An African-based movement to empower women is opening its first Canadian chapter in Corner Brook this weekend.
Pastor Esther Obasi-ike, the founder and president of Queen Esther’s Generation, has travelled to western Newfoundland from Nairobi, Kenya, where she began the movement — delivered via a monthly radio broadcast — two decades ago.
The theme for launching the Corner Brook chapter is “It’s a New Season” and Obasi-ike wants women from all walks of life to help venture forward with her in transforming the role women play in society around the world.
She describes the interdenominational movement as divinely mandated to nourish the spiritual lives of women in ways that can make society as a whole better.
“Some of us live behind the shut doors of emotional problems, marital problems, economic pressures and tough psychological trauma,” she said in an interview after arriving in Corner Brook Wednesday. “This forum helps us to help women in those kinds of situations to come out of their shells.”
The Queen Esther’s Generation Summit will include services led by Obasi-ike at the SonRise Ministries church at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The pastor will also participate in some community engagement activities during the day.
A roundtable discussion is planned for Saturday morning, starting at 10 a.m., followed by a dinner Saturday evening that will formally inaugurate the Corner Brook chapter.
All of the events are free to the public and will be held at SonRise Ministries, with the exception of the dinner. Tickets will be required for that event and it will take place at the city’s civic centre.
Queen Esther’s Generation launched its first North American chapter in Virginia last year, and Obasi-ike came to Corner Brook directly from attending the second annual summit of that chapter in the United States.
The idea to bring a chapter to Canada came from Roselyne Okech, a tourism studies professor at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, who is from Kenya.
Okech will serve as the Canadian co-ordinator of the movement.
“The leaders will meet to discuss how it will be sustained, so this is not just an annual event,” noted Obasi-ike.
She invited women of all ages and social status to attend the sessions scheduled for the coming days.
“It’s a moment people should not miss,” she said. “The beauty of Queen Esther’s Generation is that it is like a kingdom without walls and we don’t attach any sense of denomination to it. … We have been doing this for 20 years in Kenya now and it has changed the lives of women in ways we cannot measure.”
While the focus is on advancing women’s issues in society, Obasi-ike said men do play roles in the movement and are also welcome to participate.