ACWC meeting in Adelaide
In a previous post (https://www.acw.org.au/post/such-a-disappointment), I told of the disappointment that members of Australian Church Women (ACW) experienced when the 1986 Asian Church Women’s Conference (ACWC) could not be held in Australia. The ACW members persisted with their desire to host the ACWC representatives, and they issued another invitation to the ACWC. This time it was for the Executive Committee to hold their 1987 meeting in Adelaide to coincide with the biennial ACW National Conference, also in Adelaide. This way, they could share in some of the National Conference program and fellowship and worship with the ACW members.
The invitation was accepted, and planning began. To give the National Conference even more international flavour, five members of the Women’s Committee of Church Women United of Aotearoa, New Zealand also attended.
Finally, the ACWC women arrived in Adelaide. They were:
Mrs Maya Michael (India) President
Mrs Barbara Grealy (Australia) Vice President – a resident of Adelaide
Mrs Kazuko Hayashi (Japan) Treasurer
Mrs Dorothy Haensel (Australia) Assembly Secretary – a resident of Adelaide
Miss Wong Siong Ting (Malaysia) Committee Member
Mrs Monika Mannan (Bangladesh) Committee Member
Miss Ingrid Pi-Ying Hong (Taiwan) Committee Member
Mrs Eunice Kim (Korea) ACWC Executive Secretary
Mrs Shirin Samuel – (Pakistan) newly elected, May 1987, Executive Secretary of the International Committee for the Fellowship of the Least Coin.
Back row: Dorothy Haensel, Monica Mannan, Wong Siong Ting, Ingrid Pi-Ying Hong, Shirin Samuel
Front row: Eunice Kim, Barbara Grealy, Maya Michael, Kasuko Hayashi
Here is a copy of the greetings from Maya Michael for the 1987 ACW Biennial Conference:
‘What a joy it is to be in your beautiful land. As your country is large so are your hearts or is It vice versa, that is, because you are large hearted that is why you are given a large continent. It is your good intent and persuasive invitation that has brought 15 other Asian countries in the form of Asian Church Women's Conference Executive Committee amidst you. Needless to say that we are delighted to be here and sharing with you the concerns and happiness, celebrations and deliberations of Australian Church Women Assembly and our Seminar. We shall all benefit by it.
‘Well said isn't it, 'That all the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today'. We have seen many seeds bloom and we shall make many to bloom with God's help and our efforts. Defeat is not bitter if we do not swallow it. Women have been taken for granted at home and outside. Now she is aware and is making her presence known. She has been quiet for too long.
‘Church has seen women's participation in a limited area. She can raise a family and nurse the sick, above all give birth to humanity, but she has yet to find her rightful place in the Church. The decade 1988—1998 has been kept as the "Ecumenical Decade of Church in Solidarity with Women". The call has come from the Council of Churches as a follow-up of U.N. Decade of Women round-up in Nairobi in 1986. Let us then, dear friends, work for Solidarity, Co-operation and Development in our Churches for the fulfilment of our dreams of a just, united and developed society.
‘I, as an Indian bring you greetings from my country and as the President of Asian Church Women's Conference from the 16 countries that A.C.W.C. represents. Each one joins me in folded hands of salutation and wishes. This visit will be a memorable one for all of us of ACWC and ACW.
‘Life is a voyage in which we choose neither vessel nor weather, but much can be done In the management of the sails and the guidance of the helm and then we can do all things through Christ who gives us Strength.’
During the National Conference, a seminar was held on the social and economic implications of tourism and tourists and their effect on family life, religious observances, cultural values, the rise in prostitution and the exploitation of the local residents. Three of the Asian guests had been asked to speak on the problems of prostitution in their countries. Ingrid Pi-Ying Hong (Taiwan) addressed the conference about her work with the “Rainbow Project,” which helped girls going to the city to find “work”. The project endeavoured to help girls stay away from the prostitution industry.
Wong Siong Ting (Malaysia) was a Police Superintendent, and she spoke on her work and the tremendous development in tourism and thus prostitution in her country. The police had become ineffective in controlling the growing sex industry, mainly due to staff shortages and criminal cases considered a greater priority.
Eunice Kim (Korea) shared her feelings about prostitution in her country and her work with the “Han” Chinese women caught up in the sex industry.
At the conclusion of the National Conference, Maya Michael thanked ACW for promoting the ACWC in Australia and for the hospitality that had been extended to them during their meetings.
1987 ACW National Conference minutes and photos, and the October 1987 ACW newsletter.