Austria hosted the 13th European “Women in Leadership”-Conference
November 21 to 24 in Schladming: cars, busses and trains were bringing them together: 155 ladies from 27 countries! Some even came from far places like Costa Rica, Moscow, Cairo and Istanbul! And a good number of Austrian ladies followed the invitation, to be part of this special gathering, which takes place each second year in another European country.
This year the leadership of the Austrian “Arbeitsforum Prisca”, a working group for women within the Austrian Evangelical Alliance, organized the “Hope for Europe – Women in Leadership” Network-Conference, chaired by Hannelore Illgen (Germany) and her team of seven ladies from six different nations. 17 Prisca-ladies under the leadership of Monika Faes were welcoming and serving the delegates warmly in the fabulous conference-place, the Schütterhof-Hotel.
The program, moderated by Evodia Budai (Romania, member of the European team), was intensive and challenging. It included times of listening to two ladies, who contributed to the main topic “Stronger Together”. Two touching Bible Studies came from Sabine Kalthoff (Germany), Secretary for Scripture Engagement in the IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students). And Dr. Kate Coleman (UK) gave three practical teachings, she is founder and Co-Director of „Next Leadership” and author of the book „7 Deadly Sins of Women in Leadership“. Interactions, personal reflections as well as discussions and prayer with the neighbor sitting next, deepened the relation with God and each other.
A summary of their excellent messages you can download here.
Workshops, round tables and panels widened areas of Christian and female life, like “Abuse in the Church”, “Reconciliation”, “Mentoring the Next Generation”, Training-Programs for Women etc.
The women enjoyed the worship, especially the song “Stronger Together”, written for this conference by the talented Austrian worship-leader Johanna Binder (see the video). The congregation was deeply touched by the Holy Spirit, when singing the praise-song “How great is our God” in many European languages. This happened during the worship-prayer-time Friday evening.
The women could listen to around 20 different country reports from the ladies, who were present. It is obvious: Europe is becoming more and more post-Christian. Moral and social standards are no longer shaped by our Christian beliefs. But at the same time we see that God is on the move in Europe. Women organize conferences and initiatives, they are active in evangelism and reach out with their gifts and God’s love to those who need it. The 30 exhibition-tables of the “European Village”, where participants could present their organizations and initiatives, reflected this beautifully.
The open Saturday
The meeting in the Schladming Congress brought the conference-participants together with women from the area. They were given the opportunity to meet the European ladies personally at specific tables during lunch-break. Local music, a European flag parade, international worship and dance (s. the video), together with greetings and blessings from female pastors of the area, were all well received.
The speakers, Dr. Kate Coleman in the morning and Dr. Jutta Henner (leader of the Austrian Bible Society) in the afternoon, encouraged the gathered women in their messages to be courageous friends and companions, wherever God has positioned them, also in their relation with men: “Together we will always be stronger, although we are different!”
At the end of the meeting the Prisca-Team honored Dr. Jutta Henner’s work with the Prisca-Award. And Monika Faes, the moderator of the day, explained, that this meeting was not only part of the European network “Hope for Europe – Women in Leadership”,represented by its chair Hannelore Illgen, but that it is embedded as well in two worldwide networks through two members of the “Women in Leadership”-team: Elke Werner (Germany) from the International Lausanne Movement and Amanda Jackson (UK) from the World Evangelical Alliance.
Female “Heroes of Faith” from 18 countries were celebrated – with a presentation, organized by Elke Werner, each delegate had four minutes, to bring a portrait of one lady. We heard about amazing women, who changed their times and influenced their countries through the power of the Gospel – dating from the 9thcentury until today. This overview was a great encouragement and connected us with our rich heritage as women.
Watch the videos about these short portraits at the bottom of this page.
The next “Hope for Europe Women in Leadership Conference” will be hosted by our sisters in Oradea/Romania, in April 2021. It will be announced on this website and on facebook as soon as the timeframe is set.
Hannelore Illgen, Chair – for the “Hope for Europe – Women in Leadership” team with
Evodia Budai (Romania), Romkje Fountain (The Netherlands), Amanda Jackson (United Kingdom), Ksenija Sabo (Serbia), Elke Werner (Germany), Jennifer Williamson (France)
in German: www.arbeitsforum-prisca.at
Pictures from the Conference
Pictures from Saturday meeting