Five women from the Central Gulf Coast attended the Province IV meeting of the Episcopal Church Women at Hendersonville, N.C., June 6-8. They are Liz Babine, incoming president of the ECW Commission of the Diocese; Dorothy Moore, parliamentarian as well as the ECW Distinguished Woman from Central Gulf Coast; and me, as the United Thank Offering Coordinator for the Diocese. Both Moore and I are parishioners at St Francis, Gulf Breeze. Becky Taylor-Scott, a parishioner at Nativity, Dothan, and Joyce Landers of St Mark's, Troy, also attended the conference. Landers is the Province IV United Thank Offering representative while Taylor-Scott is the current president of the ECW Commission.
Women from dioceses all over the southeastern United States enjoyed a weekend of prayer, learning, sharing, and networking surrounding the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Since I have always loved this part of North Carolina, it was a joy for me to be at the Kanuga Camp and Conference Center with some wonderful women from around the region.
The keynote speaker was Lindsay Hardin Freeman, author, speaker, and Episcopal priest. She spoke on the role of biblical women in building bridges of peace and reconciliation.
Ms. Freeman is the author of several books, including Bible Women: All their Words and Why They Matter. She led discussions on the words spoken by the women of the Bible and what their stories can teach 21st-century women. Learning more about our biblical foremothers gave me insight and hope for the future of women in the church. As I listened to Ms. Freeman, I gave thanks to God for the strong Christian women in my life who have and continue to help me grow in my walk with Christ.
The annual business meeting for the Episcopal Church Women in Province IV was held on Tuesday. Attendees were given reports by several outreach arms of the national Episcopal Church Women.
Landers gave a presentation on the UTO history, organization, and mission as well as providing grant-writing tips for people seeking UTO grant money. As the new UTO representative from the Central Gulf Coast, I found this workshop helpful as I take on this new ministry in our Diocese. l learned about UTO grants that churches in this diocese have received to help them serve others, such as a $10,466 grant to purchase a van to transport children who reside at Wilmer Hall. I am impressed with the United Thank Offering's work and am honored to be part of this ministry on diocesan level.
The conference concluded on Wednesday after a Holy Eucharist celebrated by Ms. Freeman at the Chapel Of Transfiguration at Kanuga.
Taylor-Scott reminds everyone that all women of the Diocese are Episcopal Church Women. Parishioners of churches that lack an organized ECW may attend events such as the annual Fall Conference at Beckwith on October 21-23.
This year's guest will be the Rev. Becca Stevens, Episcopal priest, activist, and founder of Thistle Farms. For more information about Becca, the Fall Conference, or to register for the conference, go to diocgc.org. For more information on Becca Stevens's ministry, go to www.thistlefarms.org . Registration is through Camp Beckwith at diocgc.org
Sarah Elizabeth McCarren is a member of St. Francis of Assisi, Gulf Breeze.