HEY THERE LADY!! May I have a moment of your time?

By Nancy Olson, First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto

Have you heard of United Methodist Women? Did you know that it is an organization that works beside The United Methodist Church? And that to be a member, a woman must just decide she wants to belong to and participate in the global mission of the church through United Methodist Women, and to commit herself to the PURPOSE*.  (Membership in the church is not required!)

You might never have attended a UMW small group activity, or read a book in the UMW Reading Program, or really given much thought about the organization.  But by deciding to be part of UMW, you are part of:

  • a large national organization,
  • global mission projects in remote lands as well as programs across our own country in support of women, children and families,
  • district and state organizations working on women’s rights, racial justice and climate justice.  

Augustinho Indigenous Public School, Bororó Village, Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Photo © Nile Sprague 2017

WOW – that’s a lot.  What’s more, the work goes on day after month after year.  No stopping for pandemics.  The UMW has an impressive, historical record for supporting women’s rights.  And it is all being done in YOUR name!

In many individual United Methodist Churches, there is a small group of women who come together in a social gathering to carry on the work of the organization by supporting mission projects, and by educating ourselves.  So much more could be done locally, with your help.

Did you know that the UMW Reading Program promotes reading current books in specific areas?  We are annually encouraged to choose to read books

  • promoting Spiritual Growth (books to bring personal comfort in times of stress),
  • on different geographical areas of the world (so we understand news stories in the world)
  • on social action (so we understand needs outside our own experience, and can take appropriate action – like writing action letters or voting)
  • a book of the Bible (to keep us attuned to God’s word and relevance today)
  • on leadership development (women should not remain silent in the church)

We are encouraged to join women across the United States who are reading similar books in an effort for Methodist Women to be educated on many subjects so we can speak and act with knowledge.

Right now our Methodist Church is going through an identity crisis.  Within the next year there will be a final vote that quite possibly will split the denomination.  During all the deliberations and disagreements, the UMW has remained steadfast in keeping a unified group, welcoming ALL God’s children.

I am so proud and humbled to be part of this great organization.  Please consider joining us.

Nancy Olson
First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto

(Article adapted from original version published in FUMC Palo Alto newsletter.)

*The PURPOSE of United Methodist Women:  United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.