Something quite special happens when women get together – regardless of whether they are top-ranking professionals, home-makers, stay-at-home mothers, or retirees.
We let our guard down. We feel a sense of sisterhood. And as our conversation flows from serious topics to trivial issues, from bringing up children to schooling, hobbies, travel, relationships and a sharing of recipes and the latest ‘makan’ places, we feel assured that we can better identify with each other, with a greater sense of acceptance.
As Ms Dorothy Lim, President of the General Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service (GC-WSCS), says: “Ladies are more willing to open up to each other. What sets us apart as women is the unchanged fact that we remain mothers, wives, daughters, and are required at the same time to juggle work and community commitments.”
Dorothy was just 38 years old when she became the President of her local church (Toa Payoh Chinese Methodist Church) WSCS in 1997. At that time, she was expecting her fourth child – the other children were six, seven and nine years old. She had chosen to stop working when her first child was born, and by then, she had already toned down her involvement in church, other than serving in the choir.
Today, she has been in the GC-WSCS President’s seat since 2008 – and is at the moment mid-way through the second quadrennium. Dorothy said: “I had only planned to serve for a two-year term. But God changed my heart over time. I saw the need to build up women spiritually so that they can face their own circumstances. While we cannot remove the circumstances that they are in, we walk alongside them.
“For me, building up women to have stronger and a more resilient faith in God was important. Yes, the Women Charter protects women today, but we would rather help to repair relationships and bring about reconciliation. We try to restore families, and to ensure children are not negatively affected.”
“If we are built up today, we can then put the groundwork in place, so that women in future can do better because of what we have done today. ”
Dorothy has witnessed a divorce that had terrible consequences for a family. The father was given custody of two children, and the mother given custody of one. Not only was the couple separated, but the children were as well. Celebrations like Chinese New Year were a struggle for the children.
“The main purpose of the WSCS is to build stronger, more grounded women of God. We believe that this will help them to be more resilient when faced with challenges and in times of crisis.”
“In addition, the WSCS is a platform for women to serve. In the general church setting, more women are followers, rather than leaders. Of course this is fast changing, especially with better-qualified women coming to the forefront in the marketplace. Within WSCS, however, there is greater opportunity for women to lead in the four pillars of the Church – Discipleship & Nurture, Witness & Evangelism, Missions, and Outreach & Social Concerns.
“For many women, the WSCS is a non-threatening environment, and I believe people grow better in such an environment, as they feel more free to be themselves.”
When asked about what she thinks God has done in these past six years, Dorothy replied: “In the first quadrennium, we took the time to review our different policies and our constitution. Going into my second term, we moved more into ministry, and put in place programmes to train the coordinators at all local church levels.
“Our theme for Witness & Evangelism and Outreach & Social Concern for this quadrennium is ‘Love in Action’. Training is now on-going to help us better serve the community, helping the poor and needy, and caring for their spiritual needs. These are ways to demonstrate ‘love in action’. We also recruited a Christian Ministry Staff who develops our curriculum and does the training as well.
“If we are built up today, we can then put the groundwork in place, so that women in future can do better because of what we have done today. When the new team comes in, they should not have to start in first gear, but they should be able to continue driving, to gain momentum. Let’s work with a long-term plan, so that we can be a united sisterhood, not divided by conferences.”
PRAY for top priority needs
* Groom leaders with passion for women’s work
* Train and equip women to actively serve in the Body of Christ
* For the local church WSCS chapters to participate in all Church ministries
For more information on membership and opportunities to serve, please contact Ms Siah May Ling at mayling.siah@ message.methodist.org.sg or 6478-4760.
Photos courtesy of General Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service
Christina Stanley Editor, Methodist Message, talked to Ms Dorothy Lim, President of the General Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS), one rainy afternoon and came away feeling excited and upbeat about the on-going ministry of the WSCS.