Do you know a woman who nurtures faith? Builds community? Supports mission? Works for justice and peace? Yes? Then you know a woman who supports Presbyterian Women!
Presbyterian Women (PW) offers women in the church meaningful ways to live out their faith in the midst of a caring community of women. For more than 200 years PW groups have strengthened the Presbyterian Church and played a major role in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and witnessing to the promise of God’s kingdom.
Get a list of recommended programs and resources to live out the PW Purpose.
If you would like to initiate or revitalize a PW group in your church, let us know.
Start or revitalize a PW group
By Bonnie Blair
Contact the national offices of Presbyterian Women for information on how to start a new PW group or to request a speaker.
Live out the PW Purpose with your programs. Any program that embraces any part of the purpose can be a PW program! Try
- Nurturing your faith with the Horizons Bible study.
- Supporting mission through a shawl ministry.
- Building an inclusive, caring community with activities to get to know each other better.
Order the PW Manual—it has sample bylaws for PW groups, job descriptions and overviews of the many programs in which PW participates. Download the latest newsletter from PW in the PC(USA), so you know what is happening at the churchwide level and can share that information with your PW sisters.
Be flexible with the number of positions on your coordinating team. If you only have a few women, begin with a just a moderator and a secretary/treasurer on the coordinating team. As your group grows, add a search committee chair and search committee. They can put together a team with a moderator, secretary, financial secretary, mission representative, mission representative and any other positions your group needs.
Hold a planning retreat with current and incoming PW leaders to evaluate which programs should continue and which new ones could be added.
Plan a variety of projects. Many younger women prefer action-packed, short-term projects, such as building a Habitat for Humanity house. Some women could work on the house one day, while other women go to the church and prepare a dinner meal for everyone, including men. The women who worked on the house could share their experiences over dinner and other group and church members can hear of the good work.
Order Becoming the Beloved Community, a DVD and booklet on a racial ethnic dialogue group. Learn from the group on the DVD or use the suggestions in the booklet to hold your own racial ethnic dialogue.
Offer an array of programs. Not all group members will participate in all activities, but most members will be able to find a few programs that appeal to them.
Use the Horizons Bible study. If you have more than one circle, try to have the circles come together once a month. Invite a speaker to present on the study or to discuss a project that relates to the study. Advertise the event in your church newsletter and in the community, letting people know they are welcome to attend and enjoy the fellowship. Everyone could bring a sandwich and one of the circles bring a cake — spread these on a tray and everyone stay for lunch. Many times, the pastor(s) will join you for lunch or even attend the program.
Designate one meeting (or part of a meeting) to be the justice focus. As a group, study Justice and Peace Links and then follow the advocacy suggestions outlined in the periodic newsletter.
Publicize your group’s activities in the church newsletter and on church bulletin boards, speak during “minute for mission,” in the worship service, if you have one. If not, ask the session to allow you to speak on PW activities.
Attend PW Presbytery functions. You can learn so much and meet women from other churches in your presbytery.
Not only can you start a circle at your church but you can start a circle at an assisted living facility where one or more of your members reside. Or how about one for high school or college girls?
Have a grandmother-mother-daughter event. Each generation can share stories about their lives and faith stories. Or grandmothers could tell stories about their childhoods.
Check with your local schools or shelters to find out their needs. One PW group discovered that many children in a town school were underfed at home on weekends. So they gived child friendly, ready-to-eat food that school personnel discreetly slipped into the children’s backpacks on Fridays.
Participate in Together in Service, the hands-on mission program for Presbyterian Women. You can select your own mission project within your community or get involved with one of the recommended projects. Or look into supporting Together in Service in Congo, three projects that address specific needs in Congo.
Hold a tea party. Invite a new neighbor or newly-retired person. Offer to pick up someone who is homebound. Provide childcare so women with young children can focus on the meeting. Invite each guest to bring her own teacup and tell its story. Then send two tea bags home with each guest so that she can have tea with someone else.
Be creative! Have fun! Enjoy PW!
Ask your group to pray that God will bless your efforts and do mighty things through PW.
Have an end-of-year celebration of your group with a luncheon or party. Celebrate all of the growth your group cultivated: spiritual growth, growth in numbers, growth in publicity in the church or community, growth in number of programs, growth in spreading God’s word. Write up everything you did, then include the list in the church newsletter and send a copy to your PW presbytery moderator.
Hi Victoria! Yes, an individual can be a member of PW. She can join a circle in another church or be active at the presbytery, synod or Churchwide level as long as she is a member of PC(USA) and supports the Purpose of Presbyterian Women.
I've been trying to encourage women in our church to be involved with the PW, but no luck. But I want to be involved. May I join even if it's just me? I'm thinking that perhaps I can influence others in the future. Or, the Lord willing, when I have my own congregation, perhaps I could start a PW group with them. I'm graduating next year with an MDIV, the Lord willing, next year, and if the Lord is indeed calling me to be a teaching elder, I'll pass the ords exams and will be ready to receive a call. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!
Hi Carol! The Carlisle PWP Fall Gathering will be on Saturday, October 23rd, at the Lower Path Valley PC. Charlotte Winsheimer, Carlisle PWP Moderator, is the contact person. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for writing!
I am looking for info, the date and place, of the Carlisle (PA) Presbytery's Fall Women's Gathering.
Hi Laurann! I'll be more than happy to send you a packet of information and add you to the mailing list. Please e-mail at email@example.com to give me your mailing address. Thanks for writing!