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PW Gathering begins
On Wednesday, July 22, almost 2,000 Presbyterian women and a few men gathered in Orlando, Florida. After picking up totebags, participants began exploring the River of Hope. Activities, meet-ups, shopping and much more kicked off the event.
Presbyterian Women’s Global Gala
By Yvonne Hileman
From east and west they came—from Bangladesh, New Jersey, South Sudan and Cuba, from Canada, California, Arizona and Florida. From 30 states and 15 countries, Presbyterian women leaders came together the evening of Tuesday, July 17 for a Global Gala to celebrate mission partnerships and the important work of Christian women all over the world.
The Global Gala is the culmination of two days of orientation for Presbyterian Women’s international guests. Global Partners, Global Exchange and USA Mission Experience participants, international guests, the Gathering Planning Team and various members of PW’s Churchwide Coordinating Team gathered to welcome one another and to share a bit of their culture and their work together.
Jean Montgomery, CCT representative from Synod of the Southwest, enjoyed the “spontaneous and unique entertainment.” Guests from Scotland, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Canada, South Sudan, Colombia and Cuba spoke or performed songs and dances that expressed joy, hope and faith. Elizabeth Nyawok of South Sudan sang “We Must Go” about our call to mission. She spoke of the joy of independence and the difficulties women face in her country. She said there is danger of attack from armed militia as women walk the miles to get water and food for their families. Women stood and sang with Elizabeth: “We must go.”
Menakshi Das, president of the Church of North India’s Women’s Fellowship of Christian Service, said “God has blessed us by bringing us here.” She and the other international guests introduced themselves and received pashmina shawls on behalf of Presbyterian Women that were embroidered with the PW logo. Without fail, each guest expressed sincere appreciation for the invitation to attend. Bobbie Rubin, a member of the Gathering Plenary Team, said “The visitors’ expressions of gratitude humbled us.”
Jean Montgomery agreed. She said “The global guests expressed their gratitude so eloquently.” Perhaps the most eloquent of them all was Rosangela Jarjour of Lebanon, who said “You [Presbyterian Women] have taken your call to mission seriously.” She praised PW for doing its work worldwide and said, “We ask that you continue your prayers for the Middle East.” She briefly referred to the war in Syria, saying “I hope you are not weary of troubles in the Middle East. We continue to need your prayers.”
Many international guests noted the freedom we have to do what we are doing. Menakshi Das said, “We do not have the power you have to make decisions for ourselves,” referring to PW as a fundraising and mission funding organization.
Geetha Singh, also of India, said “You should invite the men from our country!” She and the others, inspired by how far women have come in the United States, want men in their countries to see that women’s leadership capabilities are recognized and accepted. Pam Snyder, CCT nominee for vice moderator for mission relationships, said that comment was interesting because in her work with the UN Commission on the Status of Women, she has been in many discussions about the need to work with men for peace and justice. Geetha’s remark was repeated by Sushma. Each time, it was greeted with appreciative laughter.
Bobbie Rubin said “The gala was bonding, very sisterly. It brought joy to all of us.”
PW Business Meeting
The triennial Business Meeting of Presbyterian Women will be held beginning in the afternoon of Thursday, July 19 and conclude no later than 5 pm on Friday, July 20. Voting representatives will vote on amendments to PW’s bylaws, elect leaders for the 2012–2015 Churchwide Coordinating Team of Presbyterian Women, and decide programmatic emphases for 2012–2015.
Gathering mission project will support farmworkers
Consider bringing a prepaid gift card to be collected at the Churchwide Gathering for Beth-El Farmworker Ministry, Inc. The ministry helps migrant farmworkers in three Florida communities—Wimauma, Immokalee and Arcadia. Beth-El offers worship services, extensive educational programs, a food pantry, child care and many other services to support migrant workers.