Methodist Church

United Methodist Women granted autonomy

United Methodist Church General Conference 2012

TAMPA (Florida) – By a vote of 889 to 20, the General Conference made United Methodist Women an autonomous organisation within the United Methodist Church on May 1 during its quadrennial meeting in Tampa.

The historic vote separates the national policymaking body of women organised for mission within the denomination from the church’s mission agency for the first time in more than 70 years.

“This is a great result for United Methodist Women and for the church and positions us for the next 143 years of mission,” said Ms Harriett Jane Olson, Chief Executive of the national United Methodist Women organisation.

The General Conference also approved a series of recommendations from United Methodist Women that will structurally strengthen ties between local United Methodist Women members, their national structure and the ministries they support around the world. The actions will provide more flexibility to local, district, conference and jurisdictional United Methodist Women as they organise for mission in their respective communities.

In a separate vote, oversight of the denomination’s deaconess and home missioner programmes was placed with the new national United Methodist Women organisation.

Ms Barbara Campbell, a deaconess and retired staff of the former Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, said: “ is restores the break that was made in 1964 and the relationship the office of deaconess has had with women organised for mission since it was created in 1888.”

The national United Methodist Women organisation will be governed by a 25-member Board of Directors with 20 elected by United Methodist Women members through jurisdictional channels and five through a nominations process to ensure diversity of age, race, language, physical ability and working status. e board will be responsible for managing the organisation’s programme policies, finances – including investments, budget, property, financial policies – and its chief executive staff person.

Yvette Moore is Editor of response, the magazine of United Methodist Women.


Father’s Day has Methodist ties

Washington woman’s proposal to honour fathers gained acceptance in 1910

NASHVILLE (Tennessee) – To all you dads out there: While you are relaxing in your recliner and watching sports this Sunday, and your kids are on their best behaviour to honour Father’s Day, don’t forget to thank a United Methodist.

That’s right. Not one, but two United Methodist churches – with the same name, oddly enough – can lay claim to originating the celebration of all things paternal.

In 1909 in Spokane, Washington, Sonora Smart Dodd listened to a Mother’s Day sermon at Central Methodist Episcopal Church. Her mother had died 11 years earlier, and her father had raised their six children alone. She felt moved to honour her father, and fathers everywhere, with a special day as well.

She proposed her idea to local religious leaders, and it gained wide acceptance. June 19, 1910, was designated as the first Father’s Day, and sermons honouring fathers were presented throughout the city.

When newspapers across the country carried the story about Spokane’s observance, the popularity of Father’s Day spread. Several Presidents declared it a holiday, and in 1972, Richard Nixon established it as the third Sunday in June.

Dodd’s pivotal role in the creation of a national Father’s Day celebration was recognised in 1943 with a luncheon in her honour in New York City. Central Methodist Episcopal is now known as Central United Methodist, and holds a Father’s Day service every year.

The year Spokane was observing its first Father’s Day, almost 3,200 km away in Fairmont, West Virginia, another Methodist church was celebrating its third.

On July 5, 1908, a Father’s Day sermon was preached at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, South, thanks to the efforts of Grace Golden Clayton.

In December 1907, a terrible mine explosion in nearby Monongah killed more than 360 men. Most of them had families, and the tragedy left 1,000 children fatherless.

Clayton was distraught by the thought of all those children growing up without a father’s guidance, and wanted to do something to honour the importance of fatherhood. She asked her pastor to set aside a special day to commemorate fathers. She chose the Sunday closest to the birthday of her late father, also a Methodist preacher.

However, unlike the Spokane service, the Fairmont event drew little attention outside the area.

Fairmont historians concede that Sonora Dodd deserves credit for bringing the holiday to national prominence, but want it known that they did beat her to the idea. – United Methodist News Service.

Editor’s Note: In Singapore, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. This year, Father’s Day falls on June 17.

Joey Butler is 18-34 Content Editor for United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee.


Celebration of Pan-Methodist full communion

TAMPA (Florida) – After several hundred years of separation, members of six Pan-Methodist denominations have committed themselves to ministry together.

The United Methodist Church is the last of the denominations to adopt the full communion agreement, which was celebrated on May 1 during its 2012 General Conference in Tampa.

The affirmation establishes a new relationship among the African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, African Union Methodist Protestant, Christian Methodist Episcopal, Union American Methodist Episcopal and United Methodist denominations.

Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader, ecumenical officer for the United Methodist Council of Bishops, noted that acknowledging past difficulties is part of the process. “We believe this is a significant moment in all of our histories,” she said during a news conference preceding the celebration.

For the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, an outgrowth of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, this moment is one of lasting significance, said Bishop omas Hoyt Jr, who has a long history of involvement with United Methodists through the Pan-Methodist Commission and ecumenical organisations.

“To be in full communion is to be related to one of the great churches of American society and the world,” he declared.

“I believe the best for Methodism is yet before us,” added the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s Bishop John White. “ is full communion gives us an opportunity to make our witness around the world.”

The denominations, which already cooperate on issues such as children and poverty, will now have an opportunity to pursue a broader mission agenda together. – United Methodist News Service.