From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[ENS] Festive start for ECW Triennial

From "Mika Larson" <>
Date Fri, 1 Aug 2003 07:55:02 -0400

July 31, 2003

Festive start for ECW Triennial

by Terry Jolliffe and Evelyn Piety
Triennial Today 
[ENS] Opening Services for the Episcopal Church Women at General
Convention 2003.

National Episcopal Church Women board members, province presidents and
United Thank Offering chairwomen snaked through the crowd to the
enthusiastic strains of "We're Marching in the Light of God." 
With festive and colorful ribbons flying, National ECW President Pamela
Stewart officially opened the 44th ECW Triennial Meeting Wednesday in
Ballroom A of the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Stewart greeted ECW members to what she calls the third house of the
convention, "The House of Joy," where 399 delegates represent nine
provinces and 100 dioceses. 

'Women of the Table'

Members were treated to the premiere viewing of "Women of the Table: A
Celebration of Women's Ministries in the Episcopal Church," a film
produced by independent  television producer Katie Sherrod and the
National ECW Board. The film was created to do a better job of
communicating the work of ECW to the Anglican Community and is presented
as a tribute to the unity of the mission of the church.

Narrated by the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, the film is a celebration of
the ministries of women. The film features women in roles ranging from
more traditional ones, such as Altar Guild and missionary posts, to new
venues, breaking barriers and entering creative ministries, such as
running a credit union for low-income populations or starting a camp to
increase literacy in children.	

"Women of the Table" is available for sale at the ECW booth for $10.

'Wild Women'

The Rev. Canon Barbara Price, the event's illuminator, characterized the
ECW board as "Wild Women Organized for Action" and praised them for
their energy and collegial spirit. 

Price then spoke about the process of becoming a lightbearing woman, a
woman who performs service in Christ's name. Citing examples from the
life the Virgin Mary, Price encouraged her listeners to be thankful that
she "walked the walk God called her to do" and pointed to Mary's
willingness to take on a difficult and frightening role in God's

Guests introduced

Anglican and ecumenical guests were introduced, emphasizing ECW's
connectedness with the rest of the world. Included were representatives
of the worldwide Mother's Union, the Mother's Union of Canada, the
International Anglican Women's Network, the Anglican Women of Australia,
ECW Philippines, and the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in

Bishop Jelinek's welcome

The Rt. Rev. James Jelinek, bishop of Minnesota, welcomed the delegates
and described his diocese as one of diverse congregations, including
Hispanic, African-American, Native American, and Liberian. He expressed
appreciation for UTO grants given to the Diocese of Minnesota and said
the diocese had responded by increasing its support of UTO. He thanked
the delegates for sharing their ministries and missions.

Three gavels and 'Boing'

Stewart, in her remarks to the delegates, displayed three gavels she had
been given while serving as president of the National ECW Board.

One is from St. John's in Detroit and is dated 1860-1913. The second,
dated 1940-1946, was used by the Executive Board of the Women's
Auxiliary, as ECW was formerly known. The third gavel is plain and

In the course of her travels to 46 dioceses, as well as to Canada and
the Philippines, Stewart said she once found herself at a meeting in
Texas without any gavels at all. That was when she purchased "Boing," a
green, purple and orange stuffed creature that makes a distinctive sound
when pounded like a gavel. She pointed out that, although the women of
ECW do serious work, they try not to take themselves seriously, and
"Boing" provides a bit of levity.

Empowering women

Following her election to the ECW presidency at the 43rd Triennial
Meeting, Stewart said she promised the House of Bishops that "women
would use their gifts to make a difference." This promise resulted in
the "Call to Action," which asks Episcopal women to become involved in
the areas of leadership, literacy, nonviolence and interfaith relations.

"ECW has empowered us and we can empower others," Stewart said. "We can
hear what God is calling us to do and we can keep the new light

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