By Cathy Manthei, PW delegate to UNCSW58
I am blessed to serve a church that has four Presbyterian Women (PW) circles. That number is quite unusual in a church with 165 members. Last month I was visiting with a young mother who is considering joining our congregation. As her children played in the church office, I listened to her passion for her work, I listened with joy as I watched her parent her children and thought about what a terrific witness she is to the love of Jesus Christ. When she asked what she might be able to connect with at our church, I told her about one of the PW circles. These are women who not only love each other but love the Lord; these are women who have provided meals to a family who was down and out; these are women who stand next to each other in good times and bad. I thought I made a really compelling case with the powerful stories of ministry that PW does at my church! However, the young woman said she couldn’t even think about attending a PW meeting as her children would be disruptive. I never want to push someone to do something they aren’t comfortable with so I backed away.
Today I plan to have a different conversation with not only that young woman but every woman I come in contact with. I grew up with my mother attending a PW circle but I never really knew what that was. Shouldn’t our children be playing in the same room where PW is gathered? Shouldn’t our children know what being in a PW circle is all about? Shouldn’t we all have a chance to raise our children knowing the values of church, the very values expressed in the living room of a loving Presbyterian woman as her circle gathers?
I feel very blessed to have been chosen as part of the PW delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. I have heard many stories of heartbreak but I have also heard many stories of hope. There is power in each of our stories. I want to go home and encourage the young women in my church to connect with a PW circle. I am going to encourage them to bring their children to those meetings so that we can raise both men and women who know what PW is all about. Over and over as I have journeyed thru this week, I have heard that we all need to band together to fix the many problems of the world. I believe that will be accomplished one Presbyterian woman to another, one small child at a time connecting with the values of the church being played out in authentic ways as PW goes about their work. Let’s make certain our children have our story to share!
Cathy is pastor of Apostle Presbyterian Church, West Allis, Wisconsin.