2022 Annual Conference: Agenda, Special Offering, Resolutions, Disaffiliation Info.

UMW change name, keep mission

3/31/2022

By Kara Witherow, Editor

New name, same mission.

For 153 years, women united by their shared love of Christ and desire to serve women, children, and youth have put their faith into action.

Over the years, what was first known as the Methodist Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society became known as the Woman’s Society of Christian Service and then eventually United Methodist Women. Today, the organization has rebranded itself again, this time to “United Women in Faith.”

The new name, which was five years in the making, better reflects how the organization answers its calling to faith and action today, said Tara Jones, president of South Georgia’s United Women in Faith.

“It’s a more apt description of who we really are.”

The main goals with the name change, according to an article by UM News that quoted United Women in Faith executives Harriett Jane Olson and Sally Vonner, are to be more inclusive and to sustain and grow the organization for the next generation.

“This helps show that we’re relevant to so many women,” Jones said. “We’ve always welcomed women of other denominations into our organization. In my own local unit, we’ve had several Baptist members, and this really does make it more inclusive and draws that circle wider and better tells our story.”

The process of renaming the faith organization came after several years of self-examination and research, including surveys, focus groups, and a communication audit. Nothing was done in a vacuum, Jones said, and the name was voted on by the organization’s board of directors.

She hopes South Georgia women will embrace the new name, celebrate it, and find it welcoming to all.

“I’m hoping we will all learn to live into it, accept it, and use it as a tool to attract women of all ages, especially younger women.”

South Georgia’s United Women of Faith will continue serving women, children, and youth in their local communities and around the world, Jones said. They’ll continue to develop church leaders, study issues through the reading program and mission studies, and participate in global ministries of the church. They’ll still support missionaries and the mission agencies – Vashti, Open Door Community House, and Wesley Community Centers.

Jones is excited about the new name and the opportunities it will bring for mission and ministry.

“Our mission remains the same,” she said. “Our mission has not changed.”

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