Reviews – The Gathering, A Womanist Church: Origins, Stories, Sermons, and Litanies


The Gathering, A Womanist Church: Origins, Stories, Sermons, and Litanies

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Dr. Karen Baker-Fletcher

Professor of Systematic Theology, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and author of Dancing with God: The Trinity from a Womanist Perspective

“What would happen if we had womanist churches? This question is best answered by those who are practicing womanist ecclesiology on the ground and critically reflecting on it from an organic, womanist theological perspective. The Gathering, A Womanist Church: Origins, Stories, Sermons, and Litanies is the first book on womanist ecclesiology. Written by Black women co-pastors and partners in ministry of the first womanist church, this book fills a void in constructive ecclesiology. The authors systematically answer theological and ministry questions such as: “What is a womanist church?” “Why are womanist churches necessary?” “Why now?” “How does one go about creating a womanist church,” and “What difference does a womanist church make to church and society?” The Gathering is committed to a non-patriarchal, non-misogynist, and non-sexist ecclesiology. The authors demonstrate that it is possible to embody co-equality in all aspects of ecclesial structure, from its co-pastors and partners in ministry to the community in order to empower all people. If you have been wondering if womanist ecclesiology is more than a vague concept, here you will find stories of womanist church as a living reality. Rev. Dr. Irie Lynne Session, Rev. Kamilah Hall Sharp, and their partners share their scholarly knowledge and experiences of womanist church, biblical exegesis, sermons, and litanies to demonstrate that not only is womanist church a living reality, but that the time for womanist churches to multiply is now. This book is a keeper for all who aspire to an ecclesiology that takes seriously Black women’s lives, Black women’s wisdom, and Black women’s church leadership in a world of crucifixion in which embodied, resurrected souls have the last word.”

Rev. Dr. Tamara E. Lewis

Assistant Professor, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

“Like the first-century women disciples of Jesus in the early Christian house churches, the co-pastors of The Gathering, a womanist community of faith in Dallas, Texas, have revolutionized practical ecclesiology by rejecting the institutional misogyny and sexism of the traditional church. This thought-provoking and inspiring resource details the genesis and development of The Gathering, presents research findings of other womanist-centered, cutting-edge religious organizations, and outlines the practical steps in establishing a womanist-based ministry. The authors demonstrate convincingly that Christian ministries steeped in the experiences of Black women embody the physical manifestation of liberation and womanist theological scholarship. Further, they show that womanist ecclesiology leads to the spiritual healing and transformation of those oppressed and downtrodden by white supremacist, hetero-patriarchal capitalist society. The Gathering: A Womanist Church portends the hope and future of Christianity for such troubling and challenging times as these.”

Rev. Dr. Katie Hays

Lead Evangelist, Galileo Church, Fort Worth, Texas, and author of We Were Spiritual Refugees: A Story to Help You Believe in Church

“When you try something really hard, and you feel God’s windy Spirit at your back, and it works, you want to shout it to the whole world: ‘Look what God will do! Alleluia!’ The women of The Gathering, with the Spirit’s help, have done something really hard, and so beautiful. This book is their alleluia, and all of us with ears to hear are blessed by it. Shout it from the mountaintops, sisters!”

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