Women Together

It was so good to be women together! Women from as far away as Washington, California, Connecticut, and Saskatchewan enjoyed a wonderful Saturday, June 11, together in Minnesota. It was great to greet those we hadn’t seen for four years, and meet others for the first time.

Our theme of the day followed our new Vision statement, Women Together, and the new Values statement, Together in the Word – Together in Life – Together in Mission. What a great description of Women’s Ministries!

Together in the Word. Gretchen Ronnevik, our first speaker, shared her love of the Word with us. We’re in this together, receiving God’s grace individually, but also in community. Jesus, the Word, came in the flesh, and we are on mission to give others the Word. But we can get caught up in a self-improvement checklist to gauge our spirituality, and forget that “It is finished!” We are so anemic for the gospel that we need a blood transfusion—directly from the Cross. The gospel is the power!

Together in Mission was fleshed out by a panel of four women after our luncheon, representing overseas mission, mission through church planting, and mission through everyday life. Kjirsti Nilsen moderated questions, with panelists Liz Christenson, Joyce Rust, Ashley Fauquet, and Mary Anderson. Takeaways included listening, and truly loving those in our lives. To avoid burn-out and allow for a sustained ministry, partner with other Christians in areas of mutual interest, and have fun together instead of being burdened by “adding one more thing” to an already busy life. Live life together, not considering someone who hasn’t believed yet as a “project,” but waiting for natural opportunities to authentically share Jesus.

Together in Life was the afternoon topic of WMCLB Co-Director Karen Stenberg. Acts 2:41-47 describes the early Church, who devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, meals together, and prayer—as an example for us. The centrality of Jesus is the Why—the Rock of our togetherness. People crave to be truly known by others, so sharing even the messy parts of our lives enables a deeper fellowship. Walls break down over shared food, bringing people together. When someone is hurting, to actually stop and pray with them in the moment demonstrates that Jesus is always by our side.

Other highlights:
  • Kathleen Kjolhaug presented “Wading into the Deep,” a devotional book inspired by Jean Wilsdon, WMCLB Co-Chairman, who passed away in 2021.
  • Our budget was surpassed! Next year’s Focus Project was presented. “The Joseph Project” will help a women’s agricultural cooperative in Chad. Additional projects include help for Grace Hill, our new church plant in Boston; the Seminary SWEET Retreat; H.E.L.P. missionary fund; and Crisis Care Fund for ministry families.
  • We enjoyed video greetings from missionaries overseas, and greetings in person from missionaries Sandy Christofferson, Sara Hosch, and Christina Smith.
  • Sessions were live-streamed, and you can enjoy recorded videos at our Facebook page: Women’s Ministries of the CLB.

Cheryl Olsen is the Faith & Fellowship correspondent for Women’s Ministries of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.

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