United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.
Out of the Purpose are four mission foci that relate to the mission initiatives and priorities of United Methodist Women.
• To be a community of women
• To know God
• To develop a creative and supportive fellowship
• To expand concepts of mission
The entire program and organization of United Methodist Women focuses on mission. Our mission initiatives include:
• Providing opportunities to grow spiritually
• Equipping women & girls to be leaders
• Providing transformative educational experiences
• Organizing for growth & flexibility
• Working for justice through service & advocacy
Focus on Women, Children & Youth
From its beginning, United Methodist Women has focused on ministries with women, children, and youth.
Women have been empowered by leadership education opportunities, mission education, the Reading Program, tools for advocacy and more. These opportunities allow women to act and to empower women in the United States and abroad.
United Methodist Women also support programs and projects aimed at improving the special needs of women because of their refugee statuses, their immigration statuses, situations in which they are abused, their high illiteracy rate in some countries, their economic dependence, their educational disparities, and much more.
A special emphasis of United Methodist Women is children, because women care for children. If children are raised with safety, security, food, shelter, education, and basic human rights, these children will grow to be loving and secure adults. United Methodist Women believe deeply in responding to Jesus’ mandate to “care for the least of these.”
Children often do not have a voice in this world, so United Methodist Women cares for them and advocates on their behalf. United Methodist Women commits to children globally through community centers, educational opportunities for refugee children, homes for street children, advocacy against sexual exploitation and child labor, educational institutions and much more.
United Methodist Women work with youth organizations globally and with programs and projects that support and empower youth. United Methodist Women also enables youth to be in mission by support of the US-2 program, the mission intern program and the Global Justice Volunteers program
A special emphasis of the organization has been to involve young women in all the ministries and leadership of United Methodist Women. A teen and college/university women consultative group helps direct the program of United Methodist Women to be more inclusive of younger women
The emblem of United Methodist Women, the cross and the flame, symbolizes our organization. The cross and the flame are ancient symbols of the church and appear on The United Methodist Church emblem. Both symbols remind us of the opportunities and obligations of discipleship.
Paul’s words to Timothy have fresh and contemporary meaning: “…I now remind you to stir into flame the gift of God which is within you…” (2 Timothy 1:6, New English Bible). As United Methodist Women, we share our gift of God with others through mission.
As parts of our emblem, the cross and the flame remind us of our PURPOSE of growing in our understanding of and willingness to participate in the global ministries of the church. They remind us of our heritage of women who pioneered in service for the church at home and in other countries.
The overall shape of the emblem is also symbolic. Fluid and free flowing, the shape suggests change and mobility. The women who came before us were at the forefront of movements for change. Always aware of the times, we move with ever-changing circumstances rather than feeling overwhelmed by them.
Continuing into the twenty-first century, we are a movement called United Methodist Women. We are a group of Christian women with many gifts who are unified by one Spirit. We participate in God’s mission in all areas of life.
From the “Handbook for United Methodist Women: Focus on Local and District Units 2001–2004”
“The organized unit of United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose PURPOSE is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.”
One question that we are asked from time to time is why women are asked to join the UMW, rather than automatically be members through their membership in the church. First, UMW members are not required to be United Methodist or to be members of the local congregation, although most women are. UMW members are asked to commit to participatory membership in which they support the UMW in the way(s) they choose, which might be through the reading program, prayer, pledges, attendance, or support of the UMW’s mission projects. Some units designate members who are no longer able to participate as “honorary” or as “inactive.” Every woman is invited to attend our meetings or to participate in our activities.