Janjay Innis, a US-2 missionary shares some moments from this weekend's UMW Assembly in Kentucky.

Celebrating connection and future leadership to “Make It Happen”!
By Janjay Innis

I love that our church is a global connectional church.

Gatherings, such as Assembly, give us the space to connect and reconnect with all who share in the love of God and God’s call to live in relationship with one another. Whether they’ve been from my distinct homeland of Liberia, West Africa, to The Pacific Northwest where I currently serve as a missionary, I’ve encountered women from all over the connection here in Louisville, all in the spirit of making it happen.

Assembly’s theme “Make it Happen” is about how we United Methodist Women are connecting our faith and the hope we have in Christ to transform the world through action. A core theme in making this goal a reality is about inviting younger women into leadership roles within local chapters of United Methodist Women.

Today, I partook in honest conversations about stereotypes and perceptions young women have of the United Methodist Women as they’re reflected locally. Together, we discussed ways to get past these stereotypes. The trend of letting young women lead without telling them how to lead became a resounding consensus. This wasn’t seen as a problem, but was viewed as an act of radical welcome, mentorship, trust and grace.

I learned that while the average age of a UMW in the US is 67, the average age in the central conferences, particularly, in Sub Saharan Africa is 28. I’m hopeful that such a statistic will cause us to engage authentically with global women and learn about what they bring to the table when it comes to engaging with their younger sisters and ensuring the relevancy of our work in the future.

Janjay Innis is a US-2 Missionary serving as a Social Justice Advocate
for Tacoma Community House in Washington State.


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