A cross-post from the International Anglican Women’s Network in Canada’s blog.

One of my favourite things about being part of an ecumenical group here at the UN is the chance to remind myself how much I love other denominations – both their theology and their actual members (also usually their Church music). Yesterday was my day to remember how awesome Presbyterians (specifically from the Presbyterian Church USA) are.

I had the good fortune of being reunited this week with my roommate from one semester of seminary, which I did here in the US at Yale Divinity School. We were so excited to see one another that we nearly caused casualties running across the room at a debrief to hug one another. My friend Kate is here because she organized the attendance and participation of a group of 10 young women from the PCUSA and UNCSW57. Since this is exactly what I am trying to help my denomination get organized right now, I thought it was pretty awesome. This was all as part of her work at the office for young women’s leadership (or some such, I probably have the title wrong) at the denominational headquarters. WE SHOULD GET ONE OF THOSE IN CANADA!

But Kate was not nearly the only awesome Presbyterian from yesterday. At yesterday morning’s advocacy briefing – as at every advocacy meeting for Ecumenical Women, Ryan, one of the Presbyterian permanent staff members at the UN, lead the group as we tried to digest the new 23 page version of the agreed conclusions and devise an advocacy strategy that will help get our talking points into the hands of those who have the ability to influence changes in the document, that is member states. On this year’s theme of the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women, Ecumenical women has chosen three points which we believe must absolutely be strengthened in the agreed conclusions: That cultural, structural and economic violence are underlying factors that must be addressed; education is a vital part of the change process, especially societal change and must incorporate men and boys alongside women and girls; and that we must pay particular attention to the needs of rural and minority populations and improve their access to resources and services. To read through Ecumencial Women’s complete joint advocacy statement, visit https://ecumenicalwomen.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/csw57statement.pdf
Ryan, along with a number of other Presbyterians who were at the advocacy meeting, have been leaders in the advocacy work of Ecumenical Women. I have been very grateful for his help while I figure out how to best engage in this process here at CSW.

Then in the afternoon, since it was already a pretty Presbyterian day, I decided to attend their parallel event on institutional violence and though I had to leave early I got to sing one of my favourite hymns (Sister, let me be your servant) and hear a very thoughtful Bible study on the woman caught in adultery.

Speakers at the Presbyterian parallel event on Institutional Violence

To top off awesome Presbyterian day, I met up with a friend and former professor of mine, Patrick, who also happens to be Presbyterian. We had a chance to catch up and talk about the work we are doing and as always this is one of my favourite things about traveling to conferences.

In conclusion, Presbyterians are truly awesome: I look to them every time I need theology to combat idolatry or to limit my merry-making to once a quarter. Tune in next time when I go on and on about Lutherans and how much I love rhythmic German hymns tunes.