We have to go back to school. It’s that time of year, time to begin anew and plan. My children tease me every Sunday night when I tell them it’s a good time to get ready for the week ahead. What lies ahead for you?
Are you attending Leadership Development Days? Your quadrennial jurisdictional event? Are you ready for actions and prayers on behalf of the marginalized and forgotten during General Conference in May? Do you have your Prayer Calendar and Program Book for 2016?
I recently went on retreat at Pendle Hill, a Quaker center in Pennsylvania. I met a Mennonite woman from Holland, and when I told her I worked with United Methodist Women, she grew excited. “Do you know Kathleen Stone and the work of United Methodist Women on the Doctrine of Discovery?” “Yes and yes!” I told her, happily reporting on how proud I am to be a part of this organization.
The world is truly a small place. United Methodist Women is known the world over for their justice work. At the retreat my Mennonite friend and I were joined by a Quaker teacher, and the three of us teased one another about who is most peaceful. My Dutch friend laughed, “We can get quite aggressive about how peaceful we are!” “Yes, we are forceful about our nonviolence,” I agreed. How forceful are you about living the United Methodist Women Purpose?
This issue is full of stories reminding you to stand for racial justice and nonviolence. We can face harsh realities, handle conflict, talk through our differences and make policy and societal changes. We can meet the challenges ahead. I know this because I believe in the optimism of the girl on this month’s cover.
Our cover girl strikes a promising pose. She is small, but she is also large and in charge. I want to have her can-do attitude when facing the tough issues that this month’s response addresses. Both our interim editor Tara Barnes and our CEO Harriett Olson address the horrific killing of innocents in South Carolina.
Read the editor’s column and then read “And a Time to Speak.” “Acknowledging that these inequities are the result of systemic racism must catalyze us to take action,” says Ms. Olson. United Methodist Women’s Charter for Racial Justice engages us toward racial equality. Richard Lord’s “The Living Charter for Racial Justice” offers a call to openly address, with boldness, the racial injustice of mass incarceration and profiling. Do not be afraid to ask your sisters for their experiences to deepen your understanding.
Learn about the experience of Native American women using “Body and Spirit” as a Bible study and forum for dialogue. Have you experienced religion as oppressive toward women and even tolerant of domestic abuse rather than as freeing and life-giving? The Rev. Tweedy Sombrero invites you to reflect on and share in the healing process. Fortunately, we are members of United Methodist Women, and we learn from our sisters around the world. Meet the women the Rev. Paul Jeffrey chronicles in “Overcoming Poverty in Uganda.” They are financially independent, community-minded and intergenerational. I want their honesty, strength and power.
Let us know about your plans and how we can support you. We are on this path together, not to suffer alone but to uplift and encourage one another in creating a kin-dom on earth.
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