A Radical Act of Love:
Gender Analysis for Everyone Gender
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
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.
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
“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.
Her story will also
be featured in a 5-part PBS documentary, “Women, War & Peace,” premiering
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
“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.
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
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
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
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.
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?'"
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
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.
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
"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).
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.
Words Matter offers a free devotional for Advent: 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