V-Day, One Billion Rising, at Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran

On the weekend of February 13-15, I had a powerful experience participating in the V-Day events at Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran in San Francisco. V-Day, One Billion Rising, is an activist campaign held around the world on February 14 to end violence against women and girls and to promote justice and gender equality. The project was founded on the alarming statistic that one in every three women will experience violence  at least once in their lives. This means that over one billion women will be impacted by violence and thus the “One Billion Rising” campaign. The project urges women to walk, dance, and rise up in opposition to violence. It has reached over 140 countries including North Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States.

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

The V-Day, One Billion Rising, events extended over 3 days at Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran in San Francisco. On Friday evening, February 13, Devi Vaani , a gifted trio of singers/songwriters dedicated to celebrating the Divine Feminine, performed a benefit concert to raise money for SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation), a survivor-led organization that works to eradicate human trafficking. Devi Vaani performed original pieces decrying violence against women and calling upon the redemptive, empowering presence of the Divine Feminine.

Judith Lavender Dancer

On Saturday, February 14, Judith Dancer, Minister of Embodiment, led us in “One Billion Rising Divine Dance of Protest.” It was an amazing experience to feel the energy in our group and to imagine ourselves joined with ONE BILLION people across the globe in protest of violence against women and girls and in solidarity with the Divine Feminine to eliminate this violence. We danced, we sang, we meditated, we shared stories of what we protested and what we prayed for. Our prayers were moved, sung, and shared for the healing of this deep wound inflicted on women and children throughout our global community.

Rev. Stacy Boorn (photo by Viva van Assen http://www.vanviva.com)

On Sunday morning, February 15, Pastor Stacy Boorn led us in the Liturgy of the Divine Feminine. On this last Sunday of the Epiphany Season, we indeed experienced Epiphany, “revelatory manifestations of divine being” within, among, and around us. Pastor Stacy believes that in order to bring justice in the world for females and for all people, we must change the church to include multicultural female images of the Divine: “I don’t see how the world is going to change until the religious institutions change because they are so much a part of who the world is. The more we can provide church in a different way, the more we can hope things change.” She provides church in a different way, a prophetic and creative way. Here is a portion of the February 15 liturgy:

Pastor: Beloved, You are the one with healing in your wings and through compassionate touch and wisdom you raise up companions, advocates, and friends to assist us in seeking health for ourselves and those who are ill and in distress. May oppression and all kinds of controlling submission of women and children be dismantled so that their empowerment and self-worth are restored. May suffering be overcome and all that is amiss in this universe be repaired! Wise Grandmother, Compassionate Child, Restoring Spirit.
All: Blessed Be!
Reading: Psalm 30 (from Rejoice, Beloved Woman! The Psalms Revisioned, by Barbara J. Monda)
            Voice 1:         I will praise you, Mother, because you have come to empower and
                                      restore my wholeness. You have transformed those who maliciously
                                      enjoyed my pain.
            Voice 2:         I cried out and you listened and healed me. You returned me from
            Voice 3:         In my Mother’s presence there is life and in her absence there is
                                    death. Her gifts fill my soul as her silence drains my strength.
            Voice 4:         When she says “Yes” to me the tears of grief I shed at night become
                                    tears of joy in the morning. Again, I am made confident.
            Voice 5:         With you at my side I am like a mountain, strong and persevering.
                                    You are my friend and confidant, my mentor and reflection.
            Voice 6:         I am lonely and despairing when you turn away from me. Anguish
                                    fills my void and I feel the coldness of death around me.
            Voice 7:         What good comes from a despairing woman and how can I do any
                                    good if dead? If you abandon me, how can our commitment be
            Voice 8:         Look at me and be generous. Come back and let us resume our
                                    relationship. There is much for you to teach me and I hope to
                                    learn it all.
            Voice 9:         You have turned my groans into songs and my body dances again.
                                    I will change my clothes, put on my best things.
            Voice 10:       With joy, I welcome you; my heart sings to have you back. I am
                                    forever grateful to be your friend.

Pastor Boorn, in her proclaimed “Wisdomscapes,” inspired and empowered us to continue our liberating feminist mission as long as we live—to protest, pray, and act in partnership with one another and the Female Divine to change the church and the world so that there is gender equality and justice. She challenged us to keep on co-creating a world where all people are free from violence and oppression and free to become all we’re created to be in the divine image.

Before Holy Communion, Vocal Divine led us in singing “Our Mother.”

Our Mother who is within us,
We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come; your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us,
now and forever, now and forever, now and forever,
now and forever. Blessed be!
(Words: Miriam Therese Winter; Music: Pamela Parker; Arrangement: Dionne Kohler; Vocals/Guitar: Dionne Kohler, Kathleen Neville-Fritz, Alison Newvine; Violin: Lana Dalberg; Visual Artists: Alice Heimsoth: four photos in the sanctuary and one outside of Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran and one photo of Divine Feminine paintings by Shiloh Sophia McCloud; Lucy A. Synk: “Ruach”; Stacy Boorn: “Goddess in Blue” and “LightDarkness”; Elizabeth Zedaran: “Flow”; Mirta Toledo: “Sophia”; Sister Marie-Celeste Fadden, O.C.D.: “God Who Gave Birth to Humanity”; Mary Plaster: “Sophia, Divine Wisdom”)

On Sunday afternoon, February 15, I had the honor and joy of continuing the V-Day spirit by presenting my book She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World and then facilitating a playshop on “Writing Our Stories” that included time for writing and sharing stories. Participants shared wonderful, creative stories that inspired and energized us to keep on discovering our sacred voices and to keep on writing our sacred stories because they transform the world.


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