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Teen and Young Women Converge for Leadership Event

United Methodist Women Hosted LIMITLESS: Redefine Tomorrow

By Leigh Rogers and Mary Beth Coudal

From August 2 to 5, 2012, roughly 200 United Methodist Women converged at Duke University in Durham, N.C. to dance, laugh, learn, pray and plan at an event designed for teen girls and young women. Through the days of service, networking and fun, the women emboldened one another to step into leading the organization of United Methodist Women.

For Katie Lindsey-McCoy, 22, from Chicago, Ill., the LIMITLESS event shattered stereotypes of who a United Methodist Women member is: “We are old women, young women, little girls.”

A highlight for Lindsey-McCoy at LIMITLESS? “I learned to line dance.” For many of the young women, the Saturday night dance party was a favorite.

“You are fabulous and fierce...”
~Garlinda Burton

Designed by and for young women, specifically United Methodist Women’s Young Women’s Consultative Group, participants came with conference mentors to envision and implement a conference-wide plan to extend leadership opportunities to young women throughout the United States.

The weekend included:

  • Creative worship and Bible study experiences.
  • Inspiration for the journey.
  • Workshops and other learning moments.
  • A day of service into the Durham area, referred to as “Ubuntu Day of Service,” modeled on Assembly 2010’s day of service and action to the St. Louis, Mo., community.

“You are fabulous and fierce,” keynote speaker Garlinda Burton, chief executive at the General Commission the Status and Role of Women of The United Methodist Church, told the women at the opening plenary. “You were put on this planet to do something. Claim your creativity.” Burton, like those who spoke after her, drew on the biblical theme of Queen Esther who erred, led and organized her people.

A daylong session on Saturday sought to redefine United Methodist Women for young women to meet the organization goal of greater flexibility and short-term opportunities for new leaders.  

During the Ubuntu Day of Service, the women volunteered at 13 different social justice organizations impacting the Durham community, from student organizations and community gardens to faith-based ministries and food banks that address issues of poverty, homelessness, hunger, the environment and health care. Lindsey-McCoy rolled up her sleeves, grabbed a paintbrush and worked alongside a family to rebuild a Habitat for Humanity house.

“LIMITLESS is perhaps one of the most exciting experiences for young United Methodist Women in a long time,” said Marva Usher-Kerr, United Methodist Women staff and lead organizer of the event. “We are enabling young women throughout the connection to be those who will take hold of the reins and help move the organization of United Methodist women forward for such a time as this. It is our hope that they will return with their mentors to the conferences and ignite new fire within other young women to put faith, hope and love in action.”

Lindsey-McCoy, who attends Resurrection United Methodist Church, returned from Limitless to Northern Illinois, proposing to her United Methodist Women conference that they replicate the Ubuntu Day for young women, followed by a tea party to celebrate the day of service. She said she has learned at LIMITLESS to “tell people to follow their passion.”

She added, “I’m very excited to be a part of United Methodist Women.”

To read more of the experiences of LIMITLESS, visit the United Methodist Women blog at umwomen.wordpress.com.

To leaf through the pictures of the LIMITLESS event, visit the United Methodist Women Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/umwomen.

Leigh Rogers is Web content manager and public relations executive for United Methodist Women. Mary Beth Coudal is staff writer for the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church.

Last Updated: 04/08/2014

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