I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ, whom we know as Lord and Saviour, friend and brother, risen from the dead and ever-present with us as our guide and inspiration.
As we celebrate another year as the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women and mark the anniversary of the signing of our original constitution on 26th October, 1939, we give thanks for women who are so committed to bringing peace and justice and new, abundant life to women and children of God’s world.
During the last twelve months, I have had the enormous privilege of attending the United Methodist Women’s Assembly in Ohio, the World Methodist Council in Seoul, and four Area Seminars, including the Weaving Together Programmes with other World Officers, Area and Unit leaders. Full reports of each event are on the website (www.wfmucw.org) and I very much hope you have been able to read them. Looking back over the year, I see that each Area has its own personality and priorities. Issues of gender justice and women in leadership, climate change and forced migration, healthy living and equal opportunities for education, poverty and skills training to enable women to generate an income, domestic violence and human trafficking are all being addressed.
We are fortunate to have a team of World Officers who give of their time and energy to ensure the World Federation functions well. Matilda, Leu, Mataiva and Ann are a fantastic support to me personally and each fulfils their role willingly and efficiently. Area Officers, too, have huge responsibilities for maintaining contact with Units and organising Seminars and other events. The Unit reports are appearing on our website, which is continually being updated thanks to our Webmaster, Nicholas. Our Helen Kim Memorial Scholars are actively promoting our work and many are playing a key role in their Units and Areas. We have been able to procure a ground pass for one of them, Rachel Allison, to attend the UN in Geneva when work commitments permit. Our continuing United Nations representatives, Brenda, Ivonne and Chloe, are well-supported by Vice- President Matilda. Give thanks to God for each of these women and pray for their work to be richly blessed.
Last month Rev Jemima from West Africa travelled to Jamaica on our behalf to attend the 20th anniversary of the World Council of Churches Decade in Solidarity with Women. The campaign of wearing black on Thursdays was highlighted. I urge you to join in with this movement to raise awareness of the violence against women which is still so prevalent in our world. Pray that the hearts and minds of those who practice violence will be transformed. The one who met Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) can surely still challenge those breathing murderous threats today and turn their lives around.
Are you remembering to use the World Federation prayer on the 26th day of each month? I hope so. I am convinced of the efficacy of prayer. I experience it as I travel on your behalf. I thank all of you who have prayed for my husband during his time of illness. With joy, I share with you the news that his health is showing signs of improvement.