Femailing October 2020

Femailings Oct 2020

 

October 2020 Download

Our theme, “It’s the end of the world as we know it” invites us into a process of  reflection and action as we cope with mounting layers of acute grief and deferred loss,  then rise up as we seek to engage and celebrate community in new and meaningful  ways. 

Without a doubt, many would agree 2020 has been a challenging and stressful  year. Living with a pandemic in our midst has brought changes to familiar and ordinary  activities such as grocery shopping, educating our children, meeting friends in  restaurants, attending in person worship and visiting our friends and loved ones,  whether they be in hospitals, nursing homes or our neighborhood. It’s also been a  year of change within the Church of the Brethren. Annual Conference did not meet.  Many church camp were closed or had reduced programming. Several congregations  across the denomination have chosen to “break” with us and form a new corporation,  Covenant Brethren Church. District conferences are being held virtually. 

Through it all, Mary Scott-Boria invites us to pray for the heaviness of the past  four years and celebrate our kinship and inclusion in the beloved community as  together we work for racial equality, justice and the things that make for peace. Ruth Nalliah shares her dream for a more inclusive and authentic church. Laura Hammonds  shares affirmation of her faith through poetry and prose. Check out the QR code on  page six which links to her poem on the Womaen’s Caucus website.    

 Christy Waltersdorff’s Pentecost Sunday sermon reminds us of the importance  of breath, and helps us reflect on the trauma of George Floyd’s death and asks the  provocative question, “So when did the Church stop breathing?”  

The Womaen’s Caucus steering committee invites us to grieve our losses, and  then take action to create a new way of being the Beloved Community. Two newly  formed partnerships are providing tools and training to help us move forward:     Caucus Podcasts continues the conversation on Speaking Truth to Power  through our partnership with Messenger Radio; and Womaen’s Caucus and On Earth Peace are working together to challenge  sexism and racism in the Church of the Brethren. Matt Guynn and other facilitators will  lead a webinar on nonviolence, the social dynamics of nonviolence and briefly  introduce the 6 principles and 6 steps of Kingian Nonviolence. A link is provided to  register for the upcoming event on November 10th. Anna Lisa Gross reminds us  “birthing” involves “breathing” and “pushing” and it is our hope these two resources  aid us in creating positive change in the Church of the Brethren. 

The Steering Committee wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas  and a Blessed New Year. Stay healthy! Be well, and one last thing, VOTE!    

 

Kingian Nonviolence Workshop

As Womaen’s Caucus and Supportive Communities Network work for justice and healing in the Church of the Brethren, we have invited On Earth Peace to facilitate an exploration of the power and possibility of Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation as a method for interpersonal and group conflict, and nonviolent social change organizing. During this session, we will explore the meaning of nonviolence (a rich conversation in our pacifist tradition!), consider the three social dynamics of nonviolence, and briefly introduce the 6 principles and 6 steps of Kingian Nonviolence. 

This will be facilitated by Matt Guynn, Dr. Mary Lou Finley and Dr Joan May Cordova

*gathering tools* to *shift the culture* to *build the church of the future, now*

Workshop Registration

Please register to join us! This workshop will take place Tuesday, November 10th at 4:30 PT/7:30 ET and is a 90 minute session. 

Please send us an email with your name and KNV Registration in the subject line – womaenscaucuscob@gmail.com

If you tried to register before 10/27 at 3pm, please email us, our form wasn’t working properly. 

“Friendship” – A Poem

Friendship

by Laura Hammonds

 

Spring

We drink more coffee than a dozen writers,
dance in the car, and
move towards the trilliums in bloom.

We touch the smooth, silvery bark of maples and birches:
a woods at once canopied with new-yellow-green leaves
and carpeted with short, white flowers.

We smell damp dirt in the humid hills of hardwoods,
navigate the drier outsides of sticky, chocolaty paths,
tread timidly in tennis-shoes, through wetter spots, where tires have been.

Summer

We rock on a shaded, cement back-porch, sip cans of cool, fizzy, fruity water,
watch a tiny piney-squirrel sway atop a neighbor’s birdfeeder,
listen to the brown birds in the oak complain, as he snarfs the small seeds: their supper.

We see the beach’s wet pebbles beneath our rain-boots, or,
under sun-burnt feet, nearer the water’s edges, far from your orange towels, and
walk warm, wet dunes with nothing in our pockets but heart-shaped rocks.

We search for darkness on gritty, grey, gravel roads,
the meteors shower from the Milky Way in sparks, far from your black truck and the high corn,
the buzz and sizzle of the thick, electric wires above spook us back to the city.

Fall

We look over tall and dry grasses to the chilly blue Lake, which is building sandbars for no one,
hear the crunch of scattered leaves in the drifts of sand
that sit on the rickety boardwalks and blow past the boarded up bathrooms.

We write papers or poems in a grocery’s café, by wide windows, during a premature dusk,
buy thin potato chips and crème filled long-johns , or,
break over refrigerated California sushi rolls, chicken salad croissants, and red grapes.

I open your card, the one with penciled outlines of your heart-shaped rock collection,
a Longfellow poem inside about arrows and songs and friendship,
your gift: a bag of gifts: sixteen, or more, and all just for me, and all just for my birthday.

Winter

We wear wool scarves you knitted last spring,
walk past the white-roofed, red barn, in snow, ankle-deep,
my small boot-print in yours, through flakes and frozen pinecones.

We talk inside an atrium full of plants,
the scrape of chairs echoes in the space and cloudy light,
people in tight suits, sweaters, and sometimes heels, peer down from their glass elevators.

I sit to write you a December birthday poem:
something that will say:
I hope I bring a fraction of the joy to your life that you bring to mine.

Dedicated to Jaim, in celebration of his birthday (2018)

 

If you’d like to contact that poet:  miss.laura.hammonds@gmail.com 

Femailing July 2020

In this issue you’ll find three articles in a section of call and response that delve into nuanced discussions of approaches to institutional history, “Just because we share history doesn’t mean we share an interpretation of history.” 

Debbie Eisenbise, a panelist from our virtual luncheon, writes “True inclusion and power sharing will not occur unless there is systemic reform” in her article “Defund Dysfunction.”

As you may be aware, Womaen’s Caucus wrote a letter to General Secretary David Steele, Moderator Paul Mundey, Moderator-elect David Sollenberger, Annual Conference Secretary Jim Beckwith, CODE Representative Cindy Sanders, Bethany Seminary President Jeff Carter, Brethren Benefit Trust President Nevin Dulabaum and Annual Conference Director Chris Douglas. We are still discerning how we are called to speak truth to power so watch for follow-up!

We are pleased to introduce you to our newest Steering Committee member, Carol Lindquist. 

We also gathered a list of books, websites and podcasts that open us up to ways scripture speaks truth to power. 

 

Ways you are invited to respond: 

We’re compelled to continue these conversations. Would you like to engage?

How do you rescind power or share power with others in a church context?

How are you called to speak truth to power? How has truth been spoken to you?

How does historical trauma impact your daily life? What does it mean to carry a silent history? 

 

Letter to CoB Leaders

Womaen’s Caucus has sent a letter to the Church of the Brethren Leadership Team and several additional denominational leaders calling upon them to watch the full video of “Speaking Truth to Power” that was recorded on July 3. The powerful words and authentic vulnerability of panel members, Debbie Eisenbise, Gimbiya Kettering, and Madalyn Metzger serve as inspiration for the denomination to reflect on structural and cultural patterns that limit participation of so many persons wanting to be a part of our faith community.

The letter requests that denominational leaders ask themselves the same questions posed to the panel, sharing their personal responses with one another as a way of auditing their personal influence on the lives and faith of the persons they lead. In addition, the Caucus identified three ways that the work of the panel is influencing the work of the denomination.

Letter to Church of the Brethren Leaders

Womaen’s Caucus 7.13.20

Speaking Truth to Power

Virtual Luncheon 2020

Friday, July 3rd we hosted our panelists Gimbiya Kettering, Debbie Eisenbise and Madalyn Metzger. These three wise, fierce, faithful, patient and passionate church leaders, writers and speakers shared with us their personal stories of speaking truth to power. They also spoke the much needed truth to us. We need visionaries who are grounded both within the church and beyond the church,who call their church and world to Jesus’ radical love. The panel moved us to thought and action. 

We invite you to view the recorded session in the Living Stream archive

Womaen’s Caucus is grateful to the work of Living Stream CoB and Enten Eller for supporting allowing the use of their systems and tech. This event would not have been possible without them! 

Donate to Living Stream and help continue these fruitful online spaces. 

Femailing June 2020

Femailings-June-20-v6-digital

Article highlights in this issue:

“There isn’t going to be a perfect time, when we are strong enough to work for justice and peace. There is only now.” – from “The Protest of Martha” written by Gimbiya Kettering

“The names, faces and labels might be different, but we still struggle with not only welcoming everyone to the table Christ has set for us, but sending the invitation in the first place.” – from “Building up the Body of Christ” written by Madalyn Metzger

Welcoming a new steering committee member, Kathryn LaPointe!

Two reflections from the Clergy Women’s Retreat from Pastors Cesia Morrison and Lidia Gonzalez.

“Food insecurity was a reality for ~ 1/8 people in the US before COVID-19 and increase with myriad anxieties and injustices.” – from “Women and Food” written by Anna Lisa Gross

Read, enjoy and discuss!

Do you have a feminist sermon, article or book review you would like to contribute to our next Femailing? Please email us at womaenscaucuscob-at- gmail-dot-com