To our Ministry Friends – Pastors, and church leaders and women across Canada:

Gather is a transformational movement of women in Canada.

I can’t express how excited we are to share with you the vision God has called us and Christian women across Canada to: Gather the one, the few and the many for His glory in this great nation in 2018.

Since the Gather movement launched in 2014, almost five thousand women across Canada have raised their hand to say, “I’m in.” We are becoming visible to each other and immersing ourselves in the work of cultivating the fertile soil of the Canadian landscape by creating a robust network online and on the ground.

We have tended to import many of our resources and the voices that grace our platforms with teaching and equipping, from other countries. We are grateful for all of them. We are mindful that we have an abundance of gifting in our nation among this generation of Canadian Christian women. We are aware that many are waiting to be called forth, connected, championed, equipped and mobilized into service in their places, here in Canada.

In 2018 we are focused on presence – online and on the ground. We have determined to continue gathering Christian women together from across Canada. We are the second largest country in the world, and our women are spread across this nation. We value generational, geographical, denominational and cultural diversity, and do not assume that women’s stories and experiences are the same province to province. We believe that by gathering, our individual voices rise and collectively, we are better together.

We have been present in Surrey, Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Oakville, Ottawa and Montreal, and have experienced incredible regional gatherings. Women hear from gifted bible teachers, worship, and pray together, engage in conversations of our day regarding women in the church and social justice, and are mobilized to go out to immerse themselves in the work of the local church, and become active in their spheres of influence. The goal is to transform the soil between our two feet and we see Canada as soil ripe for harvest. What if women were challenged to find their individual and national voice as disciples of Christ, and agents of transformation for this time in history?

Here is a reminder of WHO WE ARE and WHY WE EXIST:

Gather Women exists to connect, equip and champion women of Canada so that they are empowered and encouraged to influence their world for Jesus Christ.

  • We embrace the truth that centered on Jesus Christ, we are stronger together.

  • We are committed to championing a culture of support from coast to coast to cultivate a unified and diverse network: generationally, denominationally, geographically and culturally.

  • We believe in the value of the local church and the importance of women being gathered in to go back out to their churches and continue to put their faith into action.

  • We uphold the significance of the one, the few and the many. Every voice matters. Every woman matters.

What would it look like if Canadian Christian women were stronger together through a connected infrastructure coast to coast?

We are inviting you - our friends, church pastors and leaders - to encourage the women in your world to gather with us! We fully expect that they will then bring their gifts more fully back to invest in your local church community. Would you join us as we seek to champion a culture of support for each woman in this nation?

We pray your women will join us for Gather Rise in Oakville, ON on October 27, 2018. Click here for registration! Women are coming from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and the Eastern Provinces to connect with you and equip you! We are making history in Jesus’ name. Let Us Gather!

In His Name, and for His Glory,

Cathie Ostapchuk
Co-Founder and Lead Catalyst
Gather Women

Would you join us?


By Misty Ropp, Compassion Canada

As a woman who loves Jesus, I have a deep desire to make a difference in this world. But in the face of great need worldwide, so often I cry out, "There is too much to do Lord! I can’t possibly make a difference!" Ever feel that way?

One thing I have learned working at Compassion is that small things really can make a difference. October 11 is International Day of the Girl, a day set aside to recognize the unique challenges girls face all around the world: challenges like child marriage, discrimination, violence and, as the story below casts a light on, period poverty. 

The unexpected way men are combating period poverty in Uganda


Men working at sewing machines may seem like an unconventional picture—even more so when you realize they are sewing reusable feminine hygiene products! But for several men in Mulatsi, Uganda, this is a regular practice that is strengthening their community, generating income and empowering their daughters.

Period poverty refers to the lack of access to hygiene products for girls living in poverty—something that was an immense struggle for women and girls in Mulatsi.

Sanitary pads cost approximately $1 for a package of seven, a burdensome price for families living in extreme poverty. As a result, women were forced to improvise. “One woman told me she uses newspapers; another, rugs; another, cloth from old blankets; and still another said they cut off part of an old mattress,” says Jacky, the director of the Compassion child development center at Mulatsi Church of Uganda.

A far-reaching problem

Period poverty was the biggest problem raised by women during a community meeting organized by the church.

The men in the community were largely ignorant to the need and did not see it as their responsibility to provide pads for their wives or daughters. Milton, one of the fathers in the community, confesses that he didn’t expect to have such conversations with his daughter. “I thought it was not proper for a girl to talk to me about sanitary pads,” says Milton. He would tell his daughters to have such conversations with their mother. Like most of the men in the community, Milton did not give his wife money to buy pads—the family could not afford it.

Jacky learned that period poverty was causing other significant problems like teenage pregnancy and school dropouts.

“Three of my daughters got pregnant,” says Aida, the mother of a Compassion beneficiary. Aida had discovered, to her dismay, that her daughters were trading sex for pads. This practice was not uncommon for girls in the community.

“My fourth daughter would open up to me,” she says. “When she began her periods, she told me, and I got her an old cotton cloth and folded it for her. I had several she would wash and keep.”

Some of the girls opted out of school because of how difficult it was to manage their cycle every month. The World Bank estimates that across Sub-Saharan Africa, one in ten girls misses school during their menstrual cycle, and many drop out of school altogether.

Working towards a solution—together

When the staff at Mulatsi Church of Uganda learned of all the struggles women and girls were going through, they were moved to intervene.

Then a group of Compassion church partners, of which Mulatsi Church of Uganda is part, applied for funding for menstrual hygiene interventions through Compassion’s Complementary Inventions. With the funds they received, the churches were able to educate their communities on the importance of menstrual hygiene—and teach their communities how to make reusable sanitary pads. One set of seven reusable pads costs $1.50 to make and will last an entire year.

 Community members make reusable sanitary pads together.

Community members make reusable sanitary pads together.

The center staff first learned how to make the reusable pads, and then conducted training for community members—both women and men. They not only trained Compassion beneficiaries and their parents, but also students at three local schools, and other local leaders, who were then able to teach others in the community. All churches in the group received training, and everyone who received training was asked to train others in turn.

The project also specifically addressed men’s attitude towards menstruation and feminine hygiene. While the project was led by women, men followed closely as unexpected—but welcome—allies. Milton says, “After the training, I realized that as a father I should learn how to make these sanitary pads.” The making of reusable pads has also become a source of income generation for families. “It has also helped me because now I am able to make them and sell them and get money to do other things,” says Milton.

 Milton and his family.

Milton and his family.

At first, other men demeaned Milton when they saw him making and selling sanitary pads. “In the beginning it was shameful before the men in the community. But I found it useful. I have now educated other men. I think [their attitude] stemmed from their background.,” says Milton.

International Day of the Girl is a day we hope will prompt people like you to get involved and make a difference in the life of a girl. Girls and women like you and I, who can say "YES, Lord! Use me, and may I be openhanded with the things you’ve given me to encourage and uplift my sisters worldwide." 

So, would you join us in praying for girls around the world on October 11? To learn more about how you can tell a girl that she is loved and her life has value and worth, click here.

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A Thank You


By Cathie Ostapchuk

In the middle of the hardest days, a ‘thank you’ is the farthest word from my lips. It’s my struggle and it’s your struggle to express gratitude when, in reality, you are not all that grateful. In those moments, in the dark, even your whispered, questioning ‘thank-you God, I think?’ reaches heaven with the speed and accuracy of a well-released arrow from a seasoned archer’s hands. The ‘thank you’s’ that come from good days, good times, good friends, and good opportunities are not worth half their weight in gold compared to your feebly-spoken, faith-filled whispers of gratitude. 

Consider the following: a ‘thank you’ in the suffering; a ‘thank you’ when the ashes have not yet been transformed into beauty; a ‘thank you’ when tears cloud the lens of your perspective; a ‘thank you’ even in the midst of hopelessness, when your heart is hoping against all hope that it can be different. These are the ‘thank-you’s’ of destiny. The ‘thank you in spite of my circumstances’ rather than the ‘thank you because of my circumstances,’ propels you into your future. Your catalyst is the God who sees you and hears your broken thanks. He loved you and loves you and will keep on loving you in the best and worst of times. 

Thank Him for His presence. Thank Him that He has your name inscribed in the palm of His hand. Thank Him that He went to the wall for you.  Thank Him that He went to the cross for you, and He would have walked that road to Calvary, even if you were the only girl on earth.

Thank Him for the goodness and mercy that follows you like a banner. Thank Him that there is no place you will go that He has not gone before you. None of the grateful thanks from your lips needs to be dependent on what shadows you currently fear. Your gratitude can be focused on the One who anoints your head with oil and sets a feast of plenty for you in the presence of your greatest fears. A small, whispered ‘thank you’ multiplies into a horn of plenteous grace that washes over you, from Jesus’ hands.

May He bless you beyond what you can ask or imagine this Thanksgiving, not because of all that is good in your life, but in spite of the brokenness of your life. Your gratitude is based solely on His goodness, not how good things are. 

Our grateful hearts are so fickle. Our Thanksgiving ‘thank you’s’ have us reaching to find the external proof that we need to validate them. Our treasure, however is in jars of clay. We are the jars, and our gratitude is expressed for what we carry in our souls; that is the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. 

Would you join me and say a thank you to God this Canadian Thanksgiving? Whisper it, shout it, write it, declare it – and believe in the dark what God will make possible in the light. 

Happy Thanksgiving from Gather Women! We are so grateful for you!