Amy Isham – WMV Committee
What the new Women’s Ministries Victoria committee structure means for you
In my doctoral thesis fieldwork, I found a strange phenomenon, when I was studying women in community leadership, I found that they juggled their community work along with other work and family commitments. Another rural researcher, Jo Little, researched women’s voluntary work and how their ‘day-to- day” voluntary work tended to be dovetailed with domestic work” (Little, p, 2002). When women work voluntarily in their community, it can become a kind of community “dishwashing”, something that gets done alongside the domestic chores, because otherwise, it won’t happen.
In the context of women’s ministry, the danger of already busy women making time for encouraging each other can become a kind of spiritual “dishwashing”. Given that at least 50% of the population of our churches are women, it is unfortunate that it can be something that people squeeze in on weekends, like vacuuming. What is missing is also a state wide and whole entity approach to women’s ministry which can make it a priority across multiple committees, presbyteries and churches. Having a big picture vision for women’s ministry would mean integrating the specific needs of women into every pastor’s role and having a designated committee to encourage this integration and collaboration for the benefit of all of God’s people.
To follow-on from Mairi Girgis’ article in the last edition of Fellow Workers, I would like to bring you up to speed on some changes to the WMV Committee. For the last five or more years, women’s ministry through WMV was achieved under a portfolio of the CENC (Christian Education and Nurture) committee. This meant that it was a practical committee, running conferences, arranging catch-ups, training and encouragement, especially for women outside of the city. The On the Road conferences, particularly acted as a major source of encouragement for outer regional churches, who often missed-out on training that is available in inner city churches.
However, in 2020, the WMV became established as a fully fledged Assembly committee, which has changed it to one that can think about the future, partner with other committees and work to make women’s ministry more integrated across the whole PCV. This means that the work of running conferences has come under an On the Road sub-committee, which organises, delegates and liaises with churches to make sure all the details of these days come together. So we are still running the On the Road conference, but we will need your help. A Women’s Ministry Facilitator’s biggest role would be to recruit and organise the volunteers in the sub-committee and make sure they are supported, well resourced, encouraged and connected to the committee.
Partner with us
If you would like to be involved with women’s ministry across the PCV and in your own church, there are two ways you can help. Firstly, we are seeking to raise funds for the role of Women’s Ministry Facilitator, who would run the sub-committee with the support of the WMV committee and support women in churches to flourish in their congregations. This complementarian woman would not become the “spiritual dishwasher”, but oversee and coordinate the running of events so that volunteers can be involved to their own capacity. If you would like to partner with us financially towards the wage of a Women’s Ministry Facilitator, please go to our website for more details. If you would like to arrange an ongoing monthly pledge for their wage, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The second way that you can help is to attend the On the Road conferences and communicate your willingness to be involved in roles such as sound, social media, serving food, promoting the conference to churches, setting-up, running a bookstall, or just encouraging other women in churches that are farther from the city.
Register here for the next On The Road Conference (Shepparton) which will be online on Saturday 16/10 at 1:30pm-4:30pm.
We’re overjoyed that God is working with women across the Presbyterian Church of Victoria and we’re looking forward to working with you in your ministry.
This article originally appeared in Fellow Workers Winter 2021 edition