As summer arrives I am finishing my first year as a teacher of middle and high school students. It has not been easy, and I have discovered I have a lot to learn. It is thanks to my connection to United Methodist Women that I took this career risk-knowing that I love learning, children and collaboration.
In our society, especially during the election season when it seems the loudest and most outrageous voices are the ones most frequently heard, how do we value collaboration? How do we cultivate the still, silent voices of consensus and community building? How do we keep our own identities when we collaborate? And what does collaboration mean for us as United Methodist Women members? Read this issue for examples of members of United Methodist Women sharing their true selves, collaborating and adding to the common good.
I was drawn to the idea of “To Share and to Receive” in which language coordinators shared their stories at the Voices event in Nashville earlier this year. Women developed strategies and challenges for inviting non-English speakers into a majority English speaking context. How and with whom do I collaborate? Do I invite only those who speak the same language or have the same socioeconomic background as myself? I know that by participating over the years in Mission u, I have become open to new language speakers, thus making new friends.
United Methodist Women members seek to understand one another across generational divides. For more on this kind of collaboration, look at Beryl Goldberg’s “Every Monday.” Like me, you may be moved by the story of Logan, 10, living out a legacy to his great-grandmother as he volunteers at the Every Monday Thrift Store in Burlington, Vermont. We teach our children through our examples. Just as my mother struggled for justice in her time, I, too, hope to model social justice for my daughters.
Summer is a great time to share our unique United Methodist Women stories with the local media. The women of United Methodist Women of Wesley United Methodist Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, along with their Muslim and Unitarian Universalist neighbors did just that with their multifaith educational event. Be inspired by their radical welcome in “For the Healing of Our Nation.”
In this election season, get involved in the democratic process by registering your neighbors to vote. Read Richard Lord’s article, “The Right to Vote,” and take a lesson from the Baltimore-Washington Conference United Methodist Women members, who see voter registration as a key component in combatting systemic racism.
Throughout this issue and all issues of response, look for and celebrate the ways United Methodist Women collaborate. For I believe the people who are most radical in our midst are not the ones on the fringes of our political parties and religions. The truly amazing and trailblazing women are the ones who include all at the table. It is what I am trying to do as a teacher. And I learned it from the women of United Methodist Women—hard-working, spirit-based, kindhearted and smart. They collaborate, cooperate and build consensus, invaluable skills that do not always come easily but are much needed in our individualistic society.