response: July/August 2021

Responsively Yours: Now Is the Time

Responsively Yours: Now Is the Time

In the world and in The United Methodist Church, we are living in a prolonged state of uncertainty. The COVID pandemic, with its exposure of the racial inequities of our system for all to see and its differing economic impacts, has threatened the sense of security held by some and heightened the insecurity of others. Brain scientists tell us that conditions of uncertainty perceived as threatening produce anxiety reactions, and when these conditions persist over time and affect many people, it takes a toll on our bodies.

The human brain is also conditioned to look for threats. In day-to-day responses to the world around us, this helps protect us from harm. Over a longer time, especially when we are among other anxious people, we imagine the worst rather than looking at uncertainty as an opportunity for positive change and to contribute to the future we want to see.

In The United Methodist Church, we are uncertain about the future. We have been uncertain for a long time. We may see the changes and the work ahead for our beloved denomination as threats. It’s hard to uncover and express the possibility of positive change.

We are, however, not uncertain that God will be with us as God has been with us in the past.

We are not uncertain about God’s love for us, each of us and all of us, or that God loves the world the creation, and all that dwell therein. We are not uncertain that there is plenty of room for all of us to demonstrate God’s love by doing good to one another, working for the flourishing of our communities and for justice of the systems within which we operate.

We are not uncertain that United Methodist Women has a role to play in connecting the love of God with faithful action in the world. Our calling to create a place for all women who want to come together in mission and ministry on behalf of women, children and youth continues. All of us need places of spiritual growth and inspiration, and women, in large and small groups, have provided that and will provide that for one another through United Methodist Women.

You should also know that the staff and elected leaders of United Methodist Women have been looking ahead, aware that there have always been risks for us in times of change in the church but also keenly aware that God is at work in our midst. We have focused on the core aspects of our identity—spiritual growth, sisterhood, organizing to lift up women, children and youth, and working for justice. We have also been focusing on our relationships—clarifying and strengthening our relationships with national mission institutions, the deaconess and home missioner community and with regional leadership of United Methodist women around the world—and on building new ways to connect to women in current and future expressions of The United Methodist Church and beyond. Together, we are also adding strength to our financial foundation for this work through inviting Legacy giving and a renewed clarity about the effective reach of all Mission Giving.

United Methodist Women, the future is calling for our resolute action today. Now is the right time to claim our roots, strengthen our relationships and our outreach, and tend our foundations. God is preparing us, in the midst of this prolonged uncertainty, for faithful and fruitful work in and through the changes ahead. Now is the time to lean forward toward the opportunities that God is providing.

Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary
United Methodist Women
holson@unitedmethodistwomen.org

Posted or updated: 7/2/2021 12:00:00 AM
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* Tara Barnes: Editor