United Methodist Women Board Holds 2018 Annual Meeting in NYC
United Methodist Women board of directors affirmed the implementation of the organization’s strategic plan and adopted a $16.4 million budget for 2019 during its annual meeting in New York City, Oct. 4-6.
The 2019 budget included $3.9 million for national and international mission partners helping women, children and youth, $1.2 million for national mission institutions.
In addition to the budget, board members approved $29,835 in grants to national mission institutions and $18,800 for the two 2018 Theressa Hoover Community Service and Global Citizens Award recipients. Prior to the meeting, board members approved by mail ballot amounts over $10,000 of the $416,280 in grants and scholarships that United Methodist Women awarded and distributed over the summer. The summer grants included $176,940.00 to national and international mission institutions and programs serving low-income women, children, youth and families; $46,000 in scholarships to 14 U.S. seminary students, and $239,340 in international scholarships to 41 students in 18 countries.
Board members also approved themes for the 2021 mission studies. The 2021 mission study themes are:
- Spiritual growth: The Moral Witness of the Church
- Geographic: The Two Koreas
- Issue: Mass Incarceration (a two-year study that starts in 2020)
- Youth and Children’s studies: Living as Christians in a Violent Society
The launch of United Methodist Women’s 2018 Censusat www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/census2018 was also announced during the board meeting. Questions in the Census, open Oct. 9, 2018-March 30, 2019, are designed to inform national, conference and district programs and implementation of United Methodist Women’s strategic plan.
Directors received national staff progress reports on the strategic plan to positionUnited Methodist Women as a clear leader in the church and wider community; to engage current and potential members for spiritual growth, leadership development, and membership expansion; and to mobilize members for action and service. The progress reports included findings and recommendations of an independent audit of United Methodist Women’s communications; membership survey results and insights from other data; and updates on member involvement and the campaigns on Climate Justice, A Living Wage, Interrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and Maternal and Child Health.
In her address to the board Harriett Jane Olson, United Methodist Women chief executive officer, envisioned members involving their local communities in new ways as the strategic plan comes to life. She envisioned stories of local units offering spiritual growth and service opportunities to young women at the college in town, of members standing alongside women workers organizing for better pay at the local processing plant, and of members working with school administrators and students on ways to prevent students from being expelled into the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
“These scenarios may sound somewhat familiar—they are not a big stretch from what is going on in a few places in United Methodist Women today,” Ms. Olson said. “What if these stories, and more like them, about outreach and new relationships and new units became the story? What if every Conference or every district had stories like this of United Methodist Women innovating in new ways in the places where they serve. …
“The work of the strategic plan is to find ways to support innovation, to make it easier to invite new people and for new units to form and for women at every level in the organization to know herself as loved by God and to respond to God’s call to mission service. There are so many ways for us to express the love of God to the world, so many needs that affect women, children and youth and marginalized persons.
“Can’t you see United Methodist Women as a place where our spiritual senses are heightened, where we gather strength and are equipped for action and where person-centered, community-changing work is grounded in the love of God?”
Board President Shannon Priddy told the directors and all members to expect and welcome new styles of leadership as they as step up to their role as leaders in the church and communities. She urged them to embrace new leadership tools while remembering the importance of building relationships.
“Leadership looks different today than it did just 5 or 10 years ago,” she said, ticking off a list of job demands and electronic communications tools. “If it excites you and scares you at the same time, it is probably worth doing.
“[But] Women who don’t know United Methodist Women are not just going to show up because you made a flyer and sent it out by email. Women want to be invited in, to share in community.
“The answer is relationship building, breaking down barriers in communication, and meeting people where they are.
“This is United Methodist Women, and this is the work we are doing today and getting ready to do tomorrow,” Ms. Priddy said.
Yvette Moore is director of communication strategies and marketing for United Methodist Women.