Inquiring minds want to know, “what does women’s ministry look like in your corps?”
I had the chance to chat with Major Anita Caldwell, corps officer in Waco, TX, about this very subject. The monthly home-based Bible study is the program that particularly excites the Major, “hearts and lives are changing!”
One Saturday morning a month, teen girls and women from the corps come with their friends, who aren’t part of corps programs, to Major Caldwell’s home for Bible study. Young People’s Sergeant Major (YPSM) Barbara Purnell leads the time.
Keeping it simple keeps it a delight.
The group uses the video Bible study series Bad Girls of the Bible, which is broken up into ten sessions of 12 minutes each. Not only is the material strong, the presenter “is also very funny. The girls and the ladies really enjoy that. We’ll use another series of hers” in the future. Ms. Purnell uses the study guide along with the DVD to facilitate conversations and prayer that have become a “very sweet and life-changing time”.
“It is important to have it in the home, I think. It’s something new here”, notes Major Caldwell. Hosting is not overwhelming because everyone pitches in: “All I do is clean my house and have drinks ready, Barbara leads it, and the [participants] bring snacks.”
The fellowship meets one Saturday morning a month at 10 a.m. The main portion of the group is finished by 11:30 a.m., but sometimes the good-byes take a while. By noon, everyone has headed out to their next thing for the day.
In addition to the monthly Bible study, there is also a monthly women’s breakfast out with Booth Apartments residents. “There is no program, it’s just going out and having a good time. Everyone pays for her own breakfast, usually at some place like Denny’s. About five of the women who come out on this Saturday also attend Home League, and a few come to worship at the corps or at the Sunday chapel service at the apartments.”
The monthly get-togethers are a time when teens and women, who would not attend Home League get together. Because the gatherings are low-stress to prep, it has not been challenging to add them to the schedule.
Moreover, the corps has a team of leaders who plan Home League, in keeping with their gifts and interests. Ms. Purnell, the YPSM, also plans worship times for Home League, sometimes choosing unique videos to share, but always keeping it uncomplicated and making it a special time. Education programs are meaningful for participants and also very straightforward, thanks to Janet Harrison’s planning. Goofy games, birthday celebrations, and a lot of fun characterize the fellowship events planned by Rosa Burks. Although she hasn’t become an official member yet, Laura Stevenson, a recent Baylor University graduate, is taking the lead in planning service opportunities. So far, they’ve arranged plants, made cards, and created handicrafts to share with neighbors, veterans in the hospital and others. Every Christmas season, the corps visits a women’s prison. The women’s ministries secretary, Lawana Harrison, helps to hold it all together. Waco’s Home League meets on Wednesdays after Bible Study, and is usually attended by 18 to 20 women.
We’d love to hear what women’s ministries looks like where you are. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a telephone interview or pass on information. You don’t need to be doing something unusual to have an idea that helps encourage or inspire others. Of course, if you have a unicycling fellowship, we totally want to hear about it!!!