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Annabelle Rutledge

YWA in Israel: Desert Day and the New Covenant (Days 5 & 6)

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Our morning started at Masada, Herod the Great’s desert fortress. It was a refuge for himself with storehouses, large cisterns filled with rainwater, barracks, palaces, and an armory. After hiking in the sun and heat, we headed back down to the lowest point on earth – the Dead Sea! Swimming, or rather floating, in the Dead Sea was a first for a majority of our participants. We probably could have floated all day, but it was Friday, Shabbat, and we needed to get back to Jerusalem to visit the Western Wall at sundown.

Shabbat begins as the sun sets on Friday. Every Friday evening, Jews gather at the Western, or Wailing, Wall to gather together, sing songs and psalms, offer up prayers, and celebrate before dinner. We gathered together and read Psalm 21 before splitting into two groups to experience a traditional Shabbat at the homes of Jewish host families.

“One of my personal favorite parts of experiencing Israel was getting the chance to eat Shabbat dinner with a Jewish couple. I learned so much about the Jewish culture and people from a distance most days of the trip, but having an opportunity to speak directly to the couple for several hours was incredibly enlightening and much more personal. Taking part in the rituals that are involved in Shabbat dinner opened my eyes to the practice of Judaism in a new way. My favorite part was having the opportunity to hear the story of the couple and how they had made their home in Israel, both from different countries originally. Asking them questions about the things that they believe and have experienced allowed me to step into their shoes and see what motivates them to practice the Jewish religion and live life in the state of Israel. Overall, I’m so thankful for the experience and the way that it gave me a stronger passion to share Jesus with Jews that are passionate about God but do not see Jesus as their Messiah. They are real people that were chosen by God thousands of years ago, and they need the light of the Gospel to open their eyes to the sacrificial love of the Lord.” Ashley Gillespie, YWA Participant, Liberty University

DAY 6: New Covenant

This was another nonstop day for our group! We started at the Mount of Olives overlook which is the quintessential view of Jerusalem. We walked from the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane where we studied the story of Jesus in the Garden from each point of view before allowing everyone quiet time to reflect personally. From there we walked to the Pools of Bethesda which is where Jesus healed the paralytic. Near the pools of Bethesda, there is a beautiful chapel with beautiful acoustics, and inside we sung a hymn together. It’s the little things like singing together that make such special memories on trips like these.

From the Pools of Bethesda, we walked the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Grief, which is the path believed to be walked by Jesus on his way to crucifixion. The Via Dolorosa led us to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. And all of that was before lunch!

The city of Jerusalem is split into four quarters: Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian. Lunch today was on free time in the Christian quarter. It is a bustling quarter full of small shops and vendors.

Our afternoon was spent at the Garden Tomb. There is debate about where exactly Jesus was crucified and where exactly he was buried but many believe this is the site of his tomb.

“It’s hard to put into words what I experienced at the Garden Tomb, but I can sum it up by saying, an overwhelming abundance of peace. The Tomb is significant because if Jesus did not rise from the dead and come walking out of that tomb triumphantly defeating death, then He would not have been who He said He was, the Son of the Most High. As Christians we rejoice in the fact that we will be living for eternity with our Heavenly Father and the One who paid our debt with His great love for us.” Amelia Koehn, former YWA Chapter President, and now alumni, University of Iowa

Women for Kavanaugh Grassroots Effort to Sweep the Nation

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Washington, D.C. — Concerned Women for America (CWA), the largest public policy organization of women in the country, is launching a $500,000 grassroots effort to support the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, issued the following statement:

“We are happy to announce that Concerned Women for America is launching a $500,000 grassroots campaign called “Women for Kavanaugh ” (WomenforKavanaugh.com) to rally conservative women across the nation in support of the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  While this is a national effort, there will be specific efforts in nine key states to educate and engage our activist in efforts to communicate with their senators.  CWA activists from around the nation have been waiting for this historic opportunity to restore constitutional balance to the nation’s highest court, and they are ready to meet the challenge. We will do everything in our power to support this noble, eminently qualified nominee against the unfair attacks from the left.

“This is the moment for which conservative women have been waiting, and the ‘happy warrior’ women I represent are eager to engage in an effort they know will help preserve justice and liberty for their children and their children’s children.

“During his presidential campaign, President Trump promised to nominate judges in the mold of the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia. That was one of the main reasons why conservative women turned out for President Trump in such great numbers. The president delivered on that promise with Justice Neil Gorsuch, and he has delivered once again with soon-to-be Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“The U.S. Senate must now rise above political pettiness and give this nominee a fair consideration. President Trump is not the nominee; he already won.  Judge Kavanaugh is the nominee, and his record speaks for itself. It is worth noting that Judge Kavanaugh was already confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, commonly recognized as the second most powerful court in the land, with bipartisan support. He should be confirmed swiftly with overwhelming support this time, too.

“Our message is simple: ‘Confirm Judge K.’”

 


For an interview with Penny Nance contact Annabelle Rutledge at [email protected] or 916-792-3973

Trump’s Solid Choice for the Supreme Court is Good News for All Americans

By | Blog, Kennedy, Legal, News and Events, Press Releases, SCOTUS, Vacancy | No Comments

Washington, D.C. – Moments ago, President Donald J. Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s vacancy at the United States Supreme Court. 

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, issued the following statement:

“This is an historic moment for the United States. This is why conservative women voted overwhelmingly for Donald J. Trump – to ensure that a proper constitutional balance is restored to our nation’s highest court. President Trump made a promise to the American people and, just as with the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, he is delivering on that promise.

“Judge Brett Kavanaugh is abundantly qualified to sit on the bench of the United States Supreme Court. He is among the best and brightest jurists on the appellate courts with a reputation of being fair and impartial in his decisions. Judge Kavanaugh is known as a judge who respects the Constitution as written, refusing to legislate from the bench.  This is what we need at this time on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Concerned Women for America is ready to stand up for Judge Kavanaugh and against the political attacks of the left which have little to do with the candidate’s record. This is not just about us; this is about our children and their children. This is about the future of this nation for generations to come, and we plan on giving everything we have in order to leave them a Supreme Court that will protect their liberties and uphold our Constitution.

“Simply put, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an outstanding choice.  President Trump, once again, is keeping his promises to the American people by picking a highly qualified, fair, and independent judge – just as he did with Neil Gorsuch. He will be another great justice, and the U.S. Senate should confirm him expeditiously.”


For an interview with Penny Nance contact Annabelle Rutledge at [email protected] or 916-792-3973.

YWA in Israel: Days 3 & 4

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DAY 3

We started day three in a town called Jish in the Upper Galilee where we heard from Shadi Khalloul, an Aramean Christian Maronite Israeli. He is the founder and chairman of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association and spokesperson for the Christian Israel Defense Forces Officers Forum. He previously served as a lieutenant in a paratrooper division of the IDF and today is a captain in the IDF reserves. Shadi loves his community, his heritage, his homeland, and serves the Lord and everyone around him by seeking unity between Christians, Jews, and other communities. Among many issues that he tackles, Shadi is currently working to revive the Aramean identity that has been stifled by centuries of persecution. We were hosted in the town that he is working to rebuild, in an Aramean church, where he showed us 350-year-old Aramean Bibles, and taught us to say the Lord’s prayer in Aramaic. His passion for his people and zeal for unity is contagious. Shadi has visited CWA headquarters in the past to share about the work he is doing in Israel and we were excited to be there visiting him in his home. Many girls talked about the fact that he was one of their favorite speakers!

From there we traveled to the Golan Heights, an area of land recaptured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. When you stand on Mt. Ben Tal in the Golan you look out at see where Lebanon, Israel, and Syria meet.

“Surveying the Golan Heights this past June was a surreal experience. It has been a disputed territory since before Israel’s supernatural victory in the six-day war. Standing at the observation point made me feel so small, as I stood on the border and looked into Syria and Lebanon. I felt safe traveling with Passages, with the IDF and other tourists all around. However, seeing the UN peacekeepers at their posts in the Golan Heights made the reality of where I was sink in. There was a reason for their presence, and a reason there were so many soldiers around. As an American who has never truly seen or felt the effects of war, it is easy to have a false sense of security when traveling around Israel. But the people of Israel live their lives on defense because of what they have endured in the past and continue to endure today.  Visiting the disputed territory was an incredible reminder of the power of God and His love for Israel and its people.” – Rachel Prusak, former Communications Officer, and now alumni, of the YWA Liberty University Chapter

That night we heard from a Jewish speaker, Dr. Faydra Shapiro. Coming full circle from our morning with Shadi, Dr. Faydra addressed the importance of Jewish-Christian relations from a Jewish standpoint.

“Hearing Dr. Faydra Shapiro speak was an incredible opportunity to understand how Jews and Christians view and relate to each other. Her talk explained what Jews and Christians should know in order to foster a fruitful and respectful engagement between the two groups of people. The points Dr. Shapiro brought to my attention gave me a new insight to understanding the Jewish people. The most impactful points were that the Jewish people are suffering from post-traumatic stress and how evangelism alienates the Jewish people. The Jews have been persecuted throughout history. This history of persecution will not allow the Jews to feel too safe or comfortable with their current situation. After all, one of the safest places to be Jewish was Germany before World War II. This is one of the reasons Jews may seem reserved or guarded when approached with a conversation about faith. We also discussed how many Jews are uncomfortable with Christianity because they do not know enough about it as they do not need to have an understanding of Christianity in order to practice their faith. The same thing cannot be said for Christians. The roots of our faith lie in the Jewish Bible and in order to have a better understanding of our faith we need to have at the very list a minimal knowledge about Judaism.” – Marija Pritchard, member of the YWA

DAY 4

Today was one of our busiest days. We were on the go from breakfast to dinner!

Our morning started at Magdala, the hometown of Mary Magdalene. From there we went up to the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus taught his counter-cultural Sermon on the Mount. Janae Stracke, CWA National Field Director, led the devotions reading from Matthew 5, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

We spent time in Capernaum studying the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and miracles on the Galilee, had a traditional lunch right on water’s edge, and took a Cruise on the Sea of Galilee.

“One of the most memorable parts of the trip for me was being on the Sea of Galilee. Our group cast our burdens into the Sea and let God take them from us. When doing this, I prayed that these constant lies that I had been feeding myself for so long would no longer have any power over me and that these hateful words and thoughts would no longer be in my mind. Once I finished praying and threw my rock (representing these burdens) into the sea, I began to cry, not because I was sad, but because I felt liberated. I felt the burdens I carried for so long finally leave. This is something I will never forget.” – Annie Martinez, YWA Chapter President at Stephen F. Austin State University

We ended the day at the Jordan River where 19 girls chose to be baptized. Five of them were baptized for the first time, and as we gathered together on our last day in Israel to remember our favorite portions, a number of girls who were baptized took this away as the highlight of their time in Israel.

YWA in Israel

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DAY 1

Everyone was tired when we landed in Israel, but our excitement trumped our lack of sleep! We landed around noon and headed straight to Ceasarea, a town on Israel’s Mediterranean Coast. Ceasarea was a magnificent port city built by Herod the Great. The 2000-year old Roman Amphitheatre, the city’s center of entertainment, still stands and is used today. We actually sat inside while a band set-up for a concert that night.

Ceasarea is breathtaking. It was our first glimpse of the Mediterranean before we got to our hotel that night which was right on the beach.

Photos by Annabelle Rutledge, CWA Communications Coordinator and Alixanne Kramer, YWA Tucson Chapter President

DAY 2

In the morning we visited Alfei Menashe, a town overlooking the West Bank and took a tour of an archeological site, Tel Shimron, in the Jezreel Valley. From there we went to Nazareth, Jesus’ childhood home. We visited a museum, toured the old village of Nazareth, had an authentic Nazarene lunch and toured the Church of Annunciation. We ended the day at Mount Precipice. This is the cliff where Jesus passed through the crowds who attempted to throw him off the edge. (Luke 4:16-30)

Photos by Alixanne Kramer, YWA Tucson Chapter President

“The grounds of the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth were remarkable.  I marveled at the beautiful mosaics along the walls, which showcased different depictions of Jesus’ Mother from around the world. Once I entered the basilica, I began to contemplate how impactful Mary’s ‘yes,’ or fiat in Latin, was to the life of Christ.  By Jesus calling her ‘woman,’ she became the ‘New Eve’ whose ‘yes’ to Gabriel overcame Eve’s ‘yes’ to the serpent in the Garden of Eden.” -Valeria Tkacik, former YWA Chapter President, now alumni, of Ave Maria University

Photos by Valeria Takcik, former YWA Chapter President, now alumni, of Ave Maria University

“As I look back on our first full day touring Israel, I am touched by how fitting it was that one of the first sites we visited was the Basilica of the Annunciation. Our pilgrimage began where salvation history began all those centuries ago. It was here that Our lady’s humble and obedient ‘yes’ procured for humanity, Salvation itself, through the immaculate conception of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As I looked upon that Holy grotto where the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary, I was struck by the unassuming and lowly nature of the place. How modest and plain the spot where the Divine would make an entrance into our everyday world. This mystery is so compelling because it mirrors the interior experience of our souls, as Our Lord reveals Himself to us, though unfit and limited, and we are to then respond to His grace. And so I uttered once more, yes, to Our Lord, in that same place as did The Sweet Virgin, whose trust was so fearless and so complete in The Divine Will.” -Veronica Hays, YWA Member at George Mason University

PRESS RELEASE – Grassroots Fired up for the Supreme Court

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Washington, D.C. – Penny Nance, President & CEO of Concerned Women for America (CWA), had this to say on the news of the impending retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy:

“This is the moment conservative women have been waiting for — the chance to return justice and constitutional limits to the nation’s highest court. This is the reason why they voted overwhelmingly for Donald J. Trump over Hillary Clinton.

“We want a Supreme Court that rejects the subjective “living, breathing” constitutional philosophy which judicial activist have used to force liberal political policies on the country under the guise of law. It is time for a Supreme Court that returns power to “We the People.”

“This is why 81% of Evangelical women voted for President Trump.  He was clear from the beginning on the credentials and judicial philosophy he would require of any of his appointees to both the high and lower courts. He has delivered on that promise like no other president in history.

“We know what the opposition will do, no matter whom the president chooses. Their hatred for anything the president does is evident to the country by now.  But they are out of ideas.  We know the script and expect the phony hysteria to reach its climax with the help of the liberal media.

“Concerned Women for America is gearing up for our biggest and perhaps most important confirmation battle in our almost 40-year history.  We plan to devote considerable resources to this effort, and we expect to win.

“Our happy warrior/activist ladies relish the fight and shine in these historic moments.  Our nation is at a pivotal moment, and CWA ladies will be in the center of the action, protecting our future children and grandchildren with grace and dignity.”

 

 

Young Women for America Tour of Israel

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CWA had the pleasure of partnering with Passages to bring 34 of our Young Women for America campus leaders to Israel for a 10-day tour accompanied by Janae Stracke, National Field Director, Kelsey Gold, Young Women for America Coordinator, and Annabelle Rutledge, Communications Coordinator.

Each day was packed with new sites, Biblical lessons, and impactful speakers. Our YWA leaders were given a comprehensive overview of Israel – biblical, geo-political, religious, and cultural.

We had Bible studies in Gethsemane and on the Mt. of Beatitudes. We hiked Masada and swam in the Dead Sea. We toured Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Museum, and visited a kibbutz on the Gazan border.

Over the next 5 weeks, we invite you to join our 10-day tour. Each update will include two days of this amazing journey and you will also hear from some of our YWA leaders and members!

United States Withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

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Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) Nikki Haley and President Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, issued the following response:

“The United Nations’ dedication to defending human rights has strayed so far from its conception post-World War II when President Harry Truman appointed Eleanor Roosevelt to the first American delegation to the U.N. where she oversaw the drafting and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Today the UNHRC itself is a remake of its predecessor, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which had to be replaced because it valued partisan politics above human beings. History is nothing if not repetitive, and today the UNHRC is facing the same fate as the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The United States is willing to call it what it is.

“Last year, Ambassador Haley addressed the Council in Geneva, warning that the United States would be leaving the Human Rights Council if they continued to show their unfounded hostility towards Israel. The U.N. Human Rights Council has passed more than 70 resolutions against the state of Israel since its creation, while Iran, which is listed as a Tier 3 nation on the U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report, has withstood only seven.

“The United States has asked the Council to face its hypocrisy. We have asked that they expel nations who are blatant human rights abusers, such as Venezuela, China, and Saudi Arabia. Ambassador Haley put forth minimum requirements for the United States’ involvement, and all of them have been ignored. It is not our obligation to align ourselves with an international body that claims to stand for human rights but cherry picks which humans deserve those rights.”

 


For an interview with Penny Nance, contact Annabelle Rutledge at [email protected] or 916-792-3973.

Stormy Daniels And Her $130,000 Donation To Planned Parenthood

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Lest her calm, cool, and collected 60 Minutes interview give the wrong impression, it’s important for us to remember that Stormy Daniels is in no position to establish herself as a role model for women and young girls.

Having received some backlash for accepting what has been characterized as hush money, Daniels is now trying to emphasize her selfless and philanthropic nature by donating the cash. She could have chosen to donate to any charity — perhaps an organization that helps sex trafficking victims or victims of assault and violence. Instead, she has chosen that $130,000 will be going to the bank account of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion vendor who has been caught on tape aiding sex traffickers — and then training employees on how to not say incriminating things on camera to undercover journalists.

This reeks of another expensive public relations campaign by Planned Parenthood to get their name in the press and attach themselves to a national story that isn’t going away anytime soon.

It’s their MO. The Women’s March was shaping up to be huge in 2017, so Planned Parenthood decided to sponsor it and ultimately became a key player in the movement. The March for Lives was a huge national story dealing with gun violence; Planned Parenthood tweeted out their support (and subsequently got slammed for their hypocrisy). The immigration debate – why not? The non-profit supports illegal immigration because they sell more abortions that way.

It’s not much of a surprise that Stormy Daniels is on the Planned Parenthood train and vice versa. Daniels was a “successful” star in pornography and is continuing her run next week with a cover shot on Penthouse along with a nude photoshoot. This is the kind of modern day feminism Planned Parenthood loves, where women shed their dignity and damage their souls in exchange for money and power.

The connection between the porn industry, sex traffickers, and Planned Parenthood is well documented.  Porn is often used to groom sex trafficking victims so they can learn what they are expected to do. When sex trafficked victims become pregnant as a result of their abuse, they are often coerced into having abortions. Planned Parenthood has been caught on film helping pimps obtain abortions for their victims, including minors. The only thing done to fix the situation after it was made public was train employees not on how to identify victims of sex trafficking but rather how to avoid making incriminating statements.

In addition, promoting pornography is not a new concept for Planned Parenthood. In other undercover videos by Live Action, Planned Parenthood staff teaches teenagers how to access pornography and experiment with whips, chains, and choking, all while hiding it from their parents.

Pornography, particularly today’s ubiquitous, violent version, is anything but harmless. Studies have found it can adversely affect the brain, create problems in one’s sex life, become addictive and break apart families, negatively warp views on relationships, and is linked to prostitution and sex trafficking.

The thing is, Planned Parenthood doesn’t even need Stormy Daniels’ money. In 2016, they had excess revenue of $98.5 million. The same year, they also spent an astounding $38 million trying to elect Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. And they recently announced they plan to spend at least $20 million in this year’s midterm elections.

Stormy Daniels and Planned Parenthood have much in common, but the most insidious is the lie (straight of out the pit of Hell) to young women that a life of sexual promiscuity is glamorous and freeing.  Their glossy promotion of pornography casts women as objects devoid of worth beyond their use for the sexual pleasure of men. They divorce body and soul. And they profit from human misery.

Feminist Naomi Wolfe said, “The Victorian woman became her ovaries, as today’s woman has become her ‘beauty.’” There is nothing remotely feminist in the arrangement of sex for money.  Those who promote “sex work” as a valid career choice for women, (ahem, the Women’s March) are guilty of shameful devaluation of women.

It’s time that we were honest about the porn industry. Linda Lovelace, perhaps the most famous porn actress in history, tells the true story of abuse and manipulation at the hands of men who profited from her.  Her story is not unique. Men and women must be disabused of the idea that the smiling faces being violated on camera will walk away whole when the bright lights are off.

Stormy Daniels believes she has been wronged, and maybe that’s true.  I would simply ask her not to hurt others as she seeks whatever it is she needs to feel vindicated. Continuing to perpetuate the lie that abortion and porn are just another choice harms young women.  Money is clearly her love language. I would recommend she choose other ways to spend it.

 

Editor’s Note: A version of this article was published by Townhall.com. Click here to read it.

Mike Pompeo Begins Confirmation Hearings for U.S. Secretary of State

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Washington, D.C. — This morning, Mike Pompeo’s confirmation hearings begin for U.S. Secretary of State.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, had this to say: 

“We are thrilled with President’s Trump choice of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. As an Army veteran and President Trump’s pick for Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo has shown collaborative but strong and capable leadership, gaining the trust of those he leads and facing threats to U.S. interests with decisive action. As a congressman from Kansas, Pompeo’s voting record shows he supports family and life, will implement Trump’s extension of the Mexico City Policy, and will support strong families.

“Most importantly, Mike Pompeo is a man who boldly embodies his Christian values and leads fearlessly.

“I have had the honor of working with Mr. Pompeo on many occasions and I am confident that his vast experience across all levels of government makes him an excellent representative of the United States.”

 


For an interview with Penny Nance contact Annabelle Rutledge at [email protected] or 916-792-3973.