Response: November 2015 Issue

Responsively Yours: Through the Eyes of Faith

Responsively Yours: Through the Eyes of Faith

The United Methodist Church is getting ready for General Conference 2016. General Conference is the only entity that can speak for The United Methodist Church. Bishops, clergy, laity and the Judicial Council interpret and respond, but General Conference speaks for the Church.

This is why agencies, annual conferences and members of the denomination work hard to prepare legislation for delegates to consider. Some legislation affects who has authority and responsibility for the work of the Church — this is found in the Book of Discipline. Some focus on resolutions, which serve to guide our work, found in the Book of Resolutions.

As United Methodist Women submits legislation, we have a particular approach to contribute. Like other United Methodists, we read the Bible and the world through eyes of faith and seek to express what it means to "do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God" (Micah 6:8). Our contribution expresses the call of God with attention to the situation of women, including the strength and power women bring as well as the needs we experience and the injustices we face globally.

Our long work with women, children, youth and families has deepened our awareness that gender, race and class overlap and intensify the barriers we face. This is why we will bring legislation to amend and readopt the Charter for Racial Justice Policies in an Interdependent Global Community, a version of which has been a signature part of our work since 1952. Our organization moved the location of the first Assembly in 1942 so that women of color and white women could be accommodated together, and we worked across church structures to develop regional Schools of Christian Mission so that we were not separated by the race-based boundaries of the Central Jurisdiction. These efforts, and many more, aligned with our work in training schools, historically black colleges and community centers and in the anti-lynching movement, which are the seedbed of the charter that is as relevant today as it was then.

Women and women's health are at the heart of healthy families. The United Methodist Church has commended family planning to responsible Christian couples for over 50 years. Today access to birth control is being limited for rural women, poor women and women of color in the United States by efforts that are closing clinics, limiting health care coverage and allowing pharmacists to decline to fill prescriptions. Access varies widely for women around the world affected by poverty, national policy and cultural context. In every country, access to contraception is critical to women's health and well-being and to the emotional and economic health of families. The Responsible Parenthood resolution, also proposed for readoption, addresses these matters and also expresses The United Methodist Church's carefully crafted position on abortion.

These are just two of the resolutions that we will be proposing. We have worked with other agencies of the church and brought our best thinking, but the beginning of the work and the lodestar of the effort is reading and interpreting the Bible and the world through the eyes of faith, giving special attention to the needs of women. In offering these resolutions to the Church we invite others to join us in committing to live justly, lovingly and humbly in the world.

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

Posted or updated: 11/2/2015 11:00:00 PM

November 2015 cover of response

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