Cutting new channels—Day 3, July 20
Friday, July 20 was a unique day: a plenary session and activities through late afternoon, and then free time at night! The plenary sessions explored human trafficking and health issues for women and girls. PW vice moderator for justice and peace Chris Wolf introduced Presbyterian Women to a new initiative: National Day of Activism, where Presbyterian women will work in their communities on the same day to end human trafficking. During free time, women enjoyed a hymn festival that introduced the new hymnal, Glory to God; visited local attractions; and continued visiting with new and old friends.
An identity and hope in Christ
By Yvonne Hileman
Dispatches to God’s Household author Nancy Benson-Nicol gave a lively presentation during morning plenary on Friday, July 20, complete with Scooby Doo’s expression of surprise: “Haauungghh?!”
This described her reaction on opening a fortune to find an inexplicable “fortune” inside telling her that a kiss is a renunciation of the heart when one is no longer alone. What!? Where do we find wisdom in a sea of inexplicable modern messages?
Nancy says she will seek other wisdom, the wisdom of the scriptures. And she guides us to some of that wisdom through the current Horizons Bible study, Dispatches to God’s Household: The General Epistles. Read more.
A wealth for wells
By Yvonne Hileman
At each Churchwide Gathering, a special offering is received during plenary to benefit a specific mission need. At this Gathering, attendees gave $40,655.82 to fund water wells in Akobo, South Sudan.
The population of Akobo County has increased significantly as people relocate there, seeking refuge from the violent conflicts that have racked the region for many years.
Women walk long distances—often over difficult terrain, through dangerous areas, with children in tow—to secure water from one of the few wells in the county. Illnesses caused by contaminated water are common, especially among children.
Funds from the offering will be used to create up to 20 wells in Akobo County. PC(USA) mission coworker Jim McGill, a geologist specializing in water source development, will provide technical support. Read more.
Human trafficking: human beings in peril
By Jessica Reid
“Those of us who are free have a moral obligation to our sisters and brothers who are enslaved to use our power wisely and well to end [human trafficking],” Noelle Damico said during Friday morning’s plenary.
Noelle serves on the PC(USA)’s round table on human trafficking and works with the Presbyterian Hunger Program. She addressed the issue of modern day slavery, more commonly referred to as human trafficking. In an animated and passionate speech, Noelle challenged everyone to take action.
“As people of faith, we believe that even in the worst circumstances, God is there . . . strengthening us for the long, hard work of reshaping our society toward that day when all forms of slavery will be eliminated.” Read more.
Ensuring health for mothers worldwide
By Meagan Manas
It can be hard to imagine that an event as common as birth contributes to the death of one woman every two minutes somewhere in our world. For each of these deaths, many more women are left with childbirth-related injuries. It’s nearly impossible to collect accurate data, as the women who suffer most live in the poorest and most remote parts of our world. And no matter where you live, the topic of women’s bodies can be taboo. While most global maternal deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, the United States has one of the worst maternal mortality rates of the top 40 industrialized nations. Read more.