The 142nd Diocese of Ohio Episcopal Church Women (ECW) Annual Meeting took place at Bellwether Farm on May 3 - 4, 2019. Though it was rainy and cool all weekend, it didn’t dampen the attendees’ spirits! Starting with a warm welcome from the Bellwether staff, continuing with presentations by keynote speaker Lelanda Lee, and ending with Eucharist in the Worship Barn, the weekend was inspiring and brought us all closer to the Lord.
The weekend began on Friday evening with a familystyle meal, most of which was made from ingredients sourced right from the farm. We enjoyed learning about Bellwether’s farm-to-table philosophy and had a taste of summer with greens, carrots, and radishes fresh from the greenhouse.
After dinner, the group assembled to hear Lelanda Lee’s keynote presentation. She has served as a lay leader at all levels of The Episcopal Church, from her parish to the Executive Council. She was the Diocese of Colorado’s ECW Distinguished Woman in 2012. Lelanda spoke about remembering our past (accepting and owning our stories, no matter how painful) in order to answer God’s call to wholeness and restoration. She shared some of the story of her life, inspiring us to do the same with each other in small group exercises (and ultimately, with others as we share the Gospel and how our faith and relationship with the Lord have made a difference in our lives).
During the business meeting on Saturday morning, the 2019 Carlotta East Scholarship recipients were recognized. Kelly Henderson, a member of Trinity Cathedral, attends the University of Akron. Robin Woodberry, a member of St. John’s, Youngstown, attends the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in Berkeley, California.
We then assembled for another talk by Lelanda, this one on redeeming our past. She taught us that we can use our past – mistakes and all – to make connections to God and to one another in order to fulfill our Christian mission of restoring and reconciling all to God through Christ. She spoke of challenging ourselves to see and remove our biases, see barriers that need to be removed for healing and reconciliation to occur, and reach out to all with respect. We were also inspired by learning about how broken objects are made whole in art, with mosaics and the Japanese art of Kintsugi (mending broken objects with gold) as examples. If that can be done in art, imagine what can be made of our broken lives!
After lunch, Lelanda gave her final talk on the topic of Holy Empowerment. She suggested that we can reclaim our power by changing the narrative – how we see our mistakes and the life challenges that we face. How we tell our stories matters. How do we create a new narrative for our life? To help with that, Lelanda shared a model for reflection about our stories called “The Big Whys,” in which you reflect on an issue by examining your position on it, what Christian tradition says about it, what Scripture says about it, and what our culture says about it. Then you distill any insights these reflections have given you. Lelanda’s observations and stories were thoughtprovoking, inspiring, and empowering.
After a brief break, we reassembled in the Worship Barn for a concluding Eucharist celebrated by Bishop Hollingsworth. During the Eucharist, the newly elected Diocesan ECW Board officers (Susan Quill, President-Elect; Elaine Willis, Secretary; and Maxanna Dyne-Demko, Worship Chair) were installed, and the United Thank Offering (UTO) and Seamen’s Church Institute knitwear offerings were presented by various parishes.
During the breaks, attendees spent time exploring the farm by visiting the greenhouses as well as the sheep and lambs out in the pasture. We all look forward to seeing Bellwether Farm again when the weather is more welcoming so we can explore the beautiful surroundings further.
Do You Knit or Crochet?
The ECW needs you to help with the Christmas-at-Sea project of the Seamen’s Church Institute. There is a great need for hats, scarves, and other knitted or crocheted items for the mariners from tropical countries who arrive in New York and New Jersey during the winter months. See the Christmas at Sea webpage at https://seamenschurch.org/christmas-at-sea for information and patterns. Inexpensive yarn can be used or they will even send yarn to you. The Annual Ingathering is held at our Annual ECW Meeting in May. Start a knitting group in your parish or be your own personal cottage industry. For more information, contact Sue Little at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Church Periodical Club
A grant funding source that is not often publicized is the Church Periodical Club (CPC). It is an independent, affiliated organization of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church. From its founding in 1888, CPC has been dedicated to the worldwide ministry of the written word. Today, it provides free literature and related materials (books, magazines, audio and video materials, and computer software), both religious and secular, to people who need and request them and have no other source for obtaining them. CPC is funded by voluntary contributions from individuals, parishes, dioceses, and provinces.
Two grants are available. The National Book Fund is primarily for adults. Grants are made to schools, libraries, individuals, agencies, and parishes throughout the Anglican Communion. The Miles of Pennies Fund provides grants for children up to age 18. The maximum grant is $844.80, which represents one mile of pennies. Information and grant application forms are available at www.churchperiodical.com. Contact Maxanna Dyne-Demko, our Diocesan CPC Coordinator, at email@example.com for additional information.
Upcoming ECW Meetings
The National ECW (NECW) board will meet at Bellwether Farm in October 2019. On Saturday, October 19, the NECW board invites the women of the Diocese of Ohio to meet with them. Details will be announced. The NECW board meets three times each year. During the current 2018–2021 Triennium, they will visit each of the Episcopal Church’s nine provinces.
The 143rd Diocese of Ohio ECW Annual Meeting will be held on May 15 & 16, 2020. Save the date!