The Triennial is a national meeting of Episcopal Church Women that occurs at the time of General Convention. Three of the four diocesan delegates to Triennial were from Nativity – Karen Jackson, Becky Taylor Scott and Elizabeth Welch. The fourth delegate was Beth Brendlinger from Christ the King in Santa Rosa Beach.
Women of the church gather for a program of speakers, workshops and fellowship. A major part of Triennial is the Distinguished Woman honor given at every ECW Triennial and diocese are encouraged to select one woman whose Christian principals are lived out in both her secular and sacred communities. Nativity’s Becky Taylor Scott was honored as Distinguished Woman for the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast. During the special luncheon recognizing these women of the church, Becky was accompanied by Bishop Russell.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve God and our Diocese,” said Becky. “Words cannot express my gratitude for this honor.”
During an interview with Nativity's rector, the Rev. Peter Wong - who was also a deputy to General Convention, Becky expanded on how it felt to be at Triennial, citing, “I am extremely humbled and blessed to be here. In this convention hall, the Holy Spirit is just -- I don’t know if I can put it into words -- but every person here is working on behalf of God and to do His work here. We’ve even seen protesters; but all the Episcopal churches in Austin have been wonderful and open to us.”
Our diocesan delegates to Triennial also shared their thoughts with Father Peter - “I have to say that just being in the presence of several thousand people worshipping in one place is like walking into heaven,” said Elizabeth. "Hearing the words of inspiring speakers, especially Bishop Michael Curry, has made this the most meaningful and relevant triennial I have been to.”
Karen is ready to bring back to Nativity some of the things she’s learned, saying, “We’ve had wonderful workshops on things we can take back to our individual churches. Things that really matter in the church, things that matter as a family and as people.”
Beth commented of her first attendance at Triennial, “These three women have taken me under their wings, and it’s been absolutely amazing learning from them. I feel so blessed, thankful and grateful.” She added, “I hope that many young women are able to be taken under a wing like I have.”
“One thing that really speaks loud and clear to me is when you hear a lot of people say ‘I’m not in the ECW,’” said Becky. “Well, if you are an Episcopal woman, you are a part of ECW, and there is so much we can do as parishes and at the diocesan level.
Father Peter’s interview with Elizabeth, Becky, Beth* and Karen can be seen at https://www.diocgc.org/single-post/2018/07/10/Its-Camp-Day.
Organizations affiliated with the ECW Triennial are:
Church Periodical Club
Episcopal Women's Caucus
Episcopal Women's History Project
Girls' Friendly Society
The Episcopal Community
The Order of the Daughters of the King
United Thank Offering (UTO)
During the UTO ingathering service, diocesan UTO representatives ceremonially processed into the service. Province IV(of which our diocese is part off) gave $797,922.02 to UTO in the past three years. Overall, more than $3 million was donated through those little blue boxes that we gather up twice a year. That money is then returned to the dioceses in the form of grants. Since 1971, the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast has received more than $444,220 in grants.
The ECW Triennial actually dates back to 1871. The 1871 General Convention discussed the role of women in the missionary and educational work of the church, and concluded that women needed a national organization. At the meeting of the Board of Missions in October 1872, the Woman's Auxiliary to the Board of Missions was organized. At the 1874 General Convention, the first general meeting of the Woman's Auxiliary was held. It met annually for the next four years.
Beginning with the General Convention of 1880, the Woman's Auxiliary met every three years when the General Convention met. This meeting was called the Triennial. It was called the "Third House" of the General Convention, along with the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops, although it had no canonical basis or authority.
The United Offering, now called the United Thank Offering, was established at the 1889 General Convention. When the 1919 General Convention reorganized the Episcopal Church, the Woman's Auxiliary to the Board of Missions became the Woman's Auxiliary to the National Council, now called the Executive Council. In 1958 the Woman's Auxiliary transformed itself into the General Division of Women's Work of the National Council. Local units were encouraged to call themselves Episcopal Church Women.