In April, I was privileged to attend the UnitingWomen conference in Adelaide. It was an amazing gathering of 400 women who are engaged and inspired to live out their faith with love, towards healing, justice and a better world. We heard from speakers who have overcome child abuse, domestic violence and female genital mutilation, as well as women in leadership creating gender equality in the Pacific. Mother and daughter, Denise and Candace Champion, shared their success stories of mentorship in the church and community, and a range of workshops encouraged us to engage in our own interests and pursuits. Plus, we heard from amazing women leaders amongst the Uniting Church network including Penny Wong, Rev Elenie Poulos and Julie McCrossin.
In one of my elective workshops, I learnt about values-based living, as opposed to goal-based living, and was able to reflect on my own journey and where I want it to take me.
In another workshop, I spent an afternoon sitting on the grass in the sun basket weaving with women from Mapuru, in Arnhem Land. After an intense couple of days it was a much needed break for some crafty timeout with new faces.
I left UnitingWomen with lots of swirling thoughts in my head about what I might be able to do to contribute to a better world – not just for women, but for all of us.
About a week after returning from UnitingWomen, my brother, Shane, asked me to join with him in Act for Peace’s Ration Challenge. The week of 19–25 June, we’ll be eating the same rations that a Syrian refugee in Jordan receives. We’ve already received our packs and I have to say, I’m a little bit daunted. It contains some rice, lentils, chickpeas, sardines, kidney beans and oil. So far, I’ve received enough sponsors that I’ve also earned some tea bags, milk powder and 170g of veggies.
If you want to sponsor me and help Syrian refugees in Jordon, who are desperate for food rations, medical treatment and various other forms of support, visit my donation page at https://actforpeace.rationchallenge.org.au/fundraisers/heatherdowling.