united methodist women

Celebrating 150 Years of United Methodist Women

Hi, friends. In this post, I’ll commemorate a women’s mission group who “turns faith, hope and love into action for women, children and youth around the world.” March 23, 2019 marks 150 years of the organization United Methodist Women. I’ll provide a background on how/why the organization started and state their mission work in the world today.

How United Methodist Women Got Started

In 1869, two wives of missionaries, whose husbands ministered in India, came home on furlough. The ladies met with some friends in Boston to share the plight of women in India. Male doctors were not allowed to treat women, and girls’ education was not a priority. The missionaries’ wives wanted to recruit some single, educated, dedicated women to serve in India.

When the group met again, they decided to become an official organization and called themselves Methodist Women’s Foreign Missionary Society. By November that year, the group had raised enough money among themselves to send a female teacher and a female doctor to India. The first women’s college and first women’s hospital in Asia grew out of their efforts, and those institutions (Isabella Thoburn College & Clara Swain Mission Hospital) still serve India today.

The United Methodist Church traces its roots to multiple Methodist denominations. From the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s, individual organizations of mission-minded women cropped up in these different denominations. As Methodist denominations merged, these groups combined. In 1973, United Methodist Women became the women’s mission organization of the UMC.

(Paraphrased from the “History” page on the official website)

What United Methodist Women Does Today

United Methodist Women is the largest denominational faith organization for women with approximately 800,000 members whose mission is fostering spiritual growth, developing leaders, and advocating for justice.

Members raise up to $20 million each year for programs and projects related to women, children, and youth in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world.

United Methodist Women and The United Methodist Church’s principles and values include:

  • Promoting the empowerment of women, children, and youth.
  • Promoting anti-racism and multiculturalism.
  • Promoting inclusion and equity.
  • Promoting fair labor practices.
  • Promoting economic and environmental stewardship and sustainability.

(Quoted from the “About Us” page on the official website)

As of 2019, I serve as the Communications Coordinator for my district of United Methodist Women (~150ish UMC’s). Though creating bulky newsletters has been challenging, it’s been rewarding to learn new skills and work with ambitious, faithful women.

Check out these photos of United Methodist Women in action!

Thanks for reading! Do you have some empowered, mission-minded women in your life? Let me know in the comments.

10 comments

  1. I had known of the works of this great organization all my life because my great grandmother, Lillie, was in the ‘Women’s Society of Christian Service” as it was so called at that time. My grandmother and mother were also active members, but my interest has been rekindled with Lily getting involved. So proud of the heritage and legacy of this fine group of women, and excited for them to celebrate 150 years in mission to those in need around the world! Thanks for sharing their history! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

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