AVON, Ind. – “It’s my generation who has dropped the ball. We are in church, but we just don’t come to United Methodist Women,” the church’s mission organization for women.
So confessed Christie House, an active UMW member, to more than 400 UMW of Indiana officers and members during their conference-wide annual meeting Oct. 13 at the Avon United Methodist Church.
House, editor of New World Outlook, the denomination’s international mission magazine based in New York City, prides herself on being a third generation UMW member, but also lamented the fact that many Baby Boomers never joined the UMW and now units across the country are waning.
“It’s my generation that’s the missing generation. Women now in their 40s, 50s and 60s still are not coming,” she said.
She then gave surprising advice – “Forget about us! Don’t bother with us! Sometimes you have to skip a generation. I’m not saying forget the generation.”
She then advised the women to focus on “my children’s generation – college aged and young adults.”
But she also warned them, “They don’t want to go to meetings for business,” recalling the hour-long rules-of-order business in the morning session.
She then went on to explain the younger generation of women want “fellowship with other women. Discover what they want to own. The more they know about UMW, the more they will own… Talk about the issues dear to UMW like human trafficking and undocumented immigrants. Talk about domestic violence or food production… This is their thing, when we are all working on it together.”
House challenged the women to bridge the gap. “Have events that bring young women to plan. UMW needs an attitude. When the UMW faces a problem, they solve it!”
She advised planners to have one meeting where young women are in the planning of an event. “Do a little cooking and a little teaching about what their passion is.”
She continued saying many young adult women have a passion for green sustainability and the environment. Take time to listen to youth. Have Schools of Mission with youth scholarships. Have units sponsor youth or young adult groups and invite them. But they need hands on.
“(As an organization), we need to be training, equipping and sending women. Education is so important for women,” House said. “Response (UMW’s magazine) has a list of ministries to women, children and youth.”
House is president of her UMW unit at St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist Church on Manhattan Island in New York City.
“It’s my generation who has dropped the ball…”
– Christie House
Vickie Newkirk, a national UMW director, welcomes the new UMW of Indiana officers.
In other UMW of Indiana business
In other business during the Oct. 13 annual meeting, the UMW of Indiana:
During a morning Communion service, heard the Rev. Karen Devaisher proclaim the Good News to trust God and love extravagantly.
Heard of report from 17-year-old Mattie Weber on the national Limitless gathering for young women;
Heard about the need for new heating/air conditioning units at the organization’s Lucille Raines Residence. Each unit costs $3,500.
Approved a 2013 budget of $185,175 and askings to mission of $400,000 or $13 per member.
Asked local units to support the Lucille Raines Residence at the rate of $10 per member and asked members to contribute $1 each to the Youth and Young Adult Service Scholarship Fund.
Affirmed more than 14,000 members state-wide.
Approved 2013 officers: president, Carolyn Maxey of Chesterton; v-p, Sue Shafer of Richmond; secretary, Barbara King of Indianapolis; treasurer, Sherry Ralston of Newburgh; social action, Cathy Burris of Indianapolis; spiritual growth, Karen Korn of Bloomington; membership, Alma Sigler of Elkhart; education, Jan Wilcox of Etna Green; communication, Anne Bunch of Terre Haute; nominations, Margaret Woody of Crawfordsville, member of the committee on nominations, Rosa Bernard of Indianapolis.