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United Methodist Women
United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose PURPOSE is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.
During this time when many of us are subject to stay-at-home regulations and recommendations, I find solace in this hermit-like existence although I abhor the cause of it. From the book shelf I reach for The Forgotten Desert Mothers by Laura Swan and several of her statements leap off the page:
- “Christian monasticism began in the home.”
- The desert mothers “cultivated simplicity in their lifestyle,…and they sought to be mindful and intentional about their actions.”
- And a particularly relevant thought by an ascetic: “I do not view monasticism as a retreat from the world but as an entry into its beating heart.”
Most of us are spending more time at home these days. This is an enforced “simplicity” resulting from cancelled meetings and closures. The isolation is not by choice. We would rather be planning Palm Sunday and Easter services and packing for the Western Jurisdiction Quadrennial Event in Tempe rescheduled for September 11-13, 2020. Except for the news from media and friends, we have retreated to an imposed isolation that we could regard as a type of monasticism.
You know where I am going with this. We may be physically in retreat but United Methodist Women are monitoring the world’s “beating heart”, praying for the sick and those who are tending them, calling friends, responding to Action Alerts, donating supplies, making quilts, knitting prayer shawls, and helping neighbors. We are using technology and social media to convene meetings, to hold Bible studies, to receive daily homilies, and to worship.
The “creative and supportive fellowship” we avow in UMW helps carry us through these uncharted waters through partnered prayer and shared scriptures. The lectionary readings in the Prayer Calendar bind us together through common scripture and missional work throughout the world. Take the words of Yabes Manokaran who is serving in Mexico: “God showed me a way of embodying the Gospel in my new community and equipped me for this task.”
God is showing us the way. From our homes we can embody the Gospel in this new situation. With God’s help we are equipped to be mindful and intentional participants. We are isolated but never alone.
Becky Warren, Conference President
Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Women
2020 Isobel F. Zimmerman Grant Program
The Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Women Charter for Racial Justice Committee is offering a competitive grant program for monies from the Isobel F. Zimmerman Trust Fund. This grant is awarded for for programs directed toward leadership development of Native Americans or African Americans or in support of a Women’s Division (now United Methodist Women) Foreign Mission Project. $2000 is available for 2020.
Deadline for applications has been reset to May 1, 2020. Completed forms are to be sent to Rebecca Warren, Chair of the Committee on Charter for Racial Justice Policies. Submissions via both post and e-mail are appropriate. All applications will be acknowledged upon receipt.
An Important Message from Harriett Jane Olson
This Time of Change
Dear UMW members and friends,
You have likely read recent media reports pointing to a split in the United Methodist Church. Many outlets grossly overstated what has happened, and I am writing to clarify.
Over the past several months, persons who have various leadership roles in our denomination and in some of the groups that have prepared their own separate plans for how the denomination should proceed in 2020 met with a mediator to see if it was possible to come together around a single plan. On Friday, Jan. 3, they announced that they had reached an agreement to move ahead through separation. Their proposal would allow traditionalist United Methodists to form a new Methodist/Wesleyan body. The protocol has provisions dealing with properties, pensions and sketches out some of the timing and process that would be required. I encourage you to read the United Methodist News Service article about it. At this stage, this agreement is a proposal. Actual legislation for the General Conference to consider will need to be drafted. It is a recommendation that has yet to be voted on or approved.
The current outline does not address United Methodist Women or the agencies of the church very much, except to say that, if the proposal is adopted, they and we would remain part of the UMC rather than the traditionalist denomination that could be formed if this approach is adopted by the General Conference. As you may know, United Methodist Women has been following the development of all the plans and at times providing input or response. Along with you, we know that there is urgent work for United Methodist Women to take on—supporting women, children and youth and marginalized persons and advocating for policies that are more just. Our commitment is to be a place where all the women who affirm the Purpose and want to work together in mission can belong. With this in view, the United Methodist Women Board of Directors has already made changes to our bylaws to ensure that women committed to this mission could continue to belong, regardless of whether they or their church or their Conference separates from the UMC.
As United Methodist Church examines next steps, United Methodist Women will continue to be a place where the needs of women and children are front and center. As we do, we encourage each of you to be informed of what is being considered and to offer leadership in your congregation and in the District and Conference. Times of dramatic change can bring new possibilities. They are also times to remain vigilant about our core commitments and our identity, both as a denomination and as an organization.
In this time of change, we encourage members to remain connected to each other, remain centered on the work we are called to do in the world and to remain watchful of information on next steps, confident that God is at work.
Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary and CEO
United Methodist Women
Changes to Standing Rules
These changes to the Conference Standing Rules were approved at the Annual Meeting in October. If you have questions, please contact Ann Murchison.
We're all stuck inside - curl up with a good book
The 2020 Reading Program book list is now available. You can find the list on the United Methodist Women website.
Ann Murchison and Carol Richard, Resource Room Managers
Winter 2020 Edition of Our Two Cents is now available. Download it HERE
Has God heard our prayers and responded with such power and energy that a new day has come? Will a new Wesleyan expression be birthed in 2020? Can a new community be formed in the “streets” with our . . . Wesleyan social justice principles? It is scary to let go and step into an unknown future. . . It is hard to try to envision how United Methodist Women will emerge through this turbulent time. . .
This time in our world and church can be looked at with fear or it can be seen as an opportunity. As we focus on God, we can see the Holy Spirit is at work among us. Theressa Hoover led Women’s Division starting in 1968; she was the first African American to head a national church organization. Hoover wrote, “In the present situation as for centuries past, women’s power is never sure, and growth in human inclusiveness is never cheap”. Her words still ring true today. She shared these words: “We want to be catalysts for the continued humanization of God’s world, mobilizers of the resources of women, creators of new arenas for their participation throughout the Church and world, and in coalition with other women’s groups, with youth, and with people of color, to be reconcilers in all the rough places”. We are called to be reconcilers, isn’t that what the world needs today?
To read the entire article, CLICK HERE
 Theressa Hoover, With Unveiled Face: Centennial Reflections on Women and Men in the Community of the Church (New York: Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, 1983), 25.
- Hoover, With Unveiled Face, 70.
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