Responsively Yours: Called by Name
- Audio version, June 2009 (MP3, 8.6MB)
- Cover of Response, June 2009 (PDF, 602K)
- Content of Response, June 2009 (PDF, 153K)
Harriett Jane Olson is deputy general secretary for the Women's Division.
2008 was a year of celebrations and a year of new beginnings. We experienced wonderful celebrations and challenging study in jurisdictional meetings organized around the theme of “Called by Name.” Those events brought together expressions of mission and action, and affirmed United Methodist Women is a great place to be! Deaconess Kyung Za Yim and I were privileged to be with you at each one of those sessions. We can testify to the presence of the Holy Spirit and the joy of our community at each of the jurisdictional meetings.
At those jurisdictional meetings you selected women to serve as members of the Women’s Division’s board of directors in the new quadrennium that began in September 2008. We said “good-bye” to a great group of directors and welcomed a new group of great women at our fall organizing meeting. Kyung Za finished her term as Women’s Division president with a celebratory send-off at the spring board meeting, and then the nominating committees spent a busy month completing the board of directors by adding the mandated number of members and selecting officers. We are thrilled Inelda González was elected president of the division and has served in that post since September 2008. United Methodist Women is richly blessed by the caring leadership of these women who were “called by name” and answered “yes.”
Also we celebrated the 120th anniversary of the Office of Deaconess of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. Just imagine for amoment, the great cloud of witnesses who have served Christ and the church through their ministry in the world as deaconesses. We are so glad to have a growing interest in the Office of Deaconness/Home Missioner. Currently, approximately 20 people are prepared for commissioning! As many of you know, Women’s Division directors charged staff to develop a plan for a more direct administrative connection to this work, so United Methodist Women will have more conversation about supporting and preparing these remarkable women and men to answer as they are “called by name” as well.
Another way we say “yes” to the call of God is through Mission Giving. I am so proud to be a member of United Methodist Women when I get to report that in 2008, a year when giving declined along with the economy, United Methodist Women members exceeded their Pledge to Mission. I will never know all of what that required of you, and by the same token, I cannot adequately express what it means to our partners in ministry to be able to count on United Methodist Women as they seek to meet increasing needs in so many communities.
We also reached some milestones in other aspects of our work. The past year saw the concluding sessions of Rekindle theGift, having offered that leadership-training program in 53 conferences, and knowing conference leaders offered the same training in districts around the country.
We have also learned a lot from our work with the Mission Resource Center. You have given us great input, and we are at a different level in our operations. Not only are we seeing improvements in our ability to provide what’s needed, when it’s needed, in 2008 we moved from providing a small operating subsidy for this work to receiving a small contribution from these operations to support the cost of mission education. We will continue to invest significant assets — including staff time and expertise — to develop resources for United Methodist Women and others for study that undergirds our mission work.
Finally, in 2008 United Methodist Women members were on call, making flood buckets, health kits and school kits in the wake of disasters; volunteering in our community centers and with other local organizations; adopting neighborhood schools; and meeting sisters beyond our national borders on Ubuntu Explorers Journeys. You participated as citizens in a national election that brought us a new president, stood with immigrant families torn apart by raids and detentions, and explored ways you can help end human trafficking.
I’mso blessed to be able to move among you and with you, to know myself as one “called by name.” We celebrate 2008; just imagine what’s ahead in 2009!
Harriett Jane Olson
Deputy General Secretary
Date posted : July 13, 2009