mike; grandmother of five; and older sister of Miriam who is more like an identical twin. I am honored to present this UWF Special Mission Recognition pin to Dee Sutton.

A gift to the mission work of United Women in Faith has been made in Dee’s honor.

— Written and presented by Lynda Morris