Giving remains strong among United Methodist Women
10/21/2003 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York
For a related report on churchwide giving, see UMNS story #489.
By Linda Bloom*
Photo number W03054, Accompanies UMNS#502
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United Methodist Women. Photo number W03055, Accompanies UMNS#502
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STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS) - Giving by members of
United Methodist Women has remained strong in 2003, despite a general
dip in donations throughout the denomination.
Directors of the
Women's Division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries,
which serves as United Methodist Women's administrative body, received
that news during their Oct. 17-20 annual meeting.
Takamine, division treasurer, reported that undesignated giving had
increased by 7.6 percent through August compared to the same eight-month
period in 2002. "There is an increase in giving in every channel," she
added. Undesignated giving in five different funds was at about $6.4
On a denomination-wide level, the amount of apportioned
funds sent from annual (regional) conferences to the general church has
decreased by about $3 million, or 5 percent, for the first three
quarters of 2003 compared to that period the year before.
Women's Division increase, Takamine explained later to United Methodist
News Service, brings the 2003 giving totals in line with 2001. In 2002,
undesignated giving had dropped as it traditionally does during a year
when the organization holds its quadrennial Women's Assembly and members
divert funds to assembly participation and related offerings.
she noted that it is not unusual for United Methodist Women giving to
remain steady during declines in general church income.
"Many of our members are on fixed incomes, but they do have a real faith and commitment to the organization," she said.
Banks, Women's Division president, believes the spike in undesignated
giving is a response to the telling of the mission story. "As long as we
interpret the need, the giving will continue," she said.
items for action, directors approved the division becoming an
organizational co-sponsor of an April 25 march in Washington supporting
reproductive rights, including access to birth control and abortion.
They also approved a $5,000 donation toward expenses of the event,
titled "Save Women's Lives: March for Freedom of Choice."
adopted a policy statement on police brutality that will become part of
the Women's Division's policy manual. Expressing concern about cases of
overzealousness by police and particularly harassment of ethnic
minorities, the policy advocates that the church become a refuge "for
anyone beaten by one or more police officers." It also calls for police
officers suspected of brutality to not be protected but "treated like
any other citizen," and it advocates creating civilian police review
boards empowered to investigate and end abuses.
international level, directors urged United Methodist Women members to
get their congregations involved with efforts to promote peace on the
Korean peninsula and to urge Congress and President Bush to find
multilateral and diplomatic solutions to the current crisis with North
The women also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the
Church Center for the United Nations, owned by the Women's Division and
built in 1963 to reaffirm religious support of the United Nations. The
event included remarks by Cora Weiss, a tenant of the building who was
recently named the first recipient of the William Sloan Coffin Award for
Peace With Justice from Yale Divinity School.
Weiss, a longtime
activist who has worked for years with United Methodists on U.N. and
peace-related issues, talked about the need for peace education in the
schools and lauded the awarding of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to
Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi. "She should be a role model, a heroine, for
all who seek justice through nonviolence," she said.
War, Weiss declared, "must be rejected as a means of settling disputes, and we're going to see how women can make that happen."
pointed to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 as a tool women can
use to achieve that goal. Her organization, the Hague Appeal for Peace,
was one of five that pressed the council for a resolution calling for
gender sensitivity in all U.N. missions, including peacekeeping.
unanimously Oct. 31, 2000, the resolution supports the equal
participation of women at negotiating tables and the protection of women
and girls during armed conflict. Information about the resolution and
ideas for implementation can be found at
www.peacewomen.org/un/ngo/wg.html, the home page of the NGO Working
Group on Women, Peace and Security.
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*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.