Response: May/June 2020 Issue

Responsively Yours: Dwell in Us, Holy Spirit

Responsively Yours: Dwell in Us, Holy Spirit

What are United Methodist Women members called to do today, when the world has changed so much? As I’ve thought about this, the hymn that comes to mind is “Women Called to Act in Love,” commissioned for our 150th anniversary. The hymn, which is this issue’s prayer, captures so much about who we are as a movement of faithful women.

First, we act as a sisterhood. We reach out to one another, listen, support and pray. We study together: What a blessing that our current spiritual growth study is Finding Peace in an Anxious World. I encourage you to use this resource and remember that we are studying together even if we aren’t physically together. Continue to connect to one another as you can, and take time to take care of yourselves as well. I hope you find comfort knowing you are part of a creative, supportive fellowship.

We are also, as the song says, called by God to serve and to works of justice. National mission institutions and local missions providing food distribution need our support. We can make masks as those are needed, and we can speak out against racist associations of the virus. Needs will keep changing, and United Methodist Women will continue to call for action on behalf of women, children and youth and marginalized people.

The hymn pleads, “Dwell in us, Holy Spirit! Bring us to the greatest needs!” Like the psalms, the hymn makes a close connection between the presence of God and the service of those in need. This has been a repeated prayer of mine in this anxious time.

Where do we see the greatest needs in this moment? People in prison or detention and people who work in those locations are in great need. They are uniquely vulnerable with limited protections during our global COVID-19 health crisis. We have joined with others to call for release of persons with special vulnerability who can be released safely. Look to our website and social media pages for how to be a part of this and other coronavirus resources, and sign up for action alerts at

The spread of coronavirus touches each of our advocacy focuses—women and children’s health, climate justice and economic inequality in addition to mass incarceration. Persons experiencing domestic violence are especially at risk at a time of stay-at-home orders. What can you do to boost awareness of the domestic violence resources in your state or county in this time of extreme stress? What about persons without sick leave pay or who have lost their jobs, people who suddenly can’t make rent or pay a mortgage or bills. We’ve called on state regulatory agencies to prohibit electric and water shutoffs during this time. If your state still has not taken this action, I encourage you to speak out for it. We must also remain alert to environmental protections that may get loosened at this time.

Together we can watch and care for those among us in great need. Together we can speak up for those without protection during this crisis. Together we can stay informed, continue in prayer and express our love for God in our service of others and our advocacy for justice.

Dwell in us, Holy Spirit! Open our eyes to see those in need. Open our hearts to your love for them—may it become our love as well. Strengthen our hands and our spirits to be who we are called to be for this hour.

Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary
United Methodist Women

Posted or updated: 5/6/2020 12:00:00 AM