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Board of Directors Spring Meeting 2024

by Maryann Verghese

The United Women in Faith Board meeting met for their semi-annual meeting on April 6, 2024. National vice-president Cynthia Rives chaired the meeting in place of National President ‘Ainise ‘Isama’u. Rives opened singing “this is the day the Lord has made” and lifted up prayers for director and staff. The meeting additionally opened with participants naming and acknowledging the Indigenous lands from their location.

Deloris Carhee and Louis Niemann led an opening devotion including a compassionate touch meditation.

Throughout the meeting, the directors heard reports from General Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Sally Vonner, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Tamara Clark, Vice-President Rives, and Wespath. Additional reports and actions were brought forward from the Legacy Endowment Fund, the finance committee, the planning and assessment committee, and the governance committee.

In their last planned meeting as directors, Vonner celebrated the past four years of this board of directors and the work they have done. To the directors, she encouraged, “keep wearing your United Women in Faith hat and lenses.  Share the news of how God is moving United Women in Faith into a bright, faithfully forward future. Most importantly, invite others to join us in inspiring, influencing and making an impact.”

In her report, Rives also encouraged her fellow directors to remain active in their local units and as leaders, even after their term ends. She emphasizes the importance of working together as a national organization from the local to the national level and to continue to seek out other women to bring along in the work.

National Mission Institutions

The board heard the treasurer’s report from CFO Clark and approved the updated national mission institution covenant which is signed every four years.

Additionally, the board approved the decertification of The Friendly Center, a national mission institution (NMI) who struggled for many years in spite of the national office’s support via grants, site visits, and strategic planning.  The NMI was unable to make sufficient progress to effectively serve its community and fully utilize the United women in Faith owned property where it operated. 

The board also passed a $15,000 grant to the Dumas Wesley Community Center in Mobile, Alabama, a NMI that has seen an increased need for support in their work for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

Climate Justice Commitments

Throughout the meeting, the board took several actions to reaffirm United Women in Faith’s commitment to climate justice. The board passed a resolution to support amending paragraph 717 of the United Methodist Book of Discipline which pertains to sustainable and socially responsible investments. The resolution supports adding fossil fuels as an investment to avoid.

Additionally, the board heard from Wespath and their ongoing work in sustainable investments, shareholder advocacy, and their increased standards for excluding investments in fossil fuels and companies operating in conflict zones.

The board continued their commitment to climate justice through reviewing investments in fossil fuel and climate justice and voted to increase investments in Wespath funds that value climate justice.

Throughout the meeting, Shannon Priddy served as sustainability meeting monitor and assessed how well the meeting followed the organization’s goals for sustainable gatherings.

Leading Into the Future

Other business included approving the Reading Program list for 2025 and job descriptions for the 2025-2028 board of directors and program advisory group. Additionally, amendments and updated language to By-Laws of United Women in Faith were approved.

Deaconesses and home missioners were also approved for consecration.  Deaconess and home missioner consecration on Monday April 29 at 8 a.m. at United Methodist Church General Conference. Follow along through United Women in Faith’s General Conference blog.

Additionally, Cecilia Malm and Dawn Armstrong shared updates on the Legacy Endowment Fund. They celebrated the “time, stories, enthusiasm, financial resources, and prayers” given to Legacy over the past four years. The report also noted that 15 conferences increased their giving to Legacy in 2023. Board members were also encouraged to continue to be leaders in Legacy Fund. “No gift is too small,” Vonner said.  Board members were also encouraged to continue to be leaders in the Legacy Fund. “No gift is too small,” Vonner said.  You, too, can become an 1869 Society member by giving to the Legacy Fund as a planned gift donor, at


At the end of the meeting, Rives again expressed gratitude for the time this board of directors has served together. Vonner additionally compared this term of the board of the directors as a musician’s improv. Although this board of directors will never be replicated, “we can remember the joy of the celebrations, the pain and the grief of the losses, but we’ve made it through.”

Darlene Alfred led a closing prayer.

As incoming director and program advisory group members are elected throughout the year, you can find more coverage later in the year in response magazine. As Vonner said to the outgoing directors, “I am confident that our future is bright because we have come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord and each other. Together the power of love in action can change the world. May all our lives be a testament to God’s faithfulness and goodness.”

Maryann Verghese is editor of response.

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