The United Methodist Women unit is organized for mission and serves the local church, the community, and the world through its mission education, advocacy, and direct service through the Board of Global Ministries.
It is important to note that membership in a United Methodist congregation does not automatically make a woman a member of the organization. She must express a desire to be a member and must wish to follow the Purpose as stated in the Handbook and other publications.
Every pastor is automatically a member of the local unit of the United Methodist Women and is also a member of its executive committee. This pattern holds on district and conference levels where the district superintendent and bishops are members of the executive committees on the level at which they work.
The Book of Discipline requires that there shall be an organized unit of United Methodist Women in every local church. Several other references are found in the Discipline spelling out the manner in which it relates to the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries; constitution; funding patterns; representations on Administrative Boards and Council on Ministries; etc.
Historically, the United Methodist Women organization is the successor of missionary societies which were formed over 134 years ago and of the Ladies Aid societies. More recent predecessor organizations include Women’s Society of Christian Service and Wesleyan Service Guild in the Methodist Church and Women’s Society of World Service in the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
Funds of United Methodist Women are their own and are disbursed through their channels — not through the local church treasurer. Each unit determines its budget and decides how much to expend in the local unit and how much to pledge through the district for mission outreach beyond the local community. The local unit receives funds from pledges of individual members and may sponsor other fund-raising activities if they wish.
Spiritual development of members, mission education and support are primary functions of the local unit. All the districts have elected officers who can give assistance to any local church which wishes more information about United Methodist Women. The conference officers are ready and willing to go to local churches when needed.
The Mission Resource Center, 1221 Profit Dr, Dallas, TX 75247, 1-800-305-9857 www.missionresourcecenter.org carries all promotional material about the organization. This includes a book of constitution and bylaws for all levels of the organization; handbook for treasurers; handbook for local units.
You can also visit the UMW website at www.vaumw.com