Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ladies who lunch but in a good way

For decades the Presbyterian Women organization reigned supreme in the old UPUCSA, PCUS and then the reunion church of today, the PCUSA. PW was based on a model using small groups called circles that met monthly for Bible study and fellowship in homes or at churches at different times. All women members of a church were deemed members of PW whether or not they joined a circle and could attend periodic meetings of the entire group. My grandmother was a faithful member of PW in the church in which I grew up. My mother wasn't, but she wasn't a joiner of groups of any kind.

In the last 30 years the PW organization has declined even more than the PCUSA. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that its model no longer fit the needs of the younger women of the church. In my own congregation, PW dissolved a number of years ago because no new leadership could be found. The two circle groups we had at the time still meet but operate as small groups and there is no overarching PW organization.

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the chartering of our church in October, one of the young women in the church approached me with the idea that it was time to plan a luncheon for the women of the church to celebrate the anniversary together. As the number of small groups grew in the church, she felt that many women felt disconnected and isolated--especially those who work during the week. It is time to see if another type of women's group can be formed that can offer fellowship and mutual support, inspiration and strengthening of faith, and outreach to the community. The Lunch would be a chance to try it out, and to invite friends and family to join us.

It must be another inspired idea. Everyone we asked to help was eager to sign on. Everyone we have talked to is enthusiastic about attending. Now we have a group meeting who have chosen an inspirational speaker, a date, a place and a time for the luncheon. We are including a mission component in the price of admission (your $ plus one nice used outfit for the area Thrift Shop supported by our church).

There are a lot of jokes in the Bayou City about the Ladies Who Lunch. We want to plan an event so we can be the Ladies Who Lunch But In a Good Way. Does your church have a women's organization other than PW (or equivalent denominational group), and if so how is it organized and what does it do?


the reverend mommy said...

Our UMW is dropping off. Yet we have a really active group on Monday night with out Ladies Bible Study. They are a hoot. But have no interest in an offical status....

Quotidian Grace said...

I think the lack of interest in official status is probably linked to the decline in these mainline denominations nationally, don't you?

reverendmother said...

We started a circle at my former church for young women in careers, so it met at night. We tried for several years to convince the other circles to have their annual all-circle Christmas luncheon at a time that we could actually come, but to no avail. It was a real shame.

I think the new study looks really good; the author is a family friend so admittedly I'm a little biased. As someone who absolutely loves talking about biblical women, even I have to say that I am utterly sick of talking about the sisters. Quotable women, unnamed women... I'm ready to talk about the liturgical year.