This was very evident at the Boldly Forward weekend on August 17 and 18 held at the Bosque Center. Over 2 dozen attendees explored how the lives of Mary (Mother of Jesus), Mary Magdalene, Judith, Ruth, and Esther inspire our ministries in the 21st Century. We discussed how these women are in fact our strong, godly faith mothers with attributes like courage, loyalty, dedication, strength, and trust in God. We celebrated with worship, fellowship, and discussion.
The women all were risk-takers, even whistle-blowers (Esther). Despite being charming and patient, these were authentic women who recognized that they had the strength to speak the truth. Each of the women was dedicated to listening to God and then taking action that made a real difference in their world.
· Mary (Mother of Jesus) said ‘yes’ to God’s request to bear a child out of wedlock.
· Mary Magdelene, constant to the end was graced with bearing news of the Resurrection to the male disciples.
· Judith, in the bold action of cutting off General Holofernes head routed the Persian army.
· Ruth remained faithful to her mother-in-law and the Hebrew faith despite being from Moab. As a result, she bore Obed, grandfather of King David.
· Esther became queen ‘for such a time as this’ and protected the Jews in Babylon from destruction.
In upcoming weeks, further study guides will be available to continue the exploration of these women. If you are interested, these and the bios and bibliographies for the 5 women can be found on the Boldly Forward page. The beginning of a deeper look at Esther is already posted there.
You can view the opening portions of the Saturday Eucharist, including the sermon by the Rev. Pat Green. She noted that the one thing all the five Bible women have in common is that they were ‘ordinary’, just like we are. However, they did extraordinary things.
The final hour of the event was spent visioning ways to follow the mentorship of these women by stepping out in faith in our diverse ministries in the diocese. The lively discussion produced ideas ranging from a pilgrimage to Chaco Canyon during the meteor showers, to offering training events, and diving into some form of hands-on mission project! It was suggested that we remember how geographically diverse and distant we are in the DRG, and that we remember that we can act ecumenically.
Actions that can be taken on individual, parish, and diocesan levels are simple things like being welcoming to all ages. Creating child and youth friendly spaces could attract younger families. Providing ways, like live-streaming, for all to participate could be explored.
We were reminded that the diocese and many parishes already do Mission work (Borderlands, Navajoland, Juarez) and as women’s ministry we can join their hands-on efforts. Pilgrimages don’t have to be to distant locations. There are many options close to home like Chimayo, Christ in the Desert or the Norbertine Monastery. Even Jemez Hot Springs and Chaco Canyon are candidates for experiences that could be linked to faith growth.
Bishop Elect Michael Hunn spoke briefly to the women before the closing worship. He noted that women have been the driving force behind ministry throughout history, and stated he looks forward to working with the women of the Diocese of the Rio Grande.
Coming in 2019, we are planning a one-day Lent retreat, perhaps at Camp Stoney, in March.
The summer event is in early planning stages. Ideas include time in Ruidoso to rest and re-create, or something in the further south of the Diocese.
Mark your calendars now for the 7th Annual Bosque Center Weekend on November 17-18, 2019. The theme is not yet determined; but may be focused on ways to be more effective in our ministries.
Contact Cindy Davis, Coordinator of Women’s Ministries (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have ideas for speakers, topics, and even locations that would be fun and inspirational for upcoming events.