Global Women’s Project helps EYN women attend Bethany extension courses

Church of the Brethren Newsline
February 5, 2018

The new Bethany Seminary center in Nigeria is commissioned with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Cutting the ribbon are (from left) Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary; Dan Manjan, the representative of the Plateau State Governor and the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity; and EYN president Joel S. Billi, representing Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Photo by Zakariya Musa.

The Global Women’s Project (GWP) provided financial help to women members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) participate in courses at the new Bethany Seminary technology center in Jos, Nigeria. The GWP is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It is a Church of the Brethren-related nonprofit working for women’s empowerment and economic justice and provides grants to a variety of projects for economic empowerment of women all around the world.

The GWP gave $2,000 to EYN and Bethany to cover the expenses for three women to join the first cohort of EYN-Bethany students. When the GWP steering committee heard earlier this year about the seminary’s effort to provide theological education to church leaders in EYN, they were encouraged to give scholarships to help women participate. The current members of the GWP steering committee are Anke Pietsch, Tina Rieman, Sara White, and Carla Kilgore.

“It wasn’t the tuition that was the problem for the potential students, but the challenges of traveling to Jos, providing travel expenses, and having needed support for family at home while away, that might prevent women from seizing this opportunity,” the steering committee reported to Newsline. “Global Women’s Project has provided scholarships in the past to women who seek to educate themselves on areas related to our mission, and this seemed like a way to expand those opportunities in a new way.”

The GWP does not handle administration of the funds it raises for a variety of projects assisting women around the world. Instead, the funds are provided to partner organizations, in this case EYN and Bethany Seminary, to carry out the efforts “on the ground,” the steering committee said.

At Bethany, faculty member Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, the Alvin F. Brightbill Professor of Preaching and Worship, is working with GWP on the effort. Former Bethany Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen is one of the founders of the Global Women’s Project and has been doing fundraising to support the EYN women students.

“Of equal importance to monetary gifts to support EYN women are your prayers of blessing on their work,” wrote Johansen in a letter to potential donors, “and words of encouragement to all who will participate in and sustain this cross-cultural study of theology and faith.”

Find out more about the GWP and its current projects and international partners at

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