In Speech to Directors, Board President Reflects on History and Purpose
In preparation for a transitional period for United Methodist Women, Women’s Division president Inelda González reflected on history, challenging directors to do more to engage and act for justice in their communities and in the church at the semi-annual fall board meeting in Stamford, Conn., Oct. 9-12.
Ms. González talked about the “good ole days” when her sister volunteered at the Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville, Texas, a national mission institution. Ms. González shared how “eye opening” it was to see the church community serve people in need.
“Good Neighbor Settlement House is one of many community centers that United Methodist Women and our predecessors started because they saw a need for services that women, children and youth were without,” Ms. González said.
Ms. González emphasized that the legacy of United Methodist Women’s heritage as an organization drives current members to act for justice. The founders of United Methodist Women’s predecessor organization “met because of the limitations of cultural attitudes in the church and in the society,” she said. “They were living at a time when women and children were legally classified as ‘non-persons.’”
This courage sparks participation and action among members today, for the purpose of United Methodist Women. Ms. González challenged directors to do something about the ills that still remain in society today. “We have gone where many choose not to go. We stand side by side with our sisters when laws have excluded these women from seeking justice,” asking, “Have you sought opportunities to be in this mission?”
In confronting the new relationship between United Methodist Women and national mission institutions, Ms. González encouraged directors to partner with a mission institution in their area. Acknowledging the approved restructure of the Women’s Division, Ms. González said, “We are financially responsible for the needs of each of those we own.”
Partnering with national mission institutions is a new part of the United Methodist Women purpose, she emphasized. “Those of us here today are this organization,” she said. “Are we going to quit and throw away our passions, our gifts, our abilities—those which the Lord has given us that we bring to United Methodist Women? We must maintain, follow and stay focused on the United Methodist Women Purpose.”
Leigh Rogers is a public relations executive with the Women’s Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.