Past, Present and Future
Marj Dredge is the current National President of Australian Church Women Inc. She is here on the blog to introduce herself and present one of the main agenda items that the current National Executive will consider during their term of office.
The National Executive comprises Secretary: Rosemary Pitman, Treasurer: Barbara Grear; Dorothy Ferrier; Judith Dell; Nita West; Lynne Hook; Tricia Graham; Donna Bryan; and Lynette Green.
Marj says: I spent my early years in Brisbane, Queensland, and eventually trained to become a teacher. In 1965 I married Colin, who was studying at the Churches of Christ Theological College in Melbourne and in 1966, we moved to take up ministry with Churches of Christ in South Australia/Northern Territory (SA/NT). We subsequently served with Churches of Christ in Canberra and Brisbane before returning to Adelaide in 1978. Very early, I decided to be a full time minister’s wife and undertook theological studies to equip me more adequately for the role.
Along the way, we raised 4 children and now have 7 grandchildren! After more than 40 years we retired from ‘full time’ ministry – but do not seem to be any less busy!
I have been President of Churches of Christ Women’s Ministry at local, state, national and international levels, and was an Australian delegate to the World Convention of Churches of Christ for more than 20 years. I have also had the honour of being the first woman to be elected as President of Churches of Christ in SA/NT. Colin’s support and encouragement has been hugely instrumental in my journey.
God has blessed us immensely over those years, obviously not without some heartaches and struggles, but God has proved to be faithful in all things and we rejoice in the journey we have shared.
I joined the South Australian (SA) Unit of Australian Church Women in 1984, as Community Concern Convenor and, later, served as both State and National President, and became a National Life Member in 2017. I am the ACW representative on the SA Committee of World Day of Prayer, and served 2 terms as President and a term as National Liaison Officer. So, I now find myself, once more, as the National President of Australian Church Women.
Since its inception in 1965, ACW has opened up opportunities for women to break down denominational divides and rejoice in the ability to share their stories, and work together for the good of others. However, times have changed so much. Women have far more opportunities for sharing and working together in their local communities, and meetings do not always take priority. It is increasingly difficult to attract new members and so many are aging to the point where it becomes difficult to find women willing and able to take on leadership roles. Attendances are decreasing and it is a struggle to attract new members. It is time for hard questions!
What do we do … simply fade away … or do we work through the challenges and find a new way of being … and then celebrate the wonderful things which have been achieved by this organisation over so many years.
The South Australian National Executive is committed to explore ways in which we might continue the ministry with a new structure, which will resonate with the current generation and beyond. So, we are ‘Moving Forward in Faith’, on a journey, trusting God for guidance and discernment so the good work might continue.
To understand better the story of Australian Church Women, I encourage you to read the ‘Herstory of Australian Church Women’ blog.