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November/December response: Responsively Yours

Step Up with Intention

by Sally Vonner

Greetings members and everyone reading this issue. As we look forward to wrapping up another year, I trust that you have experienced amazing Mission u events studying the Lord’s Prayer, attended my installation service in late July in person or online, and participated in annual meeting celebrations. I was blessed to be the guest speaker or have a role at several annual meeting celebrations. Thank you for all the ways and places you have engaged, and the mission you have done locally. You are amazing and make me so proud. 

Sally Vonner
General Secretary and CEO
United Women in Faith

This season is a time to reflect and give God thanks for bringing United Women in Faith and The United Methodist Church through a challenging year. Many have been impacted by disaffiliations. My heart goes out to you, especially if your church chose to disaffiliate. I hope you know that you can stay connected to our sisterhood, whatever choice your church makes. You can continue to meet as you have been, participate with another unit, join a district unit, organize a virtual unit, or join our Member Portal online. There are always resources available online at uwfaith.org/resources. If you have questions about staying connected, reach out to membership@uwfaith.org.

Sometimes the impact of disaffiliations may make us want to give up, lose courage, and lose hope. In the immediate wake, we will lose some members and see a stasis or even a decline in giving. Now we decide: Is this a setback or an opportunity to rise to the challenge? Romans 15:13 reminds us we must have hope, keep the faith, keep showing up, and keep believing that God is with us and will see us through. I shared with you the last issue that we are preparing for growth: We have every reason to believe in a bright future. The season of Advent is not about waiting for the joy of Christ—it is about preparing for it.

Our strategic plan was developed and finalized in 2021 by a Core Planning Team of directors and program advisory group along with selected staff to guide us for the next three to five years. The plan focuses on four priority goals that United Women in Faith will:

  1. be a reliable source for women’s spiritual growth;
  2. attract and engage women for increased membership, funding, and donations;
  3. position United Women in Faith as a leading women’s Christian organization within the wider faith community and in the world; and
  4. mobilize members to inspire, influence, and impact their communities and the world. Which goal do you see yourself and the sisters with whom you are in supportive fellowship being able to engage? 

The board, program advisory group, and staff have prepared our way forward through the strategic plan, particularly focusing on strategic goal #2. Join us and turn what feels dim into light for others to follow. Together, if we step up with intention, we can grow our membership by reaching out, inviting women to come grow, lead, advocate, and be nurtured in mission. Together, if each of us steps up with the intention to keep our pledge and giving levels in 2024, the same as we committed in 2023, we are moving mission and the vision forward. With God’s help, 2024 can be our year of stepping up as bold women and continuing our legacy as changemakers. We can do it! May it be so.

The good news is that we can seize this moment by knocking on the doors of the newly organizing United Methodist communities of faith and new churches being birthed in all our conferences. The Soul Care Retreat Toolkit is a great resource to guide you in connecting with women to offer nurture and sacred space for spiritual growth. Our research showed that all women were interested in self and soul care. It is likely United Women in Faith members are already there and can open the door to greet you. Another opportunity to seize is standing together in our giving. I know it is easier to decrease our pledges and giving levels in times of great uncertainty rather than realizing this is when we make the most difference. After one year of launching our new name and brand and implementing the strategic plan we are seeing impact.

SALLY VONNER
General Secretary and CEO
United Women in Faith


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