This month United Methodist Women celebrates its 148th anniversary as a women’s mission organization. This is a milestone worth celebrating, both for the foresight of our foremothers and for the passion and faith of members today.
Our anniversary is also a time to acknowledge the importance of women organized for mission for the next 150 years (and beyond). “Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham,” reads Luke 3:8, a passage reflected on at this year’s Leadership Development Days. We have many strong women as our ancestors, many reasons to be proud members of United Methodist Women, but we are still responsible for bearing fruit. The great work of our ancestors does not give us the right to table the ongoing needs of women, children and youth.
Our constant is listening to God’s call—but adapting our answers to God’s call is our legacy and our future. Women are still not equally represented in communities, agencies, workplaces, governments or churches. Voices of the marginalized are still unheard and suppressed. Today’s prophets cannot go unheeded, and we must not give in to the comfort of today’s false idols. We are called by Christ to kin-dom building, and we’re not there yet. Celebrate United Methodist Women’s birthday this month by daring to imagine a different way and by listening to those who propose it. It will be uncomfortable. It will call you out into the wilderness. But you will not be alone. The world still needs women organized for mission.