Opening Our Eyes and Hearts to the Needs and Gifts of Women, Children and Youth
President’s Report to the Women’s Division Board of Directors
At the spring 2012 board of directors meeting, Inelda González, president of the Women’s Division, celebrated the past four years of work and service of the board of directors on behalf of United Methodist Women.
Ms. González delivered her remarks March 18, 2012, on the transformative power of change. She shared her confidence that United Methodist Women will continue to be a positive change agent in the world. “Change has made us strong,” Ms. González said. The following is her speech.
United Methodist Women’s Board of Directors has gathered for our last meeting of the quadrennium. As is our way, we took steps and made decisions to improve the lives of women, children and youth not only in our conferences and in our nation but in our world. We have stood side by side, giving one another encouragement and strength through our prayers, our gifts and our actions based on our Lord’s example.
On the dawn of our first meeting in October 2008 in Stamford, Conn., all directors received their committee assignments, and we began to realize the magnitude of our responsibilities. We knew that the trust and responsibility placed on each of us was a holy compact to fulfill the PURPOSE of United Methodist Women. Truly, the whirlwind of trust, dedication and responsibility was now a part of our daily lives.
We made so many things happen over these past for years: the Assembly in St. Louis, National Seminar in Birmingham, World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women in South Africa, United Nations seminars in New York City, Regional Schools and Schools of Christian Mission all over the United States, young women’s meetings, deaconess and home missioner gatherings, workshops, Reading Program meetings, annual meetings, jurisdiction meetings and Ubuntu journeys to meet our sisters in India, Mozambique, Brazil and Russia.
We stood with immigrants. We prayed for peace. We advocated for health care for all. We funded education for the girl child. We knit prayer shawls. We sang. We offered one another tea and comfort on the journey. We made room at the table. We gave, we laughed, we cried. We prayed again. And always we took action to improve the lives of women, children and youth.
I first understood and admired the directors’ dedication and responsibility after I attended an annual conference meeting with my mother when I was a girl. I dreamed of becoming a Women’s Division director. I knew then and know now our PURPOSE is to continue John Wesley’s legacy. And as United Methodist Women members, we open our eyes and hearts to the needs and gifts of women, children and youth all around us.
We are not a part of the organization of United Methodist Women to receive glory and recognition. We are women who are able to see the doors that are closed because we are women. But as women who love the Lord, we are able to open those doors so that all may experience freedom and hope as whole persons through Jesus Christ. As we open doors, we continue to expand concepts of mission through participating in the global ministries of the church.
This organization has accepted all women who are filled with the love and concern to fulfill the Lord’s mandate to love and serve those who suffer. Women from all walks of life became one. These were women willing to overcome the obstacles that society placed in their way. If not for the courageous women of our past, we would not be here today or tomorrow.
Many changes have occurred since United Methodist Women first organized. Just as the world has changed, so we have changed. Change has made us strong. Even with this upcoming General Conference, we are confident that change as an organization will come about, and we welcome it. And we thank you for your grace and compassion as you have walked with us on this journey.
We’ve walked this road together for much longer than these four years. And we continue to walk together to open doors for all. We are now weeks away from General Conference. We will cross a new threshold.
And as we change lives, we know that life changes. We have gained sisters, and we have lost sisters on the journey—Earlene Gladney, Sally Ernst, Mai Gray.
But one thing remains constant—one thing will never change—and that is our commitment to Faith • Hope • Love in Action.
Thanks be to God. Blessings on our journey.