Moravian Bishop Kay Ward will share her faith and wisdom with sisters from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) as she hosts a nine-month Bible study event on the pages of Gather magazine.
Gather is the magazine of Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and the Rt. Rev. Ward is author of the Bible study, “In Good Company: Stories of Biblical Women,” which will run in the magazine from September 2013 through May 2014.
“I am so humbled to have been asked to undertake this exciting project for the Women of the ELCA,” said Kay. “[Readers] have been in my mind all these months of writing. I have been ‘In Good Company.'”
In the Bible study Kay has invited nine women from the Old Testament, several from the New Testament, and a handful of women she knows to stop in for a visit.
“They will be companions with us each month, long enough for us to get to know them and also to get to know ourselves a bit better,” she said. “Their stories will draw us into Bible study, invite us to worship with the Psalms, and give us opportunities to tell our own stories.”
Gather magazine has featured a Bible study in its pages since Women of the ELCA was first formed 25 years ago. Only the name of the magazine has changed. A couple of years ago, the magazine changed its name from Lutheran Woman Today to Gather because editors felt a new name would appeal to broader audiences. The ELCA is full communion partner with six churches, including the Moravian Church. Men also subscribe to the magazine and use the Bible study.
“It’s natural that we would ask a Moravian to write our Bible study because of our full communion partnership,” said Gather Editor Kate Elliott. “She came highly recommended by our 2012-13 Bible study author Audrey West, who is a Lutheran scholar and a very good friend of Kay’s.”
Gather magazine offers far more than a Bible study each month (like The Moravian Magazine, it is published 10 times a year, but the January/February and July/August issues are combined).
Ward’s Bible study introduces us to Old Testament women including Hannah, Deborah, the Widow of Zarepath, Miriam, Abigail, Jephthahís daughter, Rizpah, Rahab, and the Woman of Endor. The New Testament women we meet donít always have names. For example, we learn about the persistent woman; the poor widow who put all she had in the church treasury; Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary and Martha, friends of Jesus; one of the women Jesus healed, and others.
“I knew about many of Old Testament women before I began, but I didn’t know their whole story,” says Kay. “Now that I know them better, I have grown fond of each and every one of them.
“I will confess,” she added, “some of them I did like better than others, but they were all interesting and eager to share their stories.”
She said the women of the New Testament may be more familiar to us but we learn something new from searching their heartaches and their faithful decisions.
“We grow in our faith as we read the stories of these women,” Ward said, “not that we want to become like them but because they are like us, and we feel kinship with these long-ago sisters.”
Well-known to Moravians across North America, Kay was the first woman to be chosen as bishop in the Moravian church’s 550-year history. She was ordained in 1979 and consecrated bishop in 1998. She has written three collections of essays (visit store.moravian.org to learn more) and lives in a log cabin in central Wisconsin with her husband, Aden. They have four children and three grandchildren.
Check to see if Ward is leading a Bible study introduction event in your area. Visit www.womenoftheelca.org/bible-study-intro-events-pages-101.php.