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January 2014 Issue

Responsively Yours: Representing God’s Love

Attendees of United Methodist Women’s 2013 Voices event strategize ways to be a more inclusive organization for women whose first language is other than English.
Attendees of United Methodist Women’s 2013 Voices event strategize ways to be a more inclusive organization for women whose first language is other than English.

By Harriett Jane Olson

If we weren't already a structured organization, how would we come together to act on the commitments of our faith in 2014? We might start by noticing what women in United Methodist congregations have in common—our faith in God and in the work of Jesus in our own lives; our tendency to be keen observers of the communities, states and nation in which we live; and our desire to make the world a place in which we and other women, children and youth may thrive.

Together in this new year, let’s work on ways to come together with the Purpose of United Methodist Women in mind so that we are engaged, enlisted and empowered representatives of God’s love for the whole world.

We might find that the more we shared our questions about why things happen as they do, shared our restless sense that the world could be more loving and just and that as followers of Jesus we ought to be contributing to making it so, the more these shared commitments would intensify. We might also find that we needed to know more. How do women end up being marginalized over and over again? Why are so few women serving in elected office or in leadership positions in our largest corporations, or, indeed, as pastors of our largest churches? Why is it so hard to improve public education? We might look for reading material and experiences that helped us understand how the system is designed so that we could plan action to get different results.

Of course, this kind of study is challenging, and we would need to enlist the expertise of scholars and the wisdom of persons who are caught up in the systems we were observing. We would also need to bring our learnings and our questions to God in prayer, seeking wisdom about what God desires for each human being and for all of creation and what our roles as God's followers should be. We would need to connect with at least a few folks with some outrageous ideas about what we could do to make a difference.

Does this sound like the work of your unit, district or conference mission team? Isn't that really what the "program" of United Methodist Women is designed to do? We intensify our love for God and our desire to follow God by our time together. We worship, pray, study, give, analyze and strategize to develop ways to turn those commitments into action and to support others who are directly engaged in the work. We fund development of resources that bring together expertise of study and wisdom of experience, and we create learning settings to share about how the business, government and church systems in which we operate affect women, children and youth.

Together in this new year, let's work on ways to come together with the Purpose of United Methodist Women in mind so that we are engaged, enlisted and empowered representatives of God's love for the whole world.


Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary
United Methodist Women
holson@unitedmethodistwomen.org

Last Updated: 03/12/2014
 
 

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