Eastern PA women to help lead Women’s Assembly

Bold and Courageous” women of the Eastern PA Conference will take center stage during various parts of the quadrennial United Methodist Women’s Assembly May 18-20, in Columbus, Ohio.

Bishop Peggy Johnson will speak briefly as one of 10 female bishops of the global UMC to serve Communion at the Assembly. A member of the General Board of Church and Society, she has authored a major UMW resource on empowering and engaging people with disabilities in ministry.

Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner, Director of the Wesley Foundation of Tucson, serving the University of Arizona, will be one of several, international keynote speakers. She previously served as founder and curator of The Shout, a spoken-word poetry collective based in Houston, Texas. While there, she also worked on staff at St. John’s Downtown UMC, joined protests seeking answers for the mysterious death of Sandra Bland while in police custody, and was recognized as one of the “16 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2016.” Dedicated to amplifying the voices of young women, Bonner also authored The Shout: Finding the Prophetic Voice in Unexpected Places and produced several documentary films.

Darlene DiDomineck, a Deaconess and ministry leader at Arch Street UMC in Philadelphia, will teach “Crossing the Road: A Workshop on Intersectional Organizing,” one of over a hundred workshops that will educate and engage more than 6,000 expected attendees. DiDomineck, who is also interim executive director for the Methodist Federation for Social Action, manages the Philadelphia Affiliate of the Global Mission Fellow US-2 program and Grace Cafe, a restaurant-style weekly community meal. She will share her passion for “intersectional, faith-based, justice-seeking, community-based movements that are rooted in story.”

Finally, Barbara Drake, former chairwoman of the Eastern PA Conference UMW and former dean of its Mission u school for Christian mission, will be consecrated as a Deaconess during the Women’s Assembly. She currently serves as the conference’s Global Missions Secretary, chairs its Church and Society Work Team and co-chairs the Health and Healing Council, in addition to her local church leadership roles.

The consecration service will occur at the Columbus Convention Center on Friday, May 18, and will be video livestreamed at unitedmethodistwomen.org/live.

With the theme “The Power of Bold,” the Assembly promises to inspire attendees through “deeply spiritual shared experiences” and women speakers who are justice leaders like:

  • Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow;
  • Marian Wright Edelman, Director of The Children’s Defense Fund; and
  • Katharine Hayhoe, NatGeo (National Geographic) TV climate scientist and evangelical Christian.

Participants will celebrate their missional focus on women, children and youth for 150 years at this event, and they will learn how to mobilize fellow advocates at a public rally, at workshops and at town hall meetings. They will hear presentations by Nobel Peace Prize awardee Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and by a “Young Women Who Mobilize” panel, including Women’s Rights and Racial Justice advocates Tamika Mallory, the Rev. Hannah Bonner and Linda Sarsour. Finally, they will receive guidance in drafting action plans for their local churches and communities.