We gathered on Saturday to share with each other our experiences in leadership – including all the joys and struggles that involves. From that time the groups returned with questions that our experiences raised in us. These are what came to mind as we reflected on who we are. Who knows how we will “answer” them, but they were questions that we had to ask.
How do emergent ministries and mainstream congregations learn and grow together?
How can we as women encourage instead of hurt each other?
As we are staring new kinds of faith communities how can we avoid damaging those we come in contact with?
How do we become leaders without losing who we are as women (have to act like men)?
God cares about us and our wholeness, how do we lead from that?
How do we claim and articulate our dreams and receive God’s permission to move forward in those?
What are supposed to do with the excitement of learning from each other?
What is next????? (the ever present question)
The afternoon was spent over a good lunch and conversation. We then broke into affinity groups to explore topics such as church planting, spiritual retreats, and social justice. I got to participate in a great discussion of centering prayer and being aware of our body in prayer and spiritual acts. I also got to participate in a spiritual direction session, which was a blessing albeit new experience for me. We were then treated to a panel discussion with a number of emerging women leaders. It was great to hear a variety of different perspectives from women at different stages in life and ministry. Here are a few of the insights from that panel that I found helpful.
- It can be a long process to accept God’s call to ministry as a woman and as yourself.
- Being who we are gives us credibility. It threatens some when a woman accepts God’s call, but we should just let them see God working through us, using the gifts God gives us.
- You need peers and mentors on this journey. Mentors can give you insight into the places you have not yet been. It is your responsibility to take the initiative to find a mentor.
- Don’t wait for permission or an invitation to use your voice, just do what you need to do.
Saturday evening was spent in community as we talked, shared a meal, and played games. We got to discover each others’ journey’s and learn from where we have all been. Sunday morning was spent in worship. Some of us started the day with a contemplative prayer/yoga session. It was a quieting time that helped us center our thoughts on God. The full group then spent time singing and worshiping through artistic lectio divina. As we mediated on scripture and prayers, we created images and collages that reflected what we were dwelling upon. We shared those creations with each other. We continued worshiping then with more songs, sharing a communion liturgy, and passing the peace. The group then entered into a time of sharing and reflecting on the experience, but Sarah and I had to slip out so we could make it to the airport on time.
It was a refreshing weekend that I am glad I was able to be a part of. I met some wonderful women and got to learn from their combined experiences.I would love to hear reflect ions from anyone else who attended. And I highly encourage everyone to try to ake it to one of these events.