Officer's Blog
February 24, 2016, 3:20 PM

For Such a Time as This Vicki Busby – Grace UMC, Sherman

For Such a Time as This                 Vicki Busby – Grace UMC, Sherman

 

United Methodist Women has been challenging social injustice for almost 150 years. Members improve the lives of women, children, and youth nationally and internationally. United Methodist Women continues its advocacy work on peace and justice, education, racial justice, immigrant rights, the environment, economic justice, women's health, the rights of children, human rights, and farm workers' rights, to name a few. 

 

Starting this year, United Methodist Women's work will focus on four priority areas:        

                                        Climate Justice

                                        Maternal & Child Health

                                        Racial & Gender Justice

                                        Economic Inequality

 

United Methodist Women has a history of taking faith-filled, bold, and justice-seeking positions based on a clear-eyed look at the conditions of women, children, and youth here in the United States and around the world.  It is time for us to take a look at the statistics on violence, poverty, and race in the United States and break ourselves of the illusion that the system is basically fair, that it is working pretty well, and that it usually rewards effort and merit evenhandedly to all.  Throughout the next several years as we work on our new set of priority issues, we will have the chance to take a look at the reality of the massive incarceration of mostly poor people of color in the United States, the increase of wealth inequality, maternal health outcomes, and issues of environmental justice.  In each focus area, race is an aspect that must be addressed.

 

Our United Methodist foremothers, who drafted the Charter for Racial Justice in 1952 recognized that our work to undo racial injustice must happen precisely within the institutions where we exert the most influence and power.  We live in a hyper-racialized world where people are treated like commodities who are often economically and physically exploited for their labor.  Indeed, it is most often people of color who live closest to the dangerous pollution emitted from our extraction, production, and waste facilities.

 

Racism is the systemic oppression of people of color.  It occurs at the individual, interpersonal, institutional, and structural levels.  It may be overt or covert, intentional or unintentional.  Racism is different from racial prejudice, hatred or discrimination.  Racism involves having the power to carry out systemic discriminatory practices through the institutions of our society.   Race prejudice plus the misuse of power by systems and institutions equals institutional racism.

 

‘For Such a Time as This’ (based on Esther 4:14) is the 2016 theme of the North Texas Conference United Methodist Women.   In times, such as these, United Methodist Women members are called to reflect what the Charter for Racial Justice means for us today as we grapple with the persistence of racial injustice at every level of our society. 

How are we called to do racial justice in our times?

 

The Charter for Racial Justice mandate is very clear and very practical: “Work for the development and implementation of national and international policies to protect the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of all people.  As followers of Christ and as part of the Wesleyan tradition, we are called because in our time, as ever, we must do all the good we can,  by all the means we can, in all the places we can, to all the people we can, as long as ever we can.

 

Listening to one another gives us the opportunity to truly begin to see how injustice is impacting all our lives and to go where God leads us, even if that means seeing how we might be perpetuating injustice.  You can deepen your listening and dialogue skills by using the United Methodist Women’s manual:  Tools for Leaders: Resources for Racial Justice:   http://www.umwmissionresoures.org/sp/downloads

 

Racial injustice will not be solved at a personal level, because personal prejudice is only a small part of racism.  We must, together as a society, begin to examine and attack systemic racism, which was imbedded in the founding of all of our society’s institutions and persists in every institution to this day.  

 

Two actions are key to doing racial justice in the 21st century:

 

  • White people listening more intently and consistently to people of color’s racial realities
  • Understanding that if racism is about systemic inequity then undoing racism must be about realizing systemic equity, not merely personal equity

     

    The United Methodist Church’s Charter for Racial Justice says that “racism is a rejection of the teachings of Jesus Christ” and that “all women and men are made in God’s image and all personal are equally valuable in God’s sight.” 

     

    In addition to our silent and contemplative prayers, again we are called to pray in action.  You can act publically, privately, collectively, and individually.  It is simply important to act, and to do so consistently.

     

    The challenge Esther received (Esther 4:14) may very well be the challenge that our Savior has for you at this point in your life. “Who knows but that you have come to this point of time in your life for such a time as this?” In other words, God has placed you where you are, not just to enjoy the benefits of life in America, but to build His kingdom, to help His people, and to fulfill His purposes.

     

    Use these resources available from United Methodist Women Mission Resources…

    http://www.umwmissionresources.org/sp/downloads

     

  • United Methodist Women Racial Justice Time Line (booklet)
  • Resources for Racial Justice
  • The New Jim Crow: (2012 Reading Program Selection)
  • United Methodist Women Charter for Racial Justice

     




February 24, 2016, 2:33 PM

Legislative Agenda

Legislative Agenda

 

Texas United Methodist Women affirm the dedication of every member of the Texas Legislature. We thank you for your service to our state and we look forward to thanking you for your good work in the 85th legislative session. The following issues are key priorities for us, but they do not represent the sum of our concerns. We know that you will make decisions about vast and varied issues. We urge you to consider that everything is important because everyone is important: the decisions you make must be for the good of all people in Texas.

Healthy Texas

We urge the Legislature to advance policies to provide affordable healthcare, including mental health and preventive health services, through responsive and efficient structures, for the broadest possible number of people in Texas. This should include providing affordable insurance for working Texans, and expanding Medicaid and other existing low-income programs. We affirm our particular and historic concern for the health of women and children. We commend to lawmakers the role that social determinants, especially access to affordable, healthy food and family financial stability, play in health, and call on lawmakers to consider comprehensive health solutions.

Quality Education

The Legislature should affirm its constitutional obligation to provide high quality public education for the benefit of all children in our state. Critical legislative actions include restoring all cuts made in the last decade, providing state funding for enrollment growth, and increasing teacher compensation to competitive levels. We strongly reaffirm our historic opposition to any movement toward allowing the flow of public money to private schools, including the establishment of any voucher programs, education savings programs, or other diversion programs.

Living Water

We urge lawmakers to prioritize our state’s water infrastructure investments around the primary principle of fair access to clean water for all people in Texas, and to take strong action to protect Texans from potential threats to the air, land and water that we rely on to live. We affirm the inherent worth of all creation and call on lawmakers to protect all of Texas’ natural resources.

Religious Liberty

We encourage legislators to respect the religious diversity of our state. We insist that legislators uphold the constitutional right of every person in Texas to religious expression, including the right of faith communities to self-govern and make decisions within the context of their particular faiths and denominational structures. We urge lawmakers to reject attempts to legitimize discrimination of any kind on the basis of religion.

For more information about United Methodist Women in Texas or this legislative agenda, contact any of the following UMW Social Action Coordinators:

Ann Muir                     972-742-3167       jmuir183@att.net                                    North Texas Conference

Judy Wiggins                806-729-9893       wigginsjudy60@yahoo.com           Northwest Texas Conference

Elizabeth Jimenez          956-242-2185       lizjimenez0528@hotmail.com        Rio Texas Conference

Krystal Scott-West         409-365-7078       krystal_west@sbcglobal.net          Texas Conference

Ellen Lipsey                  432-284-0584       elipsey@telstar1.com                   New Mexico Conference

Darlene Alfred              254-624-4685       darlenealfred@gmail.com             Central Texas Conference




June 25, 2015, 10:19 AM

Letter from Our President Mae Alexander South Carolina Shooting

Greeting Ladies:

I hope you all are having a good summer and are safe from any flooding.

We have various emotions stemming from the tragic shooting of nine people who were gathered to pray in church. Please join with me to be in prayer for the Methodist family at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. We pray for strength to do the work needed so that all can feel safe, everywhere, and all can know one another and work together as family.

Every day we are blessed with opportunities to unwrap God’s grace in our scary moments. Everyday we witness miracles that we know no human could perform – miracles like being able to breath, walk, talk, move, see, think taste and touch. Evidence of God’s presence and power is all around us in the universe- the sun, stars, the birth of each new day.

Things go well when you are working together. Things get done. I want to take the time to thank each and every one of you for the work you do as members of the North Texas Conference of United Methodist Women. For those that work during the Annual Conference hats off to you. If you were unable to attend Annual Conference thanks for your prayers. The booth was great!

Mission u is moving along really well. Keep in mind that God’s grace is stronger than gravity. God didn’t go halfway when he went to work on our behalf. He did it all and we can do it all with God’s grace and mercy. We are claiming the transformation now, today, tomorrow, and later.

Thanks for your consideration and all that you do. I am available to assist wherever and anyway needed.

May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, and the rain fall soft upon your fields;; and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Yours in Christ,

Mae Alexander

214-339-1950 (home)

214-507-9476 (Mobile)




March 30, 2015, 11:46 PM

Penny Fund by Kay Dean

College Mound United Methodist Women

     College Mound United Methodist Women in Terrell, Texas have a unique way of raising funds for our church’s “Penny Fund”. This fund takes in money in many ways but mainly through adults and children putting their change in an old bucket that is placed outside on the sidewalk in front of the sanctuary each Sunday. This fund is used at the discretion of our pastor for our members and others if emergencies arise and help is needed. Many years ago our UMW came up with the idea to help this fund by having what we call our own College Mound Post Office. The congregation can bring Christmas cards that they would usually mail to their church friends and the money they would normally pay for the stamps would be collected out of the stamp money box by the UMW for the fund. We post a deadline date for the cards and stamp money to be placed in the post office. After that we meet to sort the cards by families, put them in Christmas bags and have them ready to be picked up the Sunday before Christmas. We turn all the stamp money over to our pastor for the Penny Fund. Each year this has raised hundreds of dollars to add to the fund.

     Pete Flanery, the late husband of one of our members, Thelda Flanery made the post office for us about 10 years ago. Pete was a strong supporter of UMW. He was always willing to help in any way we needed and very generous in giving to all our mission project funds. 

Kay Dean, Author




September 23, 2014, 11:08 PM

Mission u story from the desk of Kay Dean

How many people in their 70's get the chance to go to college for three days, live in a dorm,( you have to take your bedding and linens) bathroom down the hall, eat in the cafeteria and have fantastic teachers leading classes in great mission studies!!That's exactly the opportunity that was offered to all by our NTUMW Conference Team called "Mission u". This event was held in Sherman at Austin College July 17-19. Each summer all over the US, United Methodist Women Conference Mission Teams host "Mission u's" where women, children, youth and men are all given the chance to study one or more of the three mission study books recommended to be taught at their local UMW groups this fall or next spring. I was able to take two of the studies, the spiritual growth study on "How is it with Your Soul" and the geographic study on "The Roma of Europe". I will be leading the study on the book "The Roma of Europe" in our UMW meetings this fall. We know the people called Roma by the more common name Gypsies. It was very interesting, informative and so sad in many ways.

   I've attended many of these mission book studies in years past in Dallas but we would drive in and back home each day. To spend the time together in a dorm and college atmosphere was a wonderful time of fellowship and getting to know each other better. A truly unique "Mission u" experience!