Dear Ecclesia of Women in Asia,

Greetings from Malaysia.

We have just concluded EWA IV with the theme, ‘Practising Peace: Towards an Asian Feminist Theology of Liberation’ at the Salesian Retreat House, Hua Hin, Thailand, 26-29 August 2009. As the former Coordinator of EWA (2007-2009), I wish to convey my heartfelt appreciation to the outgoing Coordinating Team comprising: Andrea Si Lizares (Secretary and Webmistress) , Astrid Lobo Gajiwala (Treasurer), Antoinette a.k.a. Nonie Gutzler (East Asian Coordinator) and consultants, Evelyn Monteiro, Virginia Saldanha and Annette Meuthrath. We have journeyed for the past 18 months since EWA III at Colombo, Sri Lanka, through times of joy and sadness, conflict and reconciliation in planning and bringing to fruition, the 4th Biennial Conference of EWA.

At EWA IV, three main tasks were accomplished: the Sophia-filled academic forum with the cultural evening and dialogue with the Venerable Dhamananda as its highlights; the launch of EWA’s third publication edited by Pushpa Joseph and I, titled, Re-imagining Marriage and Family in Asia: Asian Christian Women’s Perspectives (2008) and the ratification of EWA’s Constitution (at the business meeting by active members of EWA). The last marks a historical moment in EWA’s narrative of becoming.

Our heartfelt appreciation to: the local committee comprising Sr Mary Walter, Kanika, Sr Francis Xavier, Sr Bon and the staff of the Salesian Retreat House that made our stay so comfortable and nourished us in more ways than one. Along with past country hosts of EWA, they are a tough act to follow!

To the paper presenters: Judette Gallares, Sophia Bodegon and Maggie Gonzalves (panel I); Agnes Brazal, Sharon A Bong and Gemma Cruz (panel II); Marini Delivera, Augustine Murniati or Nunuk, Shalini Mulackal and Ushani (panel III); and Metti, Andrea Si Lizares, Rosaline Costa and Theresa Yih-Lan Tsou (panel IV) and Intan (presentation of her quilt)–you have given us rich insights in engaging with lived realities of marginalised groups. And TO ALL who participated in small (buzz) and large group discussions, your critical enquiries will translate into forward-looking strategies for EWA as we journey ahead.

A special word of thanks to Nonie whose Sophia-filled charisma held the programme together with such warmth and wisdom and to Evelyn and Sharon who moderated the academic panels and ensuing discussions.

To the rapporteurs and photographers, you have contributed to important documentation of the process of EWA. The outgoing CT built in much time for reflection and discussion (based on EWA III feedback) and from the EWA IV evaluation feedback, we are pleased to note that almost all were highly satisfied with this pedagogical approach.

EWA IV would not be complete without the spiritual nourishment of liturgies, prayers, meditational movements and energisers and for this, we thank Sophia, Intan, Metti and others who formed the liturgical sub-committee and Fr Smith who was celebrant at the closing mass.

Thank you Gemma for accepting our invitation to write the news report for EWA. All those who took photographs (my camera decided to call it a day after the first day) that capture more than words, the warm memories of EWA IV, kindly contact Virginia so that we may complement Gemma’s news feature with selected photos (Virginia is contacted at: fabclaity@gmail. com).

To Agnes and Annette in facilitating the fine-tuning of the Constitution and Bye-Laws (CBL) and the entire outgoing CT for your invaluable input and to the active members who ratified the CBL. We are continuing EWA’s mission and vision in formalising EWA.

To the Election Committee comprising Gemma and Annette for the smooth elections, thank you.

This brings me to my final ‘duty’ as the former Coordinator of EWA. It is my great pleasure to introduce to you EWA’s new Coordinating Team, comprising:

* Judette Gallares, the Philippines (Coordinator)
* Astrid Lobo-Gajiwala, India (Assistant Coordinator)
* Marini Delivera, Sri Lanka (Secretary)
* Intan Darmawati, Indonesia (Treasurer)
* Virginia Saldanha, India (Webmistress)
* Antoinette Gutzler, Taiwan (consultant)
* Consultant no. 2 (to be confirmed)
* Sharon A Bong, Malaysia (ex-officio member as outgoing Coordinator)

And the supporting team of the CT: co-editors of EWA’s fourth publication: Astrid Lobo-Gajiwala and Judette Gallares.

I now gratefully take my leave and we entrust EWA V to the new CT. Till we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of Her hands…
God blesses,
former Coordinator of EWA

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