Last week Mennonite Women USA received the report below from Rechel Bagh. It brought back memories of my visit with her at EMU when she was a student there in 2009 and a recipient of MW USA’s International Women’s Fund scholarships. Rechel shared her vision with about creating a circle of support for Indian women who have theological training. She said that while doors in India are not open for women in pastoral ministry, women with training can do much to support and empower women in other ways. It is a joy for me to see that this dream has been realized and that a first meeting has happened. Rhoda Keener, MW USA co-director
Report of the 1st National Gathering of the Theologically Trained Anabaptist Women In India
Rev. Rechal Bagh, President(TTAWI)
The first gathering of Theologically Trained Anabaptist Women in India(TTAWI) was held on the 3rd Jan to 5th Jan 2014 in Bhilai, Mennonite Church .This is one of the mile stone in the history of Anabaptist churches in India. There had been women in India and abroad who had the vision and dreams of uniting and having an association of theologically trained women in India,they got connected to each other according to the will and purpose of God and took the initiatives to materialize this purpose of God . Finally this concern found its expression through series of meetings and cooperation of MCSFI (Mennonite Christian Service and Fellowship of India)and AIMW(All India Mennonite Women).Eventually, the association of Theologically Trained Anabaptist Women in India(TTAWI) was inaugurated in the Triennial conference of the AlMW at Cuttack which was held in October, 2012.
In this first gathering around 20 theologically trained women participated from almost all the eight constituencies of Mennonite church in India. There were many who due to illness or other unavoidable situation could not participate in it. But we trust that TTAWI will receive their participation and contribution for the growth and development of the church in extending the kingdom’s concerns, especially in the church and in the society.
The theme of the Gathering was “Streams of living waters” (Songs of Solomon 4:15).The theme was divided in to four areas. Like Women ‘Streams of living waters’ in the Church, Society and the Home. Some of the theologically trained women were the resource person who developed and expounded the theme very adequately and relevantly. It all helped to gain the deeper meaning of what it means to be the streams of living waters. It highlighted that Jesus is the Living Water and those who are in Him become the source of living waters who with the power and the guidance of God can quench the thirst of the living Waters in the lives of the people ,in the life of the church and in its ministry to the needy ,oppressed, sufferings, dehumanized and violated. Apart from this there was a special session on Anabaptist distinctive which was very helpful in order to know our roots and encouraged each one of us to live as Anabaptist women in our own places and become the channel of blessings. There was another special presentation on ‘Violence against Women’ in the home, society and church which initiated concerns and burden to extend ministry so such women for their upliftment and care.
This first gathering also saw the election and the formation of the first Executive Committee with its presidents, secretary, treasurer and executive members. The executive office bearers are as follows.
President –Rev. Rechal Bagh, Secretary-Archana Netam, Joint –Secretary , Suja Phinehas, Treasurer- Elizabeth Kunjam.
We praise God that a history is made for His glory and that theologically trained women in India are united now and having a platform which will further sustain them in their continuing education, spiritual life and its contribution in the life of the Church.
How ever ,It is very encouraging to realize that Mennonite Women in other countries are greatly contributing in the life of the church and extending its ministry .We wish that we the newly formed association will be further supported and upholded in prayer by all of you so the women will be great channel of ministry in challenging Indian context.