GETTING TO KNOW THE ECW
- WHAT IS THE ECW?
The ECW or the Episcopal Church Women is one of the 5 recognized Lay Organizations with the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.
- HOW DOES ONE JOIN THE ECW?
All women of the Episcopal Church are eligible to be members of the ECW. In order to be able to participate fully and meaningfully in all the activities of the organization, one has to align herself with the chapter in the church or parish she attends. Expectedly, there are minimal membership fees to be paid on an annual basis.
- WHY IS THERE AN ECW?
The ECW as organized oved a century ago was first known as “Women’s Auxiliary” until the 1970s when the organization was renamed more appropriately as Episcopal Church Women; it was formed primarily to partner with the Church in promoting the vision, mission and ministry of the Church. As an organization, the ECW is dedicated to “unite women in a program of worship, study, service, and fellowship in order to deepen their individual spiritual lives and to lead them into service in the parish, the community, the diocese, the nation and the world.”
- WHAT IS THE ORGANIZATION LIKE? HOW DOES ONE RELATE TO OTHERS?
At the parish or church level, the ECW Chapter where one first registers as a member. Herein, the ECW works closely with the other organizations (BSA, SKEP, etc) in almost all the parish or church programs and activities. The next level is the DEANERY ECW led by the Deanery Coordinator and is composed of all the women within a certain geographical location; deanery fellowship gathering are held usually on a quarterly basis. The DIOCESAN ECW which is managed by a Bard, oversees the implementation of the regular programs of the ECW at the diocesan level. The Diocesan Board also set other programs of the ECW at the diocesan level. The Diocesan Board also may set other programs and activities for the benefit of the women and organizations within the diocese. In recognition, the ECW in most dioceses are members of the governing Diocesan Councils and of the Diocesan Annual Conventions. Beyond the Diocesan Board is the NATIONAL ECW which also is managed by a Board. The National ECW monitors and ensures the implementation of all major ECW programs and activities nationwide and assists the Diocesan and Chapter ECW as much as possible. The National Board provides and maintains the linkages furthermore with either church women locally and internationally. The National Board works closely with the National Episcopal Church and this is ensured with the regular participation of the National ECW President at the ECP National Executive Council meetings and as a regular member of the ECP Synod.
- WHAT ARE THE PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE ECW?
At the chapter level, Bible Studies, fund-raising activities, seasonal fellowships, and most parish-centered and community-focused activities are held. The women as partners in all aspects of church life is more visible at this level. At the Deanery level, retreats, seminars, and fellowships are observed. At the Diocesan level, programs and activities are broader in nature and in participation. Chapter visits by the Diocesan Board via the “Operation Sunshine” activity are regularly held; diocesan-wide social concerns and development issues are attended to and managed; a program of study and worship is disseminated and propagated, and the implementation of national programs are ensured. At the National level, more linkaging and monitoring is done in relation to the major programs such as the Pasasalamat, the Fellowship of the Least Coin, Girls’ Scholarship, the Project Fund, and the International World Day of Prayer for Women, among others.
- WHY ARE THERE HONORARY MEMBERS OF THE ECW?
The ECW being a Lay organization, female members of the clergy are thus considered as honorary members, but still are able to participate in all activities of the organization. They simply have to pay chapter dues to join in activities. Though they cannot be made officers, they can occupy appointive positions. In most cases, they serve as chaplains to the chapter or at conventions. Spouses of Bishops are also considered “honorary” due to their position of influence and to prevent any possible conflicts of interests in decision making of possibly making compromises to protect the position of the episcopate. Honorary members, however, can be appointed to serve as Committee Chairpersons or members.
- WHAT IS THE OVERALL STRUCTURE OF THE ECW AS A CHURCH ORGANIZATION?
(Source: The National Episcopal Church Women Manual)