The Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry Team honored 70 lay women Sunday for their work with their churches and communities.
"These are everyday women who see a need" and fill it, says Deborah Bailey, Minister for Women's Issues.
The Honored Lay Women were each nominated by their local conference or by a UCC constituent group. Since the program's beginning in 1983, more than 1,600 women have been honored.
This year's honored laywomen serve as educators, committee chairs, youth and young adult leaders, and advocates for a number of causes.
Also announced at today's luncheon is the creation of a Women's Ministry Endowment Fund. The fund will support programs in leadership training, outreach ministries, faith development and scholarships. Named funds of $1,000 or more have already been created to honor Bailey, with additional funds honoring her predecessors Marilyn Brietling, Mary Susan Gast and Loey Powell. Other gifts have also been received. "In this time of declining budgets, women need to step up and help each other," Bailey said.
While Bailey helped organize the new Endowment Fund, the creation of a named fund in her honor was a surprise and a "thrill." "This endowment fund was a dream of mine for some time," she said.