International Association of Women Ministers
1921 Palm Street
Reading, PA 19604
Dear sisters in ministry,
World events continue to shock and plague us all, and call upon our reserves of compassion and witness. I expect some of you could say, or have said, “Me, too,” to the instances of sexual harassment coming to light. Some of you have suffered from the onslaught of the September hurricanes, and the wildfires in California. I’m sure many of you have been praying for the Palestinians and Israel, and all the rest of the war-weary world. And at the same time you have been carrying out your ministries, caring for your families, and, we hope, caring for yourselves.
When you see your name in this prayer calendar, take heart from knowing that your sisters in IAWM are praying for you, and take a moment to pray for them. And if you would like to write messages for one of the months, please email Carol Brown at email@example.com. Your prayers are cherished, and all the prayers of the faithful are powerful.
Those of us who met for our biennial Assembly in Cuba in April were blessed by meeting women ministers from all over Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, and the U.S. and Canada. Ofelia Ortega and her committee were gracious hosts at the ecumenical seminary at Matanzas. And when Hurricane Maria hit the island a few months later, it obliterated the trees and shrubs on the seminary grounds, and the big community garden that both employed and fed the neighborhood. It was hard to hear of such devastation of a place we had so recently visited, and enjoyed. Ofelia reports that they are back up and running, for which we give thanks.
In October of 2018 there will be an event in Mexico City in observance of the World Council of Churches’ decade in solidarity with women. You will be invited! And the following summer in 2019, we will meet for our next assembly—the centennial of our founding by Madeline Southard in 1919. It will be in Pittsburgh, and as soon as we have confirmed the dates we will send the invitations.
The epistle lesson for Christmas in the common lectionary is Titus 2:11-14, which begins, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all.” Indeed grace has appeared, and when you receive this we will have celebrated that wonder once again. In the face of a world of crisis and pain, be of good heart, and take as strength for your calling the words that finish the second chapter of the letter to Titus: “Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one look down on you.”
Grace and peace to you in the New Year, and a deep wellspring of hope,
Marian Shearer, president
305 Pomander Ave
Reading, PA 19606 USA
cell phone 518-248-0738