Five years ago the Forum in the UK brought together a group of women in leadership positions in the church, and the resulting report with its recommendations, entitled ‘The Leading Question?’, was widely shared. We are considering if there has been any progress on the issues that the report highlighted and have developed a survey which we are hoping as many women who are, or have been, leaders in their churches will be able to complete.
The survey will inform a ‘Leading Question, five years on’, report that we plan to release on International Women’s Day, 8th March 2018. To complete the survey please follow this link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/K8HVDM5 We would be very grateful if you can also share the survey with women you know who are leaders. We hope to get a wide response.
The mermaid image was chosen to illustrate our original report – The Leading Question? because, whilst the mythical female figure of the mermaid is often seen as threatening and dangerous, luring sailors to their death, this has not always been so. At Zennor parish church in West Cornwall, there is a late 15th century carving of a mermaid on one of the pew ends. The mermaid was seen as a symbol of Christ. Her two natures, half human and half fish, echoed Christ’s humanity and divinity. The mermaid can still be seen as a beautiful symbol of our faith – of who Christ is. She speaks of living with ambiguity and mystery, of the importance of taking risk and calling us all out of complacency.
Are you, or a woman you know, under 40 and interested in meeting and sharing with women throughout Europe? Looking ahead to our General Assembly taking place in Soko, Serbia we are keen to meet with younger women who would like to join our delegation and help support the EFECW in England as we develop a new way of working through networking and partnership. The Assembly is a great intercultural opportunity with the experience of a large ecumenical gathering. For more information please contact Anthea at email@example.com
As part of a special module, ‘Theologies of the Body’, taking place at Luther King House in Manchester we are supporting a free evening event entitled Resisting Violence Against Women on Monday12 February 2018 from 18.30. It will begin with light refreshments, and there will be an art exhibition to see – including ‘Out of the Shadows’, the Manchester Mosaic; the ‘Bosnian Christa’ by Margaret Argyle, and ‘The Clothes Line Project’ from the Baptist Union of Great Britain & Ireland. At 19.30 there will be a lecture by Sue Barclay, ‘View from the Mat – theological reflection on gender based violence in Uganda.’ Booking is not essential but, for catering purpose, please let us know if you hope to attend by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. All are welcome!
This evening forms part of a 4-day Winter School, exploring themes such as gender and sexuality, ageing and disability, feminist, queer and eco-theologies. Led by Jan Berry and Clare McBeath, this is running from Monday 12th to Thursday 15th February and costs £150 per person. Interested in ‘Embodied Theology’? To register for the Winter School and for further information, contact: 0161 249 2504 or email@example.com. There are also details on the website: www.lutherkinghouse.org.uk
For both events meals & en-suite accommodation are available at Luther King House at an extra cost.
‘The Fellowship of the Least Coin’ is a worldwide movement of prayer and action by women and the Ecumenical Forum is the FLC’s presence in Europe. Several Forum members joined with the Methodist Women in Britain to hear from Cora Tabing-Reyes, the executive secretary of the Fellowship of the Least Coin at what was her final visit in this role. Cora was able to give us first-hand information about the projects FLC is currently supporting, their scholarship programme for young women, and the recently published book for children.
A service was held at Westminster Abbey Tuesday 31st October to mark the start of the reformation 500 years ago. The service remembered that the universal Church, the body of Christ is under God semper reformanda, always to be reformed. The congregation, recognising the cruelty and deaths that followed the reformation, prayed that we may be ever more united in our diversity and that we may draw more and more children of God into the beautiful story of God’s love revealed in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
al members of the Forum were present. The Reverend Eliza Zikmane, pastor, the United London Latvian Lutheran Church and St Anne’s Lutheran Church, London, read St John 17: 20-26, and amongst others, prayers were led by Madelaine Mason from the Swedish Church in London and the Reverend Susanne Freddin Skovhus from the Danish Church in London.
“If you remain silent at this time…Christian women speak out!”
We are looking for 10 dynamic young women aged 18-30 to join us for an intercultural, ecumenical experience at our 10th General Assembly in Soko Serbia. This is a great intercultural opportunity with the experience of a large ecumenical gathering.
We will be exploring some of the ways women across Europe are speaking out on key issues in church and in society as we mark the 20th anniversary of the end of the Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women.
We have taken some time to reflect on how the Ecumenical Forum of European Christian Women can support women across Europe to share information, network, respond to the changing political context and pray together. In Britain it can be challenging to gather together but this does not mean that the EFECW and its members are not active. We are hoping that the Network will provide a means of linking us together, to share our experiences and resources and provide an impetus for the direction the EFECW will take.
Please let us know your stories, news and prayers, we would love to include them in our next Newsletter.
Social Care continues to be a significant issue in the UK. Asea Railean EFECW co-president has shared a project from Moldova. From 2002 the non governmental organization “Association Community Association “Soarta/Fate”” developed a program to help and involve three groups of elders: care and support at home including hot lunches and laundry services, a day centre to combat loneliness as well as an education programme and setting up a Council of the Elderly.
Another very important project was free ophthalmic support. More than 7800 elderly people benefited from this project and more than 1500 elderly people had their eyesight restored following treatment for glaucoma or cataracts.
All the activities were supported by foreign donors and it is a struggle continuing this work. It is hoped that churches in Europe may identity ways in which the project can continue as well as new initiatives which included the provision of greenhouses so that older people can grow their own healthy food.
Between 12-15 February 2018 – Luther King House will be hosting a programme of teaching and learning on the theme of ‘Theologies of the Body’.
This will include a special lecture and will feature a display of the Manchester Mosaic ‘Out of the Shadows’, created to mark the ‘Ecumenical Decade of the Churches in Solidarity with Women’. We will be holding a workshop ahead of the lecture – more details to follow. We are planning to take the ‘Out of the Shadows’ mosaic with us to the General Assembly next year.
We were very sad to learn of the death of our friend Pauline Webb.
Pauline was a campaigner, journalist and broadcaster and missionary publicist and pioneer for women’s ministry and women’s ordination.
She was the first woman to be elected an officer of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches where, as Vice-Moderator (1968-1975), she played a leading role in its programme to combat racism and was thrown out of South Africa* for her outspoken views.
She was organiser of Religious Broadcasting for the BBC World Service, 1979-1987, as well as a regular contributor to Pause for Thought, Radio 2 and Thought for the Day on Radio 4.