Episcopal Church Women

The Diocesan ECW Outreach project for 2017 is the Family Friendship Fund at Southern Illinois Healthcare. SIH is a non-profit healthcare system. In 2015 SIH had a 56.2% (and growing) market share of the seven counties they directly serve. SIH is a leading employer in the area, second only to Southern Illinois University. As a non-profit, last year SIH provided nearly $7 million dollars in (unreimbursed) charity care. The Family Friendship Fund is financed entirely by donations.

When you donate to the Family Friendship Fund, you are touching people’s lives, including:

  • A battered homeless woman who comes into the SIH Emergency Department. She is hurting, no place to go and her clothes are torn and she has no shoes or coat. With the help and guidance of SIH case managers, they work with the SIH Foundation Family Friendship Fund to purchase clothes, shoes, coat and transportation. She is treated, and given a ticket so she can go back home to family.
  • A young mom who comes into an SIH Emergency Department for treatment of a young child. When the child is being released the ED Nurse finds out that the family does not have much food at home. With the help of the ED Nurse, she worked with the SIH Foundation Family Friendship Fund to purchase enough groceries to last a couple of weeks until the family could get back on their feet.
  • A man who comes into an SIH Emergency Department after a bad car accident. The patient’s family makes a 5 hour trip to see him but they don’t have a lot of money for a hotel room. With the help of the SIH Foundation Family Friendship Fund, the family checks into a local hotel room and receives financial assistance for a couple of nights until the patient is released. The fund also purchased the patient some new clothing to get home.
  • An elderly man who comes into an SIH Emergency Department needing treatment. After he is treated and ready to be released, the SIH Case Manager finds out that he can’t afford his prescriptions and has no family in the area to take him home. With the help of the SIH Case Manager and the SIH Foundation Family Friendship Fund, the patient is given vouchers to a local pharmacy for prescriptions and a cab ride to the pharmacy and then to his home.

To donate to the SIH Family Friendship Fund this year, please make checks payable to Episcopal Church Women Diocese of Springfield and mail to Chris Dewitt, 427 W 4th St., Mt Carmel IL 62863.

The ECW website link is:

ECW News

  • Diocesan ECW Votes to Support Girls’ Hostel in Tabora for its 2015 Outreach Project

    This year the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) of the Diocese of Springfield will raise funds for a hostel for girls—who mostly grow up in rural areas—to live while they pursue their education at St. Peter’s Secondary School. Currently, the Tabora Diocese provides limited housing for girls, but a new dorm would meet the growing demand for their education. Typically, in East Africa children leave their rural homes and reside in towns and cities for secondary education—often through the church. Research supports the notion that the presence of educated girls and women raises the overall health, economy and wellbeing of their communities.

    The prospective hostel would be located in the church compound, which consists of the church, St. Peter’s Secondary School and a boys’ dormitory. Construction would take about three months, be done by professionals and volunteers, and upon completion be inspected by government officials. The completed hostel will house 68 girls.

    Bishop Elias Chakupewa, Bishop of Tabora, is committed to girls’ education. A very special aspect of this year’s ECW project is that he will visit the Springfield Diocese next year and bring us in person the latest news on the progress and outcome of our efforts.

    The Diocesan ECW Board encourages local church women’s groups, parishes and missions to hold fundraisers over the next year to support this project – a speaker is available (no women’s group is too small). ECW also welcomes contributions from individuals.
    Checks should be made payable to ECW Outreach and mailed to ECW Treasurer, Judy Ellison, 122 Hightide Drive, Decatur, IL 62521.

    For further information, please contact Linda Thomas, ECW Outreach Chairperson, at


    Who are the Episcopal Church Women?  Well, if you are an Episcopalian reading this and you are a woman, you’re officially an ecw (Episcopal church woman)!  Now, some ecw are organized, and some ecw are unorganized.  If you are in a church that has a group meeting calling themselves ECW, they are organized ecw! The diocese also has an organized group called Diocese of Springfield Episcopal Church Women.  If you aren’t participating in an organized ECW group, you are an unorganized ecw (but still an ecw!).  All ecw in the diocese (organized or unorganized) can participate and/or serve in the diocesan ECW.  Also, ecw are lay and clergy.  There was an opinion going around a while back that since women can hold any and all positions in the church, an organized ECW was not needed.  Well, it turns out that a lot of women, lay and clergy, want to belong to a larger group of women to be able to serve and worship with them.

    Our Diocesan ECW does two major things each year:  Adopts an Outreach Project to help fund, and sponsors a Lenten Retreat at ToddHall.  The Outreach Project is announced and kicks off at the annual Synod Meeting in October.  The Lenten Retreat is held in March.  The next paragraph highlights this year’s Lenten Retreat.

    On the weekend of March 21-23, 31 women (28 Episcopalian, 2 Presbyterian, 1 Lutheran) gathered at ToddHall Retreat Center in Columbia, IL to enjoy the Annual Lenten Retreat.  Rev. Mollie Ward, Retreat Leader, gave us a wonderful study of “Faith of our Mothers, Woman and Spirituality through the Generations.”  We had very moving and informative sessions, including remembering our mothers and grandmothers; thinking about what women did and do, which included  lessons on the weaving loom and spinning wheel; looking at how we feed our bodies and souls; singing sacred music; and experiencing a life passage ritual.  This was a very blessed retreat for all who attended.

    The Diocese of Springfield ECW will hold its annual meeting on May 3, 2014 at St. Laurence Episcopal Church in Effingham.  Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.  Everyone is invited to come.  All churches will receive a flyer about this meeting.  If you need information on this meeting, or if you want more info on ECW, please contact Ann Alley,

  • ECW News, December 2013

    ECW’s Annual Lenten Retreat will be held March 21-23, 2014 at Todd Hall Retreat Center in Columbia, IL. The theme will be “Faith of Our Mothers:  Women and Spirituality Through the Generations.”

    Rev. Mollie Ward will be our retreat leader.

    The ECW website link is:

    Click here to get the  ECW 2014 Retreat registration form

    Ann Alley is handling the registration and she can be reached at

    We hope you will join us at the retreat as we seek to share the love of Christ.


    2013-2014 Outreach Info: 

    Marion Medical Mission is a Marion, Illinois-based non-profit Christian organization that combines humanitarian volunteer action with self-help projects to provide safe water, assist in building schools and meeting medical needs, empower local communities and foster inter-cultural relationships with the people of Africa. Since 1990 Marion Medical Mission volunteers have built over 10,900 shallow wells providing over two million people with safe, clean water. In cooperation with African Presbyterian and Evangelical Lutheran churches, the Marion Medical Mission also has built or rehabilitated several schools, including the first school for deaf children in the entire northern half of the country of Malawi. The Marion Medical Mission also worked with three congregations from the Synod of Livingstonia to build churches through self-help and helped them partner with three churches from Southern Illinois.

    For more information, go to .

    All funds collected by the ECW for the Marion Medical Mission will be forwarded to them.  Forward your donation to:  Judy Ellison, ECW Board Treasurer, 122 Hightide Dr.  Decatur, IL  62521