This Lent we are sharing stories from around the world celebrating the women in our lives who have inspired us.
Today’s story comes from Anne Browse. Anne is currently President of Methodist Women in Britain. She worked for 34 years as a teacher of French and German in a Devon comprehensive school and was Deputy Head when she left in July 2014. She is a Methodist Local Preacher and worships at Halberton Methodist Church, near Tiverton. Anne shares why Bishop Rosemarie Wenner is her inspirational woman:
There have been many inspirational women in my life who have encouraged me to set my sights high. Among these were my teachers, in particular those who inspired me with a love of languages.
In June 2015, as part of my role as President of Methodist Women in Britain, I was privileged to spend three weeks visiting the Methodist Church in Germany, hosted by Bishop Rosemarie Wenner.
Many women inspired me during that visit, including the Methodist deaconesses of two orders – Bethesda in Wuppertal and Martha-Maria in Nuremberg – who devote themselves to each other and to the communities they serve, offering help and hope especially to the migrant population and to asylum seekers.
Bishop Rosemarie impressed me in many ways. At Frankfurt airport she took my heavy suitcase as we headed across the city to my hotel. She gave up that evening to show me hospitality as we shared a meal together in the historic old town. Later in my visit I would sit with her in the open air, sharing a communal meal with hundreds of young people at the national German Methodist youth gathering, afterwards washing up our picnic plates and mugs together.
I observed her performing the sorts of tasks that you would expect of a bishop – preaching, administering communion, leading Bible studies, chairing meetings. I also watched her tirelessly seeking out her ‘flock’ at various conferences and events, showing sensitive pastoral care for them and taking a genuine interest in their lives.
I have been humbled to read over recent months of her ongoing concern and campaigning for migrants and refugees and am grateful to have formed a link with the German church through her. As an influential Christian leader she has inspired me by her grace, her humility and her friendship.
We invite you and your church to celebrate the women in your lives who inspire you in support of the many who are often overlooked. Our free worship resource pack will enable you to hold a service focused on celebrating inspirational women. It also gives your congregation the opportunity to reflect on and pray for the challenging situations many women across the world face, and enables them to give gifts inspired by the women in their own lives.