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A Radical Act of Love:
Gender Analysis for Everyone

Gender Analysis
is a tool that empowers individuals and communities to identify and understand how differently gendered people are affected by systems of power in cultural, economic, social, civil, legal, political, religious, racial, and ethnic situations. Why does the National Council of Churches support gender analysis? As an ecumenical movement, we join together in acts of radical love, healing, and justice-making with hope for equity, wholeness, and abundant life for all.

Click on the picture at right to download "A Radical Act of Love," our gender analysis brochure.
For a spanish language version click here.

 


 

NCC hosts Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee

New York, October 7, 2011 – Liberian peacemaker Leymah Gbowee was hosted by the National Council of Churches Women’s Ministries program here just hours after she learned she is a recipient of the Nobel peace Prize.


More than 200 supporters gave her a sustained standing ovation when she entered the chapel of The Interchurch Center Friday afternoon.

 

Gbowee smiled and acknowledged the applause. When she went to the microphone she shook her head and said, "What a day."

 

The prize was an unexpected honor, she said, and she paused to consider what she would say about it. Then she started singing an old Sunday school hymn, "This Little Light of Mine." Many in the crowd joined the chorus.

 

Gbowee, who captured international attention with her successful campaign to end a bloody civil war in her homeland, will share the prize with Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first woman freely elected as a head of state in Africa, and Yemen's Tawakul Karman.

 

Friday’s gathering, originally planned as a book reception and to add her name to the NCC’s Circles of Names campaign that honors women of faith who have been a source of inspiration and who have mentored others in their walks of faith, was hastily rearranged so Gbowee could meet with supporters and the media in The Interchurch Center Chapel.

 

“We always thought of Leymah as an obvious candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize,” said the Rev. Ann Tiemeyer, NCC Program Director for Women’s Ministries. “We were thrilled to wake up this morning to hear her name leading the news.”

 

Gbowee, who was slated to return to Liberia following today’s reception, is in the U.S. to promote her memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changes a Nation At War. (Beast Books)

 

Her story will also be featured in a 5-part PBS documentary, “Women, War & Peace,” premiering October 11.

 

Gbowee stands responsible for what began as a tireless vocal demonstration and soon escalated to a stand-off on the presidential mansion steps demanding peace.

This course of action facilitated the war’s end in 2003 and the election of Johnson-Sirleaf.

 

Leymah has been a model and a leader in teaching women about the power of activism,” Tiemeyer said. “She has been a good friend of women of faith for many years and we are extremely proud of her."

► See Odyssey Network's video coverage of Gbowee's induction into the NCC's Circles of Names, and her remarks to more than 200 persons in The Interchurch Center chapel here.

 

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See a slide show of Leymah Gbowee's visit here.


Twin Cities Circles event
honors seven mentors of faith

 

Minneapolis, November 25, 2011 -- Ninety persons squeezed into the parsonage of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church here November 17 to honor seven women from diverse backgrounds as mentors of faith.
 
The Twin Cities Area Circles of Names Gathering was one of several local events sponsored by the National Council of Churches Circles of Names campaign, a project of the NCC 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 helped shape their faith.
 
In so doing, the campaign lifts up the stories of a thousand women as sources of inspiration and empowerment of the churches' witness for gender justice.
 
In addition to scores of mentoring women who were named to the circles as a part of the Twin Cities area gathering, seven special mentors were honored:

Dorothea Burns, an active Evangelical Lutheran Church in America laywoman and community center leader; the Rev. Sarah Campbell, team lead minister of Mayflower Community Congregational United Church of Christ in Minneapolis; Rabbi Amy Eilberg, the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and a leader in interfaith dialogue; the Rev. Alika P. Galloway, co-pastor of Kwanzaa Community Church in Minneapolis (Presbyterian), a womanist theologian and Spiritual Director; Dr. Josie Robinson Johnson, a Roman Catholic laywoman and long-time civil rights leader; Dr. Fatma Reda, a psychiatrist with a doctorate in religious philosophy, a Muslim and an interfaith leader in the Twin Cities area; and Elona Street-Stewart, a Presbyterian elder, chair of the Saint Paul, Minn. School Board, and the first Native American to serve on an urban school board in Minnesota.

Presiding over the event was Lori Sturdevant, a nationally known journalist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and other media, and a member of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church.
 
Several of the honored women expressed hope that the Circles of Name campaign will make visible thousands of women of faith who toiled in the background of many movements - such as the "sandwich women," said Alika Galloway, who provided essential support for the movement of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but are lost to history.
 
Galloway said she accepted the award "on behalf of women who would never be named but worked behind the scenes, the women praying, the women suffering domestic violence, or living with HIV/AIDS, the mothers, because all of the women who will not be named are leaders in our community."
 
Elona Street-Stewart, a member of the Delaware Nanticoke nation, said the Thanksgiving holiday reminded her "how some of my friends sometimes ask me, 'have people ever said I'm sorry for what we did to the Native American people, that we killed your people and stole your land?'"
 
Native American people have offered so much in leadership and spirituality but they are often made to feel invisible in the culture that surrounds them, Street-Stewart suggested. She quoted from the Prophet Jeremiah. As Native Americans, she said, “we were expected to persevere,” despite the challenges. She said wryly that when she told friends that she is a Native American, they replied, “You can’t be an Indian – there are no Indians anymore.”

Dr. Fatma Reda, a psychiatrist and a Muslim, said she had been raised "as a feminist, basically." That may be contrary to the prevailing image of Islamic women, but she quoted the Prophet Mohammed as saying that when people pontificate around you, put that aside and "consult your heart."


Dr. Reda said she was motivated to become active in interfaith relations outreach because of her need as a mother to protect her children from the racism they encountered when when her family first moved to the United States. She felt the necessity to help others learn about who she was, who they were as a family and what they believed in order to help break down the barriers and misconceptions about Muslims – and to make her neighborhood a safer environment for her children, she said.
 
Rabbi Amy Ellberg told of how her life was changed when she went on a trip to Israel and when she came back she felt called to devote herself to the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis. She laughed and recalled her reaction to God: "Really?"
 
Josie Robinson Johnson, 81, has been active in civil rights all her life. She said her favorite bible passage is from Esther.


"My mother lived the biblical Esther story," she said. "That’s been my role all my life. Esther means more to me every day, because she is about people called 'for a time such as this,'" she said.

The Circles of Names campaign seeks to build a foundation towards long-term sustainability of women's ministries and gender justice in the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC, the 37 member communions of the NCC, and its ecumenical partners).

Participants are invited to give or pledge $100 in the name of a woman who was or is important in his or her faith. The names will be added to the ever-growing circle of names; (see http://circlesofnames.org/who-has-been-named/), incorporated in a work of art commissioned for the campaign, and listed on a plaque in the NCC offices in The Interchurch Center.

The circles campaign has increased in urgency since it was started, said the Rev. Ann Tiemeyer, Director for Women's Ministries for the National Council of Churches.

"The future of women's ministries programs and gender justice work is at stake in many of our denominations," Tiemeyer said. "The activities that support women's ministries -- women's desks, commissions and programs - are being severely reduced or eliminated as NCC member communions face economic challenges. In this context, funding the NCC Women's Ministries program has never been more important."
 
The four current NCC priorities in gender justice ministries are: human trafficking, domestic violence, inclusive and expansive language, and poverty among women and girls. 


 

NCC Justice for Women working group
greets peace convocation and commends its
support of violence against women legislation

 

New York, May 19, 2011 -- The National Council of Churches Justice for Women Working Group has sent greetings to the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC)in Jamaica and has urged support of the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).

 

More than 1,000 persons from 100 countries are attending the peace convocation in Kingston, Jamaica, May 17-25. The IEPC comes at the end of the Decade to Overcome Violence, an initiative of the World Council of Churches that sought to strengthen existing efforts and networks for preventing and overcoming violence, as well as inspire the creation of new ones.

 

The Justice for Women Working Group has called for U.S. support of IVAWA, which is intended to make ending violence against women and girls a priority in U.S. foreign aid and diplomacy.

 

In their message to the women IEPC participants in Jamaica, the U.S. women said, "We know there is a link between poverty and violence against women. We know that when women have access to education and employment opportunities, their families and communities have become more stable and safe. If the United States can provide leadership in supporting IVAWA, our hope is that other countries will join this effort."

 

The message told the peace convocation delegates, "We join with you to continue every effort to end violence against women and children in the world. There can be no peace among the peoples if there is no understanding of the inherent, God-given worth of women. There can be no peace among the peoples if there is not justice for women."


Support for the IVAWA was a major component of Ecumenical Advocacy Days last March in Washington. The Justice for Women Working Group message to the peace convocation included a prayer that was used during that meeting:

 

A Prayer for Peace for the Women of the World

O holy God, when we know about the pain and suffering of our sisters around the world who are beaten, trafficked, raped, abused and silenced, how can we be silent?  How can we stand by the side and let this happen?  Certainly, it cannot be in your name that such violence is done.  You call us together as one, into community and caring for those most vulnerable.

When we pray for peace in the world, let us remember that many of our homes are not places where peace lives.  Let us be the ones who create and sustain communities that provide support and safety for those who do not feel safe.  Let us be the neighbors who reach out to women threatened by violence or violation.  Let us be the ones who bring perpetrators into accountability.

We are all in need of your healing love and grace, O God.  Help us remember that each one of us, female and male, has been created in your divine image.  Help us re-member our broken bonds with each other with tenderness and love.

In the name of the Risen and ever-rising Christ, we pray.  Amen.

 

For additional information see:
The letter to women participants at the IEPC
IVAWA resources and prayer
http://www.overcomingviolence.org/

http://advocacydays.org/lobby/lobbydayask-archive-2011.php

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



Words Matter offers a free devotional for Advent: Expecting the Word

Expecting the Word is an Advent Devotional organized by Words Matter, a project of the NCC's Justice for Women Working Group.
A diversity of daily meditations are offered throughout Advent, prepared by a variety of persons from different communions, racial and ethnic backgrounds, ages, professions, and experiences around the Advent Sunday texts from the Revised Common Lectionary.



Congratulations to Church Women United for 70 years of witness and service. See: http://bit.ly/udQUQ5

 
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