United Church Women
We are United Church Women and we believe: that as Christian women of faith, we nurture spirituality by reaching out with commitment and devotion to all God’s people; in promoting truth, justice, peace, caring and sharing with respect for all in the community and wider world; in loving God and others by living generously and giving joyfully; and in affirming and strengthening ourselves creatively in study and witness through music, laughter and solitude.
National United Church Women information can be accessed through The United Church of Canada’s website at: www.united-church.ca/united-church-women-hands-and-feet-church.
Friday, May 4 - Sunday, May 6, 2018
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|UCW 2017 EXECUTIVE|
President: Sandra Stock (email)
Treasurer: Wendy Kempster (email)
Download the MEOP International Experiences Showcase Report in recognition of the many years of UCW support to Global Health
United Church Women
Address to the 90th Annual Meeting of London Conference
My name is Clare Walker and I am President of London Conference United Church Women.
I am pleased to be able to report that there are over 45,000 women across Canada who proudly call themselves members of the United Church Women and of that 45,000, 4,200 of us are right here in London Conference.
Over the years the numbers in our groups have been declining as seems to be the case in many groups and service organizations in our country. But we have 193 congregations in our Conference where you would find a UCW Unit flourishing and in a number of those congregations there is more than one UCW Unit.
Members of UCW units are involved in so many projects - both within their own congregations as an outreach into the community and beyond. Whether it is fundraising events, involvement as volunteers in community organizations, visiting, organizing - you name it you will find a member of the UCW.
How often I have heard it said that if it weren’t for our United Church Women our church would have closed years ago. I imagine there are some of you sitting here right now who are saying the very same thing to yourselves!
In our 52 years the UCW has contributed in excess of $129 million to our National M&S fund. In 2013 alone the UCW in London Conference gave $267,682 to the M&S fund. It is estimated that over the years 5 times the amount given to M&S has been given to local congregations for outreach work in our communities. (Editor's note: approximately $600 million +)
The fellowship component of our purpose is for many one of the most important. How well we enjoy our regular meeting times and our regional and Presbyterial Gatherings. A time to learn, share, sing and just get together and have fun. Of course the same could be said for the times we get together for work projects, baking pies, making scones, working at the Christmas teas, and church yard sales. Are these activities 'Fellowship' or 'Service'? Does it really matter what title we give it - let’s just say it is UCW Ladies doing what UCW Ladies love to do.
In my role as Conference UCW President I am invited to attend the annual meeting of National UCW in Toronto. This is a gathering of all the Conference UCW Presidents and Vice-Presidents, about 30 women. General Council staff people attend during the course of the 4-day meeting and share with us information on all manner of topics, projects and concerns related to our Church. What a wonderful opportunity this has been to put faces to the names we have become familiar with over the years. The General Secretary, Nora Sanders, usually visits for a while and the Moderator has dropped by as well.
Last year we had a very interesting time with the national church’s Legal Counsel, Cynthia Gunn, who explained the rights of the UCW within their congregations. We were surprised to hear that in some churches the UCW is not allowed to have their own bank account and handle the money they have raised or to disperse it as they wish. I certainly hope that is not the case in any congregation in London Conference. Cynthia told us that money raised by the UCW is to be kept in a separate account administered by the UCW and dispersed by them. No official board or other Church Governing Body has the right to that money or to demand that at year end it be transferred into the Pastoral Charge's operating account - this apparently has been happening in some churches.
As UCW members we are concerned that the new Manual has removed almost all references to the UCW. There are now only 3 references to UCW in the Manual 2013. My hope is that where the new Manual says the UCW “MAY” have a representative on the official board or Governing body of the Pastoral charge that here in London Conference all our Pastoral Charges are reading that as “SHALL” and that the UCW has a place at the table of the Governing Body of your Pastoral Charge.
In regard to Presbytery, the UCW does have a seat at Presbytery but not necessarily on the Presbytery Executive. I hope your UCW Presbyterial President is a member of your Presbytery Executive and certainly that there is a place on the agenda for the UCW to report at all your Presbytery Meetings.
I am really pleased to be able to tell you that even though the new Manual says …… “the Conference MAY decide to include the President of the Conference UCW as a member of the Conference,” here in London Conference not only is the Conference UCW President a member of the Conference she is also a member of the Conference Executive. London Conference has certainly got it right and on behalf of the UCW, "I thank you."
General Council on the other hand only welcomes a representative of the National UCW as a corresponding member of their executive and our National President has told me that during the course of the meetings that there are a number of occasions when corresponding members are asked to leave the room - now wouldn’t that make you feel like a second class citizen?
Should we be reminding them about the $129 million we have given to M&S???
With all the elections coming up, this may sound like a political speech but I am not running for office, but I really am passionate about the place of the UCW within the structures of our congregations and the wider church so please folks, be sure that your UCW’s are well represented on your Pastoral Charge governing Body and at Presbytery Executive.
At this time I wish to introduce the Vice-President of London Conference UCW, Sandra Stock, who is from Oxford Presbyterial. Sandra will be installed as UCW President at our Annual Gathering in Sault Ste Marie next April. Sandra and I will be attending the National UCW gathering in Toronto this September.
The Conference UCW Annual Gathering was held last month in Woodstock, hosted by Oxford Presbyterial and we were happy to welcome our Conference Executive Secretary the Rev. Cheryl-Ann Stadelbauer-Sampa who brought greetings and the Rev. Philip Newman who installed our Executive. Our thanks to them both.
It has been a delight, as President of London Conference UCW, to have been able to visit all the Presbyterials this year, to be present at their Annual Gatherings and to have been invited to install the Local Executives. We have here in London Conference, a wonderful group of Women who proudly call themselves members of the UCW. And we are blessed to have a Conference which recognizes the contribution the UCW makes to the wider work of the church. The UCW members cherish their association within our organization and their churches, and my hope is that you, as members of their congregations, will cherish them also.
Summer is approaching - I think - so on behalf of all the ladies of the UCW I wish you all a wonderful time of relaxation, a time to enjoy family and friends and stay safe, and yes, you can be sure that in the Fall those UCW ladies will be back in the church kitchens making pies!!
President, London Conference United Church Women