By Jessica Brodie
Fifty South Carolina women headed to Orlando in May for United Women in Faith’s Assembly 2022, a multiday event at the Orlando Convention Center that featured powerful preaching, opportunities for service and action, and the consecration of the largest-ever class of deaconesses and home missioners—60 in total from 29 conferences.
Another large group of South Carolinians joined their sisters in participating in the virtual Assembly component of the event, which livestreamed most of the festivities plus included their own set of webinar workshops, a mix and mingle and more.
Held every four years, Assembly is a massive gathering of women to focus on their mission to connect and nurture women so that they can inspire, influence and impact local and global communities. It was held May 20-22 with the theme, “Turn It Up.”
This year’s theologian-in-residence was Janet Wolf, a United Methodist pastor who works with the Children’s Defense Fund focusing on public theology, transformative justice and nonviolent direct action organizing to disrupt and dismantle the cradle to prison pipeline.
Other keynote speakers included the Rev. Sung Yeon Choimorrow, director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum; Heather McTeer Toney, climate justice liaison for the Environmental Defense Fund and senior advisor to Moms Clean Air Force; United Women in Faith General Secretary Harriett Jane Olson; and ‘Ainise ‘Isama’u, the youngest and the first Pacific Islander president of United Women in Faith.
The event included a host of workshops, a special film screening of “Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools,” a Legacy Banquet, plus a pre-conference Ubuntu Day of Service the day prior.
South Carolina’s United Women in Faith President Cathy Ford called this year’s Assembly a powerful, energizing, informative and motivational experience.
“Memorable community gatherings with lively hand clapping music, interpretive dancers, vivid stage-sets with the theme Turn It Up and colorful fabrics connecting attendees filled us with sights and sounds we will long remember,” Ford said. “The message from the stage expanded our understanding of our new name, reinforced our commitment to this beloved organization and set us forth knowing many others, including general secretaries and bishops, confirm our path forward and support us in this special moment in our 153-year history.
“Along with our international members, South Carolina attendees are well equipped to share our story with compassion and love.”
Janice Cockfield Eaddy, vice president for South Carolina United Women in Faith, agreed.
“Our 2022 Turn it Up Assembly was just awesome. The Ubuntu Day of Service, workshops, community gatherings and the Legacy Banquet provided me an opportunity to connect with old friends and gain new friends. All the presenters spoke such positive words that inspired me to put my faith into action to help create changes around the world.”