The Pan African Christian Women Alliance (PACWA), held a continental gathering from the 13-15 November, 2016, bringing together 49 delegates from 12 countries. The gathering was structured around three thematic agendas: – praise and worship sessions, exhortations and teaching, and the -main business- plenary sessions.
Mrs. Marrionne Gilpin-Tucker was the main speaker and her topic was ‘Mentoring and Coaching the Younger Generation for Effective Ministry among Women in Africa’.
The business plenary sessions included a report of the activities and achievements of the Alliance since the last gathering in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2015, nomination/election of a new leadership team and a strategic planning session. Dr. Joanna Ilboudo, in her 3-year journey as Executive Secretary of PACWA noted that the spirit in the church seemed not to be different from that in the political leadership. She said, “Jesus called his disciples to be servant leaders and yet the focus seems to be ‘the benefit of my denomination or evangelical network’ and not for the body of Christ.”
Dr. Joanna mentioned some of the challenges she faced in her 3 year tenure at PACWA noting that despite great local churches, great denominations and great Evangelical Fellowships, there seems to be a disconnect when supporting AEA in its programs and activities. She said, “It’s the story of the sheep left to die of thirst because they belong to many people and everyone thinks someone else will bring water to the sheep.”
The participants were implored to implement what had been discussed and work towards developing a strategic plan, Improve on the communication with each other, take action and advocate on issues affecting women in the continent and in the church and build accountability- hold the leaders that have been elected accountable to fulfil their roles.
The business session saw Mrs. Miriam Mnairobi elected as the new PACWA President. She was grateful to God for the leadership of AEA and PACWA and encouraged the participants to look up to God for the future of PACWA is bright. “Every woman to be like a ‘pencil’ – to be written with even when they are ‘held badly’ ‘sharpened’, ‘erased and even ‘bitten’. To remain the inner core of the pencil that writes and make a difference. Even when one tries something and it does not work, try it another way and don’t give up.”
The outgoing Executive Secretary, Dr. Joanna Ilboudo, was grateful for the opportunity to serve and encouraged the Regional Coordinators to reach out to countries in their regions that were not present at the gathering and the National Coordinators to reach out to other denominations to join the PACWA movement. She also specifically called on Kenya, as the birthplace of PACWA, to rise up and light the flame of PACWA bright in the continent.