The ICOC Women’s Service Team (WST) is made up of 17 women. We have members from each of the six inhabited continents. Among our number are nine women who serve as Regional Family Chairwomen in our church families; one woman from the Teachers’ Service Team; one woman from the Elders’ Service Team; one widow; and three single women.
- Marci Arneson, Chicago, USA
- Victoria Auki, Nairobi, Kenya
- Toli Beruah, New Delhi, India
- Gillianne Brisebois, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
- Girlie Cabadsan, Cebu, Philippines
- Michelle Cameron, Perth, Australia
- Tammy Fleming, Kiev, Ukraine – Chair
- Erica Fortina, Milan, Italy
- Sharon Gauthier, Chicago, USA
- Kae Habel, Manila, Philippines
- Susani Karta, Jakarta, Indonesia
- Griselda Lua, Los Angeles, USA – Co-Chair
- Silvia Mendez, San Diego, USA
- Rolayo Ogbonnaya, Lagos, Nigeria
- Vania Salim, Jakarta, Indonesia
- Saraí Serra, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Sirikit Umaguing, Colorado Springs, USA
In December 2020, we reluctantly said goodbye to Michelle Cameron (Perth, Australia). Chelsea Thorne (Sydney, Australia) will take her place in January 2021.
Our mission statement remains, “to inspire and train women servant leaders around the globe to connect and grow spiritually, and advance the gospel.” Specifically, we have been tasked by our leadership with 1) coordinating the theme for an annual global International women’s day of prayer, fasting and action in March; 2) providing and distributing leadership training resources; 3) creating new web-based resources; and 4) inspiring, raising up and connecting the next generation of young women leaders. We meet once a month as the WST and work in five task forces, collaborating with additional women from our global fellowship in those subcommittees. Following is an update from each of these five task forces.
2020 In Review
For a detailed recap of our activity in the first half of 2020, please see our accompanying video update here.
1.International Women’s Day Task Force
Each year on March 8th, women are celebrated around the world. As a fellowship we traditionally come together in March for a day of prayer and fasting followed by a day of celebration and community service in each of our local congregations. The International Women’s Task Force has been tasked with coming up with the theme each year as we celebrate women on March 8th. For 2020, the theme was “In His Image.” Here are some encouraging examples on Instagram of some of how this theme was used last year: #inhisimageicoc.
In October 2020 we began to work on the theme for 2021. Sisters from each regional family were asked to submit their theme ideas for a vote. In December we announced to the Regional Family Chairwomen that the 2021 theme will be “For Such A Time as This.” These are Mordecai’s words to Queen Esther from the scripture in Esther 4:14. Esther is an example of a faithful woman to God. She did not remain silent, she stepped out and up, she went to God and asked others to join her in a time of prayer and fasting to save God’s people. She inspires us to take the opportunities for spiritual growth provided by the current pandemic into our celebrations of women – and all our plans – throughout 2021!
2. Worldwide Women’s Webinars Task Force
During the first half of 2020 we held three global events: two webinars and a women’s prayer time at the beginning of the widespread Covid-19 lockdowns. Those webinars, by Dr. Mary Shapiro and Dr. Jennifer Konzen (both USA), focused on mental health, and self-care; Dr. Gill Hall (UK) and Chelsea Thorne (Australia) inspired us to keep faith and an outward focus during times of extreme hardship. These were turned into online resources which can be viewed here.
3. Crucial Conversations Task Force
We coordinated the first of our “crucial conversations” with mature single women from around the world. During the summer we had a second crucial conversation with “Seasoned Single Women” (mature singles) and created a valuable online resource based on best practices of the South East Asia or SEA Region churches. They have inspired ministries around the world to value and empower mature singles to reach those around them. Susani Karta (Jakarta) and her team were invaluable in helping the WST organize two online events which took place in July & August – one directed to those in the Eastern Hemisphere, and the second to those in the Western Hemisphere. We created a video resource from that event that can be used to share the best practices we learned from the SEA Region churches, which we hope will continue to be of great use to developing ministries in other geographic regions: Mature Singles Ministry Inspiration – Best Practices.
The Task Force then invested in organizing a crucial conversation for a group of widows spread around the world. That event taught us that there is a need for this demographic of our women’s ministries to be more consistently and regionally connected. Arrangements are being made in order to encourage this to happen more in 2021.
Speaking of the year to come, our team is looking forward to planning many more webinars and crucial conversations, addressing different needs from sisters in our fellowship of churches around the world. Our heartfelt desire is to respond to some of the harder issues that are often less spoken about or for which there seems to be limited resources.
4. Website Task Force
December 2020 marked the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Women’s Service Team’s website, www.womentoday.international. During 2020, the Website Task Force has been busy building the site, soliciting relevant and engaging content, and assembling a team of volunteers from around the world. You can meet these women at https://www.womentoday.international/about-us.
Some of the major accomplishments of the year are:
- Introducing several new pages on the website, such as Women in Worship (a playlist of worship songs by ICOC women), Love Your Neighbor (highlighting community service activities around the world), scripture reading videos, a page with pandemic resources, and more.
- Partnering with Disciples Today to feature an excerpt and link to our blog in DT’s e-newsletter.
- One highlight of the year was a virtual celebration and information party on October 10, 2020. Our entire task force as well as Regional Family Chairs and some Regional Communication Directors from every continent attended. The event was designed to update volunteers and inform Regional Family Chairs about the latest features of the website and celebrate what God has done through the site in its first year.
- From January to December 2020, there were 14,574 new users who visited the website. The amount of time spent by the average user who visits our website is well above industry standard.
- Approximately 1500 users followed our Advent Quiet Time series, when we posted a new devotional each day from December first to December 25th, 2020.
- Our Facebook page currently has 1221 followers.
- Our Instagram page currently has 647 followers.
5. Women’s Program at International Conferences
This task force had been actively planning for the women’s program at the now-postponed VISION international conference. For most of 2020 the members of this task force turned their energies to supporting the other task forces, and will continue to do so until work resumes on VISION 2022.