10th Joint European Area Seminar

This seminar will gather women from all over Europe in the heart of Belfast's city centre, a stones throw away from the Belfast City Hall.

It's an opportunity to hear from various women within the organisation on topics like Prayer, Music, Biblical Storytelling and Creative Worship. There will also be a number of social action workshops centred around Poverty, Peace & Justice, Quality Education, Gender Equality and Reduced Inequalities. It offers the space to connect with other women living out the WFM & UCW mission and values in their given context and we're in anticipation of this signifiant time, looking forward to June with much excitement!

Speakers: 

 

Matilda Johnson –

Matilda is the current World Vice President of WFMUCW, and was born in Banjul (then Bathurst) on the 7th August 1958. Matilda is married to James with four children (2 boys and 2 girls). She is a Methodist and was appointed as: -Assistant Secretary of Conference, 2009 to date: - Chairperson, Albion Methodist Lower Basic School Board, 2009 to date: - Member, Wesley Methodist Contemporary Nursery School Board, 2012 to date. Matilda is the Chairperson, Education and Scholarships Committee of the Gambia Christian Council, and member of the Education Advisory Council. She is a Chartered Librarian, holds a Masters degree in Librarianship & Information Science, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP) UK; and the current Director General of The Gambia National Library Service Authority.

Melanie Johnston –

Melanie is the Worship Leader for the Seminar and will be helping to lead the Friday morning session of the Seminar exploring how, as a ‘Chosen People’ we are ‘Called to Proclaim’ through our Worship.  Melanie comes from Ballyclare, Co. Antrim and is part of the Carrickfergus Vineyard Church family where she is one of the worship leaders.  Formerly Head of Music at Laurelhill Community College in Lisburn she now has her own business working as a full time Musician and Tutor teaching singing and piano. Melanie is a trained Classical Singer and performs in Classical concerts and recitals as a soloist as well as taking vocal workshops within churches.  In her spare time, she enjoys meeting up with friends, drinking tea and has a keen interest in history. 

Wendy Johnston –

Wendy will be helping to lead the Friday morning session of the Seminar exploring how, as a ‘Chosen People’ we are ‘Called to Proclaim’ through our Worship.  She is a storyteller and, in particular a Biblical Storyteller, who is completing her Master Biblical Storyteller accreditation through the Network of Biblical Storytellers International.  She lives in Belfast with her husband Richard.  Her three beautiful girls have ‘flown the nest’, one as far as Germany, and in 2016 she became Nana to a funny sweet little boy named Romain.

Gillian Kingston –

Gillian will be leading the Saturday morning session of the Seminar as we explore how, as a ‘Chosen People’ we are ‘Called to Proclaim’ through our Relationships.  Gillian is the Vice-President of the World Methodist Council. Gillian Kingston is a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church in Ireland. She is Vice-President of the World Methodist Council and a former member of the Methodist Roman Catholic International Commission. Gillian was the first Lay leader of the Methodist Church in Ireland and has served in a number of roles in the Church. She is currently Convenor of the church's Inter-Church Relations Committee and Chair of the Working Party on Human Sexuality. She was all-Ireland President of MWA She is married to Tom, a ''retired' Methodist minister; they have four adult children and seven amazingly talented and wonderful grandchildren! 

Carolyn Lawrence -

Carolyn's background is in Primary education as a teacher and then as an educational Mission Partner with the MCCA in Guyana, South America.  Here in UK she has worked in a voluntary capacity within the Methodist Church, locally as a preacher and leader, and nationally within the ‘WFM&UCW’, as a rep on the Methodist Council, member of the One Mission Forum and representative on the World Methodist Council. Carolyn has also been appointed to the board of trustees for All We Can as a representative of the Methodist Church in Britain. Carolyn has a heart for sharing the love of Jesus through preaching, teaching, pastoral care and social action. Wherever people are on their spiritual journey, she enjoys helping them grow in their faith and encouraging them to become disciple making disciples.

Val Mullally –

Val will be leading the Friday morning session of the Seminar exploring how, as a ‘Chosen People’ we are ‘Called to Proclaim’ through our Worship.  Val has studied as a ’Psalmody’ trainer and this training deeply affected her experience of worship. Val’s background is in education, as well as writing for Scripture Union for many years. Her work now focuses on support for parents regarding family well-being.  Her work is of course impacted by her own grandchildren. Val and hr husband Bill served in Ireland from 2000 until 2017, after spending many years in Africa, and are currently ministering in the Methodist Church in Britain in North East England.

Karola Strobus -

Karola was born in Germany and studied to become Deacon of the United Evangelical Church in Germany. 1979 - 2001 she worked in an educational institution of the Waldensian Church of Italy in Palermo. Since 2001 she has been in service in community work with the Waldensian Churches in Piedmont (north Italy). Karola is interested in liturgical and meditative dance and Bibledrama to use the whole person in all aspects (dance, theatre, mime, drawing, movement, puppets, words,) in the expression of faith and prayer. 

Louise Wilson -

Louise is the Area President for Europe: Britain & Ireland and works as the Training & Development Officer for the Methodist Church in Ireland, based in its Theological College in Belfast.  One of her areas of responsibility is the training of Prayer Ministry Teams in local churches and she is passionate about enabling, resourcing and releasing people in prayer. 

Rachel Allison -

"I am the Helen Kim Memorial scholar for Great Britain. I currently work part time for the Joint Public Issues Team - a think-tank which speaks on social issues for the Methodist Church, Church of Scotland, the Baptist Union and the United Reformed Church - and part time as a researcher in the House of Lords.  I graduated from Birmingham University last summer with a degree in Politics, Religion and Philosophy and studying this degree ignited my passion for social justice and specifically gender justice. "

Suzanne Meister -

Susanne was born a Catholic but joined the United Methodist Church in 1985. In 1986 she was actively engaged in German Women's Work and in 2003 became involved with WFMUCW. Susanne worked for 27years in IT industry in different digital marketing and leadership positions at international level. In 2014 she started to study part-time at the theological seminary in Reutlingen. Since 2017 she is studying full time. She hopes to complete a bachelor degree next summer and to continue with her master studies and become a Methodist pastor. Susanne is married and has a teenage daughter.

Saturday Workshops:

 

‘Praying Well’ – Prayer with Louise Wilson

Louise is the Area President for Europe: Britain & Ireland and works as the Training & Development Officer for the Methodist Church in Ireland, based in its Theological College in Belfast.  One of her areas of responsibility is the training of Prayer Ministry Teams in local churches and she is passionate about enabling, resourcing and releasing people in prayer. 
This workshop will explore how we can deepen our experience of prayer and ‘styles’ of prayer by looking at: how we ‘Live in the Presence of God’; how we ‘Connect to the Presence of God’; and how we ‘Practise the Presence of God’.

‘Lift Up Your Voices’ – Music with Melanie Johnston

In this workshop, we will ‘lift up our voices’ in song praising our God!  We will sing some well-known and not so well known worship songs with a bit of a twist.  We will briefly look at the role of singing in the Bible, have some fun warming up our voices before learning a few songs in a choral context.  If you enjoy singing and having some ‘craic’, it would be great to see you! 

‘Story in Slow Motion’ – Biblical Storytelling with Wendy Johnston

This workshop will explore some Bible stories using space and time to notice and discover things that surprise and challenge us in the ancient words.  Most of us live life at such a fast pace that we don’t make space or time to slow down and notice the important things.  Because the stories are often so familiar to us it can be easy to skip over hidden character gems, or miss discovering a surprise turn in story direction, or miss what spaces in the story and the unsaid words tell us.  Let’s discover stories in slow motion.  

Creative Worship  - with Val Mullally

This literally ‘hands on’ session will look at using our whole bodies through dance, movement and the use of worship flags to create fresh expressions of what it means to be ‘Called to Proclaim’ through our worship. This is especially for those who would like to explore how they might use movement and dance in worship, even if they have never done it before. (Practical easy-to-move-in clothing is recommended.)

Puppet Drama - with Karola Stobaus 

At the workshop there will be a number of puppets (narrative figures / flexible figures) which have no faces, but are able to express emotions or feelings with the postures you can give them as you manipulate arms, and legs and the whole body. The women, in two groups, read a biblical text and create a scene with the puppets to tell the text without words. Each group has a different bible text and puppets to express their idea/interpretation of the story. Then the other group will observe the scene and tells what they see and understand. Hints on how to make your own puppets will be available.

Sunday Workshops:

There will be 5 Workshops, one on each of the Sustainable Development Goals which are the focus of our two European Areas for this quinquennium (Workshop Leaders have still to be confirmed):

Europe: Continental
SDG 1 – No Poverty 
SDG 16 – Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions

Europe: Britain & Ireland
SDG 4 – Quality Education 
SDG 5 – Gender Equality
SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities

Everyone attending the Seminar will be divided into five different groups and the Workshop Leaders will visit each group, speaking for approximately 15 minutes about their particular SDG.  Therefore, everyone will have an opportunity to hear about each of these SDGs and there is no need to choose a particular Workshop.

Seminar Location: Clayton Hotel, Belfast 

To view the full programme click here.