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New ACW president seeks ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas

By Stuart Mann

Enid Corbett, ODT, the new president of the diocesan Anglican Church Women, is already looking for her successor.

Ms. Corbett, who took over the reins of the organization in April, would like to see a younger woman step into the role when her term expires in 2022 – or sooner, if possible.

“I consider myself an in-between president,” she says.

Ms. Corbett’s succession plan is part of a wider effort to engage younger women in the ACW. The group has seen its membership decline and age over the past few decades and is exploring ways to reverse that.

Enid Corbett speaks at the diocesan ACW’s annual general meeting at St. Timothy, Agincourt in April. Photo by Michael Hudson

“I’ve started my own questing, asking women, how can the ACW help you grow in your spirituality and affirm your gifts and provide opportunities for you?” she says. “We’re going to need out-of-the-box ideas, and that means talking to out-of-the-box thinkers.”  

Even though its membership is smaller, the ACW is still an active and vital organization, she says. At the parish level, ACW groups and individuals provide a wide range of services, from supporting food banks and providing community lunches to looking after chancel linens and raising money for needy causes. At the diocesan level, the ACW raises awareness of social issues that affect women and children. It also provides funds to groups and individuals, including the Council of the North and women who are studying for ordination or going on mission trips.

 Ms. Corbett says the organization’s most important function is to provide support and fellowship to other women. She’s been a member of Holy Trinity, Thornhill’s ACW since 1970 and has seen countless examples of that over the years.

“When you have major life events, like the loss of a spouse or a child, having that support behind you – both the spiritual and emotional support – makes a big difference,” she says. “The ACW also gives you a core group with whom to do your Christian service. You’re not alone.”

As president of the diocesan ACW, Ms. Corbett will chair its board meetings, represent the board when requested at parish ACW events and represent the ACW at Diocesan Council and Synod. She will also liaise with the presidents of other diocesan ACWs in Canada and attend the annual national conference.

She brings a lot of experience to the position. She joined the diocesan ACW’s finance committee in 1997 and served two terms as the organization’s treasurer. She is currently a diocesan volunteer, helping churches with their finances. She was a member of the diocese’s treasury board and sits on Wycliffe College’s finance committee. In her parish, she has been a churchwarden and is chair of the cemetery committee.

She succeeds Anita Gittens, ODT, who served as diocesan ACW president for 11 years. She says Ms. Gittens’s leadership was inspiring. “Anita was knowledgeable, compassionate and a good shepherd,” she says. “She was very kind when sharing her knowledge and put in many hours late at night to keep on top of things. We are thankful and privileged that she guided us for so many years. Her leadership will be missed.”