The 2017 UMA Annual Meeting was held May 16-17 at Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, MD with more than 125 participants. I enjoyed seeing so many members and business supporters engaging in dialogue and bringing the Connecting Communities theme to life.
Our Connecting Communities theme stressed the importance of us joining together in mission and ministry to better our surrounding communities.
As we learned, building and nurturing networks is one of the key principals that successful nonprofits use to achieve extraordinary impact, according to our keynote speaker Leslie Crutchfield, a leading authority on nonprofit leadership.
The word “connection”, a concept central to Methodism, emphasizes that when we join together, we can accomplish far more than any one organization or person could alone.
Now, our members and business supporters must work together to find ways to expand the footprint of service in new and better ways. We must care better, work smarter and be fiscally stronger. The needs are growing, while resources are dwindling.
During the annual meeting, we heard stories of meaningful connections that are making a difference.
We learned about a variety of creative community partnerships – Open Table, Sarah’s House and Tandem 365 –that are seeing real, measurable results.
We heard the remarkable story of Jack York of It’s Never Too Late and how his friendship with Francis from Africa lead to the construction of the first senior center in Cameroon – with a wing dedicated to disabled children.
We also listened to the deeply personal and courageous stories of David Gehm, president and CEO of Wellspring Lutheran Services, Michelle Chandler, UMA director of Shared Learning, and Kathleen Goff, director of Strategic Initiatives at RLPS Architects. Their experience informed our thinking about how our various ministries can support each other and the families they serve.
These were wonderful examples of organizations being curious, thinking collaboratively and working to build connections. We look forward to carrying the meeting’s momentum throughout the year.
If you’d like to be part it, please check out our Connecting Communities project at here.