The Pacific Northwest United Methodist Women’s Executive Team at Tacoma Community House (Tacoma, Wash.)

UMW Annual Meeting:
Going together to see God’s Glory
By Alethea McGavran | Photos by Marsha Aufenkamp, et. al

UMW meet to hear Bishop Swenson, vote to take a stand against gun violence


Last October, Lakewood United Methodist Church welcomed the 2013 Pacific Northwest Conference Annual Meeting of United Methodist Women. There were 130 guests who took the time to travel from as far away as Idaho for the two-day event. The Meeting featured a guided tour of our own Tacoma Community House and a presentation by retired Bishop Mary Ann Swenson.

Bishop Swenson gave an inspiring speech Friday night, discussing her own UMW roots, and the rich history she shared with many women in the room.

She taught us where she came from, how she had come to stand before us that day, and what she is doing now to help serve the cause of justice in the world. She spoke enthusiastically about service in the community and that our troubles can often appear insurmountable alone, but that in groups we can accomplish anything. In her celebration of the unity among the United Methodist Women, she offered us this advice, “Go out, go deep, and go together, and if you do, you will catch glimpses of God’s glory!”

Every year, at the Annual Meeting, a form is passed among all the participants to vote on which issue they feel as a community deserves our greatest attention for the year. Barbara Smith, Social Action Coordinator for the Puget Sound District of UMW, came to the front of the sanctuary to add another choice as the voting options were explained. She asked if we would please consider choosing Gun Violence in light of so many tragedies over the last year. United Methodist Women pulled together, and from the options presented, chose to indeed write-in and highlight Gun Violence as our most pressing problem, closely followed in the vote by Human Trafficking.

We were blessed with the company of two members of the Tacoma Community House staff, Liz Dunbar, executive director, and US-2 Janjay Innis. Dunbar spent Saturday with us, taught a class on Immigration and shared the wisdom of her experiences with so many immigrants whose lives are enriched by the educational services TCH provides. Innis will be itinerating in many of our districts over the coming months, speaking specifically to the needs of our young adults – so watch for her dates in your area and take the time to hear this engaging young woman speak.

Among the many highlights was the presentation by our Pacific Northwest Limitless team — our Conference’s membership formed from a national initiative to empower our young women and lift them up as the next generation of United Methodist Women.



On Saturday, they presented their upcoming plans for Breaking Free: a domestic violence awareness event, the afternoon of November 23rd at Bothell UMC. Registration is available at and young women are encouraged to attend, so they may learn and share with each other about a problem that touches all of our lives. We are overjoyed to see Limitless young women at work in the Pacific Northwest and look forward to the vitality they bring to our work together.

We celebrated 125 years of the Deaconess office, and listened to our own Deaconess Angel Ray, currently working in ministries for the elderly in Centralia, speak about how she heard her call and how to listen for your own calling. Over the weekend, we honored our history, our future, and we celebrated another wonderful year in United Methodist Women. Join us in our future events, as we go out, go deep, and go together!

Alethea McGavran attends Prosser UMC in Prosser, WA
and serves as Social Media/Webmaster for the UMW Annual Meeting.

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