By Margaret Colson
BIRMINGHAM — Twelve national WMU staff members opted to accept the voluntary retirement offer announced by the organization in early August, and WMU board members approved a 2020-21 budget that is down approximately $1 million from the 2019-20 budget, which was $5.8 million.
Both of these developments came as a result of a decline in sales due to COVID-19.
The 12 who accepted the retirement offer are “valued friends and colleagues [who] made countless contributions to our work over the years and will be greatly missed,” said Julie Walters, corporate communication manager for national WMU.
Current personnel at national WMU stands at approximately 40 staff members.
The 2020-21 budget, Walters explained, was “adjusted based on anticipated expenses and projected revenue.”
Even with a decrease in staff members and budget, WMU leaders remain focused on the organization’s “mission of making disciples of Jesus who live on mission,” Walters said.
“Next steps,” she said, “include serving churches well and supporting pastors, providing more missional resources for individuals and families, and exploring modifications to our business model. Through WMU’s missions discipleship, leadership development, and compassion ministries, we will seek to advance our current level of kingdom impact in every state and 39 countries.
“We are grateful for many who are coming alongside us to help – state WMU leaders, executive board members, independent contractors, volunteers. It is inspiring to see so many actively using their passion to serve God and serve others through WMU.”
National WMU is not a part of the Cooperative Program allocation budget and receives no funds from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering or Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. National WMU is supported through the sale of magazines and products and from investments and charitable contributions through the WMU Foundation. In late August, the WMU Foundation gifted national WMU a $45,000 grant in an effort to help offset the loss for 2020 through pandemic.
Margaret Colson is a freelance writer based in Marietta. This story originally appeared in The Alabama Baptist, news journal for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.