Friday, February 03, 2006


Well, it's the beginning of a new semester at Saint Paul School of Theology. Spring of 2006!! I hope I haven't gotten in over my head. A new semester means lots of changes - new schedule of classes, new books to read, new people seen on a regular basis, etc. I've also made a few changes to the blog. While still trying to keep posts somewhat brief (depends on my mood and the particular rant), I have made it so that anyone can post a comment. I'm hoping that will lead to more comments, in turn leading to some discussion. You do have to type a code in to post though, to ensure no computers/spam software post comments. If I start getting a lot of spam comments, I'll change the settings back to where only members can post. On to todays rant...

I know the United Methodists are going to groan at this one, but today I feel the need to rant about UMW. I LOVE the Women's Division. Thru my Deaconess connections I've met a few people from Women's Division and I think they are wonderful people, part of a wonderful organization with good priorities. Yes, they are somewhat on the liberal end of the spectrum, but all the more reason... However, the local congregation's UMW is NOTHING like the Women's Division. I admit that my experience is limited and there are particular frustrations within my local unit, but when I joined I expected so much more. The idea behind UMW makes a lot of sense to me - focus on mission, a place for women to get together to educate each other and contribute to the mission work of the United Methodist Church, etc. - but for some reason it doesn't translate to a good experience when you actually go to a meeting. I can't figure out where the major disconnect happens. In our particular unit (and I think others as well) there are pretty major generational divides. Older women who have been in UMW for 30+ years have certain expectations and desires for the group that younger women (meaning under 45) don't seem to find engaging or worth their time.

The part that really boggles my mind is this - the resources for UMW come from Women's Division, and the UMW unit generally uses those materials. Somehow the good resources die in the process of becoming a local unit meeting. Some people might say the meetings get bogged down with "business" - reading reports, voting on motions, etc. but in our particular unit that can't be true because we only have three leadership spots so there aren't that many reports to give! We are a small unit and struggle with how to get people engaged and involved. I know this is a struggle for all groups to some degree, and I had hoped that when I took part, I could somehow help breath some life into it. Instead I have a massive headache from banging my head on a brick lined with steel wall. Hearing other women (that are younger than 50) talk about how wonderful their UMW experience is and knowing that the Women's Division has big connections to the Deaconess program, I feel obligated to stick it out, but also wonder if it's worth the time and energy. If anybody out there has ideas on how to bridge the generation gap or breath new life into a dying group, please let me know!!

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