Responsively Yours: Connected in Mission

What connects United Methodist Women?

Responsively Yours: Connected in Mission

United Methodists often say that we have a “connectional system.” We have structures, processes, relationships and patterns that connect our church across geographic, cultural, racial and linguistic boundaries. We have core doctrines and theological commitments that are expressed differently from place to place, and we are experiencing strain as a church in our current debate about what is “core” and how much difference can be accommodated.

But what about United Methodist Women—are we also connectional? The answer is yes, albeit in some different ways than the church. First, of course, as United Methodist Women we share a commitment to Jesus Christ and a desire to live as disciples. Our common journey engages us in a process of formation in which we are willing to be influenced by one another’s faith and experience. We are open to depending on one another, and we are willing to offer one another support.

We are also connected by a shared commitment to women, children and youth. The reason for coming together, for raising funds and for our service and action is to do our part in helping women, children and youth flourish. We come together because the issues we are addressing are significant, they are longstanding, deeply rooted and pernicious, and our joint work is needed to make the sort of impact to which we sense God calling us.

Our history connects us, as does our shared commitment to action. In this time of celebration of 150 years of mission service, we are reflecting on our organization’s members, leaders, initiatives, institutions and campaigns that have made a difference in people’s lives and in communities. I hope that you will visit the website for stories, attend events at national mission institutions and other organizations that United Methodist Women support and notice the variety of efforts we have undertaken together. Some of these remain as powerful expressions of mission and caring, and others have served for their season and are no longer active. Each one demonstrates our connection and is a window into ways in which God is at work in the world.

Of course, our giving, our praying and our service connect us. Together we fund hundreds of projects around the world (including throughout the United States) and offer long-term support to our institutions. We pray for these projects through the Prayer Calendar (print, Twitter and Facebook), and we are connected by our service—as volunteers, board members, promoters and staff.

Our way of organizing also connects us. We have levels of connection like the church does at local, district, conference, and jurisdiction or central conference levels in which we hold our own meetings and make decisions about our representatives and how our commitments to women, children and youth will be expressed.

We are also connected by relationships. People on the teams we’ve worked with, who we’ve met at Advocacy Days and Mission u, and who’ve experienced Ubuntu and Limitless together are connected in meaningful ways that have the power to shape us and call us into new avenues of faithful service.

In a time when isolation is increasing in our culture and the needs of the world seem to be growing, I feel truly blessed to be connected through United Methodist Women turning faith, hope and love into action.

Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary
United Methodist Women

Posted or updated: 6/3/2018 12:00:00 AM