Pauli Murray: Intersectional Trailblazer

I’ve got another podcast for you, this time on Pauli Murray, an important woman not only in United Methodist Women history but U.S. history, featured in the June 2015 issue of response.

This podcast, from Stuff Mom Never Told You, focuses on  Ms. Murray herself, the “greatest intersectional trailblazer—and saint—you’ve never heard of,” as they describe her.  The podcast “marvels at the life, love and genius of this queer, African-American civil rights lawyer decades ahead of her time who legally shaped the civil rights and feminist movements and earned an historic Episcopal priesthood.”

You can listen to the podcast by pressing play below:

or you can listen to the story on the podcast’s website, where you’ll find extra info and resources on Ms. Murray. Don’t miss the shout out to The United Methodist Church’s Women’s Division (that’s us, just by a former name) at around the 30:30 mark! Enjoy!

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From the Editor (February 2016)

response Feb16 front cover

This issue is our bi-yearly Mission Maps issue, showing where United Methodist Women is putting faith, hope and love into action around the world. Where our hands can’t reach, our hearts and financial giving can, making our creative, supportive community truly worldwide. Our founding mothers in 1869 first reached out to women in India to ensure they had access to quality health care and education while also being leaders in their homes, churches and neighborhoods. These maps show that “just” does not belong in front of “giving money.”

February is also Black History Month. As we’ve grown and changed, United Methodist Women’s means of answering God’s call has grown and changed. We have a long and proud history of working for racial justice, work as important today as in any time past. Of course this effort extends beyond the month of February, but we use this national, annual celebration of Black History Month to remind ourselves that our work is not done, that voices are still missing from the conversation that must be heard.

I pray this issue challenges and inspires you to be for the world what God is asking you to be. I pray this issue also offers you encouragement and hope as you are the encouragement for so many others.

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Posted in 150th Anniversary, Black History Month, From the Editor, Legacy, Racial justice | Leave a comment

Bright Lights (January 2016)


First United Methodist Women Donate $500
United Methodist Women at Auburn United Methodist Church in Auburn, Indiana, donate $500 to DeKalb County Domestic Task Force to help prevent domestic violence and help survivors.

St. Paul United Methodist Women Host Rally
United Methodist Women of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Frankfort, Kentucky, host rally to support teen substance abuse recovery program.

Diedrich receives United Methodist Women Mission Pin
United Methodist Women at Hayes Memorial United Methodist Church in Fremont, Ohio, present Daun Diedrich with a Special Mission Recognition pin.

United Methodist Women Using the Super Bowl to Draw Attention to Human Trafficking
United Methodist Women at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, join United Methodist Women’s “umbrella defense,” part of the Intercept Human Trafficking campaign.

Opening Umbrellas, Raising Awareness
United Methodist Women at Trinity and First United Methodist Churches in Crawfordsville, Indiana, too join United Methodist Women’s “umbrella defense,” part of the Intercept Human Trafficking campaign.

Milton United Methodist Women Open an Umbrella Defense at Super Bowl 50
United Methodist Women at Milton United Methodist Church in Milton, Wisconsin, open their umbrellas too to Intercept Human Trafficking.


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How to Use This Issue (January 2016)

NYE_gigi_nycI used to stay up for the New Year’s Eve countdown. After all, I love a party. But this year, I am sleeping.

I want to save my energy for another party. Did you follow news of the 2015 National Seminar this past summer? If not (or if so), this issue of response helps make you feel as if you were there. This issue also can be used for creating your own National Seminar party.

The reason for a National Seminar party? Justice for all God’s children. Read “The Fullness of Life,” by Mai Anh Le Tran from pages 8 to 12. This in-depth study teaches you how to protest and also find a peaceful path. You’ll love reading about the theory of leaders as “equilibrium busters” who have a willingness to engage in creative chaos for the good of the community.

Consider inviting beloved justice advocates to your party. Invite women like those who spoke during a panel on mass incarceration, featured in “Mobilizing Against Social Injustice” by Chicago reporter Michael Joyce who attended the United Methodist Women sponsored town hall—women of different ages and backgrounds and passions and voices all working on ensuring God’s abundance for all.

This is a good opportunity to learn about the focus and the rationale for the upcoming legislation “Criminalization of Communities of Color” being proposed by United Methodist Women at General Conference, the churchwide United Methodist gathering in May 2016. Read the legislation at

This issue can help you understand another piece of United Methodist Women’s General Conference legislation, “Responsible Parenthood.” As an example of our advocacy, check out pages 15 to 16, “Taking a Stand for Children’s Health,” describing how National Seminar attendees stood in solidarity with local hospital workers to keep a children’s hospital open.
Sing a song of love and inclusion at your own National Seminar party as you read Jeanette Huezo’s “The State of Inequality” from pages 38 to 39. Make sure to invite guests from all strata of economic status when you throw a social justice party. If you are looking for an activity, consider writing a skit based on “Little Village, Big Change,” by Kimberly Wasserman, herself a kind of David, slaying a Goliath, the behemoth coal industry. In Ms. Wasserman’s article from pages 40 to 41, learn how she reached out to her neighbors to work together to close down the coal plants making the neighborhood sick. You are among this community of United Methodist Women who cares deeply about economic and environmental issues.

When planning refreshments for your party, remember the hands that grow, make and serve our food. Meet and celebrate one such food service worker, Nataki Rhodes, who describes her path to the American Dream in “Surviving in America” from pages 24 to 25.

No matter the ingredients you choose for your National Seminar soiree, know that you don’t have to stay up past midnight to celebrate a new year of putting faith, hope and love into action. May you find love, support and growth in this new year. I look forward to a new year of celebrating social justice and engaging in creative chaos for the good of the beloved community.

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From the President (January 2016)

Learn All You Can

The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:9 (NASB)

United Methodist Women members have a thirst for knowledge, for learning, for exploring. We had a great opportunity to engage in this at our 2015 National Seminar. You too can have an opportunity to tap into all the learning that was shared at National Seminar. On our wonderful website at you can read news from the event and watch the related webinars that were sent to attendees before National Seminar.

We even had a little (well, a lot of) fun—in worship, in singing, in fellowship and in turning faith, hope and love into action on behalf of women, children and youth. Yes, we were in action while we were in Chicago. We even had members show up at a Cook County hospital board meeting with signs of support for the work of an inpatient pediatric unit serving a low-income community that is set to be closed. We were also able to bond in our table and prayer groups during our time together.

Each United Methodist Women conference had two representatives who I know are now back home sharing National Seminar experiences and our four new focus areas of climate justice, maternal and child health, criminalization of people of color and wealth inequality. If we want to reach out to Make It Happen, we know we cannot do it alone. We must continue to partner, fellowship and collaborate with others: we stand ready.

Together we celebrated the extraordinary work that God is accomplishing through United Methodist Women reaching out in ministries of justice, service and advocacy.

Women still make 77 cents (or less for women of color) to a man’s $1. At the event I joked: So does this mean women only have to pay 77 percent of our bills? Only do 77 percent of the work? This is a key focus issue, as almost all of us know women, especially single mothers, who are struggling to make a living even while working.

I am proud to know that our national office continues to develop new tools, resources and thought-provoking, hands-on events to strengthen the witness of Christ’s mission and ministry in the church and the world. We are growing disciples for Christ to transform the world.

Serving others is a privilege we should not take lightly. When God gathered eight Methodist women together 146 years ago, God knew that we would be servants and advocates for women, children and youth around the world. When I think of our history I leap for joy and say, “Thank you, Jesus!” for the women who make up this organization called United Methodist Women.

Let’s learn all we can, do all we can to be the leaders of making a positive change in our churches and our world. Get involved—our world needs you!

United Methodist Women

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Intercept Human Trafficking


Today, January 11, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. For many years United Methodist Women has been working to end human trafficking.

As in years past, today United Methodist Women’s website and social media will be dedicated to raising awareness of human trafficking.

Join us in our Intercept Human Trafficking campaign by distributing the posters and postcards. And don’t forget to send the bulletin insert to your church administrator or pastor for inclusion in worship for Super Bowl Sunday.

This year we are also encouraging people to join our “umbrella defense” to prevent trafficking and protect survivors. Send us photos of your United Methodist Women group holding umbrellas or post them to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #UMWUmbrella. You can also read the 2016 Reading Program book The White Umbrella: Walking with Survivors of Sex Trafficking by Mary Frances Bowley.

Together, we can end human trafficking.

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From the Editor (January 2016)

response Jan16 front cover

This special issue of response focuses on the 2015 National Seminar held July 29-August 2 at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. There invited members from across the country dove head deep into the new United Methodist Women priority areas of climate justice, mass incarceration, economic inequality and maternal and child health. Together we discussed these barriers preventing women, children and youth from leading whole and healthy lives, and we worked to determine how God wants us to respond.

United Methodist Women is a powerful force in this world. As members we have the ability to make life better for our neighbors next door and across oceans. We also have the opportunity to make life better for ourselves as well as we grow and transform and feel the support of a community of faithful, hopeful, loving women in action. I can’t say how many times I’ve thanked God for United Methodist Women.

In this issue you’ll hear from some of the leaders who shared their work and provided prophetic insight into the human rights issues of our time. I hope the Holy Spirit is present in these pages as it was present among us at National Seminar. The work you do and the prayers you pray are never small. May this month begin a blessed new year.

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