Episcopal Church Women (ECW) members hope to "Grow in Grace" at their 46th triennial meeting, which runs July 8-17, concurrently with the 76th General Convention, in Anaheim, California.
The meeting will include worship, special music, workshops and plenary speakers.
An ECW-led Prayer Walk throughout the convention center on July 7 will serve as a prelude to the opening ceremony featuring Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on July 8.
Special guests include Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams; Bishop Steven Charleston, former seminary dean and bishop of Alaska; and authors Phyllis Tickle, former religion editor for Publishers Weekly, and Katerina Katsarka Whitley, who has written a play about the ECW and its history to be presented at the July 8 Welcome Dinner.
Singer Elisabeth von Trapp will perform July 12 at benefit for the ECW's Jericho Road Housing Initiative, which helps rebuild houses in New Orleans that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Leading music throughout the gathering will be Nancy Beach and David Stankey, a husband-and-wife team from St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Downey, California. Both public school teachers, they have an eclectic collection of skills, including singing and playing organ, piano, guitar and digital synthesizer. They have sung with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Boston Pops and provided backup vocals for Andrea Bocelli.
The Rev. Ellen Sloan of General Theological Seminary in New York is chaplain for the gathering.
Workshops promise to help participants "to grow and add balance to our lives," said Donna Keller of Corona, California, ECW vice president for program. Topics range from the mission-oriented (prison ministry, domestic violence prevention and evangelism) to the spiritually nurturing (prayer, icons and biblical women). Leadership training will be offered in both Spanish and English.
Other activities include a Saturday morning Share Fair, a time of sharing special missions and ministries, and a July 10 celebration of the ECW Honored Women representing most dioceses of the Episcopal Church.
The United Thank Offering ingathering will be a highlight of the General Convention's major worship service July 12.
Kay Meyer of Fort Valley, Georgia, will end her three-year term as president of the national board, and new officers will be elected.
Meyer said she was particularly excited about the Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative. Members from Province V have challenged Episcopal Church women from all provinces to match their $14,000 to fund the building project, and contributors will be recognized at the meeting.