“For many new immigrant women, the only places they may find leadership opportunities are in their women’s groups, which are often very insular,” said the Rev. Terri Ofori, chaplain at Bloomfield (N.J.) College and chaplain to the Synod Commission of the Northeast. “I want the women that I’m speaking with to understand that they have the power to change that. That they have more power than they may realize and that their voices need to be heard across the church.”
Ofori delivered her message as part of the keynote address at the 14th annual Ghanaian Presbyterian Women’s Fellowship Gathering meeting Aug. 7-9 in New York City. The gathering brought together more than 300 African immigrant women from across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Presbyterian Church of Canada for three days of worship, workshops, fellowship, and to address the business needs of the organization.
“I want to encourage these women to seek God about their gifts and to utilize the platform of the women’s gathering for leadership development,” she added. “I also want them to see the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding as a historic document and a chance for these groups to expand beyond their traditional reach.”
Another important piece of the gathering was one that is near and dear to the hearts of many of the attendees—collecting funds to support mission work across Ghana.
“Each year, these women come together to raise money for a cause or causes that touch their hearts,” noted Emily Boateng, the national president of the Ghanaian Presbyterian Women’s Fellowship. “Much of our work and financial support is focused on education, and this year, the women who attended the gathering raised $6,300 through our silent auction, which will help provide funding needed to purchase and develop textbooks for schools across the Afram Plains district. Unavailable or poor school infrastructure in some parts of the region has led to some of the highest school dropout rates in the area. Being able to help provide some of the resources this area needs is so important to so many of us and is such a tremendous blessing.”
The Ghanaian Presbyterian Women’s Fellowship held its inaugural meeting in 2000 in Toronto, Canada. Shortly after the conclusion of that meeting, a fellowship group was established in Virginia. To date, there are seventeen fellowship groups that make up the Ghanaian Presbyterian Women’s Fellowship.
More information on the Ghanaian Presbyterian Women’s Fellowship is available at www.gpwfweb.org. To learn more about the work of African Emerging Ministries in the PCUSA, please contact Sam Atiemo at 502-569-5476.