by Faye Christensen
Catalyst. Advocate. Monitor. Thirty-plus years ago, I was asked to start the first Committee on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) in a local church in the Minnesota Conference—Fridley UMC. How exciting it was! Fridley UMC COSROW became involved in such things as:
When asked to co-chair COSROW for the Minnesota Conference in the early 1980s and then again in the 1990s, I jumped at the opportunity. Even though I had a full-time job and was working on a master’s degree, COSROW fueled my passion. I relished the opportunity to grow and develop both as a feminist and as a United Methodist, all while deepening my faith.
Many years later and just a few days after I retired, I received a call to take a district office for the United Methodist Women. The UMW?! I explained that I had not been active in the UMW for decades. I was told, “That's why we’re asking you. We need fresh ideas!” SOLD! After all, these are my sisters in faith! I became a district officer (education and interpretation and social action coordinator) and then president of the North Star District UMW of the Minnesota Conference.
When my four-year tenure as district president ended, I was asked to be the COSROW representative to the Minnesota Conference UMW. How perfect was that?! It combining these two UMC organizations that I had grown to love!
Here is what I have learned while having my feet planted for many years in both UMW and COSROW:
Even though UMW and COSROW have distinct roles and purposes, they link together in very significant ways. I have found that there are amazing, courageous, gutsy, concerned women throughout both organizations. Both UMC organizations are focused on giving voice to women and helping to make their lives better. Both are committed to enriching, renewing, and growing their Christian faith. They are sister organizations and sisters in faith, supporting each other’s work and applauding each other’s accomplishments.
Faye Christensen attends Northern Light parish churches (Cromwell, Fleming, Hill City, and McGregor), where her husband, Russell Christensen, is pastor. In addition to having served COSROW and UMW in a number of different capacities, both groups endorsed her as a candidate for north central jurisdiction lay delegate for the 2016 General Conference. She was a lay servant and speaker for 15 years.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church