The Kenya Sewing Machine Project
The Women's Corps seeks
to empower their African sisters by providing them
with a means to support themselves
Last summer  I had the good
fortune to visit Kenya with my friend, Cathy Harrell, and my
daughter, Paige. Cathy had been to southwestern Kenya several
times before, doing missionary work with a small African church. As
a long-term Urantia Book reader and a midwife, I joined her after
feeling a call to work with the Kenyan women. While there, we met
with a group of church women in the town of Abossi to talk about
family planning and women's issues. The stories the African
women told were distressing.
Cathy Harrell with her new friend
They told us they
were concerned about contracting AIDS, which is epidemic in Kenya.
They said that their husbands were unemployed, frequently drink too
much, and visit prostitutes during the day. When they come home at
night, they demand sex but refuse to use protection. If the wives
turn them down, they are beaten. Since the women have no income, it
is impossible for them to leave their circumstances and care for
their children alone.
Kenyan men also object to the use of birth control because they
believe it is an invitation for women to be unfaithful. As a result,
the average Kenyan woman has eight children, although none I met
wanted that many. The women endure debilitating poverty,
back-bending hard labor and spirit-crushing debasement in a society
where women's opinions, concerns and needs are not valued and mostly
to the harrowing tales of these lovely and gentle women, I told them
that their sisters in America often empower each other by joining
together. I mentioned that we had formed a Women's Corps to
help each other. The Kenyan women responded enthusiastically,
saying tht they wished to form a Women's Corps too. They vowed to
pray for our Women's Corps if we prayed for theirs.
explaining the rhythm method of birth control, before she realized
that the women had no say over when they would have sex.
* * *
A FEW DAYS LATER, we were invited to
attend a meeting in Gelegele, seven or eight miles away. As
few people own cars in Kenya, we hired a driver to take us there. At
the end of the afternoon in Gelegele, we waited fruitlessly for our
driver to return for us, but he never came. Thus I began the long
walk back to Abossi with my African friends, Sally and Caroline, who
carried her two-year-old daughter, Deborah, on her back. As we
walked, we passed many inebriated young men—the poverty and
unemployment in this country has demoralizing effects on everyone.
We talked of the role of women, and Sally spoke eloquently of her
dreams for a better life for her sisters.
It was a long
walk, and after several miles my legs began to ache. About then, a
car pulled up beside us as we trudged down the dirt road. My
American friends were piled inside. Someone called out, "Hey
Mer! Hop in! We'll fit you in; there's miles to go."
I thought about hopping in the car, driving away, and leaving my
Kenyan friends in a trail of dust to continue their long trek alone,
but I couldn't do it. The circumstances were too reminiscent of
global realities on our planet; we wealthy westerners drive by with
all the goods and resources, leaving the Third World in the dust to
struggle on alone.
Instead, I chose
to trudge the rest of the way home on foot with my African friends.
When we finally reached Abossi, the sun was setting and we were
exhausted, but the air was filled with our laughter and our joy.
It was a great gift to have had the opportunity to share their
burdens, even if it was just for an afternoon.
As we talked about women's empowerment, the Kenyans expressed a wish
for a cottage industry—some means of earning an income and improving
their lives and the lives of their children. They spoke of a desire
for sewing machines, explaining that if they had treadle machines,
(there is no electricity), they could sew school uniforms for the
children and sell them at half the ready-made price, and make a
* * *
WHEN I RETURNED HOME,
I approached members of the various Women's Corps branches around
the country—Delores Nice, Lee Loots, Jo Ann Wiedman, Helen Luke,
Judy Langston, Donna D'Ingillo, Steffani Murray and others— to ask
if they would be interested in helping the Kenyan women obtain
sewing machines. Their enthusiastic response has led to this
fund-raising effort. I thank Lee Loots and Linda Mac in
particular for their dynamic energy, which has brought in women's
groups from several bible-based churches to participate in raising
sewing machine project is spearheaded by members of the Women's
Corps, it is not an attempt to promulgate the Urantia Book. This is
a woman-to-woman effort. It is not about any particular dogma,
creed or religion, but an interfaith initiative demonstrating that
love can transcend doctrinal differences. It's about acting out
of love for our sisters who are struggling. It's about stepping out
in courage and faith to help one another, and shifting from telling
people about the Fifth Epochal Revelation to living out the values
in the Fifth Epochal Revelation.
We UBers have
spent many years trying to give away the Blue Book with minimal
success. Certainly, most folk in rural southwestern Kenya, with its
low level of literacy, biblical culture and extreme poverty, are not
ready to receive the Urantia Book at this time. They will, however,
respond positively to our efforts to demonstrate the teachings. No
matter what we believe or what we read, women can unite behind the
goal of loving service to each other.
On behalf of
members of the Women's Corps, I am inviting you to help share the
burden of these Kenyan women by contributing towards a sewing
machine fund. We are working together with Sylvia, the leader
of the women’s group in Kenya—a schoolteacher and the co-pastor of
Glory Church— to price treadle sewing machines as well as materials
to get the project off to a good start.
Sylvia sent us
a project proposal, and the total cost of the sewing machines and
project is $7,000. We will fund raise until March 30th.
Cathy Harrell is returning to Kenya in July and will stay for
several months, so she will be able to monitor the disbursement of
funds, assist in setting up the project and provide us with updates.
If you would like to receive news on how the project develops,
please send an email with the notation 'subscribe to Women's Corps'
To increase the
impact of the project, we have suggested to Sylvia that the women's
group in Kenya repay the cost of the sewing machines from their
profits over time by putting the money into an investment fund for
themselves. If they set aside the payments in their
own women's collective bank, they will be able to loan funds out to
individual women for their business ventures. You can see how
this idea plays out and improves women's lives at:
Our world has
long been dominated by self-interest and violence. Sometimes the
troubles on this world seem so overwhelming, the task so hopeless,
that it's hard to begin. Nevertheless, each act makes a
difference. This is one small thing we can do to help rectify
the injustice which surrounds us. As a member of the Women's Corps,
I have long believed that women have a unique roll to play as
spiritual leaders in the new age upon us. Let women step forward
now and demonstrate a better way—the way of love in action. The
Women's Corps asks you to share some of the abundance we have here
with the Kenyan women's group in Abossi. We invite you to partake
in the joy of serving each other and discovering that women together
can empower one another.
Some of you may
live near each other or an established Women's Corps group, and
decide to do a fund-raising project together. Others may wish to
donate individually. If you cannot afford to send money, then please
send a positive prayer instead for the empowerment and well-being of
these Kenyan sisters. Please share this with any woman you
feel might like to help. Although this is particularly a
woman-to-woman effort, men are welcome to contribute as well!
January 31, 2005
2. SYLVIA'S LETTER
I received the letter concerning the
project now at hand from Stanley. The women are very
excited about it and especially your acceptance to
donate the sewing machine project for Abossi is a great
joy and we receive it whole heartedly. Give my
appreciations to the entire women Corps for accepting
and funding our sewing projects. I have checked in
Kericho prices of sewing machines that we require at the
Concerning the materials and other
required items, we shall sit with my development
team and write a full proposal that I will post as
soon as possible. The other items required will include
materials such as Rolls of tetron Plain Mix colours for
school uniforms, checked Suiting materials, Lining
materials, tetrex Materials and other materials for
women’s dresses, threads, Buttons, elastic cords, laces
and machine needles that will be included in the
formatted proposal that we shall prepare and send. If
there is any other information that is lacking, let me
know so that I will reply.
Thank you and God bless you.
FOR SEWING MACHINE PROJECT
Name of the women group: Glory
Church Women group of Abossi.
Location: Abossi lies in a remote area, whose population is over
30,000 who live below the poverty line. Most of the families rely on
women to provide food and clothing. Henceforth this project will
benefit the community, especially women and children.
receive greetings from the above mentioned women group. We held a
women’s corps meeting on 23rd
September 2004, and we requested to be supported with the
10 big table straight
stitches machines @ 13,700 = 137,000/=
5 small table straight
stitches machine at @ 8,500 = 42,500/=
2 big table zigzag
machine @ 32,800 = 65,600/=
4 Knitfer SK pullover/
sweater machine @ 57,000 = 228,000/=
5 rolls of tetron plain
45"/36" mix colours (school uniforms dresses and blouses) @ 1,400 =
5 rolls of tetrex 60" mix
colours (school uniform shorts) @ 9,000 = 45,000/=
10 rolls tetron printed
36" mix colours for children clothing @ 1,925 = 19,250/=
5 rolls checked suiting
60" mix colours @ 9,600 = 48,000/=
1 roll lining material
60" – 100m at 8,000/=
5 dozens of mixed threads
@ 400 = 2,000/=
10 packets of buttons for
shirts and shorts @ 350 = 3,500/=
10 rolls of elastic cord
@ 220 = 2,200/=
10 rolls of nylon and
cotton laces @ 150 = 1,500/=
10 dozen of needles @ 45
25 pairs of scissors @
20 pairs of tape measure
We accept any alterations from you, concerning the above listed
At the moment we have Glory Church Women from Litein (Ruth and
Caroline) who will assist to teach sewing, and we also appreciate if
you can locate women who will assist during summer time. The women
also welcomed the idea of goat multiplication project and we are
ready to apply. The project coordinators are as follows:
Ms. Silvia Tonui
Mrs. Regina Langat
Ms. Ann Chepwogen
Thanks in advance and we are looking forward for your reply.
Your sister in Christ
Sylvia Tonui and Abossi
Questions and Answers
Q. Who will receive the money when it is sent? I
am concerned, after reading about the husbands, that they will find
a way to take the money and spend it on prostitutes and booze. Will
someone accompany the money to Africa to make sure it is spent on
the sewing machines?
A. [Meredith] The women, too, were quite
concerned that the funds be protected. Sylvia is co-pastor of Glory
Church, and will receive the funds for the women. The group proposed
that the funds for the project, and any profits they make, be held
in trust for the women through Glory Church. That way the entire
group of women can disperse the funds to themselves, or one of their
number as needed, without fear of extortion. After spending most of
the summer with these women, I developed a deep appreciation for the
integrity and honesty of several of the groups' leaders: Sally,
Caroline, Sylvia and Ruth.
A.[Cathy]: Sylvia is a single woman, an
elementary school teacher in the Abossi area and a co-pastor at the
church that is in the series of churches that we are working with in
Kenya. She is totally reliable as a contact person. Her heart is for
the people...in fact, she is not of this tribe, but moved there to
teach and minister. We have known her for the past 3 years and can
personally vouch for her integrity. At this point I am planning to
return to Kenya in June and stay for three months. I have no fear
that Sylvia will misuse the money. We hope to establish a system
within the church structure to safeguard the money for the women.
All this needs to be worked out. Our efforts in this area have been
to get more and more people involved in the church so that a
standard of righteousness can be maintained.
Q. Can you tell me what sewing machine you plan
to purchase and how you plan to transport the machines and material
A. [Cathy]: The major brand of sewing
machine that we saw in Kenya was Singer. There may be others. These
machines are available for purchase in Kericho, a small city about 3
hours from Abossi.
Q. What is the price of the machines and how
many do you plan to send?
A. See PROPOSAL
Q. Will the machines will be safe after arriving
A. [Cathy]: Our experience with this group
of people has been that commitment and activity happens when
we arrive to orchestrate things. I plan to oversee the purchase and
delivery of the machines. My idea is that they will build a small
structure to house the machines and we will be there to see that
something has been done to secure them. . . . Abossi is largely an
extension of one large family. Joshua, the patriarch became a
Christian in the '60s and has spent his life bringing in people and
resources to make that happen. He contributed his own funds to build
a church and has overseen the pastors. He is a true shepherd
to his people. This sewing project is the outcome of this same
vision. We have his backing and support within the context of their
Q. Will they be protected from being stolen and
sold on the black market?
A. We will take necessary precautions to
secure the project. While the women are the primary beneficiaries it
is our hope that the community be uplifted as well. Plans for the
future include starting bee-keeping and honey production. Our
thinking is that the men would add this on in addition to their
animal husbandry and milk production.
Meredith Tenney or
Raised = $7,995
Here is the latest news from Cathy Harrell: "We are in the
countdown to leaving on June 30th. We will be working in the Abossi
area to implement the program during the last 2 weeks in July. We
hope to have some photos to send to Mer during that time. . . . In
the meantime we have been researching microlending, microfinance and
the like. We are aware of some of the problems and pitfalls, but I
have confidence we will succeed in this project. . . . The "extra"
money will go toward delivery costs, possible building and/or
setting up the banking part."
Meredith Tenney's UPDATE 7-20-05
Dear Women supporters of the Sewing Machine Project;
Thank you all for making this project possible! Rosa Parks sat at
the back of the bus until her courage and integrity led her to
bravely step out and demand social justice and equality for her
people. In doing so, she created a new and better life for everyone.
Aided by the generous assistance of many women, we banded together
this year to step out to empower and uplift our African sisters
through the Kenyan Sewing Machine project. Such is the heart of the
women, that we raised $1,000. more than the Kenyans proposed! Cathy
Harrell returned to Kenya last month with the $8,000 raised, and
writes that the Kenyan women are so excited about the project that,
although none own vehicles, 15 of them made the long 4 hour trip
from Abossi to Litein to greet her on her arrival.
Women who helped make the Sewing Machine project a reality come
from many parts of the country and many walks of life. Contributions
came from the pastor of a black church in southern California, the
Female Charitable Society in New Hampshire, the Association for
Light and Life, Urantia Book readers, new agers, missionaries, and
non church affiliated women who wanted to help their African
sisters. Even some of our brothers helped out! Our beliefs and
practices vary, but we are united in our commitment to serve. In
stepping out to act, we created a new identity for ourselves as well
as the Kenyan women. We became leaders in building spiritual
community. Women reaching out to empower other women can change the
world, and together, we will strengthen each other in our resolve to
portray divine love in action.
The first national Womens Corps meeting will be held at IC '05,
an international conference in Philadelphia on Monday evening,
August 1 at 7:00pm. All women are welcome! If any of you will be in
Philadelphia, watch for posters at the conference for further
information on time and location. Contact the email address below
for directions if you would like to attend. At the meeting, we women
will speak our dreams and visions of the role we can play in these
changing times. The love, nurturance, and gentle strength feminine
leaders can offer is so needed! When we declare our intentions, we
take the first step to creating a new reality for ourselves and
others. Cathy Harrell hopes to be able to send an update on the
unfolding of the Sewing Machine project in Kenya, and Sue Tennant of
Flesherton, Ontario, will give a presentation about Free Schools, a
wonderful new project we women can take on empowering young girls in
India and Thailand with an education.
Any woman is welcome to join us! Please come and help us build
international spiritual community by reaching out to other women in
service. If you will not be able to attend our meeting, feel free to
email your thoughts and ideas to
and we will share them with the group.
If not us, who?
If not now, when?
Update from Cathy Harrell in Litein,
Kenya -- 7-20-05
GREETINGS to all who contributed to the
Abossi Women’s Sewing Project and to those who have expressed an
interest in this project!
We have seen the mighty spirit of God move this weekend as the
project was birthed.
Several years ago when we came it was the prayer
of Joshua that in addition to the spiritual nourishment that we were
providing that we help to bring economic development. When Mer
Tenney, a friend and nurse midwife traveled with us, she was an eye
witness to the problems that women face in this rural part of Kenya.
Her heart was moved to ask the women what would help. Their answer
was sewing machines that could help start a cottage industry. Most
of you know this story.
Sylvia Tanui, a primary school teacher is heading
this project. She came into this area with a purpose from God. Four
years ago she wasn’t sure what it was. Now it’s clear that her heart
is to uplift the women of this area. Two years ago she stated that
conception had taken place and we were now pregnant with a vision
This past weekend the Litein Church leaders and
ourselves traveled to Abossi to launch the project. We arrived
Friday afternoon and were greeted by the women on the road.
Excitement was oozing from every pore. We made our way up to the
missionary house to pay respect to Joshua, the chief of this area.
There is a protocol you must follow and you can’t skip one step or
you risk insulting the cultural traditions. Joshua, a Kipsigi, is in
his 70’s; tall and stately, commanding respect and reverence.
According to former tribal ways, he has 4 wives and about 41
children. They mostly live in the area. He is the one that built the
church on his land and the missionary, western style house that we
stay in when we come.
After formal greetings from him, the local pastors
and elders of the community and greetings by us from Litein and
America, we walked down the hill and up the hill to the church. The
women had gathered by then to greet us in their tribal tradition.
They had bunches of carnations that they presented to us and begin
to sing and dance a welcome song. They sang and backed all the way
to the church. It was a royal welcome.
Over the weekend we had two important meetings.
The first one was greeting us and preparing for the larger one where
representatives from Litein, Abossi and Gelegele ( a nearby village)
came to hear the proposal, select a committee and make a call for
leaders. All in all there were about 40 people.
What happened the next day proved to me that this
group of people were capable of working through conflict,
misunderstanding and gender differences. Since I’ve been here the
project is being refined and defined for the leaders. At the heart
of this project was to bring a program that would empower the women.
The leadership for the project was to be in the hands of the women.
It was important to keep that on firm footing since there are other
forces constantly pulling away the power and control. We struggled
with the conflicting ideas that this should be a church project or
The next morning all the leaders assembled and we
prayed in the spirit. I left confident that God would be the head of
this project and that we were of one mind. All the way to the church
different groups talked and negociated and by the time we reached
the assembled women we were of one mind. Communication is always a
problem when beginning a project with this much scope and it seemed
at one point we would run aground. But, eventually the social
machine did work and we were able to come to a consensus about how
the project would be organized, it's mission and who it was to
As I watched the leadership work out the problems
I became convinced that this project would be successful. I think
there is spiritual depth in some of the leaders and administrative
experience with others. There is a hunger for change in this area.
It is so off the beaten path, physically and politically.
Electricity is just a few km away, but it could be years before they
get enough money and political pull to bring it to the church and
Each of the leaders spoke and encouraged the
women, confirmed that it was their project and that the decision
making would be their, with men as advisors only. At the end I stood
and spoke about the process I had just witnessed and applauded them
on their ability to work through the communication difficulties. I
then charged them to take good care of the "infant" and be true to
their word. We know from experience that groups can come together
with vision and enthusiasm, but as the project and work load unfolds
fewer and fewer people show up to help. I encouraged them to look
beyond the differences in our respective cultures and to look to the
Bible for the model of behavior and values that would make the
project successful. That is what we have in common and that is what
Jesus is calling us to. Love one another, be patient, be steadfast,
forgiving, kind and persevere. I said some hard things, but in the
end I received compliments on standing on righteousness. Power and
money corrupt people, even spiritual power. But, if we humble
ourselves before God he will raise us up.
By Monday morning they had elected a committee to
oversee the project under the spiritual and legal covering of Glory
Church, Kenya. We had talked at length about a building to house the
sewing machines in and it's clear that more funds will be needed to
properly house them. They are getting construction estimates and
will inform us soon. Some short term structure may be built in the
meantime. Joshua is going to deed over property to the church and to
this project. Hopefully we will see this done before we leave.
As we walked around the area after church on
Sunday I witnessed again the hardships that these women face day in
and day out. Their work is never ending. They haul water from a
stream in the valley up the mountainside, plant and harvest the
crops, birth and raise the children, do all the cooking, cleaning
and clothes washing. One of the local pastors told me that he has
been helping his wife with chopping wood and had been criticized by
the men. We discussed how social change is slow to come, but that
eventually the younger generations will do things differently. In
the end, real progress will come when they have electricity and
running water...safe drinking water. In the meantime, my heart
breaks to see people sick, hopeless and living at a subsistence
level. For those who traveled or been on mission they know that this
is more common than not world wide.
On Sunday I preached about Caleb in Numbers 13 and
14. We ministered the spirit of Caleb and of course talked about how
Jesus puts his spirit in us to recreate us with heavenly, world
overcoming values and strengths. We had a wonderful day praying over
people and bringing more Light into a troubled world. We give all
the glory to Jesus and our wonderful heavenly Father.
Bless you all who contributed to this project and
to those who feel led to give into it in the future. We'll keep you
updated as it unfolds.
In His name,
Update from Cathy Harrell,
Click here for the original PDF version with illustrations
Click here for the PDF version with illustrations
Update from Annie Bowman/Cathy Harrell
Annie Bowman: Just
before leaving Africa, things changed by no action
of our own, rather by the Abossi Tribal Leader's
frustrations. It seems that his many wives and
daughters were quite jealous of the attention
and perceived power that the women of the sewing
project were getting. He (the tribal leader)
put an end to the sewing project by frightening the
women involved, removing the sewing machines and
taking away the access to the facility that housed
the program. Therefore, as of now, the sewing
project is closed until further notice.
It's true that the Abossi Tribal Leader took some
actions just before we left. He removed the sewing
program from the church building and they had to
return to the small building where it was originally
housed. He does seem to try to get his agenda across
by intimidation and his traditional power. He did
this just before we left Kenya and were not able to
meet with him about these actions.
In light of this
situation and several other problems, Sylvia Tanui,
Rev. Stanley Melek and Ron and I decided to propose
an end to the sewing school as we know it. At the
end of the term in November and December the Abossi
Women's Corp will meet, hold elections and make some
important decisions about the way forward. It is and
always has been their project with Western input,
capital and advice. The US Women's Corp had been
waiting for our input before deciding to go forward
with any kind of future support. From the beginning,
the initial fund raising was designed to be a one
time capital investment of $8,000. The program was
supposed to be self sustaining. There is and was the
potential for that to happen. Internal tribal
politics has threatened its survival.
Our advice to the U.S.
Women's Corp was not to put any more money into the
program. At the end of this school term, decisions
will be made by them about how to proceed forward.
We gave the Kenyans our advice and $385 to keep the
program going until the end of the term. We
recommended to them to disburse the machines to
groups of five women that had been formed for the
micro finance teams. In this way each group of women
had a machine to use either for training,
production, or they could sell it.
But, they may decide
. . .
Update from Meredith Tenney, March 26, 2008
sad to realize that so few people know the wonderful story
of the sewing machine project. Although I am not familiar
with all that has transpired in the last few months, a year
ago the project was a marvelous success and an inspiring
demonstration of Mother Spirit in action. When women from
around the world unite in loving service to each other,
amazing things happen, and if the whole story was told, I
believe it would uplift hearts and encourage others to step
out in service.
Kenyan women received their sewing machines they decided to
create a sewing school. They wisely reflected on the old
saying, "Give a man a fish and he will have dinner, teach
him how to fish and he'll eat for life". They wanted the
young women in their community to learn to sew, and to be
given the opportunity to earn a livlihood for themselves!
They hired qualified teachers to offer instruction in
tailoring, purchased cloth, hired a night watchman to guard
over their precious sewing machines in the church at night,
and enrolled 24 students in the new sewing school. Twenty
two were young women and 2 were young men.
charged a tuition of $12 a month. A number of students could
not afford to pay but Sylvia could not bear to turn them
away, so she made them 'scholarship students' and they
attended for free. The sewing course was 10 months long, and
covered pattern making, dress construction, tailoring and
sweater making. On finishing the course, the students who
could read and write signed up to take the Kenyan national
certifying exam for tailors, and every single one passed
with flying colors!
first Sewing School graduation ceremony was planned for
November 19th, 2006, and Cathy Harrell and I were invited to
attend. We accepted with delight, eager to return to Kenya
and see how the project was developing. Although we hoped
for good fruits from our efforts, what we found surpassed
our wildest dreams.
sewing school graduation ceremony was an unforgettable
experience. Amazingly, nearly 1000 Africans attended. We
discovered Kenyan parents yearn for their children to have
an opportunity to go on in school, and every parent, family
member and relative was at the ceremony to cheer the
students on! The ceremony was held at the church in Abossi,
and people crammed into every square inch of space, peered
in windows, and stood in lines outside because there was no
more room. When the procession began, the proud graduates
marched into the church to an African drum beat, dressed in
navy and white uniforms they had sewn themselves. The
presence of Spirit filled the place and it was truly a
young students danced and sang a song, "We are so grateful,
we are so hopeful!", and presented Cathy and me with
traditional Masai dresses they had sewn for us. The older
women of the Kenyan Women's Corps also sang songs of
gratitude and welcome. Cathy and I could not stop weeping
tears of joy. Multiple dignitaries spoke including the head
of the Interfaith Council of Churches in western Kenya. It's
as though the news of the hard work of the women and the
success of the Sewing School had spread far and wide.
tribal chief and the Pastors of Glory Church presented Ron
Harrell and I with 'Talking Sticks', a token of leadership
traditionally presented to males. I was informed that my
'Talking Stick' was to be given to my husband at home, but I
smiled inwardly recognizing that the gift was in part an
acknowledgement of the leadership role the women had played.
Cathy and I presented a digital camera to Sylvia Tanui, the
inspirational leader of the Kenyan Women's Corps, and asked
her to document events at the Sewing School with pictures.
Such a gift is an unknown luxury in rural Africa, and she
was deeply pleased.
wanted to see the new graduates receive their Graduation
Certificates so the program was moved outside so that the
whole multitude could watch. The scene of the assembled
crowd on the grassy hillside was reminiscent of the
gathering for the Sermon on the Mount. Families clapped and
cheered as each student came up to receive their
certificate, and smiles were on every face. Prayers were
offered for the success of the students. Carolyn, the
pastors' wife, had made a rare treat -- two cakes for the
graduation celebration. Each cake was cut into hundreds of
bite sized morsels, and like the loaves and fishes, somehow
there was enough for everyone to get a taste! Although this
miraculous day had to come to an end, I know I will never
forget the goodwill that saturated the gathering and filled
every heart with hope. We may have been black and white,
African and American, male and female, Glory Church and
Urantian, but for that moment in time we were all one.
led by Mother to resign from the Women's Corps Board last
spring and do not know what has occurred in Kenya in the
last six months. If it is true that members of the Abossi
community felt the women of the sewing machine project had
become too powerful, then my heart is glad at our success in
empowering the women. Truth can not be held back forever,
and I believe Mother Sprit will continue to lead my Kenyan
women friends to new and higher levels of service and
self-actualization. Someday soon, women from around the
world will link arms in a global sisterhood and step up to
their rightful place as equal partners in the march towards
light and life.
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