Monday, June 21, 2010

Women's History in June

I recently happened upon a website for The National Women’s History Project. The Project started in 1980 and is a non-profit educational organization “committed to recognizing and celebrating the diverse and significant historical accomplishments of women.” As to be expected, the organization carries out its objectives by collecting and generating a variety of educational materials and programs, acclaimed and made available via the website.

The News and Events section of the site features a list of significant events that have occurred in each month over the course of the years. I’ve chosen a few for the month of June to list here, just because I find it interesting to note in which years particular US history milestones included women, and compare the sort of things that might be happening with women in church history during those same years.

• June 25, 1903 - Madame Marie Curie announces her discovery of radium
• June 11, 1913 - Women in Illinois celebrate passage of a state woman suffrage bill allowing women to vote in presidential elections
• June 20, 1921 - Alice Robertson becomes the first woman to chair the House of Representatives
• June 9, 1949 - Georgia Neese Clark confirmed as the first woman treasurer of the United States
• June 10, 1963 - Equal Pay Act enacted: "To prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce." (PL 88-38)
• June 23, 1972 - Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which guarantees equal access and equal opportunity for females and males in almost all aspects of our educational systems.
• June 18, 1983 - Dr. Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space
[Bullet points are quotations from]

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Waiting to Serve

Most women serving as deaconesses are asked, "What is a deaconess?" on a fairly regular basis. In the Lutheran Church, the formal definition of such a servant of Christ has changed over the decades. All too often, the definition is dictated by what a deaconess DOES, rather than WHO or WHOSE she is. What needs to be remembered is that regardless of changing roles in the workplace, certain things are not altered. In particular, I mean that the expected attitude of the heart and mind - of consecration and servanthood - does not change. Having said this, I suppose those who have no personal knowledge of a deaconess still feel that they are in the dark as to her role in the church. If you are one of those people, it's probably time for you to read In the Footsteps of Phoebe.

Be knowledgeable about this profession (vocation) and how a deaconess might benefit YOUR own parish or institution. The downturn in our economy has caused many Lutheran congregations and institutions to forfeit the acquisition of more staff. Hence there are trained deaconesses who are waiting for first-time placements or who are hoping to move to a new position and are not able to do so. I challenge you today to take a creative look at your own ministry model, to see if it might be possible to put one of these waiting women to work with YOUR team, sooner than later!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Changes and Back on Track

Sometimes life can get very interesting when a series of changes occur. This can be true in a church community as well as in individual lives. The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod is facing the possibility of embracing some significant changes. This year's convention will bring new officers, maybe even a new president, and the presentation of large alterations to the synod's administrative structure/functioning. It's hard to say what the trickle-down affect of any significant changes might be on the sydod's members, but such changes will make a huge difference for those who are elected to serve.

On a personal note, we are waiting for the birth of a grandchild - a happy change - while I still mourn the passing of my mother. I paid a visit to my dad again out in Seattle to help him with some things, and am now recovering from cracked ribs which I acquired while cleaning out his deep chest freezer. Home again, life is getting "back on track," which means there should be more time for HISTORY as well!