• "...to bring good news to the poor... proclaim release to the captives... let the oppressed go free..."
  • (Luke 4:18-19)
  • MISSION FOCUS:

    2022 Mission Focus: Real Acceptance

    ne clear thing, each of us desires Real Acceptance in our families and communities. We are deeply aware of how we experience Real Acceptance, and many of us shared how we feel when we are in a place of Real Acceptance. Some called it home, and some said it is a place where I feel valued and where my voice matters, and it is where I can speak freely and not be judged. Some said I am accepted as I am. When we seek Real Acceptance, we are looking for gatherings and connections that allow us to be transparent, vulnerable, and honest, all these essential qualities in a sisterhood. When ABWM's region and state presidents (ABWM board) selected the mission theme of Real Acceptance, they were striving to encourage a true sisterhood of equity, respect, genuine care, and love acknowledging that Real Acceptance is a common goal for all of us and basic human need. Moreover, Real Acceptance can be prayerfully and intentionally evidenced in ministry through our programming and budget. Here are some of the questions;
     
    1. Have we included all the voices in the room?
    2. Have we invited all women in our church and community to join us in planning, organizing, and leading?
    3. Who have we invited to join us?
    4. How are we reaching out to women, young adult women, and girls?
    5. How are we using the core values of ABWM to spread real Acceptance and expand our sisterhood?
    6. How is our programming helping us engage women and be an intentionally inclusive sisterhood?
    7. Do our financial resources, time, and talent incorporate real Acceptance as a standard and goal?
     
    The national staff asked AB women in various settings, including, What's UP ABWM gatherings, to tell us how they defined Real Acceptance. Throughout the country, AB women used the following keywords and ideas as needed in abundance and in all circumstances for Real Acceptance.
    Real Acceptance is:
    • Inclusive
    • Kindness
    • Caring for everyone and not making some feel like outsiders
    • Intentional in your thoughts and deeds
    • Not Judging
    • Accepting of all
    • Judge Free Zone
    • Empathy
    • Not patronizing
    • Listening to others without judging
    • Being accepted without an agenda
    • People reaching out just because
    • You are yourself without fear of doing or saying something wrong.
    • Okay, to express views when they are different than the group you are with.
    • Important to listen to everyone's story; they're all different.
    • Being who you are and being included in the moment. Not because someone found out your title or a position you hold, but just for being you.
    • Intentional: Think about why you participate in ABWM and the ways you feel ABWM is important to you and try to make it possible for others to feel this way
     
    Real Acceptance is evidenced by:
    ¨      Appreciation: Affirming behavior that recognizes that each of us is made in the image of God, not in the image of each other; appreciating God's handiwork in each of us and inviting new people to lead and to have an active role in programming. Review often to ensure ABWM's mission, vision, and purpose are included.
    ¨      Hospitality: Let everyone and anyone know that ABWM is not an exclusive club. All are invited. Therefore, we must reach out and invite others. Call church leaders, share flyers, send emails to those that are not participating, and invite them to plan and participate. Visit local colleges and schools. Please get to know each other: Allow time for people to introduce themselves, and share stories/traditions. so that we can get to know each other. 
    ¨      Affirmation: Encouraging new people to lead without the expectation that they will do things the same way.
    ¨      Welcoming: Recognizing God's giftedness in women and girls and equally that these kingdom-building gifts are needed and welcomed in ABWM locally, regionally, and nationally.
    ¨      Volunteering: Everyone is our neighbor. AB women should engage with many types of people, and we must be careful not to look down on anyone. God sees us and knows our hearts, so we must try to see the whole person; treat everyone we encounter with dignity and respect. When we volunteer, we are serving God and representing ABWM.
     
     
    Scriptures
    • John 13:34, NIV
      A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
    • Mark 12:31, NIV
      The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
    • 1 Peter 3:8, NLT
      Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters.[a] Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.
    • Ephesians 4:31-32, NLT
      Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
    • Hebrews 12:14, NASB
      Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
    • Acts 4:32, NASB
      And the [a]congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them [b]claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.
    • Psalm 133:1, NRSV
      How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
    • Colossians 1:9, KJV
      For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:10, Amplified Bible
      who died [willingly] for us, so that whether we are awake (alive) or asleep (dead) [at Christ's appearing], we will live together with Him [sharing eternal life].
     
     
    Biblical Stories of Real Acceptance:
    Esther's attendants accepted the seriousness of Esther's concerns and assumed they were part of the solution. Esther also needed their help and assumed that they were part of the solution. The women exhibit affirmation, respect, transparency, agency, inclusiveness, and sisterhood. They did not allow ethnic, cultural, and social status to separate them from sharing love, a common goal, and a collective solution. They fasted and prayed together for 3 days honoring God and showing respect and value to each other. Their actions (their ministry) show Acceptance, support, and affirmation; real Acceptance. (Esther 4)
     
    Jonathan, King Solomon's heir to the throne, values David so much that he gives up his throne to him. He yielded power, image, prestige, and authority to David. He set aside leadership for the sake of the community. Jonathan chose love and sacrifice over succession and leadership. He shows an aspect of leadership seldom celebrated; stepping down or aside for the greater good of a community, a ministry, and an event. His actions evidenced vulnerability, affirmation, empathy, and inclusiveness. (I Samuel 18)

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