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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.
“Let Your Light Shine: Ignited for Justice” is the theme for the United Methodist Women Program Book 2019-2020 and the Introduction to this resource speaks to our present situation as a church and as a nation: “In Genesis, the formation of the earth follows the creation of light. In Revelation, when creation is restored, we are told that God will be our light. As we pay attention to light in the arc of Christian history, what does light mean for us?”
What does God’s light mean when futures are uncertain, when conflicts appear irreconcilable, when communities fracture, and nerves are frayed? To find some answers to these questions I turned naturally to the Quadrilateral — to Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience.
Scriptures guide us. We can be like Noah and make emergency plans; like Moses and accept leadership challenges; like Queen Esther and speak out for justice; like Ruth and stand by family; and like the disciples at Pentecost and ardently seek and respond to the Holy Spirit.
Our history as United Methodist Women also provides us with an admirable Tradition of strong women whose faith was — and is — a foundation for leadership. Here are “Ten Leadership Skills” we would do well to emulate:
1. Reflect on your own experience and ways of being and doing.
2. Be open to the contribution of others.
3. Practice collective leadership.
4. Support the growth of others.
5. Realize the diversity in our communities.
6. Value persons over being right.
7. Speak up.
8. Live democratically.
9. Imagine God’s vision.
10. Sustain critical hope.
Through Reason we become more effective advocates for justice. We read, think, evaluate, plan and communicate. Being reasonable isn’t always the easiest road to travel. Presently I am reading HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS by Frank O. Bowman III. It is a history of impeachment from the 14th century in England to the present-day United States. It is comprehensive. I read this book, not because it is easy, but because the information provides a bridge for talking with others whose opinions differ from mine.
As for Experience, United Methodist Women grounds us in a “supportive, creative fellowship” that should remain resilient in dark times. How we talk with one another should “value persons over being right.” Civility is paramount. In the December 12 Oregonian, writer Mary Sanchez talked about the need for civility in our society. She avows that civility is not meekness nor decorum, and its point is “not to keep the boat steady” but to “articulate the highest and best values in civic life.”
In these days of uncertainty both within our denomination and our country, United Methodist Women can respond civilly — but effectively — to dissension and injustice. No wringing of hands for us! We are heralds of light acclaiming with the poet Ann Weems “that with God all things still are possible, that even now unto us a Child is born!”
Becky Warren, Conference President
Charter for Racial Justice Award
Each year the Oregon-Idaho Conference United Methodist Women seeks
nominees for the Charter for Racial Justice Award.
We hope that you will prayerfully consider individuals and/or groups whose
work reflects the spirit of the “We will” statements listed in the Charter’s
nomination form accompanying this letter.
The Charter for Racial Justice was created and adopted in 1978 by the
Women’s Division (now United Methodist Women) of the United Methodist
General Board of Global Ministries. In 1980 the General Conference
adopted the Charter. To live the Charter is to recognize that Racial Justice
• a biblical issue;
• a leadership issue;
• a community issue; and
• a public policy issue.
I serve as the Chairman of the Charter for Racial Justice Committee, and
earnestly encourage you to search your congregation and neighborhood for
nominees whose work deserves this recognition.
More information and application form HERE
Deadline for 2020 nominations is April 22, 2020
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
The Charter for Racial Justice was created and adopted by the Women's Division (now United Methodist Women) of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries in 1978. The Charter was adopted by the whole denomination at the 1980 General Conference.
The Charter for Racial Justice says that “racism is a rejection of the teachings of Jesus Christ” and that “all women and men are made in God’s image and all persons are equally valuable in God’s sight.”
Click Here or copy and paste the address https://www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/download-resources/charter-for-racial-justice-english into your web browser to read the Charter for Racial Justice. The Charter can be printed and used as a study.
United Methodist Women have always been deeply committed to the ongoing work of racial justice. United Methodist Women seek to be in right relationship with one another. United Methodist Women work together for the transformation of church and world, following the teaching and example of Jesus Christ.
Learn and find resources for study, programs, or just to find out more for your own information: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4.
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 pleased to announce a competitive grant program for monies from the Isobel F. Zimmerman Trust Fund. Available money for 2020 will be about $2,000 (amount varies yearly), and could be awarded 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. Information and application are available HERE.
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
Application for the Gertrude Boyd Crane Scholarship for 2020/21 is now open. For more information and the application form, click HERE
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.
It's cold outside - 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
A Message from Susan Williams, a Director from Western Jurisdiction, Excerpted
In a recent conversation about the status of the Methodist Church, United Methodist Women sisters were calling for action. They believed it was time for our organization to take a firm stand. When prayer was brought up, one person’s response was “Prayer is not enough, look where that got us in February”. I have pondered those words ever since. Prayer- where did that get us? United Methodist Women across the world prayed for wisdom and unity.
Through our A Way Forward gatherings UMW provided a place for discernment. Prayer-where is it’s place in the struggle in the Methodist Church? I am not a theologian or a church scholar. But prayer should always be at the church’s center. It is the foundation of United Methodist Women’s work. “Look where prayer got us”. What a fascinating question to meditate on. Where indeed?
I am a bold person of action, analytical by nature. There are times I pray for specific outcomes, not fully trusting in God’s omnipotent power. My prayers sometimes reflect the attitude I know where life should be going. God just needs to make it happen. Like the apostle Peter, I can be shocked when God has a different plan. Where is God in all this chaos? . . .
In dialoguing with “ younger” members of United Methodist Women this fall, they expressed the belief it was time to start over. They thought that the United Methodist Church as an institution is so broken it could not be fixed; it was time for a new movement. They called for a new expression of Christian love for the hurting world. These women are faithful Christians I respect, but what they were saying was shocking to me.
The current United Methodist Church structure is the only church expression I know. The only Methodist women’s group I know is the work of United Methodist Women. Start over! How scary. Bring down the church institutional walls, how horrifying, but those words echoed Jesus’s voice. Jesus was continually, bucking up against the religious institutions of his day. Jesus advocated for a new way to love, which included all people, reaching past barriers in his time, which included women, children, the unclean and outcast . . .
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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