The Advisory Board of the Unity Women’s Desk (UWD) began their work together in January of 2013. Hailing from the four regions of the Unity—Sr. Angelene Swart of the Africa Region, Sr. Sallie Greenfield of the American Region, Sr. Muriel Held of the Caribbean Region, and the Reverend Erdmute Frank of the European Region—these women join the Reverend Patricia Garner, Coordinator of the Unity Women’s Desk in directing the UWD’s important work.
Here are their reflections on the work they have done in their first year together.
former president of the South African Province and a former President of The Unity
I am so immensely blessed to have this opportunity to serve as an advisor for Africa on the Unity Women’s Desk. This ministry for the women of our Unity is an unfolding dream of prayerful identification of the most pressing needs of women. This dream was made possible through the contributions and sacrifices of women to assist women “for such a time as this.”
Being a member of the Advisory Board gives one an insight into the lives of our sisters from all our regions. As we discuss and decide to support the needs in the fields of education, violence against women, overcoming poverty, health issues and justice for women, one realizes that the barriers that women have to overcome are painful and enormous.
It is a biblical imperative and a blessed experience to be able to assist girls and women in rural areas, in urban settings and in informal settlements with scholarships, to provide loans as incentives to alleviate poverty, to provide health kits for babies and mothers, to provide information and address the harsh realities of discrimination facing women on all levels of life.
As an Advisory Board we have different skills and life experiences making our task delightful, pleasurable and fulfilling. Our voluntary Sub-Desk Co-ordinators play a very important role in achieving our desired outcomes, and we are thankful for their diligence and co-operation.
During the past three years so much has been achieved and yet there is so much to be done as we face the challenges of human and financial resources. We continue with a positive spirit and abundant faith that our Lord will fulfill the good work that He has started in His own time. As women of the African Region we are thankful for all the contributions made, for all opportunities available and for the love and care of a network of women in prayer and in solidarity.
Nothing gives me more pleasure to be part of the Unity Women’s Desk as I continue to be of service to our conquering Lamb, Jesus Christ.
a life-long member of Kernersville Moravian Church, currently active at Fairview Moravian since moving to Salemtowne, and a longtime advocate of Moravian Mission
What an exciting time to be on the Unity Women’s Desk Advisory Board! “Beginnings” are always stimulating and rewarding, frequently puzzling, and sometimes frustrating. Ideas are flowing and help comes from unexpected sources. Wisdom and enthusiasm mingle.
Recently a leader in our Southern Province said to a group of women, “Through the Unity Women’s Desk and the innovation of modern technology, we are now aware of what is happening in the world-wide Moravian Church. The Unity Women’s Desk PrayerList links us all together. This would not have been possible even a few years ago.”
The UWD is literally helping young girls and women from A-to-Z.—Albania to Zambia! We are seeking to do a new thing as we serve our Lord Jesus.
a born Moravian and an active member of the Immanuel Church in Suriname, and secretary of the Church Board
When I was notified in December 2012 that I was approved by the Unity Board to serve on the Advisory Board (AB) of the UWD, I was very touched. Although I thought that I did not fully understand how I, as a layperson, could add knowledge and advice to the Advisory Board, I said yes. I thought that this was God’s way to keep me busy, after I was laid off from government duties in Suriname and to use my skills built up in high governmental positions for the cause of the Lord and the Moravian Church worldwide.
The UWD gave me an insight in the operations of the Moravian Church worldwide and of difficulties in almost all countries where the Moravian Church has members. Being part of the AB of the UWD challenges us to think of ways, to create possibilities for, and to work with, women of all the Moravian provinces to strengthen women and families and help them to make a positive change in their lives. Through the projects of the UWD girls and young women get the chance to lay a foundation for their own development, but also for their present and future families.
The past year was a year of getting acquainted with the work of the UWD and with one another. Plans have been made and interesting steps have been set to reach the UWD goals. Focusing on education as a vehicle for personal and communal development, for alleviation of the self-esteem concerns of girls and women, for the deepening of their beliefs and religion enriches not only the lives of the women, the sisters on the receiving end, but also the life of the sisters on the giving end, no matter if giving is in finances, time or prayers. And I think that among us a dearly sisterhood has been developed.
The Rev. Erdmute D. Frank
a member of the Ebersdorf Moravian Church, currently serving as a minister for guests and visitors in Herrnhut, Germany
When I was sent to Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Pa. to study for my Masters degree in Theological Studies, one class I studied was focused on “Gospel and Culture.” There my awareness grew of the variety of possible development people and churches can experience.
Since 2010 I have been serving as a minister for guests and visitors in Herrnhut, Germany. One thing that became very apparent to me is that to understand and to be understood is not automatically the same, yet they belong together like the two sides of a coin.
I feel that this is what I can bring to UWD —understanding of our diversity, of the limits and chances of our internationality. I want to allow us time to understand and make ourselves understood.
As the representative of the European region I feel the need for connecting with the other provinces in Europe. It is a blessing that there is a European women’s conference that takes place every two years.
Being on the Advisory Board of UWD is a privilege. To Skype once a month with sisters Angelene, Muriel, Sallie, Patty and Kathleen is amazing! The main development during the past year has been that we began cooperating with the European and American mission boards. It is my hope that we will make a difference for the women around the world regarding the goals of the UWD. I am very excited to see the UWD’s ministry grow, to prepare the Unity Women’s Consultation and to live in relationship with so many sisters around the world.
From the March 2014 Moravian Magazine