“Turning faith, hope and love into action” hasn’t always been on United Methodist Women’s website, but it is what we have always done. When we talk about our legacy we invoke a long line of women, from 1869 to the present day, acting on our faith.
United Methodist Women members pray. We pray for the needs of the world as well as our own needs and the needs of our communities. We know that God invites us to pray, that God hears our prayers and that the Spirit even prays for us “with sighs too deep for words” when we cannot verbalize our prayers. We pray with and for United Methodist Women around the world and with Water Protectors at Standing Rock and with people of many faiths in vigils and services. For us, prayer is in no way a retreat. It is action, and it calls forth action.
United Methodist Women members serve. When we see a need that affects women, children and youth we respond with the persons affected and with others who are already at work. If necessary, we create something new for needs that God persistently lays on our hearts. We also serve by inviting others into the work, prayer and membership. We are surrounded by evidence that people yearn to come together to make a difference in the needs they see in the world. Regardless of whether marches or vigils or online petitions or photo cascades speaking out against human trafficking is how you choose to act, all of these activities are happening because people want to participate. What a great time for United Methodist Women members to reach out to include others in our churches and communities as we work on maternal and child health, income inequality, climate justice and ending the criminalization of communities of color.
United Methodist Women members advocate. We do the research. We pay attention to how government, business and church policies affect women, children and youth, and we speak up. We call for access to health care and treating immigrants and refugees with respect, without regard to their national origin or religion. Decades of mission study and work gives us a basis to speak about the need for effective public schools and the impact of globalization not just based on the present moment but on deep knowledge and experience. It can be hard for any one person, sometimes especially any one woman, to make her voice heard, so we work together, refining our message and strengthening our voice.
And, of course, United Methodist Women members give. We give to mission through pledges, offerings and fundraising. We give items needed by our national mission institutions and others. And we give to the Legacy Fund. Just as our foremothers set up endowments to help our organization respond to the needs they expected to continue, we have set up the Legacy Fund to keep our organization strong so that it can continue to meet the needs of women, children and youth. With the experience of almost 150 years we know that both needs and opportunities will change, as will the ways we organize to respond. The Legacy Fund allows today’s giving to stand beside United Methodist Women members in the future as they pray, serve, advocate and give in decades to come.
Thank you, United Methodist Women, for continuing to turn faith hope and love into action, now and in the future. What a legacy!
Harriett Jane Olson
United Methodist Women