Program Advisory Group Orientation
United Methodist Women ushered in a new era as members of the board of directors and the newly formed program advisory group gathered at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn., August 17-19 to take action and take the next steps in the mission movement that has been putting faith hope and love into action for 140 years.
The meeting began with welcoming remarks from General Secretary Harriett Jane Olson and Scarritt-Bennett Center outgoing director Sharon Howell. Both noted the significance of the setting, a former college supported by United Methodist Women that continues to educate thousands from around the world in the work of social justice, mission and advocacy.
Bishop Sharon B. Christopher set the tone for the opening session by reflecting on patience and openness to receive what God has for each of us. She prompted the group to consider what it could mean to the church and the world if United Methodist Women were a part of a strong movement in the Spirit.
Bishop Christopher convened the business segment of the evening with Ms. Olson. Thus began the new era for United Methodist Women as an agency of the United Methodist Church.
Over the next several days the group engaged with staff and former members of the board around the areas of work necessary for living into the United Methodist Women Vision: Turning faith, hope and love into action on behalf of women, children and youth around the world. Those areas include spiritual growth, leadership development, growing as an organization, transformative education and service and advocacy.
The staff and program advisory group of United Methodist Women hosted a “chat and chew” on Saturday evening, which was an opportunity to meet members of area conferences and local units, deaconesses and home missioners, and others engaged in the work with United Methodist Women. Music was provided by a jazz trio of young women who also provided music for worship throughout the weekend.
The meeting culminated in a moving installation of leaders of the 2013-2016 United Methodist Women Board of Directors:
- Yvette Richards, President
- Tupou S.Kelemeni, Vice President
- Becky Thompson, Secretary
- Judith Pierre-Okerson, Chair of the Committee on Governance
- Nichea Ver Veer Guy, Chair of the Committee on Finance.
The new leadership of United Methodist Women returned home on Sunday prepared and energized, understanding they are called for this moment to do the work of mission.