Responsively Yours: Called to Service and Advocacy
What energizes women organized for mission? As this magazine goes to press, the United Nations General Assembly and former President Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative are meeting in New York to grapple with some of the same issues that you read about in response. The community of nations (convening on the east side of the city at the United Nations) and the assembly of businesses (meeting on the west side of town) each have objectives that drive them.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Millennium Development Goals, a U.N. initiative calling for member states to achieve measurable improvements of living conditions in eight key areas. Some of the goals are in areas the United Methodist Church is also committed to, like elimination of extreme poverty. The goals also include universal access to primary education, improvements in maternal and infant health, pursuance of environmentally sustainable development and other issues that are key to helping communities thrive — issues United Methodist Women advocates. The recent U.N. report on the goals shows progress in some areas and none in others. This is an enormous effort, and it is shaped and energized by the core commitments of the United Nations to peace and human rights.
The Global Initiative is shaped by confidence that a business approach to these issues based on innovation, mobilization of resources and charismatic leadership can create a better world. A world free of armed conflict that has healthy and educated men and women who are both workers and consumers of goods presents a much more appealing business environment than a world fragmented by conflict, where consumers and workers are misallocated around the globe, leaving producers to navigate the gaps. This too is an enormous effort, and it is also shaped by the participants’ core commitments.
Women have organized for mission in the United Methodist tradition for more than 140 years, energized by faith, compassion and sometimes anger. We know God created the world to be good, and Jesus has called us to step up to the needs of the impoverished and the oppressed. We are convinced this means feeding hungry people today and challenging the patterns and practices that make it likely they will be hungry again tomorrow. We also know we can do more together than we can do separately. We need one another to witness to the work of Jesus Christ in our hearts and lives as well as to witness to the pains of the world and how we see Jesus there. We love Jesus, we love the world, and we love each other. Thanks be to God for our own enormous efforts and core commitments. May the Holy Spirit continue to move us into the everyday work of service and advocacy.