The United Methodist Women are currently in the midst of a major fund drive. 150 years of support for mission.
Senior Content Editor, Michigan Conference
This year The United Methodist Women celebrate their 150th birthday. Today the UMW is the largest women’s faith-based organization in the world, with 800,000 members worldwide. They have come a long way since 1869 when eight women gathered at Tremont Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, Massachusetts to organize the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society. The first act of the WFMS was to raise money to send Clara Swain, a doctor, and Isabella Thoburn, a teacher, to India.
By 1890 the organization was recognized by the General Conference under the name Women’s Home Missionary Society (WHMS). The organization continued to grow and would eventually become the service and advocacy powerhouse called United Methodist Women, bringing life-changing opportunities to women, children, and youth in 100 countries.
In 2014 the United Methodist Women launched a Legacy Fund Endowment Campaign aimed at building upon the foundation set forth by their founders. Five years ago, they said, “Imagine what is achievable, what is possible, if United Methodist Women had the resources to deepen and expand its mission to transform lives and ignite change in places near and far.”
The goal set for the Legacy Fund is $60,000,000. To date $26,046,570 has been raised. Will the goal be reached? Yes, it will. Because decades of faithful giving nurtures a current and future pattern of faithful giving.
Witness the four generations of giving in one Methodist family as reported by the Rev. Lynn DeMoss, retired pastor of The Michigan Conference.
“My maternal great grandmother, Mary Langsdon Veneman (1852-1947), had a mission coin bank which passed through women of my family and finally came to me. On the bank’s face is a worn label bearing this inscription: Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them. That bank and the women who filled it many times over, are part of the legacy of mission of the United Methodist Women.
“Great grandmother’s mission coin bank challenges me every day. I regularly drop in quarters and contribute them to a cause in honor of all the mission-minded women of my family, who helped shape my own faith and birthed mission involvement in me. I am now grateful for the opportunity to support the Legacy Fund honoring my foremothers.”
The theme of the Legacy Fund Endowment Campaign is, “Together, we are building our legacy.” One coin and dollar at a time, these funds will carry on the United Methodist Women’s mission of faith, hope, and love in action.
“Mary Veneman’s mission bank, like the widow’s jug mentioned in 1 Kings 17, never runs dry.” says Lynn DeMoss. “It is the little jug that keeps on giving, as will the Legacy Fund.”