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Young Church Women United

Past Events

YCWU Leadership Retreat, 2015

ycwuSTEPHANIE OLSON – On July 23-26, women gathered at the Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center in Chicago for the YCWUretreat. There were nine participants, four state or national board members, the continuing YCWU representative and myself, the outgoing YCWUrepresentative. The incomingYCWU representative, Moriah Solomon, was able to attend as a participant. It was a great opportunity for her to hit the ground running.

Friday was a day for travel and greetings; Saturday was the busy day. Marilyn Lariviere, National President of CWU, led us in worship followed by an introduction to the history of CWU and an explanation of our Quadrennial Priorities. We broke into four discussion groups and had the women discuss topics ranging from environmental conservation to LGBTQI inclusion, from forms of privilege to health. We gathered suggestions from the women for the next set of Quadrennial Priorities. Something for everyone to look forward to!
Saturday night was a fun night out. We went to dinner and a play, 15 Breaths, at the Greenhouse Theater. It was written and performed by a local youth theater troupe. The troupe drew from personal experiences and interviews. The premise is that a young gay man comes to Chicago and meets a transgender woman who introduces him to the city. Their chance meeting ends up changing both of their lives. The play was very well done, and invited people to connect their own experiences to the story.
Overall the weekend was moving, empowering, and a great way to hand off the role of YCWU rep and see where voices will lead the movement.

Reflection from Incoming YCWU Representative Moriah Solomon

“Being involved in any chance to fellowship with young women is always a blessing. This year was no exception. I enjoyed so much this year’s young women’s retreat for many reasons. What I was surprised to leave with was a sense of completion. Now don’t get me wrong– we didn’t solve all the world’s problems. However, I truly feel like we broke ground and consciously cemented a solid foundation into the work that needs to be done. We sometimes leave events like this with a sense of emptiness, because we were filled at the event but don’t have a leading purpose to continue on after. Right now, even days later…. I feel driven. I know my assignment and I’m confident that together our future actions will bring results. I thank always CWU for another wonderful opportunity!”
–Moriah Solomon, Lutheran, Easton, PA

YCWU Leadership Retreat, 2013

August 9-11 was the leadership retreat for young women in Church Women United. We met at the Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center in Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park is a neighborhood on the north side of Chicago. The center provided a great location for us, close to Lake Michigan, the Lincoln Park Zoo and the neighborhood which is full of great boutiques and restaurants.

The young women came from various locations: New Mexico, Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland and Massachusetts. Eight National board members and one state president were also able to attend. The numbers worked out well with each young woman was paired with a mentor from the board. As is often the case the mentors learned as much from the mentees as the mentees gained from the mentors.

The weekend was full of activities. Everyone arrived Friday and we did some ice breakers to get to know each other. Marilyn L. went over the history of the movement. The story of how the movement of Church Women United started is powerful. If you do not know the story, then ask women in your unit or read about the founding.

Saturday was the day of workshops and activities. Blanche S. went over what advocacy is, how it is used within the movement and what one needs to become an advocate. Djamillah Samad then went over the cause of equal pay, which led to some interesting discussions. This was also the launch pad on which the young women decided which cause they would like to champion in their area, and perhaps beyond in the future.

Some topics had overlapping themes, but each young woman has a unique perspective on what they want to do and why. The topics range from voting rights to financial awareness, self love, and empowering young women to minister to addicts. I know we all look forward to hearing what the women have done and plan to do. If you have questions about any of the projects, please let us know. We will connect you to the appropriate young woman or get an update to pass along.

Saturday evening we went to see a play called “Nickel and Dimed”. The play is based on the book of the same title. The play fit very well with the theme of the weekend. It was also neat in that there was some audience participation. One of our retreat participants was asked to participate in the discussion!

Sunday was the last day of the retreat. We were able to bond with each other very quickly over the weekend. Each day we also did one of the worships from the next set of Celebrations. Be sure to ask your young women to participate in your celebrations. Thanks to the participants and the board members and state president who were able to attend. We are in the beginning stages of planning the next retreat for next summer. Details will be coming soon. Thank you all for the prayers and support; it meant a lot to everyone involved.