By Trudy Hawkins-Stringer.
We, the young children in a small United Methodist church my great grandparents helped found, sang loudly, if not always on key, about how Jesus loves all the children of the world. We sang this in the midst of a “exclusively white” congregation in the Jim Crow South with the still-distant rumblings of a civil rights movement in the background. Now, sixty years later, we still struggle with loving across culturally constructed color barriers.
By Rena Yocom.
When I was young and our extended family would gather for dinners, I had to sit at the “kids table.” Granted, there were distinct advantages in sitting at the “kids” table: we filled our plates first and could play as soon as we finished. Even though the multiple tables were a pragmatic solution based on numbers and room size, I still wished that everyone could sit at the same table.
By Betty Kazadi Musau.
There is a metaphorical usage of a woman in pain that turns into a joy, happiness after giving birth to a child from John16:21. Paul uses metaphors for the church in his letters. He compares the church to the local community, body of Christ, universal community, bride. In his metaphors for the church, there is no tension in referring to specific groups of churches as though sending greetings to the congregation as a unity (Rom 16:5). He develops fully the concept of the church by embracing all churches, which leads to the universal church. So, for him, church meant the local church, not in isolation but in connection with the universal fellowship and with a strong sense of belonging to it. There was an interconnection at the worldwide level according to particular and varying needs. We need to thank Paul for his imagery language of the church.
By Hannah Adair Bonner.
The first time that I heard a woman preach about the birth of Jesus, I realized what I had been missing my whole life growing up in a church that did not have women as pastors. Dr. Anathea Portier-Young, one of the youngest professors at Duke Divinity at the time, preached on Mary during Advent and brought a perspective on birthing pains that changed everything in my understanding of Jesus’ birth. Going home and hearing my parents’ pastor attempt to preach the same passage from the male perspective, I realized that it was not only I that had been missing out; it was the whole world that had been missing out as the church had silenced women’s voices in the pulpit for thousands of years.
Images of giving birth in the Philippines can be inspiring or traumatic. Let me quickly bring you to a few concepts, my personal experience of giving birth, pose some questions for reflections, and then connect these to this question: How does the metaphor of childbirth help us inform and transform our understanding of Birthing a Worldwide Church?
By Helen Manalac-Cunanan.
This was the theme for our UM Clergywomen Convocation of the Manila Episcopal Area (MEA) held July 1–3, 2015 at the UM Mission Camp in Tagaytay City. Gatherings of clergywomen like this one address that desire within us to meet with sisters in the ministry. It also satisfies the hunger to meet with kindred spirits coming from the wider United Methodist connection.
By Laura Jaquith Bartlett.
I do my best creative thinking in the shower. That may be TMI (Too Much Information) for an essay to be shared with clergywomen around the world, most of whom I don’t know personally. But stay with me here; there’s a reason I’m choosing to start by baring my soul (so to speak), and I suspect that I’m not alone.
By Lis E. Valle-Ruiz and Nancy Hawthorne. Birthing a global church may look like the anxiety of a teenage mother hosting the Savior of the world in her womb: preparing with openness, creating collaboratively, and finally sharing the Word with the world. These three actions reflect the process of the Advent Collective, an experiment in collaborative preaching through artistic means that embodies what global church means to us.
By Choi Hee An, Carole Bohn, and Susan Hassinger. The purpose of this article is to share our observations on how female clergy understand, sustain, and support themselves and their ministry.
Victoria A. Rebeck, of the Minnesota Area of the United Methodist Church, describes how clergywomen can revitalize the church while serving as elders and deacons.