UMW Day: water and witness

Nearly 150 years later, members of United Methodist Women “are living out the same commitments as our predecessors” for spiritual growth, service and advocacy for women, children and youth, says Harriett Olson, UMW’s top executive.

Those commitments will be highlighted throughout the day May 16 at General Conference 2016.

“We are providing opportunities to women of every generation, all races and ethnicities and every first language to participate and serve,” Olson said.

“On United Methodist Women Day, this will be demonstrated in consecrating deaconesses and home missioners, in the rally for clean water as a human right and in the celebration of our historical impact and the breadth of our current work.”

UMW’s upcoming 150th anniversary will be recognized in a seven-minute presentation just before 4 p.m. on the floor of General Conference.

The day begins with the 8 a.m. consecration in the plenary hall; continues with the lunchtime public witness on water rights outside on the Oregon Convention Center Plaza from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. and finishes with a meet-and-greet with UMW delegates, staff and members from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Oregon Ballroom, Room 203.

The actual anniversary, which occurs in 2019, commemorates the March 23, 1869, gathering of eight women at Tremont Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston to organize the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society.

UMW is using the 150th as a rallying cry for “an ambitious, organization-wide challenge to provide even more resources to meet the needs of the women, children and youth often left out of God's feast.”

Safe water for all

The public witness, “Don’t Poison Our Water: Water is a Human Right,” is linked to a UMW General Conference petition entitled “Protection of Water” and the UMW 2016 mission study on Climate Justice.

Carol Barton, a UMW executive, pointed out that safe drinking water and proper sanitation are universal needs, “but we’re particularly focusing on environmental racism and how communities of color are affected,” she said.

Speakers at the rally will offer examples of ways that government or corporate neglect has had a negative impact on the health of those communities. Among the speakers are:

  • Rose Farhat, a member of the Liberia United Methodist Church, who will talk about how pollution attributed to Firestone Rubber is affecting a community south of Monrovia.

The local coalition is advocating “for an effective cleanup that would create jobs for the local community,” Barton explained. “They’re particularly calling for enough time to comment on the EPA plan.”

Bloom is a United Methodist News Service multimedia reporter based in New York. Follow her at https://twitter.com/umcscribe or contact her at (615)742-5470 or [email protected]

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
General Church
The Rev. William B. Lawrence.  Photo by H. Jackson/Southern Methodist University.

Possible steps after General Conference delay

A global pandemic has postponed General Conference, but the former Judicial Council president argues there is still work that cannot wait a year.
General Conference
Clergy members bless the elements of Holy Communion during the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. The Commission on the General Conference met March 21 to discuss next steps after coronavirus concerns forced the postponement of this year’s legislative assembly. File photo by Paul Jeffrey, UM News.

Updated: Looking at new General Conference dates

General Conference organizers met in closed session to explore when they could reschedule the lawmaking assembly after the coronavirus-compelled delay.
Global Health
The Minneapolis Convention Center — scheduled to host the 2020 General Conference — announced it is now canceling gatherings of 50 or more people through May 10. The decision comes as General Conference organizers already were considering postponement. Photo by Dan Anderson, courtesy of Meet Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Church leaders postpone 2020 General Conference

With the venue that was scheduled to host is canceling large events through May 10, General Conference organizers decided they have no choice but to find new dates.