The Episcopal Church Women’s Province IV retreat and meeting was held June 3-5 at the Trinity Center in the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. The Trinity Center is located in Salter Path, North Carolina.
Sixty women, representing 16 of the 20 dioceses in Province IV, were in attendance. Becky Taylor Scott, ECW Province IV President, and Karen Jackson, ECW Triennial delegate, represented the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast.
According to the ECW, “We are Episcopal Church Women are of all ages, ethnic origins, and socioeconomic backgrounds who hold a variety of views. However, the common denominator of our members is love of God and the wish to do His work.”
The retreat theme -- “Godly Harmony, Transformation and Renewal in Today’s World” -- was presented by keynote speaker Chris Butterworth, a spiritual director from Hendersonville, North Carolina. Butterworth is a faithful, creative soul practicing her gifts through spiritual direction, retreat facilitation, and fabric artistry. Her heartfelt desire is to make connections and deepen relationships with all people and help make a difference in their lives. She is married to a retired naval officer, now a second-career Episcopal priest.
The retreat theme was carried out through Mrs. Butterworth’s sessions, “Transforming Our Sacred Spaces,” “Praying Practices,” and “Going Outside of Yourself: Transforming the World.”
The music program was led by Linda Laughton, director of music at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Beaufort, North Carolina.
Throughout the retreat, hospitality was a key focus. The women were welcomed to the retreat with a reception given by the Province IV ECW Board providing attendees with a chance to reacquaint themselves with one another and to welcome those who were new to the retreat. The vision of ECW is that we become a vibrant blend of all ages, coming together as a peacemaking, healing part of the church. We aspire to be a Godspark -- shining and sharing the love of Christ.
Bishop Robert Stuart Skirving brought greetings from his diocese of East Carolina on Tuesday morning of the retreat and shared a little of his spiritual journey, as well as the journey of Trinity Center. Bishop Skirving, originally from Ontario, Canada, has been the bishop of East Carolina since 2014 and also serves as chancellor of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. The Province IV ECW business meeting was called to order on Tuesday morning. One highlight of the meeting was the United Thank Offering report.
Diane Gabbard reported that giving had increased by $15,000, with 52 dioceses increasing their giving. UTO ingathering for 2018 was $1,535.740.55, with 45 grants being given. Another highlight was roll call. Sixteen of the 20 Province IV dioceses were present, with the Diocese of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina in attendance. South Carolina has not been represented for the past six years. We were excited to welcome the women back to Province IV meeting!
Karen Patterson, National ECW Board president, shared her some of her experiences at the United Nations meeting this past March.
Patterson represented Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at the 63rd meeting on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She was one of seven women selected to represent the presiding bishop due to her work as a court appointed guardian and her knowledge of issues of the elderly and women. Patterson is a member of St. Mary’s in Dade City, Florida.
The retreat was adjourned with prayer on Wednesday morning after our keynote speaker’s last session.
The 2020 Province IV ECW meeting will be held at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina, on June 1-3.
“Almighty God, we pray that you will bless our work in mission and ministry in this Province. Help us to pray fervently, labor diligently and give liberally to make known the power of your love given through your Son Jesus Christ. Let us not forget the lessons of the past nor fear the challenges of the future. Anoint us with your grace and shine in our hearts as we reflect your light throughout the world. Amen.” - Episcopal Church Women Prayer
Pictured above: Women from around Province IV of the Episcopal Church gather for their annual retreat.