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Women’s Conference to present diverse program in November

Posted By September 8, 2011 | 1:14 pm | Local
Liz

By Mary Donovan

An African choir, a one-women theatrical performance, a local news celebrity, a musical nun and a college professor – all will join forces to bring their special insights to the women of the Worcester Diocese. The occasion is Gather Us In, 2011, the Diocesan Women’s  Conference which takes place on Nov. 5 at  the DCU Center in Worcester.
The conference which began in 2002 is co-sponsored by the Bishop of Worcester and the Diocesan Commission for Women. It is called Gather Us In because, according to commission member Carolyn Black, “’We felt a need to reach out to the women of the diocese since our commission was to represent them to the Bishop.’’
This is the sixth edition of Gather Us In. It represents nine years of a successful effort by the Women’s Commission to bring the women of the diocese  together to get to know one another, to share their experience of being a woman in the church and to hear the ideas of other women of the church.
The theme this year is Gratitude: Acknowledging and Affirming God’s Grace in Our Lives. The theme in 2007 was One in the Spirit and the 2009 conference explored the theme: The Triumph of Forgiveness  Sharing Stories of Compassion.
The program this year features Liz Walker and Sister Kathy Sherman as keynote speakers.
Ms. Walker is a well-known local television journalist. She was a news anchor for 21 years at Channel 4. Boston. After she left WBZ she embarked on a humanitarian career which is the basis for her keynote which is called “Grace Moves: What Happens When God Calls.”
Kathy Sherman is a singer, composer and poet. Through her music she hopes to extend healing, hope and justice. Her message fosters unity of all neighbors with one another and God. In addition, she is concerned with the protection and healing of planet earth. She is a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph and has her studio in LaGrange Park, Ill. The title of her keynote is “Gratitude…A Way of Life.”
Four workshops will be presented. Pat Gohn, mother of three young adults, columnist, blogger and television  personality will speak on “What Return Can I Make to the Lord for All  He Has Given Me: Exploring Active Responsiveness and Spiritual Motherhood.”
Elizabeth Dreyer, PhD is Professor of Religious Studies at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn. Her topic is “Women as Grassroots Theologians.” According to Professor Dreyer, until the 20th century, virtually all Christian theology was done by men, so it is imperative to include the voices of women in this important aspect of spirituality and the church’s work.
Christin Jezak is an actress who will perform a one-woman play called “Person to Person: A Mother Teresa Project.” This play was developed at Villanova University as Ms. Jezak’s graduate oral’s project for her master’s degree in theater. She has performed this play at many venues in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.   Her performances also include an appearance at the Festival of World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia.
The fourth workshop is called “Talk Back.” Commission members Susan Bailey and Marie Fusaro Davis will be moderators.  This last workshop is designed to give conference attendees an opportunity to offer feedback to the commission and to discuss how the material presented relates to their own lives.
The conference will close with a Mass celebrated by retired auxiliary Bishop George E. Rueger. The music at the Mass will be provided by the African Choir of St. Andrew’s church. This 12-member choir has been singing together for four years. The members are from different parts of Africa and their repertoire incorporates their various musical traditions as well as languages and instruments, said Lucy Muigai, choir coordinator.
– Information about the Conference may be attained at the commission website: worcestercommissionforwomen.org.. or click on the link to Commission for Women at the website of the Worcester Diocese, worcesterdiocese.org.