The Southwest CA Synodical Women of the ELCA Organization met at California Lutheran University from October 20 to 22, 2017 for the 11th Annual Autumn Renewal. This year’s theme was “Dream Anew,” based on Ephesians 3:20, combining the themes of the “Dream Big” 2017 Youth Gathering and the “All Anew” 2017 Triennial Gathering.
Now glory be to God, who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.
Our Bible Study Leader was Valora K. Starr-Butler, Women of the ELCA Director for Discipleship. Valora develops and coordinates programs, events and conversations that involve discerning God’s call, understanding God’s gifts, and responding to God’s presence in our lives. She also serves as Coordinator of W/ELCA’s Global Education Network, and administers the scholarship program, which offers annual scholarships for postsecondary education and graduate studies.
Our Keynote Speaker was Rahel Mwitula Williams, Donor Relations Manager for ELCA Global Church Sponsorship, where she seeks to deepen relationships with congregations, inviting them to join the call to service and lasting impact through ELCA Missionaries; Young Adults in Global Mission; Global Ministries; and the International Women Leaders Initiative. A third-generation Lutheran, her faith was shaped in part by her grandfather, who was one of the first Lutheran missionaries in Tanzania.
Forty women met to discover God’s dream and how to Dream Anew. On Friday evening we were welcomed by Desta Goehner, Cal Lutheran Director of Congregational Relations, and Pastor Melissa Maxwell-Doherty, VP of Mission and Identity. We had a wonderful meal, heard our first session with Dream Curator Valora Starr, discussed our dreams, and closed the evening with the Holden Evening Prayer led by Dona Kintzi, Barbara Serio, and Sharon Heck.
Saturday morning we had an interactive session with Dream Curator Valora Starr. Our free time Saturday afternoon was designed to allow all to rest, relax and have fun, with many activities to participate in: beading with Penny Moyer; making Fascinating Fascinators with Kristal and Mary Shipp; Valora Starr and Rahel Mwitula Williams; yoga with Jane Krueger; prayer with Terri Kelly; knitting with Karil Drake; and touring the Cal Lutheran University campus with Catherine Slabaugh. Saturday evening, we had a session with Dream Curator Rahel Mwitula Williams. When we left Lundring Center, we had originally planned to go and see a movie – however, the group voted to go back to the hotel and dream.
On Sunday morning we had our final Dream Curator session with Valora Starr, and were given a lot to think about and what are our dreams and vision are for the Southwest California Women of the ELCA. At our closing worship Deacon Keia Morris gave a very powerful sermon. Thanks to Worship Assistant Dona Kintzi, Communion Celebrant Pastor Melissa Maxwell Doherty, and Musicans Dona Kintzi, Barbara Serio, and Sharon Heck. The offering received at the service totalled $1100, half of which was sent to the Churchwide Women of the ELCA, and the other half to the ELCA Global Church’s International Women’s Campaign.
We collected $500.00, plus in in-kind gifts of food gift cards, for the Cal Lutheran student food pantry.
Many thanks to Kristal Shipp for the dream and vision for this 11th Annual Autumn Renewal and the forethought to invite the Dream Curators Valora Starr and Rahel Mwitula-Williams to encourage us to to dream about the Women of the ELCA. Thanks as well to event and registration coordinators Robin Tribbitt and Julie Jenson, and to the SWO board for their hard work.
Karen Moyer, President
Southwest California Synodical Women’s Organization