It was as refreshing as a drink of cool water at hot midday.
I was encouraged in a zoom gathering of women in ministry on the first day of this month, the hot month of July. We gathered in response to the provocative invitation White Women Doing the Work of Anti-Racism. The zoom is archived for view and review as I have done since with a drink of cool water.
In this season, we are thirsty for God’s eternal love and creative power. We are thirsty for the holiness that is honest, introspective, eager and hopeful. We are thirsty to dismantle in our souls, minds and bodies the lessons of multi-generational immersion in a world that categories humanity in hierarchy, injuring all. We are thirsty to become fully human, no longer in denial, no longer defensive but alive, joyful, free. We are thirsty for sisterhood in ministry.
I am encouraged by the thirst of 99 women in ministry on July 1. I am encouraged to read and re-read the chat: hospitable greetings, recommendations of books read and podcasts heard, hopes and prayers, commitment to self-care.
Read: Genesis 29:2 and John 4:11
“For out of the well, the flocks were watered. . .” (Genesis 29:2)
“You have no bucket, and the well is deep . . .” (John 4:11)
Reflect: In Biblical stories, the well was essential to life in the village and to the lives of travelers. Women went regularly to the village well to draw water for their households. The wells were deep in the arid world of ancient Palestine. Lowering a bucket, raising it filled with water, carrying that water home in pottery jars – all these tasks required physical strength.
I am encouraged by the strength of women to journey together with grace and accountability, embracing good questions, not having answers, encouraging one another. Jesus, still at the wellspring, meets us and we share cool water in the dangerous heat of pandemic. Jesus meets us as we lament violence and injustice against brown and black bodies. Jesus meets us as we acknowledge history, recreate public spaces, learn how to be anti-racist from the social location we find ourselves.
We need one another. We need to gather at wells and drink cool water. We need convenings so that all women in ministry deepen connection with one another, find support and inspiration in one another’s company, and receive grace and seek accountability in the journey onward.
Take Action: What do leaders do? They convene and they bless. So, be blessed as you convene and bless. Call a woman in ministry, organize a conversation safely distanced outside in the shade, convene a zoom. Let us arise, strengthened as we connect and grow together in this time, for this time.
Center for Leadership Excellence and the Commission on the Status and Role of Women
We are grateful to Bishop Hope Morgan Ward for writing this month’s issue of Encouragements.
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