By Tracy Moffatt, president of the Florida-Bahamas Synodical Women’s Organization (WELCA)
We always say WELCA ties us together as sisters – everywhere. I had the joy of being a chaperone to the National Youth Gathering for my church (Christ, Cape Coral) at the end of June. Included in my group were five awesome young ladies from my church who make up the Girl Talk Circle and have enjoyed attending Lake Yale over the last several years. We all saw in action what being a WELCA sister means–no matter your age–as we made our way to Houston via motor coach with a stop in Ft. Walton Beach overnight. Our bus was youth and chaperones from Christ, Cape Coral; Faith, Lehigh Acres; and Gateway Trinity, Ft. Myers–all part of the Caloosa Conference. Along the way we picked up a group from All Saints, Lutz, and finally, filled our bus with the group from our Ft. Walton Beach host church. Who was that host? Holy Trinity Lutheran Church where past SWO President Phyllis Wade is secretary. Holy Trinity showed us all the kind of hospitality Jesus preached about, and I can’t say enough wonderful things about them. Our WELCA sisters there made a life long impression on the young ladies in our group as their Mary Martha Quilters circle welcomed them to help assemble LWR quilts. The rest of our group helped on other projects with the Holy Trinity’s Spit and Shine Crew.
The young ladies of Girl Talk Circle would tell you they “Shirley” had an awesome time as they not only learned how to make the quilts but learned who they are for and how they get where they are needed. Shirley Bow instilled in these girls the desire to make quilts when they are back home – WELCA sisters in action. The whole Mary Martha Circle welcomed the group of about 25 young ladies into their fold and taught them a way of serving others in a way none had seen before. That morning, 11 quilts were assembled, tied, and readied for the binding to be finished. The ladies then served our whole group lunch and what a joy to see the youth sitting with the “older” WELCA ladies sharing a meal together with their new friends.
The WELCA influence continued all week as the young women who had been to the WELCA Fall Gathering at Lake Yale on our bus did their best to encourage the other youth to attend this year! I even heard one say they could bring their chaperones along! They were thrilled to run into Mary Weeks, our Fall Gathering Youth Shepherd, in our Houston hotel and told her they had been inviting everyone to Lake Yale. What a wonderful and far reaching organization we are blessed to be part of! When you see all these young women at Lake Yale this year be sure to ask them about their experiences at the National Youth Gathering. And when you see them all working on tying quilts in the back of the hall you will “Shirley” know where they learned how! Be ready to hear their stories and see their photos too on Sunday morning.
Thanks to all who had a part in the National Youth Gathering in Houston and especially all those caring chaperones who it made it possible for our youth to have a life changing experience on the way and while there! I hope to see all of you at Lake Yale November 8-9-10.