As women comprise half of our parishes and society, the empowerment of women is an essential part of Bishop Dawani’s vision for women’s ministry. Several regional meetings are held each year in different areas of the Diocese to prepare for the bi-annual Women’s Conference, first sponsored by the Diocese in October 2007.
The first conference, titled ‘Let Us Work Together Towards Unity in Complementary with Each Other,’ was held at the Regency Hotel in Amman. Jordan was chosen as a location which all women of the Diocese could access, making it possible for the delegates from all the diocesan churches to attend. The purpose of the first Conference was to gather the women of the Diocese to pray together, meet and know each other, exchange experiences and stories, to learn more through visiting the various institutional ministries of the Diocese and Jordanian archeological sites, and worship with local congregations.
We appreciated the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal, who graciously opened our first Conference, thus empowering women even as the Conference began. Other guests included a few of our sisters representing the Anglican Communion from the US and Japan, who came especially to offer their support to the women of the Diocese of Jerusalem.
In August 2008, the Diocese of Tokyo invited twenty five women from our Diocese to participate in a joint conference under the title ‘Together We Can Make the Difference’. This Conference was held at the Theodore Schneller School Guest House, one of our educational institutions. This Conference expanded on the unity concept in being our first cross-cultural Conference.
The participants enjoyed feeling as One in Christ, worshipping together and in each other’s languages, in prayer, song and bible studies, and sharing stories reflecting both cultures, showing our common issues as well as our differences. In addition to witnessing some of the struggles of our region by visiting a refugee camp, the Japanese delegates were introduced to our Faith in Action through some of our institutions and congregations. One of the fun points of the Conference for the Japanese delegates was a visit to Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal in her office.
A significant component of these Conferences comes in the planning stages, through local workshops and regional meetings, as women of the Diocese organize all aspects of these events. Each region has a woman or team of women who accept the invitation to be regional Coordinators. These Coordinators, along with Bishop, the Women’s Consultant (a priest of the Diocese), and the Diocesan Women’s Coordinator work to organize the event, inviting speakers, designing the program, finding a suitable location, arranging transport, etc.
Between Conferences, there are frequent regional workshops designed and conducted by other volunteers who serve as Workshop Coordinators. These workshops have a different theme and are open to all the women of the diocese, thereby equipping all women with communication and leadership skills. With these experiences, women are then empowered to apply these new skills in other areas of their lives, their families, careers, and communities.