From the President (October 2016)

Purpose in United Methodist Women

It is an honor and a privilege to introduce myself to you as your new president of the national organization of United Methodist Women. I am truly blessed to be writing this message. We are entering a time of great celebration, and it is together that we as United Methodist Women can grow and share our Purpose with all.

I was baptized and confirmed in The United Methodist Church. I was born and raised to become a United Methodist Women member.

In my 20s I lived in Boston, Massachusetts, while attending graduate school and working as a Delta flight attendant and retail manager. I moved back home to Channahon, Illinois, before leaving for the Peace Corps. It was then I officially joined United Methodist Women, in the church in which I grew up, surrounded by women who guided me toward the woman I was becoming.

Moving back to the United States after living abroad, I found work in Indianapolis, Indiana. There I found a church home North United Methodist Church. I immediately searched out United Methodist Women—in a big church, in a new city, I knew I would find comfort and purpose in United Methodist Women.

I was 11 years old when I learned about apartheid in South Africa. I cried because I
didn’t understand how children my age didn’t have the rights and freedom to go to school and learn. I ran into my mother’s arms. She explained apartheid and the injustice taking place. It was then that I realized that I would learn more and speak out against injustice.

My first School of Christian Mission, now Mission u, was in the Northern Illinois Conference, where we studied Israel-Palestine to help understand the context and conflict in the area, where men and women of faith are separated by a wall and land is being traded for life. I had taken an Islamic civilizations class in college and it helped me see a beautiful religion with more similarities than differences.

During my first year in Indianapolis, I said to my local United Methodist Women that I wanted to go to Mission u—a great way to see the conference and connectedness of this amazing organization.

When called by my conference chair of committee on nominations about serving as director on the United Methodist Women Board of Directors, I looked at my next four years, what was going on in my personal and professional life, and prayed for direction.

Clearly, my answer was yes.

My path is winding, but I have never walked it alone. Whether I knew it or not, I have always had the support of my sisters in Christ and mission through United Methodist Women. My heart is filled and my strength is renewed when I am immersed among women of faith, service and advocacy in Christ. This story is mine; what is yours? I encourage you to share your story, and to celebrate it.

SHANNON PRIDDY
President
United Methodist Women

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