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.
From the 8 – 21 August 2015, fifty women between 19 and 73 years moved into the vast monastery building in Mariensee, Germany, to create the first ever European ecumenical ‘Pop Up Monastery’ and to share the life with the women who live there in community. The participants were from 17 European countries, and from various Christian denominations: Orthodox and Quakers, Methodists, Protestants, Catholics and spiritual seekers. A rhythm of prayer, silence, tasks and workshops structured the day, but there was also room for celebration and exchange.
The film ‘Gardens of Eve’ follows the women leading the project, as well as participants, as they uncover what it means to have faith, to live in community, to be searching, and to support one another on our journeys. The film is a project of the EFECW and can be watched online for free here https://vimeo.com/193794060 and we encourage you to share it with your friends, family, colleagues and other contacts. You may wish to organise a local screening, inviting women from your networks.
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland are producing a series of resources to enable people to engage with the general election, including discussion documents and a guide to hustings. These will be available soon here www.churcheselection.org.uk