On Saturday, September 22nd, women from across the Diocese of Upper South Carolina gathered at Redeemer in Greenville for an unprecedented event… The Fall Assembly of the Order of the Daughters of the King and the 97th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Church Women.
The women met early Saturday morning for registration, a continental breakfast, and a little time to catch up with each other. The ECW held their business meeting in the morning with 61 attendees representing 17 churches; the DOK held theirs that afternoon. In between our business meetings, we celebrated Eucharist and shared lunch.
Mother Mia McDowell, Chaplain to the Diocesan Daughters of the King, delivered the homily, which was about finding our call, urging us to try new roles, and to tackle those things which terrify us! Women’s’ ministry includes many opportunities, and, in today’s world, women can fill every position in the church, including Bishop. We are not all called to be ordained, but we are all called to be Christ in the world. Listen to that internal urging! What is the Holy Spirit calling you to do? And if anybody ever says to you, “(Insert Your Name Here), you should really do xyz”, when that external validation matches your internal call, you really should listen.Bishop Waldo celebrated Eucharist, and it is truly a celebration whenever he is there!
Our afternoon presentation by Mark Tidsworth was based on the “Shift” program, and it was especially appropriate for our Daughters and ECW chapters who have a strong urge to make a meaningful difference in God’s Kingdom. Here are two questions that Mark presented for us to consider:
- What do the women of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina need from us now to help them become mature disciples of Christ?
- What is our unique contribution to the Diocese as ECW and DOK?
Many of our Daughters’ chapters are looking for ways to engage and activate their members. It’s similar for the ECW…how can we be relative to the women of the Church in today’s world.
Mark’s presentation featured three “clusters” of church approaches to growth and development:
- Abandonment, overwhelmed apathy, denial, conflict
- Trying harder, spiritualizing, quality improvement, repeat past winning strategies if they worked okay
- Letting go, purpose seeking, holy experimenting, proactive adaptation / trying a new way
These same characteristics are found in our DOK and ECW chapters. Some give up or abandon, some just carry on as they are, and some might be trying a different approach to attract new members and share the joy that is evident when we gather at an assembly.
We ended our day with Evening Prayer led by Cai Armstrong.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Pat Batten, President, the Order of the Daughters of the King of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
Dawn Christie Beaver, Communications, Episcopal Church Women Board of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina