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December 2012 Issue

Responsively Yours: Doing Is in Our DNA

United Methodist Women Program Advisory Group, 2013-2016.
United Methodist Women Program Advisory Group, 2013-2016.

By Harriett Jane Olson

I am so glad to be called into action with United Methodist Women! We are motivated by God’s love for us and the world; our hope in God’s project of reconciling, redeeming and recreating the world — including us; and our conviction that we grow our faith through action.

We are called into God’s holy activity in the world as people who carry the image of God, who are “becoming whole persons in Jesus Christ,” as our Purpose proclaims, and who are filled with the Holy Spirit.

United Methodist Women’s special concern is for women, children and youth, who are the most vulnerable around the world — even in the United States. This calling requires attentiveness to people’s needs and intentional listening to people on the “down” side of the power equation so that we engage in action that is helpful in the long-term and makes space for marginalized persons. This is why we are intent on lifting up the voices of marginalized persons, especially women, children and youth, as they describe the impact of unjust systems.

We are also intent on supporting their steps to address their situations, which they know best. We know we don’t have all the answers.

While I was preparing for the first session of United Methodist Women’s new board of directors, I reviewed strategic planning information from past quadrennia and came across a 2005-2006 report based on interviews with United Methodists about United Methodist Women. One respondent said, “You know how in Sunday School they teach you to love each other and take care of each other and all the little children in the world? That’s what United Methodist Women does.”

We are willing to study — for a while. We are willing to analyze — for a while. We are willing to urge our government or other governments to stop injustice or to intervene for justice.

We are willing to push for just policies from corporations and other organizations and even the church. We are also willing to roll up our sleeves and tutor today’s children while we promote improvements in public education. We are willing to provide scholarships for today’s women students while advocating for their place at various leadership tables.

“Doing” is in our DNA. We want to respond to children all over the world as if they were our children — our family, congregation or community. This desire to be of use for God’s holy purposes takes us across distances, national boundaries, languages, races and cultures.

This is also how we want to be when we are together, focused on the Purpose.

Interestingly, in order to be our most authentic selves as the organization of United Methodist Women, we must do what it takes to be increasingly multiracial, multicultural and multilingual.

We must not only aspire to be a great place for cross-generational relationships, we must invest in training and networking events and practices to equip young people and those of us who are more seasoned to create United Methodist Women’s future together.

Last Updated: 03/17/2014
 
 

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