Only one week after September 11, few were willing to board a plane. While most cancelled travel plans, three CBE staff members headed to Houston for the Global Celebration for Women. We offered a biblical basis for women’s Christian service to 10,000 women from 156 nations.
Global Celebration for Women was a partnership of over 13 Christian organizations. Women from places like Kenya, Serbia, Egypt, Honduras, Hong Kong, South Africa and Canada united in a common commitment to serve Christ, regardless of the cost. CBE was honored to be part of this coalition of women leaders.
While the conference was called a Celebration for Women, we came to see the term “celebrate” through a new dimension: courage. For many women, it demanded courage to board an airplane and travel, in some cases for several days, to a country whose internal security had been ruptured. Yet, their love for Christ and service in his name, and our intent to celebrate this reality, resulted in an event that nothing could stop or silence.
Christian service took on new meaning too, as we watched the faithfulness and sacrifice of women who work as emissaries of the gospel, never knowing what the future might hold. Service also meant solidarity, as we stood together in our single hope in the Lord Jesus, united as his daughters, and builders of his church around the world.
CBE’s mission was evident at every turn. We held out the promises of Scripture that our Creator and Sustainer has declared from Genesis to Revelation, the promises of ministry and giftedness for the task at hand. Clearly our task was to urge our sisters onward, with the full assurance of the Scriptures, that they have been called, gifted and anointed for such a time as this.
For days, thousands were introduced to CBE through our book table, in many workshops, and because CBE’s “Statement on Men, Women and Biblical Equality” was included in over 10,000 conference packets.
CBE’s book service was one of the most engaging places in the exhibit hall. Few could resist taking a second look at titles such as “Ten Lies the Church Tells Women,” or “Men are from Israel, Women are from Moab.”
Once engaged in conversation, often with tears, we met women in need of encouragement as they served Christ around the world. CBE’s bilingual staff was heard explaining biblical equality in Spanish and French.
Who would have imagined the number of CBE members participating in workshops? Miriam Adeney, Catherine Clark Kroeger, Grace May, Lianne Roembke, Deborah Menken Gill, Lorry Lutz, Elke Werner, Kathrine Gathro, Beulah Herbert, Chyanna Mull-Anthony, Alvera Mickelsen and myself were included as workshop speakers.
CBE members were featured in “Celebration of Women,” a commemorative book of women’s greatest feats, favorite stories and richest legacy. Members of the press also interviewed CBE leaders about the outcome of faith, particularly as it relates to women.
CBE speakers, authors and members addressed the many issues women face around the globe. Never was there a time or event better suited for CBE’s message and envisioned future — where all believers will exercise their gifts for God’s glory with the full support of the Christian community.