Emily Innes Elected Vice President of Women’s Division
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dana E. Jones, 212-870-3755
by Dana E. Jones*
Emily Innes of Raleigh, N.C., has been elected vice president of the Women's Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. Ms. Innes, who has served as a director of the division since 2004, is from North Carolina Conference. She will complete the 2004-2008 vice presidential term of Diane Fielder of North Alabama Conference. Ms. Fielder resigned earlier this year. Ms. Innes was elected Aug. 18.
Ms. Innes comes to the leadership position as the division is considering restructure and hiring of a new chief executive.
"It's a challenging time," Ms. Innes said. "It will be good to be part of the changes. I want to be a good support to Kyung Za Yim, president of the division."
Ms. Innes began that work during the division's Aug. 18-20 meeting in White Plains, N.Y. A restructure plan was presented at the meeting and she attended her first meeting of chief-executive search committee.
Being asked to serve in the division's No. 2 spot surprised Ms. Innes, she said. It came as her thoughts were elsewhere.
"They called me June 27, moving day," she said, explaining her husband, the Rev. Randy Innis, a pastor in North Carolina, was just appointed to a new church. "I asked them to give me time to pray over my decision. I was beyond surprise. It was not even part of my realm of thought that anyone would call me to take this job."
Ms. Innes brings extensive experience as a leader in United Methodist Women. From 2000-2004, she served as president of United Methodist Women in North Carolina Conference. She first became involved in the organization 20 years ago.
"I was a district president in my 20s," she said. "Then I served as the conference 39-and-under person. I was 40 when I was elected to the division."
Longtime members of United Methodist Women encouraged Ms. Innes to join.
"An older woman who I had tremendous respect for really made an effort to mentor me," she said. "She and two other women would take me to meetings, room with me, make sure I understood the organization until it mattered to me."
Attending a meeting of United Methodist Women in Southeast Jurisdiction helped Ms. Innes grasp the breadth and depth of the organization's mission outreach.
"Even before I took any offices, I was invited to a jurisdictional conference in Tampa, Fla.," she said. "I saw the big picture of what United Methodist Women is, what the purpose really means in terms of mission. I've dedicated my life to it since."
Ms. Innes said a key challenge before United Methodist Women is attracting young women.
"I am absolutely convinced young women aren't interested in just fun and fellowship," she said. "Things have to be meaningful in their lives and hands-on. We have a lot to offer young women. We just have to figure out the ways to reach them."
Ms. Innes looks for opportunities to mentor younger women as she was mentored. Recently, one of the women who mentored her invited her to speak to a newly formed unit of United Methodist Women. She saw it as an opportunity to share what the organization means in her life.
"I feel a tremendous responsibility to carry on the legacy of the women who came before me," Ms. Innes said. "They had so many barriers that should have kept them from doing what they did. I want us to continue to be a strong witness with women, children and youth, and in the community with the poor."
As Women's Division vice president, Ms. Innes will serve on executive committees of the division and the General Board of Global Ministries. She has been a director of the board since 2004, serving as chair of its mission contexts and relationships committee.
Ms. Innes, a member of Millbrook United Methodist Church in Raleigh, is North Carolina Conference lay leader, a position she accepted before she was elected to the Women's Division.
"I'm a full-time volunteer in the life of the church right now," she said. "I go to meetings all the time."
Among those meetings recently was one where she had no office. It was her first meeting with United Methodist Women at Millbrook United Methodist Church.
"They had the best meeting," she said. "They did the Action Network. They did a Response moment. They used The Prayer Calendar. I feel so good being part of a local unit that is really connected."
* Dana E. Jones is communications director for the Women's Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.