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European Zonal Women’s Team

The European Zonal Women’s Team (EZWT) is a team of senior pastoral leaders, each of whom are currently serving in women’s teams in each of our communities. They are established by the Zonal Council of Coordinators (EZC) in order to seek the Lord together, support one another and share their learning in caring for our sisters. They also work on zonal women’s events and discuss issues that are important to women across the zone. Maité was representing us and shares with us her report. (ed)

From March 1 to 4, I was in Scotland as a representative of the Women’s team for our community, to participate in a meeting of the European Zonal Women’s team. It took me a bit before I got home in the many abbreviations that the Sword of the Spirit uses :).

For me it was the third time I participated in the EZWT, and I am starting to come home and become familiar with the sisters who are part of it.

The team looks like this:

From left to right: Mary Teresa Jackson (Moderator, Community of the Risen Christ, Glasgow), Paola Turner (Antioch, London), Elaine Mc Gill (Community of the Risen Christ, Glasgow), Florence Irvine (Charis, Belfast), Petra Pourie (Brot des Lebens, Munich), Ula Gzyl (City On a Hill, Poland), Maïté Van Overloop (Jerusalem, Belgium), Ciara Mahoney (Nazareth, Dublin) In front: Clare Bick (Representative EZWT in international Women’s Team, Antioch, London) Not in the picture: Mary Shields (secretary EZWT, Community of the Risen Christ, Glasgow)

We are therefore with 10 sisters and the place of gathering varies from year to year. This year we were hosted (and were well looked after) by our Scottish sisters.

We usually start this time together Friday evening after the meal with a video in which the president for our region welcomes us, David Quintana - Q - gave us an update of the past year and a few work points. After that it was my turn with an update about the Bethany Association of which I am a part. It was exciting for me to do this in English. We finished around 8:30 pm and were able to spend some time together and strengthen our ties.

Saturday is usually a full day. At 8 o'clock time for the (Scottish) breakfast. Yummy! A prayer time followed. Thereafter sessions were prepared by different sisters of the team. A session was about “what is available about specific material for retreats that are more woman-related?”, We also spent a long session on pastoral care and then looked at the initiatives in the short and longer term in relation to. formation of new leaders, and what material is or should be developed for women in leadership.

Furthermore, there was a session about Kairos in the late afternoon in which Christiane Lewerentz, who works in Kairos, came to explain a few things about the upcoming events and we could also ask questions.

At 6 pm we celebrated the Day of the Lord, joined by a number of members of the women's team of the community The Risen Christ.

Before the meal, Angela shared Colella about the community Building Team, which covers all new groups or communities that are in contact with the Sword of the Spirit. It is always encouraging to see where and how the Lord calls people to be part of His Kingdom and shape it. After the meal we were treated to fun entertainment from all kinds of board-and-do games!

Sunday after breakfast there was a meeting about outside women’s leaders, including Clare Bick. After which we went together to the mass in which a priest from Malta led and gave an inspired homily.

Lunch and dishes at 1 pm. Since we were in a private house, we also provided a duty roster such as table setting, breakfast, salad making snacks, and so on. This certainly strengthened the sister band and there was always laughter.

Then we were free until 4 am, some visited the village or took a walk in the beautiful surroundings, Scotland is really beautiful there!

This was followed by a session with the theme "the upcoming conferences for women and international news". Followed by a forum on mentoring and supervision in the communities. We had already received homework for this session, some of the other subjects also demanded some preparation.

After the meal we already had the last session of this day with the evaluation of our meeting and discussing which items we would like to have discussed next year.

We ended the day after with a nice glass of wine and an evening prayer.

Monday, tidying up rooms, packing bags, breakfast. For the last morning, Clare treated us to a well-cared-for meditation with time to be with the Lord and then pray for each other. Always a highlight for me.

After this sadly we had to say goodbye and hope and pray that everyone would return home safely, without too many delays.

I came home with a grateful heart to the Lord, to be part of His people, to see where He moves things, for so much encouragement, renewed vision and sisterly love ...

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