Meet the “Glory Girls”, a group of women from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Prescott, Arizona who visited New York in October. Lynnaia Main, Global Relations Officer of the Episcopal Church, crossed paths with them by “divine chance” at the United Nations on the occasion of the first ever International Year of the Girl Child on October 11th.
Rushing through the United Nations visitor’s lobby this past October, I heard someone behind me say, “Look, that woman’s bag has an Episcopal shield!” Turning to introduce myself, I found that the speaker was with a group of women huddled around a map on the lobby bench. They turned out to be the Glory Girls of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Prescott, Arizona, a city of 40,000 just south of the Grand Canyon, and they were in New York on an annual pilgrimage. They had come to the UN that day to celebrate the first ever International Day of the Girl Child.
The next day we enjoyed each other’s company and fellowship over lunch. Founded a few years ago by their Deacon, the Reverend Kimball Arnold, the Glory Girls have as their main mission to glorify God, and they leave it to the Holy Spirit to define how this might happen. Many of them are members of the Daughters of the King. Over the past four years, they have come to New York for a week long spiritual pilgrimage of rejuvenation, education, fellowship and worship. So far, 18 Glory Girls have made the trip to New York, some for each of the four years they have been gathering in New York.
Back home in Prescott, each Glory Girl is a backbone to important ministries at St. Luke’s and in their communities – ministries that strive for corrective peace and justice and cross international borders. For example, trafficking is a major concern in their region. Immigrants are lured across the Mexican border with promises of work and, once in Arizona, find themselves forcefully and illegally sequestered by “coyotes” who hold them hostage in “drop houses” until the coyotes have received enough money for them to earn their freedom. Of course, the day of debt repayment never arrives. In the midst of this tough situation, with the local community overburdened by the sheer numbers of people in need of basic assistance and in which hospitals and jails are overflowing, the Glory Girls minister to these immigrants in various ways, such as visiting with them in the hospital or nursing homes, preparing lunches on Friday to serve to the needy on Saturdays all year long, through music, assisting through work at the local community college, and helping to identify resources to meet their needs. They also help pack food boxes at a local food bank, work with Veterans, help those who are unable to take care of their needs, help in the schools and with Boy Scouts, work with Alzheimer’s patients, support their community’s numerous events, and work with the Philanthropic Educational Organization – an international philanthropic educational association committed to furthering the educational needs of women.
During this Advent season as in previous years, the Glory Girls will be busy preparing to serve the lonely and poor in their communities through the “Don’t Spend Christmas Alone” program. Glory Girls help prepare and serve meals to the 850+ people who come to St. Luke’s on Christmas Day. You may find them making mashed potatoes and gravy, serving plates, waiting tables, or preparing meals to go to the homebound that the Fire Department delivers. Delivering love, kindness and fellowship, and filling basic human needs to boot – all to the glory of God.
We give thanks to God for the mission and ministry of the Glory Girls and their willingness to be instruments of the Holy Spirit’s power, and for their leader, the Reverend Deacon Kimball Arnold, who will soon celebrate her twelfth anniversary of ordination. Learn more about their ministries at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Prescott at http://www.stlukesprescott.org.