Giving a presentation with Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Ann Smith at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine was one of the exciting experiences I had during the week I spent in New York City at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW). This presentation, “Transforming Church and Society Through Sophia Wisdom, ” a parallel event of the UN CSW, drew people from the UN conference and from the church. The Reverend Victoria Sirota, Canon Pastor & Vicar of the Congregation of Saint Saviour at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, hosted this event.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Ann Smith, and I talked about ways that reclaiming Sophia Wisdom and other biblical female images of God will empower our work together for peace, justice, and sustainability. Including multicultural female divine images in our worship affirms the sacred value of females throughout the world who continue to suffer from violence and abuse. The earth, traditionally referred to as feminine, likewise suffers from exploitation and abuse. Worship services that include female images can make a powerful contribution to a more just world. In our presentation we highlighted ways that multicultural female divine names and images in worship form a foundation for gender equality, racial equality, marriage equality, economic justice, care of creation, nonviolence, interfaith collaboration, expanding spiritual experience, and changing hierarchies to circles
Grace Ji-Sun Kim drew from her book The Grace of Sophia, which deals with Wisdom Christology as understood from a global religious perspective. She talked about the Korean concept of “han,” that indescribable pain from injustices suffered, and how Sophia liberates us from suffering, patriarchy, and other sources of oppression. Grace also engaged participants with stories from her book Contemplations from the Heart.
Ann Smith discussed the new leadership emerging that embodies Sophia and Circle Principles, transforming the human-made ecological and social crises, co-creating God’s dream for Mother Earth. She read her poem “God Is Not a Single Parent” from her book Women’s Uncommon Prayers, also published in She Lives!
I drew from my book She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World, which features inspiring stories of clergy and laypeople, including Grace and Ann, who are bringing transformation through restoring the power of Divine Wisdom and other biblical female images of Deity.
Victoria Sirota accompanied the group as we sang hymns from She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World: “Celebrate the Works of Wisdom,” “Wisdom, Sophia, Joins in Our Labor,” and “We Invite All to Join Our Circle Wide.” I led the group in a litany “Creating a Path Toward Liberation,” by Christina Cavener, also published in She Lives!
Instead of a traditional Q&A after the presentation, we formed a large circle and invited everyone to voice a reflection, idea, or blessing. We used Circle Principles from Circle Connections and the Millionth Circle.
Several days later at the Episcopal Church Center Chapel, Ann Smith led another sacred circle, “She Lives in Circles, ” also a parallel event of the UN CSW.
She Lives in CirclesCircles empower every voice to be heard and full participation as co-creators of a peaceful and just world. Circle Principles used everywhere and all the time bring us into harmony with all creation.
Honor and Celebrate Sacred Space.
Speak from the Heart and one at a time.
Listen from the Heart without judgment.
Respect for all Creation.
Call for Silence when needed.
Share Leadership, Information, Resources.
Come to Consensus when possible.