Limitless: South Carolina joins nationwide UMW in new initiative to reach young women

By Jessica Connor

It's all over the headlines: today's generation doesn't like traditional meetings, would rather network through social media and thinks it's a colossal waste of time to talk about doing something when they can just go out and do it.

Now, a new initiative from United Methodist Women is trying to tap into that spirit nationwide, and South Carolina is stepping up to help.

Calling themselves Limitless, teams of young women from South Carolina and the rest of the nation gathered in Durham, N.C., this summer to meet with sisters from other conferences and flesh out the vision of the group, which is to live in the present, prepare for the future, create a peaceful world and build Kingdom citizens, while striving to help young women expand the mission.

S.C. Conference UMW President Linda DuRant called Limitless a concentrated effort to reach young women who are out there.

It s stepping out of comfort zones, DuRant said, urging women statewide to encourage their younger sisters in Christ to take up the reins of leadership and social action.

The national UMW has asked each conference to form a multigenerational team to vision and strategize together to engage more young women in UMW in their own conference. The team comprises at least one youth, one young adult and one adult mentor.

In South Carolina, the Limitless team includes four: one adult mentor, Gwendolyn Brown, of Anderson, along with her daughter Chanel, 15; Xiamoria Luckey, 16, of Hartsville; and Azaviea Brown, 29, of Orangeburg.

Gwendolyn Brown said Limitless is trying to bring new energy and revitalization to the UMW.

It s tapping into a group of women like working mothers, showing you don t have to meet in the traditional way, Brown said. While there are core things we must do together, we can meet on Facebook or Twitter. There is more leeway, and brings in new faces who don t have to say anymore, ˜I work, I don t have time, I can t be there.

Her daughter said she is usually the youngest person present whenever there is a UMW gathering, and that is part of why she is passionate about Limitless.

We need younger people to keep it going, Chanel said, citing the importance of UMW s mission work, volunteerism and charity. Through stronger unity between older and younger UMW, they will continue to be a force in the world, she said.

Azaviea Brown has been a part of the UMW since birth. She is worried that if younger women do not get involved in the organization, then it will dwindle and eventually die.

Whether locally or globally, UMW makes the world a better place, she said. Being a part helps me do more for the world than just me by myself. I don t want them to become extinct because the work we do is so important.

Xiamoria said she just wants to get girls her age involved in UMW. I feel this is something I should do, Xiamoria said simply. They can do a lot of work.

South Carolina s Limitless team spoke at the UMW s annual meeting Oct. 26-27 about their call to grow the UMW through younger women. They led a workshop Friday night, then talked to the full group Saturday about their vision.

Cathy Ford, S.C. Conference UMW Membership, Nurture and Outreach coordinator, said Limitless is an important effort from the conference and the world.

Our staff in New York City recognized and heard our cry for a need to involve and support young women within our UMW organization, Ford said. This is the start of that effort, and we believe our future is looking very bright.

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