The Unity Women’s Desk (UWD) is a ministry of the worldwide Moravian Church whose purpose is to positively impact the lives of women and girls by coordinating the spiritual, financial, educational and material resources that exist throughout the Moravian Unity.
The UWD’s vision is to bring about global change for Moravian women around the world—women who are often treated as second-class citizens and denied education, demeaned and restricted or worse. The most pressing issues facing women and girls today include education, health, economics and violence against women. By raising awareness of these issues, developing solutions and enlisting help from the worldwide Unity, the UWD works to improve the lives of women and girls everywhere.
The UWD is thankful for the many people who pray for them, advocate for Moravian women and girls, serve as Unity Women’s Desk advisors or coordinators in their provinces or areas, and support our work through gifts of time, skills and money.
“When I started the Unity Women’s Desk in January of 2011, I had high hopes, but little else,” says the Rev. Patricia Garner, UWD coordinator appointed by the Unity Board in 2011. “I didn’t know if the Desk could work or if there would be sufficient support to make a go of it. The fact that I only volunteered to work four hours one day a week should give some idea of how slowly I thought it would start.
“When we had the first meeting of the Interim Advisory Board, we made one, two, three, five and ten year goals. We exceeded our five year goals at the end of year three and we are well on our way to fulfilling our ten year goals:
- Offer 100 scholarships to girls and women in the Moravian Church
- Offer 50 loans to co-ops (Lending Circles) in the Moravian Unity
- Have a worldwide Celebration of the UWD
“We may not make the 50 loan goal as starting new businesses takes longer than we anticipated, but we should exceed the scholarship goal by 2021,” continued Patty. “I must admit that we have not even begun discussing the ten-year celebration as we are still recuperating from the Fourth Unity Women’s Consultation. That planning will begin later this year. (We are open to suggestions on how to celebrate!)”
“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; and to provide information and address the harsh realities of discrimination facing women on all levels of life,” says Muriel Held, a born Moravian and an active member of the Immanuel Church in Suriname, UWD Advisory Board member representing the Caribbean Region.
Adds UWD Advisory Board member Erdmute Frank from Germany, “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 and to live in relationship with so many sisters around the world.”
“We are so pleased with the way our American and European Moravians have supported our work financially and with their prayer support,” says Patty. “The support and encouragement from around the Moravian world has been overwhelmingly affirmative. We now know there is support for the work and we know that our women around the world appreciate what we have done and what we hope to do.
“God has been so good to us in providing what we need, sometimes even before we know to ask,” says Patty. “We have felt His guiding hand in so many ways. If there was ever any doubt that we could accomplish great things for our women, the doubt was removed by the Consultation. With more than 100 women from 25 countries, 20 Provinces and 10 Mission Provinces and Mission Areas, we were able to learn what our women are doing, what they want to accomplish and what they need to make these things happen.”
The UWD looks forward to the day when every Moravian girl and woman will have access to an education, opportunities to use their God-given talents to benefit the world in which we live and to live in a just and peaceful world that allows them and their brothers to become the people that God created them to be.
Watch our April issue for continued coverage of the Unity Women’s Desk, along with additional information on the new Standing With Our Sisters Capital Campaign in the Southern Province. To learn more about the work of the Unity Women’s Desk, visit www.unitywomensdesk.org.