A prayer for Annual Conference 2021

June 19, 2021

Brother Paul, Brother Jim, and Brother David,  

  The Womaen’s Caucus Steering Committee holds you steadfastly in prayer as we approach the first virtual Annual Conference, knowing there are many pressures and concerns in your minds and hearts. We trust that the Spirit is moving among us, creating new pathways that will benefit the denomination and all those in it for years to come. 

  We write to you for a couple of reasons. As you may recall, one of the action items in our letter of concern regarding Tod Bolsinger’s place of honor at Annual Conference is to match his speaking fees with a gift to a predominantly Black or Native congregation in the denomination. We do not believe in asking of others what we are unwilling to do ourselves, so we wanted to let you know that we have made symbolic gifts to several CoB organizations that serve primarily non-white or indigenous persons. We encourage others to determine their own gesture to recognize their contrition as they seek to abandon practices that diminish others in the family of God.  

  Many church leaders are uncovering the ways in which we, as individuals and as a denomination, have been complicit (however unconsciously) in the subjugation of and discrimination and prejudice against Black and Indigenous people of color and we are looking to Annual Conference leadership to lead us in vulnerability and confession. Knowing that you have many demands on your time and spirits, we offer a prayer that would be appropriate for Brother Paul to pray at any of several points of live engagement during Annual Conference: 

God in whose image all humankind has been created, in glorious diversity,  we give thanks for the ways you have blessed and challenged us through those who are different from ourselves.

Those of us who are white confess that we have been complicit in many kinds of historic and present harm done to our Black and Indigenous brothers and sisters.  

We have benefited from stolen and devalued labor and land.  

We have benefited from prejudice that has limited the opportunities of others and distributed the resources of your creation inequitably.  

Even when we have sought to be openhanded and charitable, we have often done so in a way that failed to acknowledge the dignity and agency of others.  

Lord God, we ask you humbly in this hour to forgive these sins and teach us to understand better how to live out your shalom for all people and all creation.  

Give us opportunities to renounce our privilege and allow those with less to speak and to lead.  

Keep us ever humble and teachable regarding all the things that are outside our lived experience.  

Help us to understand that (as with so much injustice) not all of us are guilty, but all of us are responsible.

You have called us to the doing of your justice, to be merciful and kind as you are merciful and kind, and to ever and always walk humbly with you.  

We pray this, humbly and aching for transformation, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

 Brothers, may this virtual Annual Conference be blessed by a spirit of truly fearless, innovative, and adaptable leadership.  

Bobbi Dykema, Anna Lisa Gross, Carol Lindquist, Sara Davis, Jonathan Bay, Carla Gillespie, Kathryn LaPointe 

Saturday, July 3 at 5:30 pm (Eastern)

In the historic first fully online Annual Conference, we look forward to seeing your faces up-close, unmasked, as we greet old friends, meet new friends, and learn about highlights from 50 years of Womaen’s Caucus! Just like any of us reaching 50 years, Womaen’s Caucus has grown up, acquired stretch marks, earned wrinkles, gotten tired at times, and gained wisdom. In the past year Womaen’s Caucus has chosen to refresh-at-50, and we are excited and energized! We’ve been updating our organizing documents and rejuvenating our vision. We invite you to engage this refreshed Caucus, as a *thinker* *doer* *donor* *supporter* and we’ll explain all of this in our networking session! Whether you’re brimming with memories of Caucus, or newly-encountering Caucus, you are most welcome. (All genders welcome!)