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.