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UNITED METHODIST WOMEN (UMW):  The evening circle meets the first Tuesday each month (except July and August) at 7 pm, usually at the church.  The coffee break circle meets the second Tuesday of each month at 10 am, usually at a member’s home.  Both groups share informative programs, mission projects, and refreshments.    Both circles are open to women of all ages (regardless of church membership).

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About United Methodist Women

United Methodist Women is the largest denominational faith organization for women with approximately 800,000 members whose mission is fostering spiritual growth, developing leaders and advocating for justice.

Members raise up to $20 million each year for programs and projects related to women, children and youth in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world.

United Methodist Women and The United Methodist Church’s principles and values include:

  • Promoting the empowerment of women, children and youth.
  • Promoting anti-racism and multiculturalism.
  • Promoting inclusion and equity.
  • Promoting fair labor practices.
  • Promoting economic and environmental stewardship and sustainability.

Purpose of United Methodist Women

The organized unit of United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is:

  • To know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ.
  • To develop a creative supportive fellowship.
  • To expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.

The Purpose is adopted by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church as the official mission statement of United Methodist Women. Out of the Purpose are four mission foci:

  • To be a community of women
  • To know God
  • To develop a creative and supportive fellowship
  • To expand concepts of mission

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1869: 6 Members

Today: 800,000 members

United Methodist Women inherits the vision and toil of women’s missionary societies of eight denominations since 1869. Its 140-year legacy started when the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society first organized in Boston in response to a lack of women’s health in India.

Women in the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren traditions organized about the same time in history (1869-1893) when women and children were legally classified as “chattel, legally dead, non-persons.” There was little service to women because of prejudice and limitations of cultural attitudes in the church and in society

In 1869, Mrs. William Butler and Mrs. Edwin Parker, wives of missionaries to India, were home on furlough. They spoke to a group of women in Boston. Only six women were present because of an intense storm. Mrs. Butler told about the desperate spiritual and physical needs of women in India. A male doctor could not treat women. Schooling for girls was almost non-existent. Single, trained and dedicated women were needed for medical and educational work.

The six women who were present called another meeting of women, wrote a constitution, and organized the Methodist Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society (WFMS). By November 1869, the newly formed organization raised funds and sent Isabella Thoburn, an educator, and Dr. Clara Swain, a doctor, to India

Ms. Thoburn began a school with six young girls in Lucknow. This school expanded to include Isabella Thoburn College, the first women’s college in Asia. Dr. Swain began her medical work, resulting in the establishment of the first women’s hospital in Asia. Both of these institutions are still serving the people of India.

In 1875, Lizzie Hoffman was instrumental in forming the Woman’s Missionary Association of the United Brethren Church. After spending one night praying, she was convinced that the women of the church should be organized for special mission work. Sierra Leone, in Africa, was the first country to which missionaries were sent.

Strong Woman’s Home Missionary Societies were founded in 1880 (Methodist Episcopal Church) and 1890 (Methodist Episcopal Church, South

In 1879, the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Protestant Church was founded; and in 1884, the Woman’s Missionary Society was organized in the Evangelical Association. These groups became powerful, independent women’s organizations, sending hundreds of missionaries all over the world and supporting many projects

The Ladies Aid Societies, which had existed for many years, were incorporated into the missionary societies in the 1940s. Through reorganization and denominational mergers, these various groups were brought together. In 1973, United Methodist Women became the women’s mission organization of The United Methodist Church

Living The Legacy a historical timeline, depicts the continuing journey of women in mission from 1869-2002.

Mission Initiatives

Our entire program focuses on mission. Our mission initiatives include:

Providing Opportunities to Grow Spiritually

United Methodist Women provides opportunities and resources to grow spiritually, to become more deeply rooted in Christ, and to put faith into action.

These include:

  • Spiritual growth studies
  • Bible studies in Response, at events and online
  • Annual Reading Program reading lists with a Spiritual Growth theme
  • Training events for reaching United Methodist Women through retreats and inspirational events

Equipping Women & Girls to Be Leaders

United Methodist Women equips women and girls around the world to be leaders in communities, agencies, governments, and churches.

United Methodist Women provides and supports leadership development of its members to give women of all racial, ethnic, language and economic groups the opportunity to realize their full potential and to participate in the life of the church and society. We offer leadership development, training, and resources for:

  • Teen women and college/university women
  • Conference and district leadership of United Methodist Women
  • Hispanic, Korean and women of other language groups

Providing Transformative Educational Experiences

United Methodist Women provides educational experiences that lead to personal change in order to transform the world.

Mission needs to be carried out with education, preparation, action and advocacy, and mutual learning and partnerships.

  • Schools of Christian Mission educate 25,000 United Methodists each year through the Mission Studies.
  • Books and other publications educate members on spiritual growth, social issues, and geographic areas.
  • The Seminar Program provides custom designed, interactive and educational seminars throughout the year for groups to study complex social issues from a perspective of faith.
  • The Reading Program offers thought-provoking books for reflection and discussion
  • The Ubuntu Explorers program enables women in the United States to partner with women around the world to experience others’ lives on a short-term basis.
  • National events incorporate education and action for laywomen, such as the quadrennial Assembly, legislative events, and National Seminar.

Organizing for Growth & Flexibility


United Methodist Women-supported programs and projects are possible because of individual women’s gifts to mission through “Mission Giving.”  Mission Giving allows United Methodist Women to respond where the need is the greatest and to work in partnership with organizations doing similar work.
Close to $20 million comes from United Methodist Women members annually to support mission programs and projects throughout the U.S. and around the world. These gifts do not include another $5 million collected and used by local member units.
United Methodist Women’s volunteer board of directors disburse the funds received through Mission Giving by responding to emerging needs and explore historical, new and experimental mission programs with women and children.

See where the money goes.

For Members

United Methodist Women is committed to finding new ways to invite and involve women in our 140-year-old organization with over 800,000 members. At all levels of the organization, United Methodist Women works to:

  • Ensure inclusiveness and racial/ethnic diversity
  • Resource Hispanic and Korean-American members and other emerging language groups
  • Nurture teen and college/university women

UMW Online, the United Methodist Women’s social network, connects members to each other and to opportunities for participation through United Methodist Women.

Working for Justice Through Service & Advocacy

United Methodist Women interprets the biblical passage from Luke 4:18 as both a model and a mandate for Christian social action and advocacy: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

United Methodist Women continues its advocacy work on peace and justice, education, racial justice, immigrant rights, the environment, economic justice, women’s health, the rights of children, human rights, and farm workers’ rights, to name a few. Read United Methodist Women’s stances on issues.

In all advocacy efforts United Methodist Women supports its work with a scriptural basis and adheres to the denominational mandates in the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church.

United Methodist Women works in partnership with coalitions on many justice issues to extend its reach. See list of partners.

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