The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) co-sponsored the first women’s retreat for clergywomen and laywomen in the Eurasia Episcopal Area from October 28th-November 1st, 2019.
Women throughout the Eurasia Annual Conference gathered for five days at the resort Raivola in Roschino to be engaged with storytelling, bible study, singing, performance art, and fellowship with one another.
Revs. Elena Chudinova, Irina Mitina, and Dr. Meeli Tankler worked alongside staff of GCSRW to plan the women’s retreat. Rev. Elena Chudinova said, “The women's event in Eurasia was initiated as an opportunity to re-think and re-energize the ministry of women in our area both clergy and lay. From the very beginning in planning we wanted to see this event as highly encouraging and equip [as many women] as possible. We were extremely blessed by the educators we invited. The Bible study and theological lectures became (for some) and revived (for most) the foundation for women's ministry, especially ordained.”
General Secretary, Dawn Wiggins Hare, and Senior Director of Sexual Ethics and Advocacy, Becky Posey Williams, were in attendance on behalf of the agency. Both led the group gathered through GCSRW’s Women Called to Ministrycurriculum. Williams also led boundaries workshops every day during the retreat.
“GCSRW was honored to partner with the Eurasia Episcopal Area and host a training specifically designed for and by women leaders across Eurasia,” Dawn Wiggins Hare stated.
Bishop Eduard Khegay and his spouse, Vika Nogay were in attendance during the entirety of the women’s retreat. Nogay was also a presenter at the event, leading a workshop that helped the women find their personal style and sharing their gifts.
“This event was important for the Eurasia Episcopal Area because we live in the cultural and theological environment where women in leadership have not always been encouraged, and in some cases, even discouraged, “Bishop Kheghay said.
Dr. Meeli Tankler is the retired president of Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary in Estonia. Dr. Tankler led a workshop on assertiveness. “During the event I was impressed by the way all elements were fluently tied together, and especially how the praise team was able to connect their songs to every day’s topics, thus leading our thoughts toward common focus,” Tankler reported.
“How wonderful it was to get to help make possible the opportunity for clergy and lay women to meet,” Becky Posey Williams stated. “Their enthusiasm and commitment as women of faith was powerful to witness. Their stories of being met with resistance and yet holding true to their calling were so inspiring to us as leaders and certainly to one another. Bishop Khegay’s desire and follow through to make this a priority was a beautiful example of leadership.”
excerpt from a story on the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women website
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