Joanne Ellison Speaks at Anglican Women’s Annual Gathering

Anglican Women's Gathering

More than 160 women from throughout the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina joined with guests from the Diocese of the Carolinas and the Reformed Episcopal Church for the Annual Gathering of Anglican Women hosted by Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant, April 24, 2021. The Rev. Joyce Harder, who serves as a Deacon at the church, welcome the group.  Diocesan women’s president, Patricia Smith presided.

With the theme” Faith Moving Forward,” keynote speaker, Joanne Ellison, challenged listeners to cast aside troubles of the past and press on in the power of the Holy Spirit, establishing God’s truth, opposing evil, and spreading the love of Christ, assured by His victorious power.

“It is time for the church to wake up, rise up, and grow up in His Word,” said Ellison. “We need to face the music. The church is weary. I see churches are filled with people who are worn out from trying to bring the gospel to a hostile world. We are exhausted in our jobs and relationships. Our hearts, once pumping strong, have flat lined.”

“As the keynote speaker she had all of us sitting on the edge of our seats, listening, and thinking,” said Cathy Strite of St. Paul’s, Conway. “Her message was engaging, uplifting but unlike a typical motivational speaker she called us to action, to shed yesterday’s regrets, drop any baggage, unclutter your life, focus on God and move forward with Jesus at your side while the Holy Spirit guides you…

“The icing on the cake, was to be reminded of the strength and faith of women in the Bible, such as the women who stayed with Jesus to His death, the women who were the first to come to the tomb and the first to see Jesus resurrected. Women of faith can serve God and live in this ridiculously busy time and make change happen.”

Outstanding project reports detailed contributions from the Praise and Glory fund to St. Alban’s Chapel at the Citadel and the supplying of Bibles in Spanish to congregations in need through gifts to the Diocesan Periodical Club. In videos, the Rev. Rob Sturdy and the Rev. David Dubay expressed thanks.

Outgoing president, Patricia Smith addressed the group, thanking all who support women’s ministries and sharing words of grace.

Allison Lawrence, the wife of our Bishop, spoke with deep feeling, expressing her love and thanks for blessings in the midst of travel on a difficult road. “Stay strong,” she said. “You have what the world so desperately needs – Christ! He knows the way!”

Throughout the day, uplifting, worship music was provided by Chelsea Lawrence Hamshaw and her niece Sarah Lawrence.

Bishop Mark Lawrence again delivered a powerful message on the nature of faith – salvation  and also continuing growth in the midst of difficulties. He urged women to “Reach out for the Promise! Live as the Bride of Christ!”

The Bishop installed new board members, including President Sunny Walker and six leaders. Patricia Smith presented the president’s cross and gavel to Sunny Walker who addressed the group and urged the representatives to follow the board’s recommendation and select support of St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center as this year’s project. A motion was made, seconded, and carried unanimously. She also encouraged everyone to come to the Women’s Retreat, October 1-3. She then presented a gift to the out-going president. With music and benediction, the meeting was adjourned.

Videos of the entire gathering may be found on the Diocese’s Facebook Page,


Article submitted by Catherine Jones, St. Philip’s Church, Charleston

Anglican Women’s Gathering 2021