Ecclesia of Women in Asia

Forum of Asian Catholic Women Theologians

Dear EWA members and friends,

I hope this finds you well.

I am the present Coordinator of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia and this is a message long overdue. I deeply regret that I had not written sooner after we last met in Colombo, Sri Lanka for EWA III almost two years ago.

When EWA III concluded, those who stayed back elected the present Coordinating Team and we have been planning Fourth Biennial Conference of the Ecclesia of Women of Asia (EWA IV) virtually since then. A worse regret in not writing sooner is omitting to introduce these amazing women who have worked so tirelessly behind the virtual scene. They are:

* Andrea Si (whom you all know) who as Executive Coordinator liaises with EWA's 'members' and conference paper presenters and non-paper presenters
* Astrid Lobo Gajiwala who serves as EWA's treasurer (and we have received much support from a couple of funders)
* Antoinette Gutzler or Nonie who drafted the call for papers and who reminds us of the wonderful and often unexpected ways that Sophia works in and through us
* Jeane Peracullo who was to handle the website but had to withdraw from the Coordinating Team
* Agnes Brazal, Evelyn Monteiro, Virginia Saldanha and Annette Meuthrath as our invaluable advisors

By now, you would have received word from Andrea on the inevitable decision to re-schedule EWA IV in Hua Hin, Thailand, 5-8 Dec due to the socio-political turmoil in Bangkok. Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Thailand, Mumbai and in so many places in the world where there is unrest. Our theme, ‘Practising Peace: Towards an Asian Feminist Theology of Liberation’ cannot be more relevant with the signs of the time.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank all who had set aside 5-8 Dec 2008 to be with us, in particular the paper presenters who availed themselves: Judette Gallares, Metti Amirtham, Rosaline Costa, Mary Yuen, Shalini Mulackal, Marini Delivera, Priscilla Donio-Valmonte and Agustine 'Nunuk' Prasetyo Murniati. We realise that with the postponement of EWA IV tentatively to end January or early February 2009, we may not be meeting all of you. On the other hand, this is an added opportunity for others who were previously unavailable to avail themselves to be with us when the new dates are confirmed.

We remain deeply indebted to Sr Mary Walter and her local committee for their ground support.

EWA's third edited volume is published and ready to be launched at EWA IV. I co-edited it with Pushpa Joseph and it is titled, Re-imagining Marriage and Family in Asia: Asian Christian Women's Perspective. The seven contributors of that volume are: Antoinette Gutzler, Angela Wong Wai Ching, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, Kristine Meneses, Metti Amirtham, Jeane Peracullo and Kochurani Abraham. The editing process had been a memorable journey for various reasons. Pushpa and I take this opportunity to thank others who had presented at EWA III but whose papers were not selected for this publication. The edited volume is dedicated to Bernadeen de Silva who passed away shortly after EWA III. She headed the ground/ local committee at Colombo.

We are in the process of formalising EWA. To this end, we have been working on EWA's Constitution and Bye-Laws. We hope to present you with an early draft when we next meet at EWA IV. This will be a milestone in EWA's rite of passage of becoming. My heartfelt appreciation to Agnes and her ad-hoc committee for their meticulous zeal in refining this document.

An e-theological forum has also been set up, our great thanks to Andrea. Please sign up as members so that we can continue our theologising in-between biennial conference and use this e-forum as a base from which we can e-network with other women theologians and better profile EWA.

These are our contributions that we offer to you and EWA. With EWA IV, there will be the opportunity to elect the next Coordinating Team who will continue the good work that is EWA.

For now, I wish you a blessed Christmas on behalf of the present Coordinating Team and we hope to meet you at EWA IV.

God blesses,

Sharon A Bong
Coordinator of EWA

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Holy Christmas to you, too. Let us live IT everyday of our lives! I wish to better understand the mission and vision of EWA. [Incidentally, this is my father's (Ang Soc Yu) Filipino name.

Benita A. de la Torre, Member #23

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