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WMU reorganization plan gets OK from exec. bd.

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–The reorganization of the national office, a comprehensive Internet strategy and $77,950 in Second Century Fund grants were among the items approved by the Woman’s Missionary Union executive board June 9.

The executive board also increased the 2002 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering goal from $50 to $52 million. The increased goal was in response to the record offering of $48,449,227 to the AAEO in 2000. Receipts to the annual spring offering are expected to surpass $50 million this year.

The board held its semiannual meeting prior to the WMU annual meeting June 10-11 at the Louisiana Superdome. The WMU board is made up of state WMU presidents from the 41 state or regional Baptist conventions, Canada and Puerto Rico. National WMU President Janet Hoffman presided at the meeting.

WMU Executive Director Wanda S. Lee described the new national organizational structure as a “team-based ministry approach.” The goal of the new structure is to make the national office more responsive to the needs of the local church.

“Our great desire is to bring the world to Christ,” Lee said. “But we cannot do that alone. We must resource churches with the tools they need to help accomplish that task.”

The new structure calls for a Missions Resource Center, including seven teams that relate to the age-level, churchwide, associational and ministry aspects of WMU; the Product Development Center, including three teams assigned to develop WMU, New Hope and WorldCrafts products; and the Operational Services Center, including six teams related to graphic design, marketing, customer service and distribution.

The missions innovation team and leadership development team will seek to discover new ways of doing and involving people in missions and developing missions leaders. Other teams include staff services, human resources, financial services and the executive office.

Noting that the new structure is effective Oct. 1, Lee said that during the summer all staff would receive team member orientation and training in the new “WMU How-To,” which describes how WMU works in the local church. Team leaders and staff relating to an age-level, churchwide or associational team will receive additional training for their jobs.

Lee also outlined the comprehensive Internet strategy, which will enter its first phase immediately. The first phase calls for the launch of an online mall, which will allow customers to find, evaluate and order WMU products, periodicals and services. It will also allow for the integration of several databases to a centralized database.

Other phases of development will follow over the next three years, she said.

“We believe this expansion is essential if we hope to improve our customer service and add new customers,” she said.

Margaret Hale of Albuquerque, N.M., chair of the WMU endowment committee, announced the Second Century Fund grants awarded by the board. The awards give $11,000 to projects in Liberia, Moldova, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Canada and $12,000 to special projects related to WMU’s work with African Americans, ethnics and Christian Women’s Job Corps.

The other grants, totaling $54,950, were awarded to WMU organizations in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, the Dakotas, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas/Nebraska, Michigan, Minnesota/Wisconsin, Montana, Nevada, New England, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania/South Jersey, Puerto Rico, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Hale also reported that $12,000 was awarded in scholarships to 12 college and seminary students. The eight college students are children of international and North American missionaries.

In other business, the executive board set the 2002 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal at $125 million and the 2003 AAEO goal at $53 million.
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