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Anglican Communion Women to Meet for Prayer Conference

3/13/2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Curtis Prather
Tel: 703-461-1782
Email: cprather@vts.edu

Alexandria, Va. Under the banner of Anglican Women at Prayer, 150 women from around the Anglican Communion will gather at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) tomorrow, March 14, to March 16, 2014 for a conference co-sponsored by the Center for Anglican Communion Studies at VTS and Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross (SCHC).

News of this historic conference reached the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. Justin Welby who remarked, “My wife Caroline joins me in sending you our fond greetings from Canterbury. As some of you may be aware, I have declared as first priority of my archiepiscopate a commitment to the renewal of prayer and religious Life. Thank you for helping fulfill this priority, one that I clearly cannot manage alone!”

The conference will be open to Anglican women leaders, among them representatives of several Anglican organisations, including SCHC, the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer, the Daughters of the King, the Global Women’s Fund of the Diocese of New York, and the International Anglican Women's Network, including its chair, Ann Skamp. Sessions will be available to all online through a live web stream at www.vts.edu/womenatprayer.

The following sessions will be live streamed:
  • Friday, March 14 - Opening worship at 4:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 15 - Plenary sessions at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 16 - Farewell and Eucharist at 11:00 a.m.
Faculty and students from eight seminaries will be in attendance, as well as 17 women seminarians from Msalato Theological College in Tanzania, who will be virtual participants.

This visionary gathering is built on the recognition that prayer is the bedrock for women’s courage, imagination and steadfastness in the midst of lives full of challenge and promise. Plenary sessions by recognized women leaders in the Anglican Communion are designed to encourage and inspire participants to share how and for what they pray.

The conference will unfold in the context of a daily pattern of worship, with one body praising, praying to, and being fed by one God. In recognition of the importance of the arts to prayer, plans call for incorporating textiles, visual arts, song and dance into the worship. Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts (ECVA), an online arts ministry, has put out a call to artists around the Anglican Communion to submit images of “Women at Prayer” for an exhibition that will be launched at the conference.

During workshops led by trained facilitators an intimate and safe place will be established where participants can pray together, share personal stories, and look through Anglican women's lenses on the economic and social issues facing them. Guiding questions will include: How do we pray? For what do we pray? What sustains us in our prayer? How can we bring our experiences to our home communities to broaden the connection of women in prayer throughout the Anglican Communion?

Announced in August 2013, conference planning has been influenced by three annual gatherings of planners, beginning in 2012, with 50 Anglican women present in New York for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Conference Outcomes:
  • Begin to build sustainable bridges among Anglican women across the world through prayer.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of why, for what and how we pray.
  • Identify ways to pray for and with one another across diverse global contexts.
  • Gain deeper understandings of the human challenges we address in differing contexts globally in poverty, education, leadership and health.
  • Strengthen the bonds of mutual affection among Anglican women.
Outcomes beyond the Conference
  • Participants share what they learned with women in their home communities for the purpose of establishing personal relationships of prayer with Anglican women that cross cultural and national boundaries.
  • A leadership team establishes effective and culturally appropriate mechanisms to facilitate and sustain these relationships.
Long-term Outcome
  • A sustained community of Anglican women connected through prayer, personal stories, concerns, and thanksgivings.
For more information see anglicanwomenatprayer.org.

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Founded in 1823, Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest of the 11 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. The school prepares men and women for service in the Church worldwide, both as ordained and lay ministers, and offers a number of professional degree programs and diplomas. Currently, the Seminary represents more than 42 different dioceses and 5 different countries, for service in the Church. Visit us online at www.vts.edu.