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In the spring of 2007 the Florida W & R District hosted an inspiring conference called Healing and Changing Our World.  Younger women from the UU of Clearwater Florida were so stimulated by the power of our W & R circle they were aroused to action.  A few of these women took the helm and offered to help plan the next retreat. One of these women was Jenn Davis. 

Many of us were involved with Jenn in planning our last retreat in the fall, 2007.  The theme was about working toward both personal and global Peace. During this retreat Jennifer Davis and Andrea Pisanello offered to co-chair the district. 

In reflection the memories of the peace rituals and healing space we created have become even more sacred after the events of Dec., 14th.  On that day the Florida district lost both our co-chairs Jenn and Andrea to domestic violence.  Jenn’s two children aged 2 and 4 were killed as well.

While trying to find a focus for my grief and a way to bring order out of madness a thought came to me that perhaps I could find hope and a sense of purpose by working with women nationwide to “weave” together all our expressions about domestic violence and our need to continue working on female empowerment issues.  The result would be a large art piece; one that could travel and hang in congregations nationwide.  Personally I very much needed to process the deaths of our friends and the children and for me that needed to come in some creative form.

The call was put forth and about 50 people responded in Florida and beyond.  Women from W & R circles in Rhode Island, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Florida and California sent fabric pieces that were placed into the final project in Clearwater.

I would like to thank all those who organized the circles, gathered the materials, sent cards, words of love and encouragement and made sure to send the finished pieces in time for them to be placed on the final collage.  Special thanks to Dotti Doyle, Karen Frank, Savanna Pendergraft, and Diana Fraser for helping finish the final piece on a very long rainy Sunday afternoon.  Blessed Be!

 

Last updated on March 12, 2008

Dear Sisters of Florida,

 

As the leadership of our organization is once again in flux it appears that we must consider our options and all of us must decide if we can help perpetuate Florida W & R. I know you all understand how vitally important this organization is to our young woman and children. It’s made amazing changes in all our lives and I’d hate to see it disappear due to lack of structure. It seems to me that our organization has been going through difficult times for the last few years. After much consternation and effort we found another spiritual home; which was quite difficult and though wonderful still doesn’t meet all our needs. In the past two- three years we’ve lost contact with the national organization and have had difficulty with maintaining “communicators”– woman who represent different parts of the state, help to make decisions for the group and communicated our activities to regional churches. As a result our organization lacks structure and appears to be weakening. I’ve been no help in this area. My energies have been focused on maintaining the retreat schedule. Furthermore, many newer women have little to no relationship with the national W & R organization and don’t understand the W & R history. After all of this history, many of us were very excited about the potential for Jenn and Andrea to revitalize W & R. Obviously, the largest blow for us was the loss of Andrea and Jenn last month. Jenn was very committed to building the infrastructure of Florida W & R. She had already started to build community with her last e-mail.

In light of this I’d like everyone to rethink their commitment to the continuation and strengthening our organization. Below is a list of volunteer positions.

Co-chair(s)

 

Foremost we need two new co-chairs. The co-chair position is mostly one that monitors e-mails from the national list serve, organizes at least one area communicator meeting during the year (not held during a W & R event), and writes articles for the WomanWeb quarterly newsletter, and keeps us abreast of the national news. The co-chairs also help line up other women who lead the retreats and conferences. Ideally the co-chairs do not lead the retreats they just help with facilitators when necessary.

 

Communicators

 

in the past woman from these areas have volunteered, but don’t let geography stop you.

  1. Sarasota (filled)
  2. Ocala
  3. Gainesville
  4. Clearwater
  5. St. Pete
  6. Orlando
  7. Miami
  8. Boca Raton
  9. Western Fort Lauderdale (filled)
  10. Jacksonville (maybe filled)
Communicators attend meetings, make announcements at church, and write up local events for our newsletter.

Along with our treasurer Patty and our Web Weaver Mary this means we’ll have about 12 woman around the state in the “core group”. These women help to guide the organization and make consensus decisions for the group.

 

Least I forget we still need a facilitator for the Fall Retreat Oct. 10-12. (Editor's Update: we do have someone interested in this slot, but she will need help and we will need volunteers for future events, so if you're interested, let us know.) She will need a small group of people to help her (3-6 people altogether). If anyone can volunteer to help please contact me right away at fossils@knology.net and I’ll keep a list of the volunteers and forward it to the new co-chairs. Due to health reasons I will not be available to help with leadership after March. Thanks to all of you I know you’ll step up right now and lend a hand. This group is extremely important. With just a little bit of effort we can revitalize this group that has been active in Florida for twenty years. Imagine that!!! Waiting to hear from you,

 

Susan Pendergraft, Former Chairwoman of W & R


 

Other news

 

Florida W & R has sent $500.00 to the educational fund for Andrea's daughter, Annie Pisanello. Contributions can be made in her name c/o Macdill/Grow Financial Credit Union, 10801 Starkey Rd., Suite 103, Largo, FL 33777. Her mother Megan is very grateful and would welcome any additional funds to help Annie in the future. Annie is the only child who survived that brutal night.

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