Wrapup of Women’s Division October 2006 Meeting
Directors of the Women's Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries meeting Oct. 5-9 in Stamford, Conn., approved a close to $19 million budget for 2007, said farewell to Chief Executive Jan Love, voted to continue the search for a new chief executive, named Lois M. Dauway as interim chief executive and took a stand on immigration.
Addressing the need to reduce spending, directors adopted a 2007 budget of $18,964,865, a 17 percent reduction from 2006. Ms. Love said the budget is close to the balanced budget requested by directors. A projected deficit of just more than $200,000 can be addressed by delays in hiring and other expenditures, she said. Staff will be directed to spend within or below projected levels to stay on budget and reduce the projected deficit.
"We are turning a very large ship of [financial] state around," Ms. Love said. Over the past year, there has been a 33-person reduction in the Women's Division staff, which will reduce expenses in 2007.
Close to $7.7 million will go to national and international ministries. Membership and organizational development, including such things as leadership training and schools of Christian mission, will receive close to $675,000. Social-justice mission outreach is budgeted at just more than $600,000. This includes such things as environmental-justice mission through Green Teams, National Seminar and other ministries of justice.
The budget also includes funding for program resources for United Methodist Women, including such things as Response magazine, mission-study books, and Spanish- and Korean-language materials. And money is earmarked for missionary and deaconess pensions, and funding to ecumenical partners.
Jan Love addresses division
In her final address to division directors as chief executive of the division, Jan Love encouraged them to keep taking risks to be in mission.
"Together we've dared to attempt great things for God, just as our foremothers asked us to do," Ms. Love said. "You've certainly been willing to take some risks with me, and I'm so grateful."
Ms. Love will become dean of Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta Jan. 1, 2007.
Risks taken during Ms. Love's tenure as Women's Division chief executive included confronting a pattern of spending beyond current income, which led to staff and program cuts. Those actions have prepared the division to move forward, she said.
"One profoundly important part of this particular board meeting is that we're actively turning the page," Ms. Love said. "At the same time that we are honoring the past, we are also initiating and following through on some dynamic, creative and energetic programs and possibilities for the future."
She noted the launch of United Methodist Women's Online Community, which in a few months has attracted close to 1,600 members
Ms. Love somberly noted the overlap of her tenure as deputy general secretary of the Women's Division with the war in Iraq.
"This horrible war continues," she said. "It's gone from bad to worse, but United Methodist Women's unceasing prayers and work for peace continue with strength and determination. We pay tribute to the extraordinary sacrifice of the men and women in our armed forces, but increasing numbers of us who are family, friends and neighbors of the these soldiers are asking, is this war worthy of their sacrifice? Moreover, is this cause worthy of the hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries among soldiers and civilians on all sides?"
Ms. Love shared four lessons she's learned while with the division:
· "If you ask them, they will give."
Recalling several recent requests for mission funds, Ms. Love said United Methodist Women are generous, willing to financially undergird mission when asked to do so.
"If you ask them, they will give," she said. "Ask with more passion, with more creativity. A more vigorous witness to Christ's mission in the world will be the reward."
· "If you offer an engaging, hospitable organizational environment, they will join."
Women in religion is a "hot topic," and women have growing interest in spiritual formation in the Christian tradition, Ms. Love said.
"These trends work in favor of us reaching out to new women to engage them in the work of United Methodist Women," she said.
· "We need to tell our story better than ever before."
"I have come to believe that the single most important threat to the vitality and growth of United Methodist Women is simple ignorance and indifference on the part of many United Methodists, including church leaders," Ms. Love said. "Many members of our denomination do not know who we are or what we do. If they did, they would get as excited as we are about the organization."
· Stay focused on mission with women, children and youth.
"Staying focused on mission with women, children and youth is a high calling and a righteous cause," Ms. Love said. "If we do not fulfill this high calling across time and place, if we do not push the church to pay attention to the needs of women and children in poverty, war, health care, circumstances of racial injustice, human-rights violations, and so much more, we know from experience across these 137 years, we cannot consistently count on others to answer this call."
Lois M. Dauway named interim chief executive
Lois M. Dauway, top executive for United Methodist Women's social-action mission work, will become the interim chief executive of the division Jan. 1, 2007. Ms. Dauway will lead the division during an expanded search for a new deputy general secretary for the division.
Women's Division President Kyung Za Yim announced the division's selection of Ms. Dauway.
"Ms. Dauway is nationally and internationally recognized as a leader in United Methodist and ecumenical circles," Ms. Yim said. "We are confident she will fulfill the position of interim deputy general secretary with the same considerable gifts, grace and commitment she has brought to all her work in the division."
Ms. Dauway joined the division in 1994 as assistant general secretary for Christian social responsibility, the position she currently holds. She will serve as the division's chief executive until that position is filled. She will not be a candidate for the position.
Before coming to the Women's Division, Ms. Dauway was the associate for inclusiveness and justice for the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA. She is a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and graduate studies in educational administration.
Sung-ok Lee, executive staff of the Women's Division's Section of Christian Social Responsibility, will lead the section during the time Ms. Dauway serves as the division's chief executive.
Action taken on immigration
Division directors voted to join the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. The division is a longtime partner of the network, which works with more than 100 local immigrant- and refugee-rights groups, and labor and faith-based bodies across the United States. The division will pay a $200 annual membership fee to the network from its racial-justice budget.
The action was part of the division's historic commitment to immigrant rights and civil rights. At their April 2006 board meeting, division directors voted to make immigrant and refugee rights a priority and called for integrating the emphasis into the division's work on racial and economic justice.
At the October meeting, directors voted for the division to develop Bible studies and worship materials on immigration and refugee rights and to promote dialogue on the issue across barriers of race and economic status.
Isabel López, an immigrant from Honduras, a United Methodist, and organizer with the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, helped kick off that dialogue in an address to the directors about the experience of women immigrants, an experience she knows well. Eric Ward of the Building Democracy Initiative of the Center for New Community in Chicago talked to division directors about the impact of racism on the immigration debate.
Additional actions taken
In other business, Women's Division directors:
· Previewed a clip from a documentary on immigration and human trafficking produced with the help of United Methodist Women's Mission Giving. "Lives for Sale" will air on local Public Broadcasting System channels and Hallmark network in January 2007.
· Called for increased awareness and analysis of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East in a five-point recommendation. Directors drafted the action after hearing the testimonies of a mission intern and a graduate student who were in Beirut, Lebanon, during the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon hostilities this summer.
The action urges United Methodist Women members to seek additional perspectives on Middle-East issues beyond those presented by mainstream media, especially during times of war; critically evaluate justifications given by political, religious and other sectarian leaders for military attacks or declared war; contact media outlets when reports on conflicts do not include the voices of all parties impacted by the hostilities, including civilians; and engage their elected representatives about the impact of conflict on women, children and youth of the Middle East.
- Voted to give $5,000 toward sponsoring an event to educate the faith community about the dangers of using mercury in immunization vaccines. "The Truth Is Coming to Light," to be held June 6 and 7, 2007, will look at protecting children from mercury-containing drugs, particularly mercury poisoning stemming from some vaccines for childhood diseases.
- Allocated of up to $15,000 for division participation in the World Social Forum Jan. 20-25, 2007, in Nairobi, Kenya. Created in 2001, the World Social Forum is an open meeting for reflective thinking and idea exchange among non-governmental organizations working on global-justice issues.
- Approved spending up to $8,000 for development of a comprehensive program to follow-up the division's 2006 Racial Justice Consultation.
- Earmarked $10,000 to partner with the Older Women's League in its Mother's Day 2007 Action on Healthcare to advocate for a single-payer universal healthcare in the United States.
- Expanded the Green Team letter-writing campaign promoting use of Processed Chlorine-Free paper to include Wausau-Mosinee Paper Corp. and Yum! Brands, Inc.
- Approved Aug. 12-16, 2007, as dates of the Women's Division's next National Seminar.