Welcome to Nevertheless She Preached: Kyndall Rae Rothaus and Elizabeth Amondi Ligawa

Nevertheless She Preached, the dynamic grassroots preaching event in Waco, TX, is back! Registration is now open for the second celebration of women’s voices in the pulpit, September 24-25, 2018. Amazing preachers, like Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney and Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, are already scheduled for this exciting event!

The first Nevertheless She Preached was an inspiring, empowering experience! Diverse, powerful voices proclaimed the Good News of liberation and inclusion of all, beginning with the welcome. Kyndall Rae Rothaus and Elizabeth Amondi Ligawa gave the most stirring, creative, inclusive welcome I’ve ever heard! Watch this video of the welcome:

Still getting chills from Kyndall Rae Rothaus and Elizabeth Amondi Ligawa and their powerful Spoken Word.

Posted by Nevertheless She Preached on Friday, September 15, 2017

Excerpts from Welcome:

You are welcome here!
Your body, your person, your presence, your gender are welcome here.
Your voice is welcome here.
Your calling, your gifts, your radiance are welcome here.
Your opinion is welcome here.
Your experience, your expertise are welcome here.
Your truth is welcome here.
Your questions are welcome here.
Your intellect is welcome here.
Your heart is welcome here.
There are no limits on your growth here.
Your strength is welcome here.
Your wounds, your struggles are welcome here.
Sisters and brothers and every delightful gender in between,
you are welcome in this place.

She was told she was too bossy, but
nevertheless, she preached.
She was told she was too timid, but
nevertheless, she preached.
She was told she was too loud,
she had too much to say,
too proud, but
nevertheless, she preached.
She was told emotions clouded her clarity, but
nevertheless, she preached.

Proclaimers of Welcome:

Rev. Elizabeth Amondi Ligawa

Rev. Elizabeth Amondi Ligawa is Director of Community Engagement at Prosper Waco, an organization with the mission of building an environment in which all members of the Waco community are able to measurably improve their education health, and financial security. She graduated from Baylor University with her Master of Social Work and from Truett Theological Seminary with her Master of Divinity. The focus of her graduate studies in social work was community practice.

Rev. Kyndall Rae Rothaus

Rev. Kyndall Rae Rothaus, senior pastor of Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, previously served as senior pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in San Antonio. A graduate of Truett Theological Seminary, she is the author of Preacher Breath (Smyth & Helwys, 2015). A pastor-poet, she is especially grieved by the plight of the marginalized and wishes to see the church become a safe haven and a reconciling force for all who are weary, wounded, and burdened.

 

 

Listen to sermons and lectures from the first Nevertheless She Preached event.

Equity for Women in the Church was a proud sponsor of this first Nevertheless She Preached event in 2017, and plans to continue collaborating with Nevertheless She Preached. We are teaming up on an exhibitor’s booth at the Texas Baptist Women in Ministry Conference.

You are all welcome to 2018 Nevertheless She Preached! Register now!

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Progressive Spirit Interview

Rev. John Shuck

John Shuck, Presbyterian pastor and radio show host, interviewed me for his show “Progressive Spirit.”

These are some of John’s questions I responded to in the interview:

(1) Many of your hymns include Christ-Sophia. Who is Christ-Sophia?
(2) How did you come to realize the importance of female imagery for God?
(3) Tell me more about your hymns and why you write new lyrics.
(4) Some feminists think the Bible is hopelessly misogynist, but you mine Scripture for female names and images of the Divine. Why do you use the Bible in your feminist work?
(5) You have a new Christmas CD, Sing of Peace. Do you find that churches are using these Christmas carols and your other hymns with feminine divine images?
(6) How did your recently published book Intercultural Ministry: Hope for a Changing World, co-edited with Grace Ji-Sun Kim, come to be? How do you distinguish between “intercultural” and “multicultural”?
(7) What is your experience of intercultural ministry?
(8) How can we be more inclusive of transgender people in rituals and hymns?

Here are songs with my lyrics included in the show:

(1) “Come Now, O Wisdom,” from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians, performed by Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Chancel Choir, Raleigh, North Carolina, conducted by Larry E. Schultz
(2) “Sound Forth the News That Wisdom Comes,” from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians, performed by Shannon Kincaid
(3) “Listen, Wisdom Is Calling,” from Imagine God! A Children’s Musical Exploring and Expressing Images of God, tune composed by Larry E. Schultz, performed by The Lodge
(4) “What Wondrous Thing,” from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians and Sing of Peace CD, performed by Devi Vaani: Alison Newvine, Dionne Kohler, Kathleen Neville-Fritz, Lana Dalberg
(5) “Follow Her Peaceful Ways,” from Earth Transformed with Music: Inclusive Songs for Worship, tune composed by Larry E. Schultz, performed by Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Chancel Choir, Raleigh, North Carolina
(6) “O Holy Darkness, Loving Womb,” from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians, performed by Shannon Kincaid
(7) “Mother Eagle, Teach Us to Fly,” from Imagine God! A Children’s Musical Exploring and Expressing Images of God, tune composed by Larry E. Schultz, performed by The Lodge

Brent Landau 3:00 – 14:08 Jann Aldredge-Clanton 14:08-54:00

 

 

Rev. John Shuck with Pippa

Rev. John Shuck currently serves as pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, Oregon. Since his ordination in 1992, he has served congregations in Lowville, New York; Billings, Montana; and Elizabethton, Tennessee.  He is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary. John has been involved in the work of the Westar Institute (the Jesus Seminar). John is proud that Southminster engages spirituality and critical thinking. John is a signatory of the Clergy Letter Project that advocates scientific literacy including teaching Evolutionary Theory. He hosts a weekly radio show “Progressive Spirit” and a monthly show on 90.7 KBOO “Beloved Community.” One of John’s passions is advocacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons in the church and in society. He is honored to serve a congregation that is More Light and fully inclusive.

John and Beverly have a daughter, Katy, who lives in Johnson City, Tennessee, with her wife, Amber, who are in turn parents of Pippa. Beverly and John are also the proud parents of Zachary Andrew Shuck, who passed away on June 28th, 2012.

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Caroling for Gender and Racial Justice

This Christmas season gives us a wonderful opportunity to sing carols for gender and racial justice. Our music can contribute to racial equality as well as gender equality.

Worship language and symbolism all too often contribute to racism as well as sexism. In many hymns, prayers, scripture readings, and sermons, images of darkness carry negative connotations while images of light carry positive connotations. Visual images of a white God fill many churches. This symbolism gives greatest value to white people while devaluing people of color.

Multicultural visual images of Deity and language that symbolizes darkness as creative bounty and beauty contribute to racial equality by affirming the equal sacred value of people of color. The Creative Spirit works in the darkness of the night, the earth, the womb. Multicultural images of Deity intersect with female images of Deity to form a foundation for equality and justice.

“O Holy Darkness, Loving Womb” images darkness as a sacred well of richest beauty. This song draws from Isaiah 45:3 that celebrates “the treasures of darkness” and from the Hebrew word rahum, usually translated “compassion” in the Bible, but Hebrew Bible scholar Phyllis Trible shows that it’s more accurately translated “womb-love.” The treasures of Her darkness inspire us all to claim our sacredness and to affirm the sacredness in all others.

O Holy Darkness, loving Womb, who nurtures and creates,
sustain us through the longest night with dreams of open gates.
We move inside to mystery that in our center dwells,
where streams of richest beauty flow from sacred, living wells.
 
Creative Darkness, closest Friend, you whisper in the night;
you calm our fears as unknown paths surprise us with new sight.
We marvel at your bounty, your gifts so full and free,
unfolding as you waken us to new reality.
 
O Holy Night of deepest bliss, we celebrate your power;
infuse us with your energy that brings our seeds to flower.
The voice out of the darkness excites our warmest zeal
to bring together dark and light, true holiness reveal.
 
O come to us, Sophia; your image, black and fair,
stirs us to end injustice and the wounds of earth repair.
The treasures of your darkness and riches of your grace
inspire us to fulfill our call, our sacredness embrace.

Words  © Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians (Eakin Press, 2006)

Vocal Artist: Shannon Kincaid

Visual Artists:

Stacy Boorn: “Mystery,” “Smokey Sky,” “Mother & Child,” “Dancing after Work at ‘Speak I’m Listening,’” “Streams,” “Sunset,” “Feather Dance,” “Sunrise Crete,” “Holy Night,” “Addis Ababa Market Vendors,” “Seeds to Flower,” and “LightDarkness” © Stacy Boorn. Used with permission.
David Clanton: “Garden for Good or Evil” © David M. Clanton. Used with permission.
Mirta Toledo: “Sophia” © 2003 Mirta Toledo
Shannon Kincaid: “Oprah & Child”
Elizabeth Zedaran: “Flow”

Instrumentalists:

Keyboard: Ron DiIulio
Guitar: Danny Hubbard
Bass & Percussion: Jerry Hancock

Music Producer/Arranger: Ron DiIulio

The next carol “Ancient Wisdom, Mother of Earth” contributes to racial and gender equality by celebrating multicultural female names for Deity.

“Wisdom” is an ancient divine name, common to many religions and cultures. She is Hokmah in the Hebrew Bible, Hikmah in Arabic in the Quran, and Sophia in the Greek New Testament. Visual images of Wisdom have traditionally been dark or a combination of dark and light. This song also affirms the sacred value of people of color by praising Black Madonna and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The final stanza links races and genders in equal sacred value through the name “Christ-Sophia,” who connects the Jewish Jesus with Wisdom (Sophia) in both ancient and hellenized Judaism and draws from both Egyptian and Greek sacred symbols.

Ancient Wisdom, Mother of earth, bringing all creation to birth,
with Her power, we will flower, feeling our sacred worth.

Black Madonna, Mother of all, loving us whatever befalls,
always guiding and abiding, within our hearts She calls.

Guadalupe, Lady and Queen, from Her holy treasures we glean;
She is healing and revealing more than we’ve ever seen.

Christ-Sophia, Mystery of Old, in our souls Her blessings unfold,
Love abiding, always guiding into a future bold.

REFRAIN:

O now return to Her for peace;
hope and justice will increase.
Re-creating, liberating, She will all our dreams release.

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton; Music © Devi Vaani,
from Sing of Peace

Painting by Katie Ketchum, photography and image effects by Stacy Boorn

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More Advent/Christmas Carols for Change

As we move through Advent to the celebration of Christmas, we can sing carols that bring the change our hearts long for. We can sing of peace and justice for all people and all creation.

Through the Holy Darkness of this season, we celebrate the coming of Christ-Sophia to change our world. We celebrate the birth of hope, love, joy, and peace.

Sing of peace, holy peace;
sing of all gifts released.
As we work for peace on earth,
new creation comes to birth;
Christ-Sophia is born;
Christ-Sophia is born.

Sing of peace, holy peace.
When will all violence cease?
Through our justice work each day,
Wisdom comes to show the way;
Christ-Sophia is born;
Christ-Sophia is born.

Sing of peace, holy peace;
hope and joy now increase.
Through our works of love each day,
Holy Wisdom comes to stay;
Christ-Sophia is born;
Christ-Sophia is born.

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton; Music © Devi Vaani,
from Sing of Peace

Come to our world, O Christ-Sophia, Wisdom;
our hearts are longing for Your peaceful way.
Lead us from fear and bondage into freedom;
with You we labor to bring Your new day.
 
Transform our world, O Christ-Sophia, Wisdom;
the poor and wounded await healing days.
Give us the power to sound Your call to freedom;
as equal partners, we show Your new way.
 
Led by Your Truth and Life within us growing,
we follow You on Your pathways of peace.
Filled with Your grace, Your loving kindness showing,
we share our gifts and our visions release.
 
REFRAIN:
 
Our weary world still longs for new creation,
for peace and justice coming to the earth.
Hope springs anew; we sing in celebration;
O Christ-Sophia, blessed be Your birth;
O Christ-Sophia, blessed be Your birth.
 

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton; Music © Devi Vaani

Christ-Sophia is being rebirthed into our world over and over again. Christ-Sophia was present before all time and continues to break into our world with promises of hope and restoration for all people and all creation.

“Christ-Sophia” is a biblical symbol of the Divine, making equal connections between male and female, black and white, Jewish and Christian traditions, thus laying a foundation for communities based on partnership instead of domination. Christ-Sophia brings change to church and society by providing a foundation for gender and racial equality.

by Mirta Toledo

Sophia, the Greek word for Wisdom in the New Testament, is a female divine image that opens new possibilities for justice, liberation, and new life. New Testament writers link Christ to Wisdom, a feminine symbol of God in the Hebrew Scriptures. Wisdom (Hokmah in Hebrew) symbolizes creative, redemptive, and healing power. In their efforts to describe this same power in Christ, the apostle Paul and other New Testament writers draw from the picture of Wisdom. The apostle Paul refers to Christ as the “power of God and the Wisdom (Sophia) of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24), and states that Christ “became for us Wisdom (Sophia) from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). The book of Proverbs describes Wisdom as the “way,” the “life,” and the “path” (4:11, 13, 26). The Gospel of John refers to Christ as “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Bringing this biblical connection between Christ and Sophia to our worship can inspire partnerships that contribute to peace and justice in our world.

Christ-Sophia inspires continual new birth. Christ-Sophia empowers us to make the Gospel vision of the new creation a reality. Sing of peace and justice and new life! Sing and celebrate the birth of Christ-Sophia!

Painting by Katie Ketchum, photography and image effects by Stacy Boorn

Devi Vaani: Lana Dalberg, Kathleen Neville Fritz, Dionne Kohler-Newvine, Alison Kohler-Newvine

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Caroling for Change

Many good men and other good people are asking what they can do to stop the pervasive violence against women, continuing to be uncovered by the “Me, too” campaign. Churches are also asking what they can do.

Churches can listen to women and believe them, follow clear policies and procedures on sexual harassment, and offer tangible help to victims of sexual violence. Just as important, churches can help change male-dominated religion and culture at the root of this violence. By making changes in leadership and language churches can stop contributing to this culture that gives greatest power, privilege, and value to men.

Through inclusive leadership and language churches can help create a culture that gives equal power and value to all genders. Equal representation of clergywomen and laywomen as leaders and inclusive worship language make powerful contributions to the transformation of church and society. Equity for Women in the Church and Christian Feminism Today, along with many churches, are taking part in this transformation.

 

 

In this Christmas season, we have a wonderful opportunity to contribute to changing church and society. Christmas carols are popular throughout our culture, not only in churches.  We love to sing these time-honored songs. But the exclusively male language for Deity in most traditional Christmas carols lays a foundation for violence against females by giving support to the dominance of males and by devaluing females through exclusion.

Painting by Katie Ketchum, photography and image effects by Stacy Boorn

By including biblical female names for Deity in Christmas carols we can contribute to gender justice and equality. We can sing carols for change.

One of the most prominent female names for Deity in the Bible is “Wisdom” (Hokmah in the Hebrew Scriptures and Sophia in the Christian Scriptures.) The book of Proverbs depicts Wisdom as a female image of the Divine: “She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with Her. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all Her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of Her; those who hold Her fast are called happy” (Proverbs 3: 15, 17-18).

“Sound Forth the News That Wisdom Comes” calls us to co-create with Wisdom a world of justice, peace, equality, love, freedom, and joy. This Christmas carol comes with the hope that Wisdom will guide us to change our violent culture and to co-create with Her a peaceful world. Let us join together in our churches, communities, and home in caroling for change.

Sound forth the news that Wisdom comes
to bring new life to birth.
Arise with hope, Her labor join,
and peace shall fill the earth,
and peace shall fill the earth,
and peace, and peace shall fill the earth.

No more let fear and custom hide
the path of Wisdom fair.
She leads the way to life and joy,
with gifts for all to share,
with gifts for all to share,
with gifts, with gifts for all to share.

Joyful are we who heed the call
of Wisdom in our souls.
With Her we break oppression’s wall,
so love may freely flow,
so love may freely flow,
so love, so love may freely flow.

Crown Wisdom Queen of heaven and earth;
Her reign will set us free.
Fling wide the gates that all may come
join hands and dance with glee,
join hands and dance with glee,
join hands, join hands and dance with glee.

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians

Vocal Artist: Shannon Kincaid

Visual Artists:

David Clanton: “Tree of Life” and two dancing children photos

Alice Heimsoth: seven photos inside Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran, San Francisco

Mirta Toledo: “Sophia” painting

Shannon Kincaid: “Oprah & Child” and “Queen Maeve” paintings

Elizabeth Zedaran: “Flow”

Instrumentalists:

Keyboard: Ron DiIulio

Guitar: Danny Hubbard

Bass & Percussion: Jerry Hancock

Music Producer/Arranger: Ron DiIulio

 

 

 

 

 

 

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