Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Round Barn Regathering Reflection

The Round Barn Re-Gathering is bringing together a group of strong,gifted, and wise women who love God, and are seeking faithfully to doGod's will. Each one is an expert in her own right, and possesses much that can enrich and encourage others. And each wise soul is herown best teacher, able to learn and discern and grow as she listens well to the stories of others and hears anew her own story.

Over the next day and a half, we hope to create space and opportunity to do justthat. Using the metaphor, "jeans that fit" we will be sharing our lives, and inviting one another into a place of listening to our own souls for fresh inspiration, new insight, and increased strength to live our lives in ways that honor who God has called us to be." So, our event description read, or dare I say, prophesied. For strong, gifted and wise they were! And learning, discerning, and growing they did - with passion and heart and authenticity. Round Barn Re-gathering "accomplished its goals" of bringing emergent women together forsupport, encouragement, and collaborative conversation; of inspiringone another to write the books God has given us; of empoweringourselves to gather regionally and challenging one another to initiatecohorts and peer networks; and to celebrate together what God is doingin our lives and ministries. For these reasons and more this weekend event was beyond "successful."

However, for all the amazing and holy things God did in and through us, we left mourning three things in particular. First of all, we grieved that we were meeting as a gender exclusive group. We sensed that 'someone was missing,' because we didn't have the presence of our emergent brothers with whom we could share this experience. We all ached over the reason this was true - that we do not feel that we have a voice, do not feel heard within the emergent conversation. Our silence is deafening to us, and we needed to create space to speak aloud all that is going on in our infinitely wise souls. Our time at the Round Barn Re-gathering was thus less rich because our brotherswere not there.

Thirdly, we were devastated to observe that as diverse as we were inage, and ministry setting, and religious background, there were no people of color in our midst. Extending the invitation to gather strong, gifted, wise women using the cohorts and emergent village website netted not one single minority participant. Their noticeable absence in not just this event but all emergent gatherings causes us sadness, and invites us to question the ways in which our stated values fail to be reflected in our actions. Our time at the Round Barn Re-gathering was less rich because our sisters of color were not there.