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May 20, 2011 | Sharon Sheridan

Prayer and Fellowship Unite Women in New Organization

[Episcopal News Service] Members of a new churchwide Episcopal women's organization are working to build a community of prayer and mutual support as they seek to live out the Baptismal Covenant.


The Episcopal Community, incorporated in Atlanta in February 2010, will gather May 27-29 in Fairhope, Alabama, for a retreat and installation of new members and "circles," or local chapters. To join, women complete a six-month study of Benedictine spirituality and vow to observe the community's rule of life, committing to daily prayer and service and regular spiritual and Bible study.


"We want to be together in community as Episcopal women, following the Baptismal Covenant," said Bev Ruebeck of Indianapolis, co-chair of the first of what the group intends to be triennial national gatherings, which will coincide with the Episcopal Church's General Convention in Indianapolis in 2012.


The community's chaplain, Bishop Philip Duncan of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, sees it as a valuable new church organization for women.


"This community is an opportunity for women to gather, build community and look at how it is that prayer can influence what they're doing and [use] prayer as one of the means by which they gather for worship and praise of God," he said. He asks members to pray for major diocesan events. "And then we have a station at our [diocesan] convention where we have a chapel, and there's always somebody in there praying for those of us who are meeting."


He asks members of another women's church group, the Daughters of the King, and a men's group, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, to do the same, he added.


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