September/October response: Responsively Yours
A Fresh Wind Is Blowing!
by Sally Vonner
Greetings in the love and hope we have in Jesus Christ! As we face the changes of a new season, I am in a season of hope for the future, believing it will be amazing. As Genesis 18:14 says, “Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?” Truly with God, all things are possible.
On recent visits with members and National Mission Institutions in North Texas, Louisiana, and Minnesota, I am excited to share that I have seen love in action in every place. I heard a fresh wind blowing as I listened to how United Women in Faith are living out their call to keep moving forward, dreaming and visioning new possibilities to make a greater impact in their communities and the world.
Remember, our 2016 jurisdiction quadrennial meetings had the theme, “A Fresh Wind Blowing.” Even before then and since, innovation and dreaming have been happening with a call to refresh and welcome the future God is calling us into. This requires vision, boldness, determination, and sometimes letting go of the familiar to continue in fellowship, mission, and faith that God is doing a new thing for this season of hope.
In 2020, a Core Planning Team of directors and program advisory group members along with key staff began a strategic planning process. It was completed in 2021 with a roadmap for the next three to five years. We began implementation with the launch of our new name and brand and we are continuing. Transformation and change do not happen without intention. The intention of the strategic plan was to establish priorities to maximize impact and engagement with members and create pathways for new women coming in the present and future.
Like our foremothers who had to frequently make shifts, changes, and navigate new ways of showing up in the church and the world as it was in their day, so must we. Our generation must dream of the future we want to see and make plans to achieve it. There is a sense of urgency as we prepare to embrace the next generation in 2029.
God has given me a vision to lead from this moment to a future with hope and vitality. I invite you to hear and receive it with an open heart. The vision is threefold and nothing new. By 2028, we will: 1) increase our U.S. membership beyond 500,000; 2) increase our giving back to pre-COVID-19 pandemic amounts of $10 million+ a year; and 3) fully fund the $60 million Legacy Endowment Fund. Can you see it? I hope so! The greatest sacrifice we can offer now to solidify the future of United Women in Faith is to overcome the decrease in our membership and giving.
The strategic plan we have begun implementing is our roadmap to this destination. More will be shared in the November/December issue of response. To achieve this vision and the strategic efforts by 2028 will take every member, from national to local, working collectively toward this goal. I believe and have faith we can do it; we are changemakers! We are the generation with more tools to reach new women and new supporters than before. We have been faithful and making an impact thus far.
Women, children, and youth of the present and future have hope in us to continue. Let’s not disappoint them or God. May it be so.
General Secretary and CEO
United Women in Faith