To say I’m overwhelmed by your generosity is surely an understatement. To think that in just one week, you all have invested nearly $3,400 in this mission astounds me. It’s not common for me to be left speechless, but I really do feel dumbfounded by your generosity. When I started this journey, I was a little worried (OK maybe more than a little) that I wasn’t going to make the goal of $5,600. Now, I can see the finish line and I am strongly reminded that God provides! He certainly has provided me with wonderful friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. I offer to him prayers of thanksgiving for each and every one of you. Thank you for your gifts.
Over the last week, I’ve been asked many times about the role I’ll play in the UNCSW (United Nations Commission on the Status of Women). Thank you for being excited about this opportunity and for all the words of encouragement you’ve offered! Because so many of you are interested, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about it.
Essentially, the Commission on the Status of Women meets to determine policy within the “priority theme” and to outline the ways and means to make that happen. They then prepare a written statement of those policies and strategies for UN member nations to execute as part of their responsibilities in their homelands. The Episcopal delegation is one of the church groups that, along with many other NGOs (nongovernmental organizations), participate in the Commission by weighing in on the policy when we have the chance to do so, advocating for what is important to us as a church, and doing what we can to influence the language around the policies and thus the policies themselves.
I see this as the Church’s opportunity to speak truth into a gathering of the nations: that as the CSW works to flush out this year’s “priority theme” (see the photo), breaking it down for execution, setting forth the nations’ work for the upcoming year towards achieving the priority theme for marginalized women and girls, the Church will be there to remind policy makers that women and girls are spiritual beings, children of God, not just abstract populations of faceless people in the margins. We are there to voice to the decision makers that during conversations about policy and strategy, they must not ignore or overlook that status, that the women and girls they wish to protect and empower are first and foremost children of their Creator.
We will also be there, as individuals and as the Church, to advocate for women and children, the way Jesus himself advocated for the poor and the oppressed. To me personally, this is the aspect of being a delegate to which I most feel called. Those of you who know me won’t be surprised. This is the work of our Hands & Feet Ministry at St. Andrew’s: to call the Church out into the world, to go witness a world in distress, wrought with injustice, poverty and hunger where we might join God in his work of healing and reconciliation, following his lead and caring for his children. I have the opportunity to be part of the bigger picture of the work I’ve already been doing locally; now I get to put to that ministry and other work I’ve done in my life to good use with the potential to have lasting impact beyond our community. I get to tell the stories of women we have served to people who hold great power. I’m humbled and so very pleased to see God tugging at threads from so many other areas of my life to apply to such a task.
The priority theme of the UNCSW this year is:
Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
We will also review the theme from the prior year:
Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development (agreed conclusions of the sixtieth session).
If you’ve read this far and are still interested, I’ll do my best to post more as I read and learn more. I ask only one thing in return: that you pray for the Commission, for the Episcopal Delegation, the leaders of the nations, and most importantly, for all women and girls around the world who might be impacted by our work. Thank you!
Yours in Christ,