General Conference recognizes 150th anniversary of United Methodist Women

By Madeline Pillow

On Monday, May 16, General Conference celebrated the 150th anniversary of United Methodist Women (UMW). Officially, United Methodist Women will reach its 150th anniversary in 2019. The oldest predecessor organization was founded in 1869.

The General Conference recognition included a day of celebration, advocacy and recommitment to mission with women, children and youths, and consecration of 23 new deaconesses and home missioners, a lay office administered by United Methodist Women and dedicated to service ministries that alleviate suffering, injustice and build the global community through the church.

From left, Beth Christian, Joyce Winston, Shirley Cauffman.

Joyce Winston, Virginia Conference lay delegate to General Conference and president of Virginia Conference United Methodist Women, saw the General Conference recognition as an understanding by the body of what the organization does.

“It means they know how wonderful we are and what good work we do,” Winston said. “It means that the world, because they are in here today, will know that United Methodist Women work with the poor and with the people of the world: women, children and youth. We think, and we know, that we are the eyes, the hands and feet of God and the heart of God.”

As part of celebrating 150 years of mission work, UMW is preparing for the next 150 years by establishing The Legacy Fund, a permanent endowment with income dedicated to strengthening United Methodist Women.

The UMW website says the Legacy Fund will ensure a regular source of support for core expenses to free future generations to budget Mission Giving to connect directly with the needs of women, children and youths so “the direct service, advocacy, education and leadership development we’ve been doing for our first 150 years continue for at least the next 150.”

The Legacy Fund campaign invites donations from 2015-2019 to permanently support the work of United Methodist Women.

For Winston, it’s all about welcoming a new generation to the UMW.

“I see us maybe changing things, getting that old excitement back because the younger women have new ideas and fresh ideas,” Winston said. “We have to replace ourselves, and I see us mentoring the younger women to interest them and to show them how far we’ve come.”



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