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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.
Following the 2019 Special Session General Conference, I think it is essential to affirm an inclusive community. As Conference President of United Methodist Women Oregon-Idaho, I echo the statement by the Rev. Donna Pritchard, chair of the Western Jurisdiction Leadership Team and member of the Special Commission for A Way Forward. Excerpts from her statement include:
"We have long appreciated the richness of the global diversity of our United Methodist Church and have embraced opportunities to join with you all in the work of making disciples for the transformation of the world
....we in the West have been functioning for years as One Church committed to full inclusion, seeking to be a home for all God’s people....we worship a God who tells us that the body of Christ has many parts, all equally valued. Rooted in Wesleyan tradition, grounded in Scripture and committed to mission and ministry, the Western Jurisdiction intends to continue to be one church, fully inclusive and open to all God’s children, across the theological and social spectrum....We know from experience we are stronger when we live together as progressives, traditionalists and centrists in our Church."
She notes that the leadership of the Western Jurisdiction will meet in two weeks and will not move from this stand. "...We are not leaving, and we are not changing."
For 150 years United Methodist Women have worked for inclusion, affirming the sacred worth of each individual. We shall continue that work, pray for the leadership of the Western Jurisdiction, and discern a way forward for United Methodist Women in the Oregon-Idaho Conference, for our sisters in faith across the United States, and for our missions that encircle the globe.
Becky Warren, Conference President
Charter for Racial Justice and Zimmerman Fund Grant Awards
Each year the Oregon-Idaho Conference United Methodist Women awards the Charter for Racial Justice Award. The two recipients in 2019 were Cynthia McCleod (Portland, Oregon) for her advocacy for racial equity for 30 years and Mary Lynne Ball (Eagle, Idaho) for her work with Congolese refugees.
Cynthia McCleod, a member of Fremont United Methodist Church, Portland, Oregon, is a semi-retired educator who worked in the Portland Public Schools as a teacher, principal, and administrator until “retiring” in 2011. During her retirement she started classes on Courageous Conversations to help white people have conversations about race, and to awaken people to the issues of institutional racism and white privilege.
Mary Lynne Ball, a member of Meridian United Methodist Church, Meridian, Idaho, has introduced Congolese refugees into the church and the children into Sunday School. She created opportunities for Congolese women to tell their stories to United Methodist Women and Church Women United. Mary Lynne is known by the children as their American Grandmother. She helps these families secure food and clothing, and she has convinced churches to establish refugee funds for emergencies.
Both Cynthia and Mary Lynne live the Charter by their recognition that racial justice is a biblical, leadership, community, and public policy issue.
At Annual Conference recognition was given to the two recipients of the Isobel F. Zimmerman Fund Grant. This Grant Program distributes monies to programs directed toward leadership development of Native Americans or African Americans or in support of a Foreign Mission Project supported by United Methodist Women. The two programs receiving $1,043 each are in Camp and Retreat Ministries: Scholarships for Niimiipuu-Nez Perce children attending Wallowa Lake United Methodist Camp; and an African American youth in the Resident Counselor training program.
Receiving nominations for the Charter for Racial Justice Award and applications for the Isobel F. Zimmerman Fund Grant are the responsibilities of the Committee on Charter for Racial Justice Policies. Members of this committee are Becky Warren, Lynda Montgomery, Janice Stevens, Gerthenia Burns, Chris Mitchell, JoAnn English, and Eva Johnson. They receive nominations for Letters of Commendations to churches and civic groups whose advocacy of racial justice deserves a word of thanks. The Committee also nominated Yuni Rueda Barrera to serve as the Conference Language Coordinator for United Methodist Women Oregon-Idaho Conference
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