New Directors Begin Quadrennium with New
October 10, 2000 - Fifty new directors
of the Womenís Division focused their time on issues of justice, membership
and helping to empower women, children and youth during the first board meeting
of the new quadrennium in Stamford, Conn., October 6-9.
The Womenís Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of the
United Methodist Church represents United Methodist Women, a one-million member
organization. The organizationís purpose is to foster spiritual growth,
develop leaders and advocate for justice. Members raise more than $20 million a
year for programs and projects related to women, children and youth in the
United States and in more than 100 countries around the world.
New directors voted on initiatives that fulfill the purpose of the
organization. Initiatives include:
- A $25,000 grant for the first two years of a new Foreign Policy Institute
to be created by the Center for Womenís Policy Studies. This institute
will bring together 20-30 state legislators and educate them on foreign
policy that affect women. It will serve as a key arena for United Methodist
Women to communicate their positions and concerns about womenís and
childrenís issues, and to influence policy-makers on these issues.
- A $25,000 grant to the Center for Constitutional Rights in its efforts to
support African American workers in the Ingallís Shipyard in Pascagoula,
Mississippi. The center is preparing to file a class action civil rights
suit against the company, alleging a long-standing pattern of discrimination
at the plant and the creation of a hostile work environment. Black workers
complain of racist messages scrawled on the wall, like "KKK-The
Original Boys in the Hood" and continual threats of lynching.
- An $8000 grant to produce public service announcements, purchase
commercial spots and work with public radio to address issues related to the
traditional American values of pluralism, freedom of religion, and
separation of church and state. The advertisements encourage communities to
move beyond ignorance, prejudice and fear, and to work together to create
places where differences are respected, individual rights are protected and
diversity is celebrated.
- Funding for property improvements of national mission institutions; grants
based on "A Call to Prayer and Self-Denial," which will be used
for alleviating the trauma of violence and women re-creating communities;
funding for national and international projects based on "A Brighter
Future for Children and Youth" grants.
- Marsha R. Base was elected assistant general secretary in administration
of the Womenís Division, beginning January 2001.
Other items of interest include:
- The first Russian-American unit of United Methodist Women organized in the
- The mission study themes for 2003-2004 will be Mexico, Public Education
and Exodus. The mission study themes for 2004-2005 will be Cuba, Public
Education and Prayer.
- In April 1999, the Womenís Division approved a grant of $11,000 to
"Free School Clubs," a regional meeting of diverse students (race,
gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc.) to enable them to network and
become educated on issues of hate crimes, bigotry, diversity, identity, peer
harassment, legal strategies, civil rights, and other issues. The free
school club is a community-oriented group that was established for the
purposes of bringing back banned, non-curricular school clubs and expanding
opportunities for students. A Salt Lake City school district prompted the
need for the organization when it banned 46 non-curricular school clubs
because it opposed the formation of one club, a dialogue group for students
and parents, the Gay/Straight Alliance. The grant will be returned to the
Womenís Division, because the Salt Lake City Utah School Board agreed to
re-instate all school clubs to the extracurricular program.
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For Further Information Contact:
Kelly C. Martini, executive
secretary for communications, Women's Division
475 Riverside Drive, #1501,
New York, NY 10115
Tel: (212) 870-3729