January/February response: Responsively Yours
Called to Mission
by Sally Vonner
Happy New Year! I greet you in faith, hope, and love this new year. What a blessing to welcome 2024 as a new beginning—a chance to reset, refresh, and renew our commitment to loving God, our neighbors, and ourselves as Jesus taught.
In the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition, we often begin the new year with a covenant service to recommit ourselves to God and remember our baptism when we renounced the spiritual forces of wickedness; the evil powers of this world; sin, evil, injustice, and oppression; and professed faith in Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. The service usually includes “A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition” (United Methodist Hymnal, #607) about giving and loving selflessly. It is also about understanding that we are called to a mission and life in service for God’s work in the world.
I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee, exhalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
Does this prayer convict you? It does me. I make it a practice to pray at the beginning of every new year and other times throughout the year whether I participate in a covenant service or not. It grounds me in remembering that I am part of something bigger than me and my perspectives. I am invited into a journey where God leads me and others to transform the world through love. I consider it a blessing that I get to be on this journey with each of you and together with God’s call and help, and our love in action, we can change the world.
Join me in looking forward to 2024 being a great year in which United Women in Faith will keep dreaming new possibilities and innovative ways to inspire, influence, and impact lives, expand our reach to connect with more women, sojourners, and advocates whose values align with ours. Values like our concern and advocacy for the well-being of women, children, and youth, growing in faith and transformative education, seeking justice for the oppressed and care for creation—ultimately being God’s tangible presence and light in communities and the world.
Let us seek to serve God’s people throughout 2024 by committing our time, talents, giving, and service collectively, understanding that together our strength helps God’s glory and light shine brighter each day. To God be the glory for the great things God will do through and for United Women in Faith in 2024!
General Secretary and CEO
United Women in Faith