Report on the workshop held for the Episcopal Women in the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East, in Jordan. March 2011.
Bishop Suhail Dawani and his wife Shafeeqa, who is the coordinator of Women's Work in the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East, met with the committee for Women's work in the Episcopal Church in Amman, Jordan on Thursday, March 31st, 2011. Members of the committee present were: Rev. Ibrahim Nairouz, consultant to Women's Issues, Susan Barhoum, Wadad Soudah, Faten Saadeh, Sana Rizk, Reem el Far and Leila Diab from Jordan.
A strong and valuable discussion took place prior to the workshop with a number of recommendations for future work whereby more workshops will be held for the women and a General Assembly Meeting in 2012 in Amman, Jordan. A number of issues of concern were on the agenda for future discussions which included The Existence of the Arab Christians in the Middle East, Co-existence, more involvement of Women's Work in the life of the Church, Gender and Family Violence, etc Bishop Suheil Dawani and his Wife Shafeeqa supported this discussion and added to the project of empowerment of women in the Diocese, by encouraging a vital dialogue between them and the members of the committee.
The opening session of the workshop was a Communion Service in St. Paul's Church headed by Bishop Suheil Dawani and the Rev. Hanna Mansour. Readings from the Bible were given by the women present. On the second day Deacon Iyad Ajji headed the service while Reem El Far gave the sermon on the Role of Martha and Mary. Members of the conference assisted in the readings and prayers. On the second day a visit was paid by the group to the Elderly Home in Ashrafieh where they were met by Canon Faiq Hadad, his wife Dua' and members of the Church's Committee and Ms. Farida Shatara, Director of the centre.
The workshop hosted around 50 women and some clergy between the ages of 25 - 55. Unfortunately, due to the situation in the Middle East our sisters from Lebanon were unable to attend. Members of the committee joined the group from the West Bank, Palestine and Israel. The title of this workshop was ‘Training in Leadership’ with specific emphasis on communication skills and networking. Susan Barhoum, a member of the committee, led the workshop on Friday morning leading the group discussions which concluded in presentations given by each of the six groups.
Each group chose a different topic on which to present and all presentations proved lively encouraging further discussion afterwards. Topics included: what is my identity as a woman, what is the role of youth in the Church and the challenges they face in contemporary society, what do I need to tell visitors about my Diocese when they come for a visit? How do I represent my Diocese when I travel abroad? All these topics were tackled very professionally and with confidence, sincerity and openness, and all participated in the presentations.
In addition to the discussions, Mr. Nabeel Sawala, a Jordanian professional comic led a session on the value of laughter which greatly contributed to the communication skills workshop.
Leila Victor Diab