September was a busy BWIM month! We kicked off our inaugural Come to the Table event, inviting Baptist women ministers to gather for conversation and a meal or coffee AND to share a photo of their time around the table. These gatherings are, of course, more than a photo opportunity or a social media share. These gatherings are about taking time to build relationships, creating space for meaningful conversations with other ministers, and sitting together to enjoy a meal.
During the week of September 15, nineteen Come to the Table events took place in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Uganda, Virginia/Washington DC, and 105 women participated! One of the events was a virtual lunch held on Zoom with women from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Kenya, and Virginia.
We hope that from these Come to the Table events will come new friendships, future shared meals, and good conversations!
September also was the month in which BWIM and Texas BWIM hosted a call discernment retreat at Willow Meadows Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. Our retreat began as Tropical Storm Imelda moved out of the city and as the flooding began to dissipate. Despite those weather challenges, eighteen students and eleven leaders came together for times of worship and small group discussion and bowling! New friendships were forged, and there were lots of tears and laughter.
Finally, in September BWIM received applications for the 2020-2021 Mentoring Group Program. The program has undergone much updating and expansion as a result of a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. By the time the deadline for applications came, we had received fifty! Women from twenty states and one other country applied. Women from nine Baptist denominations applied. We are excited to have so many fabulous applicants! The only sad part is that our program only has space and funding for twenty participants, and in the next weeks, Julie Long and I will be making hard decisions.
Numbers are important–because each number represents an amazing woman, a woman who is seeking to connect to the work God is doing in this world and who is finding support and encouragement through the events, programs, and efforts of Baptist Women in Ministry!
Pam Durso is executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia.