Eileen Stewart-Rhude (Executive Director, WEA Women's Commission)
The WEA WC exists to serve the Church by uniting women leaders and organizations, encouraging, equipping and mobilizing them to help women globally to be all that God created and called them to be. WEA provides a global identity, platform and voice, enabling the Commissions to address issues and concerns of women around the world.
There have been radical developments in each region in 2007, as reported by the Regional Directors
Dr. Nabila Butous, the newest director, has established a support group of eight women to work with her in Egypt. The results of their united efforts include an increased evangelical awareness; the presentation of educational material for seminars and lectures presented in many denominations and churches; the attendance of 1000 women between the ages of 15 and 30 at two major seminars in Menya City; over 500 from many centers in Egypt attending such seminars as Increasing personal communication skills within the family; the value of women and enhancing self image; the concept of Biblical freedom and how Jesus respected women through his teachings; the destructive impact of jealousy, bitterness, and unforgiveness, and others. A Christian satellite TV channel and an Arabic Christian channel hosted a series of over eight seminars relating to the pertinent issues of women in that region.
Considerable advancement has taken place in the Caribbean, as Women’s Commission representatives from the various Islands have taken initiative in conducting Seminars for women, both young and old. Parliamentarians have been invited, as Blossom White (Regional Director), has addressed such issues as Abuse and Gender equality. In Barbados, the Commission is in process of seeking a Halfway/Holiday House for women who are victims of domestic violence. Commission members are speaking in primary and secondary schools, addressing girls on values, self respect and self presentation. In Trinidad, a ‘Transition House’ is being sought for girls who have graduated from orphanages and have no place to go. Financial contributions have been made towards an HIV/AIDS hospice, while in Jamaica, relief packages were offered to flood victims after recent hurricanes hit the Islands. Blossom continues an effective radio ministry on several of the Islands.
Leadership training and development of women continues to be the focus for the Regional Director in Europe. Forty women graduated from the first cycle of the three-year training program in 2006 and currently there are 120 more being trained in four local centers, who in turn will teach and influence more women after their graduation in 2009. Dr. Nedelchev, Regional Director, reports the great interest in surrounding nations to begin similar multiplication-based, interdenominational models of training
programs for women.
Teacher training has been the focus of Lee Bueno, particularly in the city of Medellin, Columbia, where over 5000 teachers attended the courses during a two year period. Subjects of morality, ethics and character were taught, based on the life of Christ. In March, 2007, over 1000 teachers attended a training seminar in Choco, a small town located on the west coast of Columbia. God has given Lee and her team favour with the city and town officials. In Nicaragua, 200 children living in the city dump of Managua, are given food, education and spiritual guidance.
From Australia, Regional Director, Margaret Jacobs reports an excellent conference in August, ‘07, ‘Better Together’ for both men and women leaders to explore possible ways they can work together to have a stronger impact for the Kingdom. In Santo, a growing prayer network is developing, and New Zealand is planning a women’s conference for 2008.
Capacity building and sustainability are key words describing the work of the Women’s Commissions in Africa. Leadership development for women is high priority as well as the building of schools to provide literacy for those who have never had the opportunity to learn. Ministry re. HIV/AIDS is ongoing along with related education for children and women. Rev. Dr. Judy Mbugua has developed strong leadership among the nations thus resulting in such effective ministry.
Outcomes of the ministry of Women’s Commissions in Asia include prayer mobilization, evangelism, social transformation, family enrichment and the empowerment of women. Networking and Partnerships are encouraged. Leela Manasseh, has given excellent leadership in her 16 years as Regional Director of the Women’s Commission of Asia and has developed strong leadership among women.
Leadership training is priority for Canadian women. A partnership of 15 denominations and parachurch organizations unite to produce a national biannual leadership conference for women, called ‘Leading Women’. Two strong leadership training programs – NextLevel Leadership and Leading Edge Retreat/Seminars conduct seminars throughout the year across the nation.
Directives and Strategies for the year to come