Gail Douglas-Boykin, center, chairs the governance committee of United Methodist Women.
The United Methodist Women Board of Directors gathered March 4-5 at Scarritt Bennett Center in Nashville, Tennessee, for its semiannual spring meeting.
Directors received the treasurer's report, an investment report from Wespath, and reports from the committees on governance, finance and planning and assessment. The board also approved grants, scholarships and sale of property.
The directors continued the process of redesignating endowments given to United Methodist Women by foremothers and their families for mission work that is part of the organization's history but not part of its current work. After careful research such endowments may be redesignated when they become impracticable or impossible to carry out. Directors redesignated this income so that funding can be provided to programs that most closely meet the original intent of the donors yet advance the goals of United Methodist Women.
Four endowments were designated to international education, seven funds to U.S. based education and two to the regional missionary initiative in Asia. Directors also removed restrictions from a fund for medical missionaries to make the designation for more general education.
The board considered and approved $1,521,069 in mission grants and scholarships for 2017.
"The great division in the world right now does not give us the right to sit back," said Treasurer Martha Knight. "United Methodist Women throughout history has not been known for sitting back. Let us jump into the fray with love for all God's children. May God show us how to be the peacemakers, the listeners, the bridge builders."
Directors also adopted goals for the organization on building membership, identity and relationships as well as on ending criminalization of communities of color, ending economic injustice, increasing maternal and child health and working for environmental justice, supporting the ongoing strategic planning work of United Methodist Women staff. The organization will be focusing on living wage, reducing carbon emissions, interrupting the school to prison pipeline, and advocating for state-level maternal mortality review boards.
Members of the United Methodist Women Board of Directors and Program Advisory Group are elected each quadrennium at United Methodist Women jurisdiction meetings.
"Isaiah chapter 59, verse 14 says: 'Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter,'" said governance committee chair Gail Douglas-Boykin in her closing message. "Truth fallen in the street is a powerful image. It's hard to deny the parallels between Isaiah 59 and our present time.
"We're United Methodist Women. If we're not doing something, we're coming from doing something or are on our way to doing something," Boykin said. "We know who and whose we are. We have the advantage of the Book of Isaiah, the example of the Lord Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit, how can we not be interceders at a time like this? We've been doing it for 150 years. And United Methodist Women will intercede for another 150 years and beyond."
Tara Barnes is editor of response.