Envisioning the Future
by Kyung Za Yim *
2005 was turbulent with the continuing war in Iraq, the aftermath of the tsunami in Southeast Asia and northern Africa, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the earthquake in Pakistan. The number of casualties of these disasters is massive.
In the midst of this turmoil, United Methodist Women and the Women's Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries moved forward. We:
- Held a public-education summit;
- Held a public forum with the Renew Network;
- Planned our future work and goals through a symposium on envisioning the future;
- Launched Ubuntu Explorers, an international mission travel opportunity for members of United Methodist Women; and
- Called for all members of United Methodist Women to become Repairers of the Breach in response to Hurricane Katrina.
I am deeply thankful to God for the blessings upon our organization and for the heartfelt prayers and continued support of all members of United Methodist Women.
The Envisioning the Future Symposium brought Women's Division directors and staff together to discern God's calling for our organization. We heard from experts on women and the church and from representatives of several United Methodist agencies about what women are seeking and needing through the church and United Methodist Women. We created a new vision - a vision of mission that God is about to do with us and through us. In Isaiah 43:19, God says:
I am about to do a new thing;
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
We learned together to be willing to change and to be change agents. We learned we must change because times have changed. We must understand the time in which we are living so we can contextualize the vision, goal and methodologies of mission.
In 2005, we welcomed new staff leadership in the Women's Division's Finance Section. Andréa Hatcher is the new treasurer and Lynne Gilbert the new assistant treasurer. I look forward to our making great strides in Mission Giving and spending for mission through their expertise and leadership.
We brought together new strategies for developing leaders among women and youth in this country and internationally. We listened carefully to the stories and teachings of those with whom we are in mission.
We also learned to respect the power of expression that comes from women who undergo severe economic and social oppression because of globalization. As members of United Methodist Women who are in mission, we are empowered by their stories of struggle and are enabled to move forward as children and disciples of Jesus Christ.
We celebrated the emergence of a new generation of young members of United Methodist Women. After much thought and research, the Women's Division is creating an online community through which existing members, new members and especially younger women can find expanded ways to participate in mission. This is an example of living up to our biblical mandate of putting new wine into new wineskins. (Matthew 9:17)
Through hard work in 2005, United Methodist Women and the Women's Division moved ahead, resilient as we face our world equipped with the power of God's compassionate and healing hands. We have been empowered to claim a theology of hope and wholeness through Jesus Christ. Amen!
* Kyung Za Yim is President of the Women's Division.