By HiRho Park.
If Methodist missionaries in 1800s were able to build educational institutions in countries where they did not even know the language, why can’t The United Methodist Church build the best online educational system in the twenty-first century?
By Merrilee Wineinger.
Transformation of body, mind, and spirit happens when we take time to care for ourselves and to meditate on God’s will for our lives. When we care for ourselves and live out of our strengths and spiritual gifts, we have the energy and enthusiasm to lead our congregations. In order to lead vital congregations, we need to take care of ourselves first. Then we will have the stamina to walk with individuals and our congregations on their own journeys to health and wholeness.
By Blair Zant.
The essential ingredient to my transformation may be summed up in two words: Christian community. My peers, professors, and staff supervisors served as the Holy Spirit conduits I needed to lift words of life off the page and shape me into a servant leader. You see, Paul was not directing these words at me. Or at you. He was not directing them to a particular individual, but to the entire church. He was directing them to us. In those three years, I realized that renewal of the mind—building scriptural imagination and conforming to the will of the Holy—would require leaning on and leaning into the community of believers.
By Rosanna C. Panizo.
I am originally a Peruvian woman who grew up as a Methodist in Callao, the main port of Peru, where the first Methodist church was established in 1889. I remember spending the summers at Luisa’s house, my Methodist grandmother who used to live a couple of blocks from the beach, the Pacific Ocean. We used to walk to the beach almost every summer day after lunch and stay there to enjoy the sunsets. My other grandmother, Lastenia, was a fervent Roman Catholic, as was 90 percent of the Peruvian population.
By Anna Gillette.
Clergy are among the unhealthiest professionals. As women clergy, we tend not only to our parishioners; we also care for our parents, our spouses, our children, our siblings, and our friends. By the nature of our calling, we are caregivers at work and at home, but we all too often forget to care for ourselves. By God’s grace eight clergywomen in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference have come together to form a covenant group as part of the Clergywomen’s Health Initiative.
By Mao Vang Her.
The thought of being an agent of change can be a scary one, especially for a Hmong woman. But I am convinced that I have a message that can transform the lives of others. So to be a clergywoman, I have to overcome my fears and inadequacies not only as a woman but also as a Hmong woman.
By Patricia Bonilla.
When I first started attending a United Methodist church in the near south side of Chicago, after finishing my Bachelor’s degree in a small private liberal arts college, I was very idealistic. I wanted to transform my neighborhood, and the world for that matter, by being involved in social justice work. I wanted to make changes that would better the quality of life of people in my neighborhood and create opportunities for empowerment and inclusion.
By Candace Lewis.
Clergywomen are starting and leading new vital congregations. They make up almost fifteen percent (15%) of the 684 church planters serving United Methodist new congregations started between 2008 and 2012. We anticipate seeing an increase in the number of clergywomen starting new churches; more women are learning about the opportunity, being assessed, and receiving specialized training in church planting.
By Lallene J. Rector.
“The theology of clergywomen in vital leadership”: this was the phrase used in describing the focus for this theological reflection. Note that this does not explicitly suggest attention to “clergywomen leading vital congregations,” the specific theme of this issue. I do not know if a deliberate distinction was intended, but I think the difference is an important one. While we recognize that United Methodist work dedicated to developing and supporting vital congregations relies heavily on external and quantitative measures to assess vitality, we also believe at least some of these measures directly pertain to the nature of leadership. I am confident that vital leadership results in vital congregations—whatever the numbers! So, how do we think theologically about clergywomen in vital leadership?
By Jacqueline Rose-Tucker.
In June 1989, I was appointed to the Calvary United Methodist Church. It was one of the first inner city churches to transition from a white congregation to a Black congregation as the city of Atlanta felt the impact of the “white flight” phenomenon. In a sanctuary that seated more than six hundred, less than thirty people attended on Sunday mornings. When I arrived, the fellowship hall floor bore the evidence of a backed up septic system, the roof leaked, there was no air conditioning, the electrical wiring system was faulty, the gas was off, the power company was threatening disconnection, and the insurance had been cancelled.