Christ's message was about inclusion and acceptance. A woman who wants a closer relationship with god doesn’t need to be anything more (or less) than she is right now. She doesn’t need to be any different than who she is today. god’s door will always be open for her.
Like the pebble that creates ever-widening ripples in the water, so is the Christian woman whose faith and love influences her family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. She is a role model and inspires those around her to be their best.
This is a fitting description of the members of Baton Rouge Christian Women’s Connection. Its mission is to connect women with God, each other, and their communities. The group subscribes to the philosophy that Jesus’ influence in a woman’s life can help her not only bring others to Christ, but strengthen the faith of those who are already committed to Christ.
Lisa Russell has served as chairman of BRCWC since she moved to the capital city three years ago, but she has been involved with the group for 25 years. “We welcome everyone – from young mothers to grandmothers, from single women to widows. We look for the unsaved and we try to help them grow in a relationship with Christ,” she said.
“It’s a wonderful organization to be a part of. We show the love of Jesus and share our life experiences. The ladies in BRCWC are mentors and an inspiration to me.” – Sherry Edmonston
Those women could be anywhere --- shopping at the grocery store, playing tennis at the country club, meeting with clients, or sitting in jail. They might be coping with loneliness, frustration or heartbreak. The women of BRCWC want more than anything to help those women build a path to God.
To fulfill their mission, the organization meets quarterly for a luncheon at Oak Lodge, which typically includes an inspirational speaker and a special feature (fashion show, music performance, or hobby discussion). Speakers are usually individuals who have overcome difficult challenges, such as cancer survivors, drug addicts, or victims of domestic violence. “They share their testimony with us and describe how God has helped them through the challenges or problems they faced,” Russell said.
BRCWC is affiliated with an international organization called Stonecroft Ministries, which according to its mission, meets each woman where she is and as she is. “It means that we take the gospel of Christ to each woman, wherever she is in her life,” said Russell. “Where she lives, works, plays or prays, no matter her circumstances or background.”
Stonecroft has been bringing women closer to God since 1938. Volunteers in the U.S. and in more than 40 countries use the group’s resources, training and outreach programs to share the Gospel and join each other in meaningful prayer. Members recognize that each woman makes a unique and valuable contribution to her family and community as she celebrates God in her life.
The group was founded in California by a banker named Elwood Baugh. An employee whose mother had just died asked Baugh if she would ever see her mother again. That’s when Baugh spoke with his wife, who was a devout Christian and had a passion for sharing the gospel with others. Helen Duff Baugh planned a dinner to meet the woman and invited several others from her husband’s bank. The first Stonecroft group was established, and today, has become an international ministry.
Linnie Burks has been involved with Stonecroft and BRCWC for 43 years, and has served in countless administrative roles. “It has been such a blessing in my life,” she said. “I came to the group through a Bible study at a time when I knew nothing about it and had never even read it. I learned how much God loves me personally and it really strengthened my faith. Later, as a Bible study leader, I saw women coming to the Lord and I can’t tell you how much that means to me.”
Locally, BRCWC has taken a special interest in the women of Iris House, a group that provides support to women who have suffered domestic abuse. “We invite them to our events and provide free childcare services so they can focus on the program and enjoy connecting with our members,” said Russell. “After the event, we follow up with them to invite them to our regular Bible studies or prayer coffees.”
Sherry Edmonston joined BRCWC 12 years ago and currently serves as Reservations Coordinator and Area Representative. “It’s a wonderful organization to be a part of,” she said. “We show the love of Jesus and share our life experiences. The ladies in BRCWC are mentors and an inspiration to me.”
All quarterly meetings are held at Oak Lodge, 2834 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd. and West Bricksome Avenue. The next quarterly meeting will take place Tuesday, February 13, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guest speaker is Sharon Steen of Lafayette. If you’d like to attend, register by calling Edmonston at (225) 362-3588. Cost is $25 per person.
For more information, email Sherry316@cox.net, visit the website at batonrougecwc.org, or visit BRCWC’s Facebook page.
BRCWC Bible studies are open to everyone, regardless of religious denomination. They are appropriate for growing Christians as well as women who already have a background in studying God’s word.