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Presbyterian Women - Keeping The Faith
PCUSA NEWS <email@example.com>
16 Jun 1998 20:56:55
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Presbyterian Women - Keeping The Faith
by Joanne Hines
CHARLOTTE, N.C.--The Decade of Solidarity with Women officially ends in
1998. This year, once again, men and women from around the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.) celebrated the courage, commitment and the energy of women
of the church whose lives have been committed to living out the gospel. The
journey began during the Easter Season of 1988 with the question of the
resurrection women asking, "Who will roll the stone away?"
At the Women of Faith Breakfast, those gathered celebrated this
anniversary and recognized the many gifted women of the church who have
rolled away many stones during this decade, stones of violence against
women and children, stones of racism, and stones of economic injustice.
The award breakfast is a major event of the Women's Ministries Program
Area of the National Ministries Division. Each year, they highlight Women
of Faith who inspire us in the present and preserve their stories for the
future. Women who are leaders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and/or
in an ecumenical or international arena have been honored with this award.
This year, three outstanding women were honored.
Dorothy Barnard, described as a "woman of quiet grace, a woman of the
South" spent her life breaking down barriers and successfully filling roles
typically occupied by men.
Dorothy has served the church at all levels, from teacher and speaker to
moderator of the former Presbyterian Church in the United States. She
helped pave and prepare the way for reunion of the PCUS and the UPCUSA.
^From the National Board of Church Women United to the Missouri State
Legislature, the Senate and House of Representatives, Dorothy worked to
promote justice for women, improvement of factory conditions for women and
was a tireless worker for ecumenicity.
Mary Jane Patterson is described as the "poster child for energy,
intelligence, imagination and love." The issue for Mary Jane has always
been a battle against racism in all its various forms. From breaking
racial barriers herself to speaking out against apartheid to the South
African embassy in London, she has answered God's call in many ways. From
missionary service in Kenya to director of the Washington Office of the
Presbyterian Church, she has fought for justice, peace and human rights.
The Presbyterian Women remember her appearances at triennial assemblies
with the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other constantly
reminding women everywhere to "Live in hope!"
Thelma Burgonio-Watson, the first Filipino to be ordained in the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has dedicated her ministry to confronting
violence against women. She has worked tirelessly in support of sexual and
racial justice, supporting women and children of all backgrounds. She has
helped raise awareness of the sexual and commercial exploitation of women
and children in Asia well as the plight of immigrant women and women of
color in North America. In addition she served the Presbytery of North
Puget Sound as director of Native American ministry. Now working with the
Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence in Seattle, she
continues addressing the issues of racial and sexual justice. She is
honored by many to be called "our pastor" and "our advocate."
With the ending of this ten year emphasis, the Women's Ministries
Program Area seeks to continue the journey, calling upon the churches to
accompany the women as they leave the garden and move on to bring the good
news to the world - the story of the resurrection, the story of the rolled
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