Collaboration for New Beginnings

photo by Elaine Chan-Scherer

At the beginning of a new year and in this Epiphany season, we have wonderful opportunities to collaborate for new beginnings. Epiphany, “revelation of divine being,” is not limited to the Magi but continues to happen as we come together to birth and rebirth new life.

New Wineskins Community collaborates with The Gathering, A Womanist Church, Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran, and other churches and organizations to make our visions of new life reality. We’re continuing to explore new collaborations.

Our January New Wineskins Community worship service included these words:

We come to this community because we long for the new.
New words speak to our spirits.
New forms empower our actions.

The service also included a poem by Barbara J. Middleton and duet by Vontril and Alex McLemore.

Birth-Rebirth                                           Barbara J. Middleton

She’s here; She’s finally here!
What was month by month, and day by day,
became hour b
y hour, minute by minute.

Her time. . .
Creation’s time. . .
not dictated by schedule or whim.

Exhaustion, everyone’s exhaustion,
from work well done, labor well laid:
a team, a community, a family;
part and particle of the universal family;
women and men laboring together
or alone but within the space
and time of NOW.

Even this day somewhere, somehow
the cries of birthing can be heard,
and in the cry is the sound of the
Spirit waiting for new life.
To continue what has been before
and will be again — LIFE.

duet by Alex and Vontril McLemore

duet by Alex and Vontril McLemore

What wondrous thing is happening here
where minds and souls are opening?
We waken to new visions bright;
new light arouses hoping. 

A new thing springs forth on the earth,
with blessing, hope, and healing;
the power of woman saves all life,
Sophia-Christ revealing.

Epiphany surrounds us now,
as we reclaim our wholeness,
Sophia-Christ within us all,
inspires us with new boldness


Look, look, for She is here;
Her Wisdom words have long been near.
Now, now, behold Her grace,
Divinity in Her image.

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton                 GREENSLEEVES

The lyrics of this song draw from these biblical passages:

Genesis 1:27 proclaims that female and male are created in the image of the Divine; therefore, Deity includes female and male. This fullness of divinity has long been hidden under layers of exclusively male sacred images. Female divine images may at first startle us with their unexpectedness because of our culture’s long devaluing of females. The Female Divine has been hidden, but now She is being resurrected.

1 Corinthians 1:24, 30 declares that Christ is the Wisdom (Sophia) of God and that Christ became for us Sophia from God. The early church believed that Jesus was a revelation of Sophia (Greek for “Wisdom”). Early Christians associated Jewish wisdom literature’s personified Sophia with Jesus, believing Jesus to be the incarnation of divine Sophia.

Jeremiah 31:22 celebrates a new thing on the earth: the power of woman reordering relationships and saving life. This “new thing” that began long ago in Jeremiah’s day is springing up on a larger scale today as individuals, churches, and other organizations discover the great need for women’s gifts for the healing of our world. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in Half the Sky illustrate that the key to economic, racial, gender, and economic justice for all countries lies in unleashing women’s potential. Empowering women, they demonstrate, is the best strategy for eliminating interlocking injustices. When women have equal opportunities in education, jobs, pay, politics, religion, and all areas of life, individuals, communities, and countries thrive.

Empowering women to become all we’re created to be in the divine image brings transformation to all life. Including the Female Divine in our worship provides a theological foundation for this empowerment which leads to transformation.

Look, look, for She is here; Her wisdom words have long been near. Now, now, behold Her grace, Divinity in Her image.”

duet by Alex and Vontril McLemore

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