Emerging Methodism: An Interview with Harriett Jane Olson

The Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, Chief Connectional Ministries Officer for the Connectional Table, interviews Harriett Jane Olson, Chief Executive Officer of United Methodist Women. They talk about the mission work of United Methodist Women, United Methodist identity and ecumenism, and the work of the church moving forward.

Watch full interview

What is essential about UMW’s mission and ministry?

In this portion of their interview, Harriett Jane Olson gives an introduction to United Methodist Women and the mission work they do throughout the world.


What are the marks or characteristics of a United Methodist?

Harriett Jane Olson discusses United Methodist identity and the ecumenical work of United Methodist Women.

How have United Methodist women responded to the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racism?

Harriett Jane Olson describes how United Methodist Women members have responded to the immediate needs of the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting national mission institutions that provided masks, food, and places for remote learning for children. She also talks about the decades that United Methodist Women have worked and advocated for an end to systemic racism, and their intensified focus after recent events.

How do you hope that the church will navigate our differences going forward?

Harriett Jane Olson suggests that the first step is to be realistic and acknowledge our differences. Secondly, she hopes that despite our differences we can see one another as beloved children of God, and treat each other with kindness and grace. Lastly, she yearns for the church to build pathways toward a future where we all can envision God's grace at work.

Emerging Methodism Video Series Introduction

Wesley's historic questions were about what to teach, how to teach and what to do. For the next interval of features for the Connectional Table's Emerging Forum we will seek to update these questions for our current moment. We will invite energetic conversation that will illumine our identity which is tied to what and how we teach, our preferred actions, what we do and our abiding hopes as we envision the future United Methodist Church.

About Emerging: God Is Doing a New Thing in United Methodism

This video interview is part of a series created for "Emerging: God Is Doing a New Thing in United Methodism," which is an online forum created by the Connectional Table to engage United Methodists with a diversity of perspectives from across our worldwide connection in thinking deeply about what is emerging at this time in the life of our connection.