The Young Clergy Women Project (TYCWP) held their annual conference here at McCormick from July 30 through August 2. TYWCP is an international network of ordained clergy women under the age of forty. Its membership includes over 650 women who currently live in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Sweden, Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico and Australia.
Conference Planning Committee Member Laura Stephens-Reed said, “We were excited about the possibility of offering a conference in a city as vibrant as Chicago. McCormick enthusiastically embraced the idea of hosting the conference. Once our location was settled, the planning committee immediately experienced the same sense of hospitality that we strive to extend to our organization’s demographic and that our members work to embody in their ministries.”
With sixty attendees, this year’s conference focused on Sabbath: what it is, why it is difficult, why it is imperative and how individuals seek it out. The topic resonated with conference participants who juggle vocation, family and self-care in a culture that doesn't highly value Sabbath.
“I was looking forward to this conference as a chance to relax and meet other young clergy women, but I didn’t realize how much I needed this week. I needed to remember how many people are on this journey with me and how essential it is that we take time to rest, learn, celebrate and worship together. I am so thankful for our time together,” shared Rev. Corein Brown, assistant pastor, Spirit of Hope Catholic Community in the Twin Cities.
TYCWP originally started as an online support system and grew with the support of organizations, such as The Louisville Institute, that believed in their mission and goals. In addition to its e-zine, by, for and about young clergy women, it offers annual conferences, face-to-face meeting and a website (www.youngclergywomen.org).
Stephens-Reed added, “Many young clergy women have difficulty finding ministry peers after seminary graduation, and peer support is one of the primary safeguards against burnout. The church and the world need the ministry of young clergy women, so TYCWP offers annual conferences as opportunities to be refreshed through learning from and connecting with people like them.”