Women Writers Sought
[February 16, 2008] DAYTON, Ohio -- The Dayton, Ohio, affiliate of the Catholic Church reform group Voice of the Faithful announced Friday that it is looking for a few good women -- 52 of them to be exact -- to be part of a grass-roots initiative when Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the United States on April 15.
The idea of identifying 52 top Catholic women writers was proposed Feb. 8 by Kristine Ward, chairwoman of the Dayton affiliate and candidate for Voice of the Faithful president, during the first-ever Internet-based forum of the candidates. This forum, or debate, is part of VOTF's biennial process of electing its national officers.
Ms. Ward told the viewing Internet audience and those listening on the simultaneous telephone feed that Pope Benedict was personally involved in revamping the Vatican's official weekly newspaper and especially wanted more women's bylines in the publication.
L'Osservatore Romano is the Italian language daily that is the official voice of Vatican. A weekly edition in English, Spanish, German and French is the target for the Ward-inspired Dayton VOTF affiliate's initiative.
"We should have a list of the top 52 Catholic women writers -- one for each week -- and present it to the pope when he arrives in the United States," she said during the Internet forum.
"We will meet the pope on common ground and keep our vision of including the voice of the laity in the guidance of the church ever before us -- and before the pope."
She said that after the Internet forum, she and members of the Dayton affiliate began receiving encouragement to pursue the proposed initiative.
When they deliberated about how to do it, the affiliate decided to test the waters and ask for recommendations for the list.
"The Dayton affiliate of Voice of the Faithful wishes to make it clear that recommendations to fill out the 'List of 52' are welcomed from all parts of the church," Ward said. "We know there are excellent women writers in the church with viewpoints and perspectives that the whole church should hear. We want to encourage conversation throughout the entire church."
Recommendations for the "List of 52" may be made by submitting a post on the Dayton affiliate site at www.daytonvotf.org with the name, e-mail address and phone number (if known) of the woman or women you are recommending. (Note: The posting link is under construction. Please submit the names of women authors, writers, prophets, journalists to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Following a compilation of the names, the Dayton affiliate will present a list directly to Pope Benedict.
"When the pope gets here, we want him to know that we are vibrant and engaged lay people, willing and eager to have intelligent, adult discourse on the issues the church and the world face," Ward said.
"We commend the pope for reaching out to women. The 'List of 52' will identify writers that will transform the weekly Vatican newspaper so that it becomes less insular and more open to the concerns of women worldwide."
[Text from file received from the Dayton, Ohio, affiliate of Voice of the Faithful]
Workshop on Congregational Care Coming to Normal
Stephen Ministry National Speaker-Trainer to Present
[February 13, 2008] NORMAL -- On March 1, Calvary United Methodist Church in Normal will host a Stephen Series Caring Ministry Workshop. This workshop is sponsored by Stephen Ministries, the St. Louis-based Christian organization that has been providing congregations with training and resources for Christian care-giving for more than 30 years. The half-day workshop kicks off at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 1 p.m.
The day will be led by Pam Montgomery, who has equipped thousands of leaders at Stephen Ministries' training events since 1993. A graduate of Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University, she has been a leader in several professional capacities at both large and small companies and has served as both a staff person and a lay leader in a congregation. She has a keen ability to speak from the heart and connect with her audience in a powerful way.
Stephen Series Caring Ministry Workshops provide participants with an opportunity to sample Stephen Ministry training, learn how the Stephen Series works and find out how to bring Stephen Ministry to churches currently not involved in the program. Calvary UMC is one of 10,000 Stephen Ministry congregations worldwide. It will celebrate its 20th anniversary with the organization in the fall of this year.
Stephen Ministry has a long track record of meaningful congregational care. Dottie Frank, Calvary UMC member and longtime Stephen Ministry volunteer explained, "People are hurting and they need somebody to share their hurts with. They can do it safely through Stephen Ministry because it is confidential."
Founded in 1960, Calvary United Methodist Church in Normal is one of the fastest-growing congregations in the twin cities, with an average Sunday worship attendance of 775. Calvary is located at the corner of Raab Road and Towanda Avenue in north Normal. For more information on Calvary and the Stephen Series Workshop, visit www.cumcnormal.org or call the church office, 309-452-5413.
[Text from file received from Josh Barnett, Calvary United Methodist Church]
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