Responsively Yours: Sharing Assembly
How should we evaluate United Methodist Women’s 2010 Assembly?
I don’t mean, “Was it a good thing to do?” It was.
I also don’t mean, “Did you enjoy it?” Everyone I speak to enjoyed the experience and would replicate parts of it with their own personal touches.
What I refer to when speaking of evaluation is: “What do we want Assembly to accomplish?”
We share with those earlier Assembly planning teams the desire to come to God together in ways that we don’t when we are alone or gathered with our United Methodist Women local units or worshipping in our own congregations. We want to open our hearts to God in ways that are inspired by the stories of our sisters. We want to learn more of God’s ways and God’s character through seeing God at work in their lives. We want to praise God together.
We pray for each other and for our world with confidence and with passion because of the work of the Holy Spirit within us and among us. We see Jesus in each other — in our celebrations and in our brokenness.
We also want to experience United Methodist Women as a community of learning. Our workshops, seminars and encounters might be different in style and technique today than they were at the first Assembly in 1942, but the intent to learn together about the needs of women, children and youth — in fact, about the needs of the whole creation — is consistent.
It takes hearing from many different perspectives to get a fully rounded view. Did you hear anything at Assembly that surprised you? That made you start taking notes? Or that pushed you to deeper reflection? That would be an important outcome of Assembly!
We also try to create experiences that will move us to action — through the Ubuntu Day of Service or the interactive exhibits in the Experience Hall or a town hall meeting or the music festival. Were you moved? Have you thought about what to do next?
I know that people have begun to use the Ubuntu Day of Service Tool Kit, and folks are engaging with the issue of human trafficking in new ways in their own locations as a result of what they learned at Assembly. What could move you or your unit to action?
Of course, we’ll be sharing resources from Assembly for a long time. If you were not one of the almost 7,000 who were in St. Louis, Mo., for Assembly, or the online viewers that shared in the experience, I encourage you to explore www.unitedmethodistwomen.org for Assembly coverage, photos and video clips.
Go to www.missionresourcecenter.org to order DVD resources from Assembly. Register for United Methodist Women’s new social networking site at www.umwonline.net to connect with sisters you met at Assembly or who are waiting to meet you now.
Share the good news that is United Methodist Women. Our worship, learning and action will be richer for it!
HARRIETT JANE OLSON
Deputy General Secretary