As Inland Missional District President, I appreciated being included in the very first United Women in Faith Conference Officer Training by National on January 23rd. While the purpose was to share information for resources, it provided all 438 of us on the Zoom call with a comprehensive view of United Women in Faith, an inspiring message from our new CEO, Sally Vonner, our vision until 2029, inspiration through the beloved “Hymn of Promise,” a helpful breakout session for each officer, and more. Two hours well spent!
Our District Annual Meeting in September was exceptional in quality but disappointing in attendance. For a smaller Sandpoint Unit to host, neighbor Bonners Ferry provided the morning refreshments. Deaconess Lynn Swedberg provided an outstanding interactive keynote program on accessibility. Small breakout groups worked on components of the accessibility audit both inside the church and on its grounds. We came away with an abundance of new ideas and learning.
Another example of Local Unit cooperation in our District is Fowler and Audubon Park, which began meeting together in December. These Spokane units are close in proximity with small numbers, so they enjoy supporting one another in this way.
Once again, I participated in the Idaho Legislative Event Forums held via Zoom on January 28 and February 4. The first Forum focused on Maternal Health with several important bills of concern to us before the Idaho Legislature. Mike Cunnington, Idaho Medical Association, was the speaker. Education issues were the focus of the second Forum, with Rod Gramer, President of Idaho Businesses for Education, the presenter. For those able to get to Boise, there is an opportunity to meet with legislators in person on February 12 for Capitol Advocacy Day. Our District Social Action Coordinator is an Idaho resident and represents our area in planning the events with the Oregon Idaho Conference.
We are pleased to have five members of our District Executive Team registered for the Western Jurisdiction event in Anchorage in May, one of whom is on the Jurisdiction Team and one a nominee. We have been looking at ways to best support the other three members financially through scholarship assistance.
Considering the weather, road conditions, and expense, we continue to hold our fall and winter Executive Committee meetings via Zoom. This has been an efficient use of our time and funds, as well as kept us safe from being out on undesirable road conditions. We miss the in-person fellowship and appreciate that even more when we meet for spring and summer sessions.
As I write this article, we are still in the planning stage for our 2024 Annual Meeting. Tentatively, we may be hosted again by one unit with the assistance of its neighbor unit. Watch for a final decision! Our District is experiencing the benefits of a spirit of cooperation!
Khia Shaw, formerly UMW Director of Membership and Engagement, recently appointed United Women in Faith National Transformation Officer, facilitated the breakout session of the Conference Officer Training for District officers. She told us that 80 were expected but that it was a much smaller group. She asked us this question, “Why Is United Women in Faith Important to Me?” Not being one to tolerate a silence, I volunteered to respond. As briefly as possible, I shared that I had long felt the most important reason for being in UMW was its supportive community. Since a planned surgery in September had unexpected complications that resulted in a prolonged recovery, I have been the recipient of the support of my sisters. My sisterhood from near and far has continued to support me to this day. Khia thanked me for my “powerful story.”
One of the four goals of National United Women in Faith is to mobilize members to inspire, influence, and impact their communities and the world. My sisters have done all three for me personally! Our community begins with us, working where we are, with our family and neighbors, and then beyond. May we each be inspired to reach out today to that person who needs our sisterhood!
Inland Missional District President
President: Judy Dirks
Vice President: Melissa Jaquette
Secretary: Susan Henderson
Treasurer: Roberta Headley
Communications Coordinator: Sharon Stovall
Education & Interpretation: Charlene Mullis
Membership Nurture & Outreach: Sue McGovney
Program Resources: Tana Truscott
Social Action: Patsy Charlton
Spiritual Growth: Kathy Johnson
Chair, Committee on Nominations: Linda Jones
Committee on Nominations Members: Linda Hansen, Tana Truscott, Gerrie Van Voorhis