ECW president takes her prayers, passion to House of Deputies

July 11, 2009

Kay Meyer on July 11 took her prayers and passion for the work of Episcopal Church Women to the floor of the House of Deputies for the traditional ECW president's greeting.

She told them about the 46th Triennial theme, "Grow in Grace," and quoted Frederick Buechner to describe it: "The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. you might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you…. There's only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only of you'll reach out and take it."

The Episcopal Church Women are congregationally based and makeup the largest network in the church, she said. "We are who you legislate for."

She said ECW had never strayed from its beginnings in mission and ministry. "We have been doing the work of the Millennium Development Goals since our inception by giving 17 percent of our national budget" for overseas ministries.

Meyer told the deputies that her term as president had been the toughest three years of her life -- personally, professionally, financially, emotionally and health wise.

While on a trip to the Philippines on behalf of ECW two years ago, she suffered a heart attack and was nurtured and cared for by church women there until she could go home to Georgia.

The ECW board had its own struggles. "We had a woman on our board from New Hampshire and a woman from San Joaquin," she said. "Husbands of four board members left the Episcopal Church, though several have returned."

And Meyer said ECW is not always heard. "at the last General Convention, Bishops Gray and Duncan came to us with a plea for rebuilding churches and paying clergy in Mississippi and Louisiana after Katrina. We raised $10,000 in 10 minutes in the Triennial meeting."

They then issued a challenge to the House of Deputies and the bishops. Meyer said they are still waiting for a response. To express her understanding of the heart of ECW, she quoted Dr. Albert Schweitzer, "Whatever you have received more than others in health, in talents, in ability, in success, in a pleasant childhood, in harmonious conditions of home life all this you must take to yourself as a matter of course. In gratitude for your good fortune, you must render some sacrifice of your own life to another life."