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ECW Celebrates 150 Years of Ministry

This week began with a birthday party for Episcopal Church Women, as members celebrated the group’s sesquicentennial on June 23. “It was fantastic,” said former president Karen Patterson of Florida. “There were young people, old people, a DJ, and lots of dancing. … Those mamas got out there and could dance every dance those young kids were dancing.” The event included food, cake, and a cash bar.

ECW gathered at Galton House Hotel for the group’s 51st Triennial Meeting, under the theme “Empowering Women of Faith/Empoderando a las Mujeres de Fe.”

Numerous seminars and workshops have been offered during this triennium’s Episcopal Church Women gathering, including “Dancing with the Spirit: Healing through Music,” led by the Rev. Belle Michaelson, “Episcopal Women’s History Project Is For All of Us,” led by the Rev. Dr. Jo Ann Baker, and “Leading with Heart: Reignite your Ministry,” led by Evita Washington.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Philadelphia Eleven, the first group of women ordained in the Episcopal Church. The ECW marked this anniversary with a screening of the film The Philadelphia Eleven, directed by Margo Guernsey. “We were all very excited about this because this is probably the only opportunity some of our women will have to see this film,” Patterson said. “It is so important to be doing this together.”

One tradition the ECW is proud to honor every year is the offering of financial gifts to two charities doing important work in the meeting’s host city. This year the two recipients of the ECW’s donation were the Orphan Care Alliance, receiving the United Gift, and House of Hope Kentucky, receiving the Community Connection Gift.

“Women are the backbone of the church,” Patterson said. “We are the workers, the supporters of outreach. That is evidenced by this year’s offering to two local organizations doing wonderful work.”

Saying goodbye after a six-year term, Patterson was honored with the presentation of a gavel by professional parliamentarian Dennis Clark. Elected on June 27, Lisa Bortner of Texas will serve as the national president of the organization for the next three years.

“Every woman has a ministry,” Patterson said. “This organization really shows that. … If their ministry is doing the coffee hour on Sunday, that’s great. If their ministry is working with abused children, that’s great. Every ministry should be honored.”

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