response: January/February 2019 Issue

Responsively Yours: Blessings of a New Year

Responsively Yours: Blessings of a New Year
Harriett Jane Olson

The new year of 2019, as all years do, will bring change and challenge and blessings. As we move ahead with a new response publication schedule and enhancements to how we at the United Methodist Women’s national office support members, we are also anticipating where the Holy Spirit may lead The United Methodist Church.

United Methodist Women members across the United States and in some of our Central Conferences have been having conversations about how we can imagine serving God together in The United Methodist Church and in United Methodist Women. We have heard back from you that the conversations have been moving, open, constructive, challenging and informative. I hope that you are also sharing your thoughts with church leaders, including members of your delegation to General Conference. You have wisdom and insights to share from these conversations and from your professional and family networks that are important for the church to reflect on.

As the date for the Special Session of General Conference draws closer, more information is being shared about the petitions that will be considered and the processes that will be followed. You can follow news at These things matter. The details of petitions and processes will be scrutinized by delegates and observers and will affect both how the work of the church is done and the results.

It is just as critical to pay attention to the broader questions that are being asked. There are issues about the nature of our church and our connection that underlie the hard work of the Commission on the Way Forward and the work of other individuals and groups who have submitted petitions and are offering proposals.

For example: what does it mean for United Methodists to be united in mission and ministry with integrity at this time? Is God calling us to a winnowing of our denomination based on how we understand our call to be in relationship with LGBTQ brothers and sisters? Is God calling us to broaden our sense of what it means to engage in fellowship and mission around a theological tradition of many strands that lifts up the freedom and variety of expression that already exist within our connection?

United Methodist Women members have a variety of insights and approaches to these questions, which is why our conversations have been so rich and varied. We also share several important things in common. First, we are an organization of praying women. We are praying for our church and the members and leaders of the General Conference. Second, we are committed to work with women, children and youth. We are looking for ways to strengthen our work, to consistently reflect the biblical imperatives out of which we work and to follow God’s call. Finally, we want to connect to all the women in The United Methodist Church who want to be a part of this creative, supportive fellowship. We are committed to growing in faith together, to organizing and funding a structure that connects us and supports service to women and children in need and advocacy for justice for all. We know that as God leads the General Conference, God is also leading United Methodist Women to a vital future of mission service. 

Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary
United Methodist Women

Posted or updated: 1/4/2019 12:00:00 AM