By Neva Rae Fox
Episcopal Church Women (ECW) has moved the 24 workshops and presentations for its 50th Triennial to Zoom and postponed its 150th birthday celebration until 2024.
Karen Patterson, ECW’s president, announced May 22 that the board “determined to honor the request of Bishop Curry and President Jennings and not convene the Triennial meeting in Baltimore in July 2022. We regret having to do this, but because of health concerns, it is the right thing to do.”
Patterson added: “I think it was a valid decision to try and protect all the people that would have been attending. If you have that many thousands of people coming to General Convention, Triennial, exhibiting, plus all the organizations, you have a much higher prospect of infection of COVID.”
The 24 sessions, ranging from topical issues to parliamentary procedure and establishing a website, will be available to a larger audience. “We have invited the presenters to set up Zooms for what they are going to present,” Patterson said. “I believe all have accepted.”
The Zoom sessions kick off with former president Marge Burke discussing Alzheimer’s on July 16. Afterward, each session will be available for streaming through the ECW website.
Other presentations will be listed on the website, in the ECW’s weekly Women in Action News Blast, and in Communiqué magazine.
ECW will continue its decades-long effort to support organizations in General Convention’s host city. This year, the board is requesting donations for two groups: the Diocese of Maryland’s Sutton Scholars High School Enrichment Program and Paul’s Place, which assists homeless people in Baltimore.
“We have sent 150 blankets and T-shirts to Paul’s Place,” Patterson said. “Some women like to give money, some women like to give things.”
A Distinguished Women’s booklet, prepared for General Convention, instead will be issued to those who registered, and available on the ECW website.
ECW’s 150th birthday party, planned and cancelled twice, is now set for the 2024 General Convention. “Everyone was not meeting last year because of COVID. We are going to celebrate in Louisville in 2024,” Patterson said.
“I would have rather had a party. I had a disc jockey. I had a big cake. Everyone at General Convention was invited to our birthday party. But it’s not to be. I look at the silver lining — we’re going to do that in 2024.”
A history book detailing ECW’s 150 years is expected in the fall. “It’s a good book with a lot of history when we did our little, tiny steps as a women’s organization to support missionaries in the church,” she said.
Patterson doesn’t express regrets about the cancellation.
“We are feeling our way through this,” she said. “This is the first time ECW has not met for a Triennial, but not the first pandemic. We will lose a small amount, not much. Most people have been extremely generous in understanding our situation. Registration fees have been returned.”
John Wilkerson, ECW webmaster and publishing editor, said updates will be available on the website, as well as ECW’s two Facebook pages: National Episcopal Church Women and SocialJusticeECW.