Sunday, April 13, 2014


This posting will be different from the usual because I want to tell you what wonderful visits I had last week in the UMW Riverside office, at the Church Center for the United Nations (CCUN), and at the Alma Mathews House. . Since the posting is likely to be a little long—because the visits were so exciting for me—I will divide it into three parts.

I have been visiting the two offices annually for a few years now and am always reinvigorated and enlightened and encouraged by the activity and the welcome. Although both offices were heavily involved in GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2014, they took time for me.

Carol Barton is executive secretary for community action and her office is in the Church Center. 

An aside: Do you realize what an absolutely incredible thing it is that we--women of the United Methodist Church--own and operate this 12-story building across the street from the United Nations Building?! If you aren't familiar with it, put "Church Center of the United Nations" in your browser and learn about the power and opportunity this asset gives us! But back to my visit with Carol....

A gracious and enthusiastic hostess, Carol was eager to learn how our NTC "Social Action Three" arrangement works, and she seemed pleased with my report. The main message that Carol left with me is this: Don't drop the topic/issue just because you've finished the study. We all know, intellectually, that knowledge imparted through UMW emphases is not to be the end; it may be just the beginning for some of us and another building block for others. But the goal is to MAKE A DIFFERENCE as a result, and to do that we need to continue to address the issue. If one woman takes as her commitment the Patricia Project to provide sanitary items to women and girls who have no access to such, and pursues the activity on her own, that’s a success. If she brings another woman into her work, that’s additional success.

Or if one of us is deeply touched by the conditions the Roma people live in, and delves into the study further, learning how to help, that’s success.

I believe it is true that, as UMW members, to gain knowledge about a need is to gain a responsibility to do something. But it is also true that we simply can’t adopt every need with equal fervor so, with God’s guidance, we have to choose a need to which we will devote our energy. As someone has said: “I’m not everybody, but I am somebody. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I must do.”

Carol and I also discussed a mutual concern that, within the new flexibility for organization of UMW units, our membership maintain our commitment to the many missions and structures that UMW has built and supported these 100-plus years. We can continue this service to God only through continued financial pledging of our  members.

These are the messages I brought with me from my valuable time with Carol.

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