|“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 Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. Justin Welby|
March 14 to March 16, 2014
Under the banner of Anglican Women at Prayer, 150 women from around the Anglican Communion gathered at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) from 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). The conference included Anglican women leaders, among them representatives of several Anglican organizations, 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. Faculty and students from eight seminaries were attendance, as well as 12 women seminarians from Msalato Theological College in Tanzania, who were virtual participants.
This visionary gathering was 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. Rev. Dr. Eleanor Sanderson of the Diocese of Wellington, New Zealand
, the keynote speaker, explored the conference's weaving theme with participants. On Saturday afternoon she shared the podium with Zeyneb Sayilgan, Muslim Luce Visiting Scholar in the Center for Anglican Communion Studies, leading a group reflection with participants on how and for what they pray.
The conference unfolded 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, the conference incorporated textiles, visual arts, song and dance into the worship. Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts (ECVA), an online arts ministry, produced an exhibition of images of “Women at Prayer” that was launched at the conference.
Conference participants took many lessons away from the conference on the importance of prayer in our shared lives. The following words from one participant reflected the feelings of many:
“Prayer is the key that sustains. We need to keep at it and God answers prayers – maybe not in the way we want, nor in the time we want it, but God does this work. May God’s will manifest in our lives.”
For further information see anglicanwomenatprayer.org.
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Virginia Theological Seminary
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