National Council
of Churches USA

Home

Liturgy

Domestic Violence

Human Trafficking

Claire Randall Fund

Women who showed the way

Young Women Leaders

History Slide Show

NCC Home Page

 


Women’s History Month Ends on a Positive Note
throughout the Ecumenical Community
 

By the Rev. Ann Tiemeyer

Program Director for Women's Ministry
National Council of Churches

Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD), held from March 25 to 28 in Washington, truly provided a positive note to the end of Women’s History Month throughout ecumenical communities.

EAD's theme was
Development, Security and Economic Justice: What’s Gender Got to Do with It?

 

Through worship, plenary sessions, workshops, and advocacy training, the men and women at EAD found the answer to the theme question to be – “A Lot!” 

 

The Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and executive director, Minnesota Council of Churches, preached a powerful sermon calling us all to be as persistent in our advocacy to Washington representatives as were the women in Mark 7:24-30, who challenged Jesus to live out justice from the conviction of abundance, sharing the food from the table with all. 

Ritu Sharma, Co-Founder and President of Women Thrive Worldwide, during the plenary session entitled Women and Girls Aren’t the Problem: They’re the Solution, provided stories, statistics and testimony to the fact that gender based violence harms the whole community – both men, women and children.   A 2003 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the costs of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion is for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion due to absenteeism. Sharma praised EAD’s legislative tasks as a powerful cross cutting request.  EAD advocates for re-authorization and full funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and co-sponsoring of the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).  Sharma indicated that gender-based violence relates to poverty, war, food security, and what ever other issue you raise domestically and internationally. 

 

Over 60 workshops highlighted the theme, including:  Maternal Health and Millennium Development Goal #5: How can the Church Respond?, Consequences of a Broken System:  Gender and Immigration in the Untied States, Women, Agriculture, Climate and Food Sovereignty, Our Bodies Are Still Trembling:  Haitian Women Continue to Fight Against Rape, Women and the Economy / Eradicating Poverty, and many more.

 

The NCC Justice for Women Working Group sponsored a workshop entitled Gender and Faith:  What’s Power Got to Do with It? where participants explored the danger of gender stereotyping in the Wal-Mart law suit and in Biblical stories as a tool to evaluate the abuse of power.   Advocacy training provided the needed tools for participants to spend Monday in legislative visits on the Hill holding up the powerful partnership of men and women together asking for full funding of programs that serve families – especially those struggling to overcome poverty along with support for Violence Against Women Act and the International Violence Against Women Act.

 

Although March – Women’s History Month – has ended, the full participation of women and positive partnerships of men and women working together for justice in and through the ecumenical community will not end.  The inspiration, the new things learned and powerful legislative advocacy accomplished through Ecumenical Advocacy Days will have positive effects on into the future.

 

For more information about Justice for Women Working Group of the NCC and Women’s Ministries go to the following websites:

 

http://www.ncccusa.org/womensministry/
www.wordsmatter.org
www.fistulastories.org

To honor a women and financially support gender justice work in the ecumenical community through the NCC go to:

www.circlesofnames.org

Photos of Tiemeyer and Chemberlin by Kathleen Cameron

 


It’s A Wonderful Thing to Honor the Women Who Made All the Difference In Our Lives:

Claremont, California Circles of Names Gathering, February 15, 2011 at Pilgrim Place

Each week throughout Women’s History Month we will share with you stories on how women are impacting history.  The following feature story on a recent “Circles of Names” Gathering (www.circlesofnames.org) which took place at Pilgrim Place community in Claremont, California on February 15, 2011, highlighted the stories of women of faith who impacted the lives of others.  As Susan Craig, a member of the Pilgrim Place community and of the organizing committee for the Gathering, reflected on the significance of this event, “It’s a wonderful thing to take the time, and make the financial sacrifice to honor the women who made all the difference in our lives. Without them many of us wouldn’t have had the nerve – and the faith – to answer the callings we were so sure were ours.”

 

“A very exciting evening of amazing women gathered at Pilgrim Place in Claremont, California for wine and cheese and to celebrate the lives of women and the ‘herstory’ of our past struggles and accomplishments,” said Jerri Rodewald, Convener of the local steering group responsible for organizing the Claremont Circles of Names Gathering on Tuesday, February 15, 2011. Twenty-eight women were named as part of the Circles of Names Campaign which will sustain and energize the future for ecumenical women’s ministries,” she went on to note.  

The Circles of Names Campaign, (www.circlesofnames.org) a project of the National Council of Churches USA, (www.ncccusa.org) is designed to create a circle of support for women’s ministries by asking a thousand persons to give $100 in the name of a woman who has helped shape their walks of faith. The Circles Campaign seeks to build a foundation towards long-term sustainability of Women’s Ministries and gender justice work through the 37 member communions of the National Council of Churches. 

“When the Claremont community stepped up and first offered to host a Circles of Names Gathering, we knew the event would take on an exciting life of its own and that probably it would be most effective if staff would just get out of their way and let these amazing friends of the NCC shape and implement the occasion in their own inimitable style,” said the Rev. Deborah DeWinter, Director of Donor Relations for the National Council of Churches USA.  “The local steering committee, led by Jerri Rodewald, chair of the Feminist Agenda Network (F.A.N.) and a member of the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns of the Presbyterian Church USA, included seasoned activists and organizers, prominent theologians, educators, ordained ministers and retired staff of national denominational offices and international church agencies, some of whom had already themselves been named to the Circles Campaign,” DeWinter said. 

Which is why, on the evening of February 15, 2011, more than 70 friends and constituents of the three sponsoring communities:  the Feminist Agenda Network, Pilgrim Place (which since 1915 has been a home to thousands of retired persons who have served as leaders of religious and charitable non-profit organizations throughout the world),  and the Claremont School of Theology gathered at Decker Hall on the Pilgrim Place campus to express their commitment to the future of women’s ministries and gender justice work of the National Council of Churches.   

The program, entitled, “A Salute to Pilgrim Women in the Circles of Names,” honored the 10 women within the Pilgrim Place community who had already been named to the Campaign for the ways in which each had been a source of inspiration to others in their respective walks of faith.  They included: Doris Rhodes, Jane Dempsey Douglass, Jean Audrey Powers, Carolyn Francis, Ruth Harris, Heidi Hough, Dale Morgan, Pat Patterson, Rosemary Radford Ruether, and Marilee Scaff.  

Added to the Circles of Names at this gathering were special honorees the late Dr. Susan Nelson, former Academic Dean at the Claremont School of Theology, introduced by The Rev. Dr. Kathy Black, professor of Homiletics at the Claremont School of Theology; Eleonore Powell, introduced by Rev. Dr. Jane Heckles, Minister for Our Church’s Wider Mission, United Church of Christ, (and surprised by a special video greeting delivered by her daughter, The Rev. Loey Powell, Executive for Administration and Women’s Justice, Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ); Eleanor Scott Meyers, former President, Pacific School of Religion introduced  by Rev. Dr. Lynn Rhodes, Professor Emerita, Pacific School of Religion; Rev. Barbara Troxell, former Director of Field Education and Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Theological Seminary and Dean of Students at the Pacific School of Religion introduced by Judy Fiske, Chair of Women’s Perspectives at Pilgrim Place;  Annie Wu King, former member of the national staff of Women's Ministries, National Ministries Division, Presbyterian Church (USA) and Rev. Susan Craig, former pastor of United University Church at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles introduced by Jerri Rodewald, chair of the Feminist Agenda Network and Moderator of the Claremont Circles of Names Gathering Steering Group.   

The Rev. Ann Tiemeyer, Director of Women’s Ministries at the NCC, gave an overview of the current projects of the Women’s Ministries that promote gender justice. Words Matter, a new project initiated by the Justice for Women Working Group, encourages dialogue rooted in diverse contexts that explores language as a life-giving tool. (www.wordsmatter.org) Fistula Stories(www.fistulastories.org), another project of Women’s Ministries, explores faith and action to end obstetric fistula in this generation. Through the Words Matters project a Lenten Devotional is available for download at www.wordsmatters.org to assist each of us women and men to be disciplined in would we use our words throughout the Lenten season to build up community.     

“Standing on the shoulders of such great women, I could see beyond the mountains surrounding Claremont into a great future of gender justice ministry,” said Rev. Tiemeyer.  “The Gathering modeled a very effective working partnership of the three sponsoring groups, the Feminist Agenda Network and communities at Pilgrim Place, and the Claremont School of Theology who not only honored great women of the past, but also strong leaders of today.  The energy and partnership exemplified in the room gave me great hope as I continue my work ecumenically striving for gender justice throughout our member communions and the world at large.”   

Mr. Wesley (“Pat”) Pattillo, Associate General Secretary for Justice, Advocacy and Communication, provided a brief overview of the National Council of Churches today, particularly highlighting the work of the Justice and Advocacy and Communications Commissions. The Rev. Deborah DeWinter, Director of Donor Relations for the NCC concluded the evening by inviting those gathered to tell their friends about the Circles of Names Campaign “….so that the circle of support for gender justice work can be expanded and women’s ministries at the National Council, sustained well into the future.” (www.fistulastories.org/).  

Prior to the start of the program which took place at Decker Hall, on the campus of Pilgrim Place, an informal reception was hosted for some 55 guests at the home of Bear and Susan Craig. Throughout the evening a power point presentation displayed images, quotes and the names of all the women who have been named to the Circles of Names Campaign since its launch in November 2009 –now some 616 in number. 

Reflecting on the experience, reception co-host Rev. Susan Craig commented, “The event was inspiring to us and to all who took part.  It’s a wonderful thing to take the time, and make the financial sacrifice to honor the women who made all the difference in our lives. Without them many of us wouldn’t have had the nerve – and the faith – to answer the callings we were so sure were ours.  Pilgrim Place is so progressive and feminist that we’re a natural source of support for the Circles program.

Those serving on the Steering Committee for the Claremont Circles of Names Campaign Gathering, included: Bear Ride and Susan Craig, honorary hosts; Jerri Rodewald, Convener; Jane Dempsey Douglass; Rev. Dr. Jean Audrey Powers; Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether; members of the Feminist Agenda Network (FAN): Ann Hayman, Carolyn Kingshill, Donna Lee Merz; Bery Smith, Jo C. Smith, and Annie Wu King.

Circles gatherings are now in development for Cleveland, Ohio and New York City. Past gatherings have included Boston and Washington, D.C. For more information on the Circles of Names Campaign in support of Women’s Ministries and the gender justice work of the National Council of Churches USA (which has been extended through the end of June, 2011), or to name a woman to the campaign, please visit the Circles website at: www.circlesofnames.org.  Those interested in hosting a local Circles of Names Gathering may contact Rev. Deborah DeWinter for further information (ddewinter@ncccusa.org or Tel. 212-870-2513).  

--Rev. Deborah DeWinter & Suzanne Campise

 

Call for Submissions! 

The Justice for Women Working Group (J4WWG) of the National Council of Churches, USA (NCC), is issuing an open call for art to help expand our imagination of ecumenical cooperation reflecting on Luke 24:48, “You are witnesses of these things.” (NRSV) 

Submissions will be displayed at the Justice for Women Working Group meeting during the Centennial Ecumenical Gathering and General Assembly of the NCC and Church World Service November 9-11, 2010 in New Orleans. 

Submissions must be

  • received no later than Friday, November 5, 2010 at the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, ATTN: Agatha Townsend, 1623 Seventh Street, New Orleans, La. 70115;
  • of such a size and shape that it is possible to mail them
  • reflecting on/based on/expanding on Luke 24:48 in some way

Submissions may be accompanied by an artist’s statement of no more than 500 words. 

Submissions become the property of The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and may be used in connection with the expansive language project as well as for other publicity and educational purpose at the NCC’s discretion, always providing credit to the submitting artist.   

For more information

Fistula Stories announces launch
of Multi-Faith Resources

Fistula Stories, a project of Women’s Ministries at the National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA, will expand its curriculum to include studies of texts from other faiths.  The Curriculum, currently in its second year of distribution, has until now focused on the connections between Christian faith and action, helping Christians to become advocates for an end to obstetric fistula. 

Ann Tiemeyer, Program Director for Women’s Ministries at the NCC, believes that the additions of multi-faith perspectives will enrich the study for both Christians and people of other faiths.  “As we join with women from other faiths in the effort to end fistula with this generation, we will all gain new insights,” she says.  “Through a common commitment to justice, we are building on shared ground.”

A new section of www.fistulastories.org features the Multi-Faith materials.  Currently Jewish and Islamic Supplements are available at www.fistulastories.org/multi-faith, with Buddhist, Native American Spirituality, Sikh, and Hindu resources projected for this fall.  The Supplements include text studies and prayers, and can be studied individually or together.

Obstetric Fistula, a childbirth injury that leaves women bereaved, incontinent, and shunned, is estimated to affect more than 2 million women worldwide.  For more information on the causes of fistula, its cure and prevention, and ways to get involved, visit www.fistulastories.org.


Ecumenical group explores the power of language
used to talk about God and one another
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 By Meagan Manas 

Chicago, August 18, 2010 -- A diverse group of Christians gathered in Chicago, August 9-11 to explore the power of language Christians use to talk about God and one another.   

The participants represented a broad spectrum of ages, races, cultural backgrounds, gender, sexual orientations, abilities, denominations/communions, and professional fields. 

“Our vision,” said the Rev. Ann Tiemeyer, Program Director for Women’s Ministries at the National Council of Churches, “is for many conversations that take diverse contexts seriously in exploring the power of language (words, symbols or images) and how it can be used in life-giving ways that extend the hospitality of the church’s mission within the local church and community.” 

“This vision is grounded in the Gospel mandate to affirm life and carry forth the healing love of God found within the gospel of Jesus Christ in the face of the death-dealing effects of sin in our world,” Tiemeyer said. 

The gathering approached language issues using a descriptive rather than a proscriptive method.  The conversation was grounded in relationship and listening to each others’ stories of experiencing the power of language and the breaking through of God’s healing. 

Each person at the August gathering responded to the prompt: Share with us an experience when you noticed the power and/or importance of language (words, symbols, or images) and the impact of that language on your life, your faith community, or your relationship with God.  This experience may have helped you embrace the Divine more fully or it may have been destructive, harmful, or painful to you in your personal and/or faith journey. 

After listening to one another’s stories and noting their own responses, participants met in small groups to discuss what they had learned from the stories, led by co-facilitators Virstan Choy and Aleese Moore-Orbih. 

What was learned 

The stories told by the group called for language expansion—expanding the way we think and talk about ourselves, others, and our God.  Instead of restricting language, the stories called for adding more diverse language.   

Chris Lewis, a student at Loras College and member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America spoke of his experience in High School when he went on a service project with students who were not part of his usual “jock” clique. “I could see God through the diversity of people I got to know who I wouldn’t have met otherwise,” he said. “It expanded my faith.”  

Participants called for a breaking down of the “cliques” of our own communions to foster an expanding vocabulary and imagery for who God is and how God is revealed in our lives. 

The stories told by the group called for expanding the understanding of how language is tied to systems of power and has been and can be harmful, oppressive, and death-dealing. 

K. Ray Hill, the pastor of an urban United Church of Christ congregation in North Carolina, used the metaphor of the “melting pot” to explain how some ideas of inclusion only lead to normalization of the dominant culture.  Calling for more space to lift up a variety of heritages, experiences, and cultures, he said, “I’m for more of a ‘salad bowl’ model.”

Other participants also noted that when “inclusion” or “political correctness” is the goal, the dominant culture continues to be held up above others.   

“My culture is not demeaned in my church,” said Teresa Chavez Sauceda, a Presbyterian who describes herself as Chicana, “but it certainly is not lifted up.”  The internalizations of descriptions created by dominant groups for “others” -- even experienced through the lack described by Sauceda -- can reinforce stereotypes, ignorance, and oppression. 

The stories told by the group called us to expand contextual cultural attentiveness --understanding that language speaks differently in different contexts.   

NaKeisha S. Blount, NCC Advocacy Officer for Racial Justice and Human Rights, a joint staff appointment with the United Church of Christ who is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches and Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., described the huge cultural difference she often moves between, calling for more understanding of one another’s contexts.  

“Truth be told, there are those who are opposed to language like ‘God the Father’ because they never had a father, or they had a distant or abusive father,” Blount said, using a common example in discussions of language.  “But truth be told, there are those who would deeply grieve the loss of ‘God the Father’ because they never had a father, or they had a distant or abusive father.”  

The stories told by the group showed that in an environment created through respectful intentional listening, compliance to rules about specific words was not as helpful as commitment to understanding the impact of the power of language. 

“There was no list of forbidden words created; rather, we pursued a consciousness of how language shapes our own experience as well as the experience of others – precious wisdom,” said Inez Torres Davis, Director for Justice of Women of the ELCA. 

This kind of commitment can lead to real, meaningful analysis of systems of power that oppose the Gospel; extending a life-affirming hospitality within the church and community.   

Sue Hedahl, Professor at Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary, characterized campus discussion around language there as revolving around the difference between “compliance” and “commitment,” and agreed that understanding what it at stake in the language we use is more valuable than simply following a list of rules. 

The stories told by the group also called for spreading this conversation to as many different places as possible.  In beginning to think about how to spread these conversations, the participants acknowledged the need for a variety of methods that might include listening, dialogue, liturgy and hymnody, humor, story-telling, art, and social media networks. 

What was learned at this gathering will be shared with the NCC Justice for Women Working Group to discern the next steps to spread these conversations as broadly as possible.  Participants were invited to be an ongoing part of the process.   

Said Torres Davis, also a member of the working group, “Our hope is to have such conversations occur in congregations, pericope studies, classrooms, forums, Sunday schools, pulpits, and so forth…The scholarship on expanding language has been done, including liberation, mujerista, womanist, feminist, GLBT, ableist, patriarchal, and other analyses of power within the faith and within those who hold the faith. It is now time to begin applying this knowledge.” 

Among the 25 participants, eight were men, six were under 30, three openly identified as LGBT, eight were clergy, nine were lay, five were seminary professors, three were seminarians, Ph.D. candidates or recent grads.  Three participants identified as Latino/a, seven as African American, three as Asian, one as Native American, eight as Caucasian, and three as mixed/bi-racial.   

Participants came from the following communions:  the African Methodist Episcopal Church, American Baptist Churches USA, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Orthodox Church of America, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., the Roman Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church.  


NCC group to meet in Chicago August 9-11
to discuss the words we use to talk about God

Chicago, July 26, 2010 -- A diverse group of Christians will gather here August 9-11 to talk about the language people use to talk about God and faith. 

The National Council of Churches symposium, “Language Matters,” will discuss how to talk about God and faith in ways that respect the sensibilities of people from a variety of Christian traditions and viewpoints. 

The conversation will focus on the language, images, and symbols used in worship and everyday life to talk about faith and God.   

Initiated by the NCC’s Justice for Women Working Group, this conversation is a first step in a larger project designed to create resources for congregations and groups to assist their own conversations. 

The term “expansive language” has been used in some circles to describe respectful language that honors all of God’s people and is more than just “gender inclusive”.   

As communions seek to become genuinely inclusive as well as multiracial communities of faith, planners say, the conversation about the use of language in churches becomes more critical, and more challenging.   

When women in the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) held a joint event, we prepared guidelines around expansive language which asked preachers, speakers and workshop leaders to bring consciousness to the language they were using out of the traditions from which they came,” said the Rev. Loey Powell, executive for Administration and Women’s Justice in the UCC. This helped us all ‘stay in the room’ with each other,” said Powell. 

Sensitivity to gender inclusive language, particularly religious language and metaphor, emerged in the 1970’s with the advent of feminist theology and feminist biblical exegesis and hermeneutics.  Many denominations began the process of developing gender inclusive worship materials, protocols for publications, and even biblical translations that offered metaphors and names for God and humanity that reflected this inclusiveness.  

In 1988 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church first approved Supplemental Liturgical Texts, now known as Enriching Our Worship, as an alternate to the Book of Common Prayer for Episcopal worship.  

Part of the impetus to have a meeting on language is the impression of some observers that the use of gender inclusive language throughout our NCC member communions has declined.   

Furthermore, new insights have emerged within our churches about language that reinforces harmful stereotypes around the realities of race, disabilities, sexual orientation and gender, planners say. 

The August gathering will explore dimensions of language, images, and symbols for God through multiple approaches that reflect the diversity of the group.  

The 30 participants, both lay and ordained, come from a wide diversity of NCC member communions and religious traditions. 

Co-Facilitators are
Aleese Moore-Orbih, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and director of training and consulting for FaithTrust Institute, and Virstan Choy, a minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), a church consultant and member of the adjunct faculty at McCormick Theological Seminary.


New and expanded Fistula Stories curriculum

Explore faith in action, educate your community about maternal health, and walk in solidarity with your global sisters

A recent article in the medical journal The Lancet revealed that global maternal mortality is on the decline.  This is good news, but much progress remains to be seen.  It is still estimated that a woman dies in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications every 90 seconds—and that for every one woman who dies there are 20 who live with childbirth-related injuries.  One of those injuries is Obstetric Fistula.  A hole between the vagina and bladder and/or rectum that leaves women incontinent and shunned, fistula affects more than 2 million women worldwide. 

Fistula Stories is a 4-session curriculum for use in church bible studies, campus ministries, and other community groups.  Through education, Bible study, and advocacy planning, Fistula Stories invites you to take a stand on Global Maternal Health.  Studying the specific issue of fistula provides a tangible framework in which to explore the connections between faith and action in our own lives.  All of the participants in our pilot program during Fall 2009 reported that they understood the connections between faith and action in their own lives in new and deeper ways, and they felt empowered to be advocates for this and other issues! 

The curriculum is closely linked to a website, www.fistulastories.org, where you can read more stories of faith in action, find out more about fistula, and learn about what is being done to improve life for women worldwide.  Visit fistulastories.org to download the free curriculum, complete with a leader’s guide and supplemental resources!   

Interested in Fistula Stories?  Stay in touch!  Visit www.fistulastories.org/curriculum to download the materials and provide us with your contact information—we will keep you in the loop with anticipated supplemental materials, including a US Maternal Health Supplement (did you know that the US ranks 40th in maternal mortality among developed nations?) and Interfaith text studies. 

Explore faith in action, educate your community about maternal health, and walk in solidarity with your global sisters!  Check out Fistula Stories today! 


Promote Maternal Health this Mother’s Day!/span> 

Fistula Stories invites you to promote maternal health this mother’s day!  The Fistula Stories blog currently features a few big ways to learn about and promote maternal health for May 9:

·  Download Worship Resources to recognize maternal mortality and morbidities from a grassroots educational campaign for Mother’s Day from the Rachel Sabbath Initiative at the Religious Institute, Bulletin inserts, Prayers  and more!

·  Sign A Petition to send to Kathleen Sibelius, urging her to start an Office of Maternal Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. 

This action is urgent, as a study recently released by Amnesty International reported that maternal mortality has increased by 42% in the United states since the 1980’s—at the same time that Maternal Mortality worldwide is decreasing.

·  Coming Soon: Fistula Stories Re-launch, featuring an expanded curriculum and re-vamped website! 

Are you still scratching your head over “fistula?” or wondering why a Maternal Health Initiative would be called “The Rachel Sabbath?”  Take heart, there is much to learn—and what better time to be educated and raise awareness about maternal health than Mother’s Day?  Visit www.fistulastories.org to find out more. 


Circles of Names –
Artwork Unveiled
 

The first two panels for the specially commissioned Circles of Names Campaign work of art by Mary Button were unveiled during Women’s History Month (March) at both the Ecumenical Women’s Reception and the Ecumenical Young Adult Leadership Experience related to the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations.  The Circles of Names Campaign) which was inaugurated in November 2009 at the joint General Assembly of the National Council of Churches USA and Church World Service is well on its way to reaching the goal of $100,000 raised and 1,000 women named.  Funds raised will support the broader vision of the Campaign: “Bearing witness to a broad base of support historically, currently and into the future for gender justice work in and through the faith communities to sustain, coordinate and extend the work of women’s ministries.” The completed work of art will have a total of four panels inspired by fabric patterns suggesting the look of a quilt of names encircling each other in support.  The first two panels include the 323 names collected prior to March.  The final two panels will be completed when the final goal of 1,000 names is reached. 

Within the circles of the painted fabric designs, I have drawn silhouettes of important historical and contemporary women church leaders.  Women like Ida Wells Barnett, Dorothy Day, and Katie Canon:  women whose dedication to the church inspires and moves us . . . I then began to encircle  these portraits with the names of one thousand more women who inspire and move.  In the end, I hope that these paintings will stand both as a personal thank you to the women of my church who taught me to love color as a child and as a testimony to the work of women in all our churches. (Circles of Names Artist – Mary Button) 

To see the women already named go to http://circlesofnames.org/who-has-been-named/.   

To read what has been said about some of them go to http://circlesofnames.org/blog/.   

To name a women of faith that inspires you go to http://circlesofnames.org/donation/. 

Donations or pledges may be made on line or alternately a Circles of Names brochure may be downloaded and checks mailed to the NCC office. 

The NCC will send a note to women named when their contact information is provided.  It is also possible for the donor to download a gift card in order to express more personally how the woman named has been a source of inspiration to the donor.  

To name a woman in honor of Mother’s Day, a special Mother’s Day Circles of Names gift card has been designed especially for this occasion.  It can be downloaded at http://circlesofnames.org/donation/ 

By the beginning of March, $45,525.00 had been donated or pledged to the Circles of Names Campaign.  All funds for this Campaign are to be received by December 31, 2010 and are placed in the Claire Randall Sustaining Fund (see the Frequently Asked Questions section of the website at http://circlesofnames.org/faq/) to support the ongoing work of Women’s Ministries at the NCC and in addressing gender justice in the church and in the world. 




































Click here for updates: Women's History Month, Making aid work, A Walk to Beautiful, Domestic Violence Month, the Fistula Project and more.