Response: June 2016 Issue

Responsively Yours: The Spirit Prompts Us

Responsively Yours: The Spirit Prompts Us
Harriett J. Olson at General Conference 2016.

"A Fresh Wind Blowing" is the theme of our quadrennial meetings this year, and we are reminding ourselves that the wind of the Spirit is blowing — in the world and in everyone who is born of God (John 3:8). So we might ask: Are we noticing the evidence of the movement of the Spirit?

God calls us to notice who is already at the table and to truly see each one. One of the gifts United Methodist Women members exchange is a supportive, creative sisterhood in which we know ourselves, know one another and become better able to follow God's call. As we prepare for our 150th anniversary, I've heard many stories of gratitude for the women who have invited us, supported us, seen something in us that we did not see in ourselves. I am inviting you to see that in one another today as well as in our history. Let's use this as a moment to offer appreciation and support.

We are also invited to see who is not at the table. This requires awareness of the women in our congregations and communities who have not yet found a place in United Methodist Women. I invite you to think of United Methodist Women as a place where their gifts, needs and talents can be honored. How could we invite new women into our planning so that we can truly make space at the table for them, connect to their hearts and be a place where they can express their calling to serve God by being in mission on behalf of women, children and youth?

The Spirit prompts us to notice the needs and the structures around us. We must be alert to who is treated unfairly, who is marginalized and whose story is disregarded in the policies and practices that shape our communities, nation and world. From policies that concentrate wealth among the very few at the expense of the many who do not have enough to our crying need for movement toward racial justice and away from criminalizing communities of color, we must examine our national, state and local policies with the real struggles of women, children and youth in mind. United Methodist Women members can work and join with others in strategies to break down barriers and open up opportunities to those marginalized by race or class.

The Spirit prompts us to pay attention to climate justice to care for the earth. We must notice the science that calls for decisive action to limit carbon emissions and build energy alternatives and to notice that women and children around the world are being affected as climate changes already mean rising seas, extreme temperatures and storms and changes in arable lands. We notice the maternal and child health needs around the world — including in the United States, which ranks 34th globally in health outcomes and in places without access to clinics or midwives or family planning.

United Methodist Women, we are called to notice one another, to notice who is not yet at the table and to notice the needs of women, children and youth. The discipline of noticing will help us see God's hand at work and our invitation to be part of God's work.

May we not only notice, but may we respond with faith, hope and love in action.

Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary
United Methodist Women



Posted or updated: 6/2/2016 11:00:00 PM

June 2016 cover of response
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