In 1972, the General Conference launched the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women to help the denomination to identify and address gender inequity at all levels of church life. Many changes have taken place in the forty-two years since. We have come to acknowledge that we are all a part of God’s Creation and that each has a role to play in kingdom building. Today, we acknowledge that God calls women to advocacy and to making disciples. To that end, women play a vital role in the life of the church. One of the goals on the North Alabama Conference COSROW is to share the exciting news of work and leadership of clergy and lay women in the conference. One of the ways COSROW has determined to inform and sensitize members at the conference level regarding the work of clergy and lay women is to highlight the ministry work of women in the districts within the conference. We begin our spotlight by highlighting the continued work of the 2013 Louise Branscomb Award recipient, Reverend Suzanne Katschke.
Since receiving the 2013 Louise Branscomb Barrier Breaker Award at Annual Conference, Rev. Katschke has been hard at work promoting the work of Christ in the Harvest and Madison areas of the conference. After receiving a $1 million FEMA grant to build a 500-person storm shelter in the tornado-ravished Harvest community, she received a supplemental $120,000 grant from the state to help cover the $250,000 matching funds needed before the completion of the shelter. Plans are underway to construct the Harvest storm shelter. The opening ceremony for the shelter is anticipated in the fall of this year.
Rev. Katschke and her co-pastor and husband, Rev. Michael Katschke, along with CrossWinds members, spent most of the summer launching a second campus of CrossWinds Church in the Madison area. After a summer of building renovations, advertising community events, and neighborhood evangelism, the church held its Launch Service on September 8, 2013. CrossWinds @ Madison is now a lively and growing campus of CrossWinds UMC and is already participating in mission with the opening of its own food bank and the creation of a backpack ministry at James Clemons High School. At present, both churches serve a combined total of 205 backpack meals per week at two local schools.
Reverend Katschke organized and provided oversight for the Christmas Stars project, providing Christmas gifts to more than 100 children in the Harvest and Madison areas. She also led the effort to organize a makeover and family picture night for the mothers and children of the Downtown Rescue in Huntsville.
Nominations are currently being taken for the 2014 Louise Branscomb Barrier Breaker Award. The nomination deadline i April 8, 2014. To present a nomination for consideration, click here.