SISTERS OF BEDE
MORE ABOUT THE SISTERS
If St. Bede’s has a specialty it would be hospitality and fellowship. And if our members can be said to have special talents, excellent cooking skills would have to be counted among them. And if there is one group that is truly dedicated to promoting fellowship among our members it would be the Sisters of Bede, a group open to women parishioners of all ages, where we receive and give each other spiritual and emotional support.
At the Sisters’ monthly meetings women listen and are heard. Concerns are shared. Ideas discussed. We laugh, cry and pray together. Once a year, we organize a Women’s Retreat, led by a chosen cleric or lecturer with focus on a particular spiritual theme. The Women’s Retreat allows time for prayer, for rest, for games, and for meditation. Meals are catered by a local business or taken at a neighborhood restaurant. The Sisters also maintain a book cart of donated books to provide reading material for parishioners.
In order to facilitate the participation of women who either are working outside the home or occupied during the daytime hours with childcare and other responsibilities, the Sisters hold their meetings in the evening. The earliest evening meetings were held at Liz’ home where the Sisters joked about calling themselves “The Ladies of the Night!” We evolved from there into an active group of 23 women who meet in our parish hall and are always encouraging others to join or visit any time without commitment.
Meetings start with a delicious potluck supper and end with a spiritual reflection led by one of the Sisters. Discussions often involve the annual series of fund-raising events in which the Sisters and other members of the congregation arrange dinners and enjoyable activities open to all, including guests from outside our parish. The congregation is invited to sign up for these events at “The Party of Parties” held in October, where volunteer hosts make their presentations.
These events, as well as the annual Easter Brunch hosted by the Sisters, foster fellowship in our church community and enable us to donate annually (usually $5000 or more in total) to St. Bede’s and to our chosen charities. Among the regular recipients are the St. Bede’s 50th Fund (for needed improvements to our church facilities), the Neighborhood Youth Association (funding two scholarships for at-risk students entering or continuing in college); and The Friends of Music at St. Bede’s. There is also outreach to the broader community via such charities as Educate for Hope (a partnership between the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Jerusalem) and the Episcopal Relief and Development (Fund for Women).
Participation in the Sisters of Bede is very inspiring and meaningful to the women of our parish as exemplified in some comments by individual members:
Liz: I truly benefit from having a circle of Sisters to pray, socialize, support and connect with.
Kathy: At the time I was not much of a “joiner,” but I always felt safe and welcomed…I NEVER miss a meeting unless I’m out of town or sick. It’s just an important part of my life.
Samira: I still remember when our dear Phyllis invited me to my first SoB meeting. My initial reaction was the lovely camaraderie and the sharing we had, even though I was a “stranger.”
Stephanie: My experience has been amazing…In a word Team Leadership…wonderfully inclusive. I have laughed, cried and shared my most vulnerable moments in my life with these ladies…I was embraced in love and with loving kindness. Kudos Sisters! You Rock!
Tana: Like a beautiful bouquet of varied flowers…all different but united by love…so grateful the Sisters have coaxed me out of my shell and helped me bloom…Thank you all!