San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1965

The new event introduced at the time of the Puerto Rico Assembly was the World CWF Retreat held just preceding the World Convention. The president, Mrs. Esther Maldonado, was eager for some means of providing a more intimate fellowship for executive committee members that could be achieved during the sessions of the convention, so the executive committee, their alternates, and one additional woman from each country were invited to attend a retreat at the Evangelical Theological Seminary the weekend preceding the convention. A group of 30 women, representing every country except Malawi and Rhodesia, attended, coming together as strangers, but within a few hours feeling a deep kinship because of their common concern for the development of Christian womanhood for the church. Mrs. Dorothy Bicks from India led Bible study based on Paul’s letters. Discussions were held on women’s programs and the contribution of women in the church. Sharing of plans and ideas was particularly helpful. fun and gaity were added to the fellowship as the women from each country shared with the group a song, a game, a story, or a dance.

More than 1200 women attending the convention shared in the owomen’s luncheon. The program theme, “Church Women at Work” was developed in a symposium composed of Mrs. Maria Nieves de Diaz of Puerto Rico, Mrs. Betty Fiers of the USA, and Miss Filomena Natividad of Okinasa. At the World DWF business session, the mayor of San Juan, Dona Felisa Rincon de Gautier, greeted the guests in her city, and a highlight of the program was the showing of the new World CWF filmstrip with narration by Mrs. Mary Louise Rowand of the USA. Women in each country had provided pictures showing church women at work, for inclusion in the filmstrip. One copy was presented to each country, and the entire supply of filmstrips was sold out as women bought copies to show in their churches “back home.” Each country had been asked to prepare a scrapbook showing pictures and other items related to the programs of women in the churches of that country. These were studied with great interest at the retreat, and were then displayed at the convention.

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