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Women's Division sees brighter financial outlook

Oct. 10, 2006

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A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey

Jan Love addresses the Women's Division annual meeting for the last time as its chief executive.

By Linda Bloom*

STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS) — A brighter financial picture has emerged for the Women's Division, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, as it continues to focus on reorganization.

That was the word from Jan Love, the division's chief executive, and Andrea Hatcher, treasurer, during the Oct. 6-9 annual meeting of the division's directors.

It was the last meeting for Love, who is leaving Dec. 31 to become dean of United Methodist-related Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. Lois Dauway, who leads the division's Section on Christian Social Responsibility, was elected to serve as interim chief executive from Jan. 1 until the position is filled.

The Women's Division, which is the administrative arm of United Methodist Women, has been focused on reversing a pattern of overspending. Although the goal of a balanced budget for 2007 was not quite reached, "we're in essence reducing our expenditures by more than $6 million in a little more than a year," Love told directors.

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Lois Dauway
She said the staff intends to address the projected deficit of just more than $200,000 for 2007 by reducing spending levels. One step already taken is a temporary hiring freeze.

One of the organization's challenges, according to Love, has been to put all expenditures into "a single budget process" instead of approving some items as "off budget" expenses. By this past April, "we had a very clear picture and a road map of how to address the challenges before us," she said.

She stressed that the overspending was not a result of mismanagement and that previous assets were used in a positive way to further God's mission. But such spending could not continue indefinitely. Love called the current process "a period of consolidation and adjustment to do things differently."

Hatcher noted that while mission giving had dropped by 7 percent from 2004 to 2005, the overall decrease in operating revenue was only 3 percent because of investment income. For 2006, she reported, operating revenue was already 34 percent higher by August because of an increase in undesignated giving, interest and investment income and other revenues.

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A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey

Women's Division Treasurer Andrea Hatcher reports on the improved financial health of the organization.
The projection for 2006 is that overall mission giving will exceed 2005 but still be less than 2004, Hatcher said.

Reductions in staff are part of the decrease in expenses. Between 2000 and the beginning of 2007, the number of executive staff will have dropped from 41 to 29; professional staff, 12 to 9; and support staff, 63 to 25.

Some of the drop-off in staff is attributed to the recent closing of the division's Service Center in Cincinnati. The total number of staff has dropped from 116 in 2000 to 99 in 2004, and it will be down to 63 in 2007. Although there are fewer staff members, some have received a pay increase after a review of salary equity, Love added.

Kyung Za Yim, Women's Division president, explained to directors the process of recommending a candidate to replace Love. Division officers, who serve as the personnel committee, had received 13 applicants for the job and had interviewed two people but felt a wider search was necessary, she explained.

The personnel committee received approval from directors to open a new national search to fill the chief executive position and explore the feasibility of hiring a national search firm for assistance.

Directors also asked the executive committee on long-range planning to bring a revised draft proposal of the division's overall reorganization to the spring meeting in 2007 "to reflect current levels of material and human resources."

Immigration concerns

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A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey

Kyung Za Yim, president of the Women's Division, presents the upcoming year's budget.
In other business, directors learned that the Women's Division has become a member of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which supports local, national and international organizing and advocacy work.

"The presence of network-member groups in communities across the country opens the possibility for United Methodist Women to build relationships with immigrant and refugee groups lately," the division's report stated.

Joining the network is a continuation of the division's exploration of a "priority initiative" on immigration approved last spring. During this meeting, Eric Ward, national field director of the Center for New Community in Chicago, told directors they stand "at a key moment in history" on the immigration debate and declared that bigotry is part of the equation.

"This is not a debate about immigration,"he said, but a debate "on national identity and human rights."

On an international level, division directors received a "Lebanon tool kit" to increase awareness of the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. UMW members are being asked to critically evaluate the situation there, seek alternate media perspectives on the Middle East and engage elected national representatives on the impact of conflict on women, children and youth in the region.

Expanding in South Korea

Women's Division directors also:

  • Decided to establish a Global Methodist Women's Center in Seoul, South Korea, to support the Women's Division work in international ministries.
  • Recommended the UMW's "Green Team" add Wausau-Mosinee Paper Corp. and Yum! Brands Inc. to a letter-writing campaign calling for the production, use or stocking of chlorine-free paper.
  • Asked the division's racial justice program to follow up on a 2006 consultation and develop a comprehensive plan for racial justice work within United Methodist Women, to be presented at next April's meeting.
  • Elected Barbara Wheeler as executive secretary for communications (editing) and Leslie Nedderman as assistant controller.
  • Decided to partner with the Older Women's League in its Mother's Day 2007 Action on Health Care.
  • Agreed to sponsor a June 6-7 event at Simpsonwood retreat center, near Atlanta, to address the issue of mercury poisoning in some immunization vaccines.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or

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