Assembly: I am proud to be a United Methodist Woman!
By Janjay Innis | Bread photo by Wikipedia

Have you ever sat down in expectation of a meal, but realized that the bread served beforehand was so filling…that it became the meal?

I’m not sure what I came hungry for here at the United Methodist Women’s Assembly, but as I’ve reflected on what I’ve heard, felt, witnessed, and participated in, I can confidently say that the experience has filled me up like bread.

The empowering justice-centered music, the liturgy, the reenactment of scripture through contextual drama, and the words of wisdom delivered by two powerful women did not just give us something to think on, but it gave us something to act on.

The narrative of, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer and current General Secretary of the World Young Women Christian Association and Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, reminded us of the ripple effects that an investment in the education and well-being of women and girls have.

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda is the last and 11th child of a woman who married before she was able live into the promise of her potential. Clinton is the daughter of a woman who saw the value of raising her daughter in a United Methodist faith community that understood holiness as a social responsibility. Both of these lives intersected on stage as they both articulated that their dreams of a better world would come to fruition when all women have access to opportunities that allowed them to thrive.

“We need a new kind of miracle where women are not just receiving bread, but they become the makers and givers of bread,” Gumbonzvanda said in reference to the Biblical story of the feeding the multitude. “Holding women back is not right, nor is it smart,” said Clinton. She referred to the fact that women carry within them a high spirit of reciprocity when they are able to live into a reality free from poverty, and violence.

I was filled with awe and wonder as audacious sisters from around the world united in faith and let the words they heard be like strength-giving bread. After an hour and a half of empowering words, a march in numbers, being in solidarity with poor citizens, people of color in Louisville, Americans facing major economic crisis and other disparities due to race and class…we left the Kentucky Convention Center strengthened for the journey ahead.

At Assembly’s closing worship, we were reminded that when the disciples told Jesus about the hungry crowd’s plight, Jesus answered, “you feed them” knowing that God would provide where there was a need. With that assurance, we broke bread together and are once again ready to cause a holy disruption of the status quo.

I am proud to be a United Methodist Woman. I am hopeful for a future where all will be fed because our faith, hope and love that moves us to action.

Janjay Innis is a US-2 missionary serving as a social justice advocate
for Tacoma Community House in Washington State.


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