NEW YORK - Aside from the one obvious thing they have in common, Episcopal Church Women, the Episcopal Women's Caucus and Anglican Women's Empowerment all have historically worked on women's justice issues.
Now they are combining forces and joining Rutgers University's Center for Women's Global Leadership in its annual international "16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence" campaign Nov. 25-Dec. 10.
For the first time in years Episcopal Church Women (ECW), the Episcopal Women's Caucus (EWC) and Anglican Women's Empowerment (AWE) have partnered to develop an Episcopal Church campaign of activism and awareness to coincide with the 16 Days campaign.
Kim Robey, AWE's chair, described the church women's efforts as a "grassroots campaign," aimed at building awareness about violence against women across the Episcopal Church.
Together, the women have created a website, Episcopal 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, to collect and distribute prayers, stories, liturgies and homilies for use during the campaign.
The hope, Robey said, is that women will talk to rectors, vicars and diocesan leadership to get prayers read during services on one of the two Sundays included in the 16 days, or to schedule a talk about violence against women during an adult education class, or to show a film or do something else to mark the campaign.
The effort begins early, on Nov. 14, with a bulletin insert available for download here.
"We thought we'd try to get it off the ground this year with a bulletin insert to make people aware of the campaign and then continue to build on that as time goes on, offering prayers, litanies and poems," said Marcia Himes, ECW president, during an interview with ENS at the Church Center in New York, where the ECW board was meeting Nov. 4.
The official 16 Days website also provides information and resources, including a Take Action Kit
The 16-day campaign begins on International Day against Violence Against Women Day and ends on International Human Rights Day; linking the two and emphasizing that violence against women is a human rights issue. Over the years, thousands of organizations have participated in the annual campaign.
This year's theme is "Structures of Violence: Defining the Intersections of Militarism and Violence Against Women."
The Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton, ECW's convener, plans to explore the theme and talk about the status of women in the 17th century during her sermon Nov. 21 at St. George's Chapel in Harbeson, Deleware, during its Heritage Sunday celebration -- the day each year when the church uses the 1682 Prayer Book and parishioners wear period costumes.