FROM THE USENET
Subject: Shame on the UMW
Date: Tue, 07 May 2002 03:44:33 GMT
In regard to recent articles about the United Methodist Women's' Conference
> PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) - Their songs were joyous and uplifting, but the
> message was serious: whether by poverty, racism or the effects of war,
> women and children must no longer be marginalized.
An odd position to take, considering the recent actions of the UMW. Read
> Musimbi R.A. Kanyoro, from Kenya, and Michele Beg, an Australian,
> serving respectively as chief executive and communications director of
> the World YWCA in Geneva, Switzerland, gave an international
> perspective to the problems of poverty and racism.
> Kanyoro pointed out that eradicating poverty is not just a moral
> imperative but "a commitment to provide human dignity to people who we
> despise simply because of poverty."
Strange. While the UMW was whooping it up with "liturgical dance" in
Philadelphia, we here in Mississippi, the most poverty stricken state in the
nation, are wondering why the UMW has chosen to further perpetuate our
poverty by not supporting Wood College in Mathiston, MS. The UMW, arguably
the wealthiest branch of the UMC, owns all the land and buildings of Wood
College, a Methodist affiliated two year college in Webster County,
Since most colleges own their own land and buildings, and Wood's property
is all deeded to the UMW, the college's balance sheet looks quite thin on
the asset side, a condition the UMW could easily rectify by turning the
college property over to Wood College. Wood College, founded in 1884, has a
student population comprised of students who are, for the most part, the
first in their families to attend a college. These students are mostly from
the Webster County area, which has suffered for years with double digit
unemployment, and recently lost their only industry, Red Kap. (Red Kap, a
garment factory, moved their operations to Mexico.) Despite requests for
assistance from Wood College (and our own bishop), the UMW has chosen to not
deed the Wood College property to the college. As a result of the UMW's
decision, SACS (Southern Assn. of Colleges and Schools) has withdrawn Wood's
accreditation. This means no federal assistance for the students at Wood
College, and it also means the college's credits will no longer transfer to
Wood College, which has served an impoverished area for so long, which
has produced so many Methodist pastors, which has adhered to high standards
of academics, which has labored long and hard to provide that which the
large public colleges cannot provide (i.e., individual attention to high
risk students), is now in danger of dying because the UMW is too busy
talking about education and eradicating poverty instead of keeping alive one
of it's few dependants that actually does just that.
> Empowering women by allowing them to make decisions about their own
> lives is essential to the eradication of poverty and a key element of
> the World YWCA's work. Also important is achieving equality of
> education, particularly in a world where about one billion people, the
> majority of them women, do not have access to education.
> "Education covers more than literacy," Kanyoro explained. "It opens up
> a new world."
Glad Kanyoro understands that. Now, if she could just get the UMW to do
something more than just pay lip service to it.
> Celia Esparza, executive director of the United Methodist Community
> Centers Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas, is well aware of the connection
> between poverty and a lack of education. "The state of Texas has one of
> the highest rates of illiterate welfare recipients in the nation," she
> told assembly participants.
And Mississippi is THE highest. Yet, right here in the heart of the battle
against illiteracy and poverty, the UMW is working against all the lofty
principles they proclaimed so loudly in Philadelphia.
> Weaving and swirling around the worship platform, liturgical dancers
> contributed a colorful yet reverent presence to the assembly. The Rev.
> Amy Gregory, a New York pastor and assembly movement coordinator, led
> the dance, accompanied by Danielle Morellino, Thania Acaron and the
> Rev. P. Kimberleigh Jordan.
Too bad the United Methodist Women couldn't take time out from their
interpretive dance to deal with real-world education and poverty issues. How
can they start new programs if they can't successfully manage the ones they
are already supposed to be administering?????????
> "To sing a new song," she said, "is to be alert to God's new and
> renewed call to be a disciple of Jesus in today's world."
Forget "singing a new song". Before the UMW starts learning new ones, they
should learn the words to the old ones. They should learn to practice what
they preach. They should be accountable for the responsibilities they have
Shame on the UMW. Shame.
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