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Sunday, May 21, 2006
Emergent Women's ReGathering
I know that right now the biggest point of contact for this blog is the Emergent Women's ReGathering. As starting point for discussion and to fill in those who could not make it I want to post my summary/thoughts on the event. This is what I blogged about shortly after the event. Please add your thoughts, impressions, and questions.

I spent this past weekend in a barn outside of Indianapolis. The occasion was the Emergent Women’s Roundbarn ReGathering (which explains the barn part). The what was a group of about 25 women of various ages coming together to encourage one another, tell our stories, and discuss what it means to be a women involved in the emerging conversation. The “official” (whatever that means) description of the event read –

"The Round Barn Re-Gathering is bringing together a group of strong,
gifted, and wise women who love God, and are seeking faithfully to do
God's will. Each one is an expert in her own right, and possesses
much that can enrich and encourage others. And each wise soul is her
own best teacher, able to learn and discern and grow as she listens
well to the stories of others and hears anew her own story. Over the
next day and a half, we hope to create space and opportunity to do just
that. Using the metaphor, "jeans that fit" we will be sharing our
lives, and inviting one another into a place of listening to our own
souls for fresh inspiration, new insight, and increased strength to
live our lives in ways that honor who God has called us to be."

Going into this gathering, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to trust it because it had the Emergent label, but I also was afraid it would just be a typical women’s retreat. To put it bluntly – I didn’t want to spend my time or money listening to devotional talks that have about as much substance as a Hallmark card. Needless to say, I shouldn’t have been worried. The weekend was a good mix of stories, metaphors, pragmatics, worship, debate and laughter with at least a sprinkling of theology thrown in. While it was touchy-feely and emotional, it was not surfacy or shallow. It was draining and overwhelming, but in a healthy way. And it kicked my butt – in a variety of ways.

As we explored the metaphor of “jeans that fit,” we were able to share and hear stories of how women have struggled to find their fit in the church. I heard stories of blessing and creativity, but more frequently of hurt and pain. The common theme of the group seemed to be ways the church (or individuals in the church) have hurt, manipulated, crushed, and destroyed the women who are just trying to serve God. And these are churches and people who on paper even say that they support the concept of women in ministry. But the weekend didn’t merely dwell on the pain, but explored the paths of healing that many of the women had pursued. We encouraged one another, gave practical suggestions for growth, and brainstormed concrete ways to gain a voice (especially in the Emergent conversation).

I met some wonderful women there and left wishing that such a network of support wasn’t scattered across the whole country. Talk is underway to continue the conversations with other ReGatherings as well as regional gatherings and perhaps even join our voices together in published form. I hope the momentum is not lost and our voices stay strong. The effects of this gathering remain to be seen. What response (if any) will the men of Emergent have to the raising of the female voice? Will we fight to have a voice or give up in despair? I for one am trying to figure out my role and what sort of voice I will have.
 
posted by Julie at 3:09 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


5 Comments:


  • At 5/21/2006 07:23:00 PM, Blogger Adrienne

    Great post, Julie.

     
  • At 5/22/2006 12:37:00 AM, Blogger Charlotte Wyncoop

    I was fascinated at the Regathering by the multitude of nearly identical experiences (negative). While I felt we began the reconstruction process I would like to talk further about how we can proactively deal with the attitudes and biases that attempt to stifle God's impetus in our lives.

     
  • At 5/22/2006 06:56:00 AM, Blogger Eileen

    wow...I will continue to read, as this subject is quite interesting to me. I am a bit confused about my role in the emergent church.

     
  • At 5/23/2006 08:30:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    yes Char, I hope we can use this space to proactivily deal with the attitudes. but to also be a place where other women see that they are not alone in their negative experiences.

     
  • At 6/01/2006 07:57:00 AM, Blogger elkayjay

    Hope you don't mind me commenting coz I wasn't there. I live in Australia. But yet somehow I was there, becoz I know that story... the pain of ostracism and rejection, and yet the gain of finding healing in a gathering of like-minded, like-hearted Christian women... the agony of aching for the realisation of one's destiny, and yet the ecstasy of experiencing it in the mundane as well as the "special" events of life.
    I just want to encourage you gals... you are part of a global movement of God. The church will not be "whole" until the equal status and contribution of women is REAL practice in the informal home space and in the formal community faith space!

    As a pro-active response to Charlotte Wyncoop and the other ladies, I humbly suggest you explore creativity in the Arts (creative movement or visual) to express and process your faith... along with getting involved with something in a community different to your normal experience of things... then people like Eileen could have a good chance of finding her role in the emergent church, because you ARE your role, and people like Julie could possibly find a positive outcome of identifying with women of common negative experience! I hope to spend a bit of time "watching" this blog space...

     

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