GREENWICH, Connecticut – In 2002, Lisa Brenninkmeyer, a young mother and Catholic convert, could not find recent and relevant Bible studies where she could meet and dialogue with other women who were following the same path in life. Just as necessity is the mother of invention, Walk with a purpose was born in a parish community in Maryland when Brenninkmeyer began a Bible study with a handful of women. Today, the program is active in 400 parishes in 94 dioceses across 40 states as well as in Europe and Canada. Although Walking with Purpose is entrenched in face-to-face meetings, with parishes closing earlier this year due to COVID-19, it has turned into a virtual study that has become a lifeline for women. during this period of isolation.
In recent months, more and more parishes in the United States and Canada have made a commitment to small group Bible studies Walk with a Purpose, even though many parishioners cannot meet in person due to the pandemic.
To meet the changing needs of participants during this time, the Walking with Purpose Bible Studies have been redesigned to help women meet outside of the traditional ward setting. âWe have spent the past few months reimagining how women can lead a small Walking with Purpose Bible study group. We now have strong training and tools to help women do WWP virtually, online or in other settings outside of the parish, âsaid Brenninkmeyer, Founder and Head of WWP.
Amber Sherman is WWP Small Group Leader at St. Thomas Aquinas in Wichita, Kan., Where virtual Bible study groups have already started. Amber says, âWWP is so vital and so accommodating to the circumstances we face – unwavering, present, ready to serve and love the women in our ward, however comfortable they feel. Zoom meetings were as good as being together.
Walking with Purpose church programs focus on converting a woman’s heart and how that conversion applies to her daily life. The women forge lasting friendships as part of a WWP church program group, where they support each other and learn together how to apply scripture truths in the face of life’s challenges.
Jill Vollmer began participating in WWP in 2010, then began a program in her home parish five years later in a coordinator role. She now helps with the marketing and promotion of the local program and acts as a national advisor to the management team. âFor me, it changed my life. Even growing up a Catholic my faith fluctuated, but when I started doing Walking with Purpose it opened my eyes to the beauty of the Catholic Church and to the understanding that God wants us to live our best lives. . Meeting this group of women made me want to share with others and reach more women. I find it so satisfying.
There are currently nine WWP Bible Studies that adult women can do as a group, although parishes are encouraged to start with the 22-lesson foundational study. Open your heart The starting point, what Brenninkmeyer calls âan exciting journey closer to the heart of Godâ.
Sacred Heart Church in Valley Park, Missouri also recently made the decision to bring Walking with Purpose to her ward, where she will attempt to meet in person this fall, in a socially distanced way. According to Ami Hammett, Pastoral Coordinator at the Sacred Heart: âIt’s sometimes when I feel compelled to do something, even though there are many obstacles to overcome, that the Holy Spirit leads the way. And that’s certainly what happened when we discussed hosting a WWP in-person study in the fall. We can’t wait to see what God has planned for everyone involved and will continue to trust Him even if things change along the way. “
According to WWP CEO Julie Ricciardi, âWomen don’t want to feel isolated. They thirst for community with other women. We have therefore developed a number of tools as well as training videos and webinars, all to make it easier to conduct a virtual Bible study and to enable women to lead with confidence knowing that they are doing the work of the Bible. Christ who consists in opening hearts to God.
For more information on starting a Walk with a Purpose Bible Study, visit https://walkingwithpurpose.com/become-a-leader/
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Walking with Purpose is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut. Our mission is to help every Catholic woman and girl in America open her heart to Jesus Christ. Learn more about http://walkingwithpurpose.com.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or the Religion News Foundation.