A Letter from Lynne
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July 3, 2012, 9:42 PM

Central Texas Conference and the Changes for UMW makes the News

I wanted to share this article:
 
A UMNS Feature
By Linda Bloom*
3:00 P.M. ET June 29, 2012


Ana-Haydee Urda (left front), Cynthia Rives (left rear) and others participate in a rally against private prisons during the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Fla. A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey.
Ana-Haydee Urda (left front), Cynthia Rives (left rear) and others participate in a rally against private prisons during the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Fla. A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey.
You could say that Cynthia Rives was raised from the cradle to be part of United Methodist Women.
As a child, she attended activities with her mother, an officer in the denomination’s New Mexico Annual (regional) Conference. As a bride of 20, she joined on her own. Over the years, in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, she has always found mentors and friends through UMW “wherever I’ve gone.”
Now, as president of the Central Texas Conference UMW, Rives, 61, is excited and supportive as UMW starts a new chapter of its 143-year-old existence as a mission movement for women within The United Methodist Church.
“No change is an indication that something is inert,” she said. “We have always been changing.”
On May 1, the 2012 United Methodist General Conference approved legislation to separate UMW and its administrative body, the Women’s Division, from the Board of Global Ministries, to which it had been related for decades.
The move to independence is a nod to denominational pioneers — women who ran their own foreign and home missionary societies, dating as far back as 1869, until those groups became part of larger mission boards, says Barbara Campbell, a retired Women’s Division executive and de facto UMW historian.
Further changes in women’s mission work occurred through what became known as the “agreements of 1964,” triggering, she believes, “a long, long list of unanticipated consequences” and concerns over how mission money raised by women “was being integrated in other parts of the board.”
The new structure approved last month is “an important and strategic move” to re-assert control over assets, institutions and missional directions, Campbell said.
Opportunity to expand
Harriett Olson, UMW’s top executive, considers the organization’s new independence as an opportunity to expand on its tag line – “Turning faith, hope and love into action.”
The process of separation began three years ago, under the leadership of Olson and Thomas Kemper, top executive for Global Ministries, as a “proposed strategic direction” was accepted in principle.
Women’s Division directors approved the final legislation in April 2011.


Harriett J. Olson, chief executive of United Methodist  Women, speaks at the May 1 luncheon for delegates, which was sponsored by Ministries With the Poor. A UMNS photo by John Goodwin.
Harriett J. Olson, chief executive of United Methodist Women, speaks at the May 1 luncheon for delegates, which was sponsored by Ministries With the Poor. A UMNS photo by John Goodwin.
Although separated, the two agencies remain “missionally connected.” Olson and Kemper plan to establish “program tables” to discuss common mission concerns, such as global health, leadership development, poverty, immigration and peace and reconciliation.
“We’re trying to create a new pattern of being together…on strategy and planning work,” Olson explained.
Kemper noted that the UMW regional missionaries would continue to be dispatched through the Board of Global Ministries, and a joint collaboration is planned on the annual Prayer Calendar. Representatives of the two organizations will meet in September at the United Methodist-owned Church Center for the United Nations to discuss how UMW can represent the mission agency for all U.N.-related work, he added.
Another change approved by General Conference transfers oversight of the Office of Deaconess, a lay ministry of service which dates from 1888, and the home missioner program, established in 2004 for lay men, from Global Ministries to UMW.
Campbell, a deaconess herself, hailed the restoration of the historic relationship between deaconesses and Methodist women in mission, noting that the program had suffered a decline after General Conference legislation in 1996 had trouble defining the role of deaconesses. With the establishment of a new recruitment plan, “the results are now evident,” she said, pointing to the commissioning of 17 deaconesses and home missioners in April.
The Board of Global Ministries will continue to give priority to serving the needs of women and children. “It has to be mainstreamed in all areas of our work,” Kemper explained.
But, he considers the separation a positive move. “I think it’s a liberating act in a way,” he said. “It gives both organizations a chance to sharpen and focus their identities.”
Beyond their own organization, Olson wants to engage UMW members in conversation about how best to position the work of the United Methodist commissions on Religion and Race and the Status and Role of Women, which, she said, have “significant synergy” with UMW goals and “real relevance for our work and our members.”
M. Garlinda Burton, top executive of the women’s commission, agrees that mission cannot be separated from advocacy for women and is looking forward to building on the continuing relationship between the two agencies.
“General Conference showed us that gender issues and issues of racism, particularly in the United States but also internationally, are with us in more sophisticated forms,” she said. “We have to talk about what it means to be a more diverse church.”
More flexibility
In Central Texas, Rives believes the new structure will offer more flexibility for the conference’s 200 local units and nearly 3,200 UMW members.
She also finds it “empowering” that a new advisory group for UMW will ensure that every conference has representation in the decision-making process. “That’s something I don’t think has ever happened,” she added.

The new UMW

United Methodist Women Inc. encompasses its former administrative body, the Women’s Division, which was part of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
New members for the 25-member UMW board of directors were elected at UMW jurisdictional meetings in June, with additional nominations to ensure diversity to be made in July and elected at an organizational meeting in August.
Management of the organization’s staff will transfer from the Board of Global Ministries to UMW on Oct. 1. The staff will remain at its headquarters in the Interchurch Center in New York.
The board of directors will meet annually in the fall, and a program advisory group of 70 to 80 members, including the board, will meet each spring.
UMW will have oversight of the denomination’s deaconess and home missioner programs. UMW members will continue to be organized at the jurisdictional, conference, district and local church levels.
With activities ranging from workdays at a community center to mission trips to meal-packing events for the hungry around the world, Central Texas women try to be “the action part of love in action,” Rives said.
“We try to be fearless in our mission,” she added, describing the connections made with local communities. “We’re seeing ourselves as partners in mission and try to be supportive of other agencies and activities that are going on.”
The new structure will assist in those efforts. “It makes it clearer who we are and what we have done and are doing in our work,” she explained.
To assist conferences like North Texas, UMW is making leadership training available for more of its members. “We’ve always believed in supporting our members and our leaders through training,” said Julia Tulloch, UMW staff executive. “We want to open it up.”
Three leadership-development events already have been scheduled: Nov. 16-18 in St. Louis; Jan. 10-13 at Lake Junaluska, N.C.; and Jan. 24-27 at a location to be determined in the Western Jurisdiction.
A focus on organizational skills will be interspersed with “core sessions” on spiritual grounding in the theology of mission, connecting to social justice and an overview on women as leaders in the church, Tulloch said.
Financial commitment
The commitment of members to the work of UMW is financial as well as spiritual. During the past four years, the organization allocated more than $9 million in grants to some of its 97 national mission institutions. Those institutions – 67 of which are community centers – employ about 6,300 people and serve 535,000 clients each year.
Another $9 million was directed to 150 Methodist and ecumenical partners in 80 countries, along with 50 projects for emergency and relief funds. The programs funded assisted with women’s economic empowerment, health and HIV/AIDS, vocational training, advocacy and counseling, spiritual and leadership training and rehabilitation projects for those affected by war.
Although the economy and a decline in investment income helped contribute to a 3.7 percent reduction in giving in 2011, 47 percent of the conference UMWs exceeded their pledges, some by as much as 52 percent.
“It’s really gratifying; it’s humbling to see United Methodist Women continuing their commitments even as they are more aware of the need in their local areas,” Olson said. “It’s a great testament to their commitment and identity with the organization.”
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service multimedia reporter based in New York. Follow her at http://twitter.com/umcscribe.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.
 

 




July 3, 2012, 9:18 PM

New Board of Directors for the National United Methodist Women

Here's news from Harriett Olson about the new leaderehip team for the national UMW.

Dear friends:

 

So much for the “good ol’ summertime!”  Record-breaking heat, rampant forest fires in some places and flooding in others has us praying for people around the country as well as around the world at the moment.  We give thanks for UMCOR and congregations and individuals who are opening “cooling stations,” providing water, supporting firefighters and beginning clean up.

 

Of course, work at United Methodist Women presses on—both here in the office and around the country.  A series of great jurisdiction meetings and regional schools has concluded and the special nominating committee has begun its work.  I am very pleased to share this information with you.

Nominations for leaders of the Board of Directors of United Methodist Women are:

 

Yvette Richards, President

Tupouseine Kelemeni, Vice President

Becky Thompson, Secretary

Judith Pierre-Okerson, Chair of the Committee on Governance

Nichea Ver Veer Guy, Chair of the Committee on Finance

 

The people who were elected as directors at the Jurisdiction meetings are the following:

 

Cindy Staufferer, Minnesota

Angie Lauver Staver, West Ohio

Vickie Newkirk, Indiana

Irma Clark, Northern Illinois

Gail Boykin, New York

Carmen F. S. Vianese, Upper New York

L. Diane Braun, West Virginia

Esther Unica Barkat, West Virginia

Yvette Richards, Missouri

Karon Mann, Arkansas

Becky Thompson, Oklahoma Indian Missionary

Stacie Hawkins, Texas

Tonya Murphy, North Georgia

Lynne Gilbert, Western North Carolina

Emily M. K. Booker (Kathy), Tennessee

Marie Judith Pierre-Okerson, Florida

Michelline Cooper, South Carolina

Grace Pyen, North Georgia

Jo Ann Hayden, Alaska Missionary

Topou S. Kelemeni, California-Pacific

 

The following five additional Board members have also been nominated and have agreed to serve following election at the Organizational Meeting of the Board on August 16, 2012:

 

Elizabeth Leyva, Rio Grande Conference

Nichea Ver Veer Guy, West Michigan Conference

Ann Davis, North Carolina Conference

Daisy Tavarez, New York Conference

Deborah Williams, Desert-Southwest Conference

 

We look forward to the leadership of each of these women along with all who have been elected by their jurisdictions.  God has blessed United Methodist Women with a rich resource of gifts and talents.  We pray for wisdom and skill as the new board is organized, to receive these gifts to guide and support the organization on behalf of women, children and youth around the world.

 

 

 




July 3, 2012, 10:38 AM

I Love School of Christian Mission!

School of Christian Mission

Fort Worth FUMC and Temple FUMC

 

I love School of Christian Mission, but I didn’t go to one until I moved to Texas.  I had been in UMW for about 15 years and I’d never found the time or money to go.  I really regret that because I missed so much.  But the good news is I haven’t missed many since then.  I love really taking time to study a subject whether it is the Bible, an issue, or geographic study.  I love discussing the topics with my teachers and classmates.  I love learning the new songs.  I love really thinking, praying, growing, and changing! So if you haven’t registered yet, please do so right away!!  I bet you’ll love it just like me!

There is an evening and day school at Fort Worth FUMC (evening classes Monday - Wednesday - July 23-25 and day Tuesday and Wednesday July 24 & 25.)  The Temple FUMC schools are Thursday and Friday evening July 26 &27 and the day classes are on Friday & Saturday July 27 & 28. Go to the link on the home page of the CTC UMW website (CTCUMW.org) - School of Christian Mission 2012 for information about the dates and times and registration forms. Also, the lower price is still in effect - no late charge.  If you have any questions, please give me a call ( 254-592-1510). 

Hope and pray you will make time for School of Christian Mission.  Come join me!  You just might love it!!!




June 10, 2012, 6:44 PM

UMW Blessed to be a Blessing at Annual Conference 2012

I hope you were there!  The Central Texas Conference UMW Luncheon was an amazing blessing this year.  We had a full house to hear to children from Laura Edwards Christian Early Learning Center sing.  The children were full of life, song, and smiles as they shared several songs with us. A big thank you goes to Barbara Howard for getting the Laura Edwards crew to share their music with us at the luncheon.

 Following the children’s presentation, we heard the Tarrant Area Community of Churches Executive Director Melinda Veatch’s inspiring presentation concerning poverty. We are so blessed to have Melinda as a friend and mentor. The one thing that keeps coming to my mind is her call for us to “get out”, to get out and connect with those living in poverty and become partners in mission, to become family.  We can’t do that if we stay inside our churches and wait for those living in poverty to come to us. I pray United Methodist Women will be leaders in the local church to continue meaningful existing programs, establish new ministries, and be ever visioning the future that God has for us as we work with our sisters and brothers living in poverty.

But even after Melinda’s message we weren’t finished yet!  Rev.Tim Jarrell from Couts Memorial UMC in Weatherford introduced us to the Kids Against Hunger project. Before we knew it we were in assembly lines packaging food to be shipped around the world where ever there are hungry children. Time was short, but we worked until we had to be back on the floor of the conference.  The work was turned over to those women who were part of the Ubuntu Day of Service who continued to fill the bags.  At the end of the day we had packaged 9,996 meals.  It is my hope that United Methodist Women will bring this project back to their local churches and start Kids Against Hunger in the communities across our conference. When our totals were announced to the Annual Conference Bishop Lowry led a standing ovation in support of our efforts.  Isn’t that exciting!

Those participating in the Ubuntu Day of Service traveled to the Laura Edwards Center following the Kids Against Hunger packing.  While there they gave the center donations from the United Methodist Women from across the conference and then read UMW Reading Program books that we donated to Laura Edwards library for the children.  They had some time to interact with the children and tour the facility.  UMW is committed to support programs for children and their families like the Laura Edwards Christian Early Learning Center in Waco.

 A big thank you goes to South District President Patty Lee and all those who helped including Jean Nolen (registrar), and Lorene Tomblin (table decorations).  Thanks to the CTC UMW Mission Team who were there to support this big day especially Donna Hughlett who headed up the Ubuntu Day of Service and Christie Roberts who handled the books, made UMW ribbons for all, and organized the vote of the new “Five Star Giver” pin, and more.  Thanks for everyone who worked the UMW table especially Sally Baker who set up booth and organized the workers. North District President Linda Hutchings took a van load of donations to United Community Centers in Fort Worth.  Thanks to all who donated.  It was a great team effort!

And finally, thanks to all who participated in this amazing day!  Wear that little UMW ribbon you received with pride.  Wear it remembering our purpose.  Wear it in faith, hope, love in action!




May 8, 2012, 10:25 PM

You can still register for the jurisdiction meeting in Abilene on June 22-24!

Abilene, Abilene!

You only have a few more days to register for Women Responding to God’s Love & Grace- our big meeting is coming up on June 22-24 in Abilene.  It’s the South Central Jurisdiction Quadrennial Meeting of the United Methodist Women. The on-line registration has reopened and you can  register on-line or by mailing your form and payment to the registrar, Jacci Freno, by June 1.

http://tinyurl.com/SCJQM-UMW

Jacci Freno
4937 SE 53rd Street
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73135-4307

The form is on our website (Click here).  Please make an effort to come and bring other women from your local group.  You will be blessed in many ways.  Come and make it a fun and meaningful trip- one you won’t forget!

I have a few more hotel rooms available.  Please contact me ASAP if you want a room or want a roommate to share a room.

Blessings,

Cynthia

254-592-1510

cynrives@yahoo.com

 

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