Women on the Frontline (WFL) is a unique ministry within the Anglican Communion. The ministry, established nearly six years ago and led by Caroline Welby - also known as “Mama Canterbury” - supports women in provinces and dioceses across the Communion and sometimes women leaders from other denominations.
Women on the Frontline recognises the essential ministry of Bishops’ and clergy spouses across the Anglican Communion. It seeks to gather spouses within a shared province or diocese, to:
- engage more deeply with God and one another
- explore and understand their unique calling
- be equipped as reconcilers in the midst of challenging conflict.
The ministry encourages personal relationship, reconciliation to God through Christ and facilitates training to equip these women to carry out their role in their own contexts. WFL enables sharing of experiences with others, breaking down the sense of loneliness and providing a supportive environment for spiritual growth and healing.
WFL recognizes that in any violent conflict, women are often the first to notice the beginning of any tension, whether it is with self, family, church, community or the wider community and naturally defuse the tension, make peace and bring about reconciliation. WFL values the importance of equipping and training women as key actors in reconciliation and any other peace process.
Each residential programme lasts 3 to 5 days and is facilitated by a Women on the Frontline team including current and former Bishops spouses.
The ministry is guided by five basic principles; Presence, parity, particularity, potential and prayer.
Presence, the first principle of Women on the Frontline signifies solidarity and strengthening of relationships among the women and spouses. It is a bond that cements WFL team with the women during visits.
The second principle is parity which see every women as equal to the other regardless of the hierarchy, education, age , language, colour or position the women hold. Women on the Frontline treats everyone as equal.
This is a non-prescriptive training geared towards the relevant and specific contexts within the Anglican Communion. This principle focuses on personal or individual need and assures each of these women that God knows their personal needs , knows and loves them.
This principle affirms that each of the spouses are called by God and that God loves and had chosen them for the various roles they play in their provinces, dioceses and communities. This principle is particularly significant in the retreat as spouses listen and reflect on God’s voice.
Prayer is a very important highlight of Women on the Frontline. It is a component that runs all through the work and ministry, before, during and after. When WFL concludes a visit, secret prayer partners are revealed which is such a beautiful experience.