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Registration for Lydia’s Listening Sessions now open

Three sessions described as a ‘process of listening and resourcing so we can together work towards the healing of all our sisters’

by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — The offices of Women’s Leadership Development and Leadership Development for Leaders of Color of the Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries are hosting three upcoming listening circles on

The events seek to gather Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) women of color who are in faith leadership roles to provide them with the safety of a space that honors their voices and their experiences as they voice how COVID-19 has impacted their lives and ministries.

“This is space designed with a few theological/educational principles in mind,” said the Rev. Alexandra Zareth, associate of Leadership Development for Leaders of Color. “We believe wisdom resides in all of us and thus the work of our offices is to gather so wisdom moves like it says it moved in Proverbs 8, at Creation, making ways out of chaos or disorder or pain. We also trust that theology is made as we go. ‘Teologia en conjunto’ means ‘we create it together.’

“In this safe space, women’s acts of sharing will potentially help create meaning and purpose through connection and accompaniment. So, we are suggesting a unique process intentionally because we know that as Audre Lorde said, ‘The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.’ This is a process of listening and resourcing so we can together work towards the healing of all our sisters.”

“While this constituency lovingly devotes themselves to the care of souls, women leaders find themselves in a very unique position of wanting or needing to navigate a highly fractured world with both passion and purpose,” said Jewel McRae, coordinator for Women’s Leadership Development and Young Women’s Ministries.

“We have heard from women leaders of color that they feel they work in heavily segregated spaces and within spaces where they feel very isolated — physically, emotionally, and sometimes theologically,” McRae said. “Moreover, leaders recognize the complexity of caring for their own communities that are heavily plagued with poverty remnants, which includes high crime, underachieving schools, fewer jobs, and food insecurity — among many others. Their survival thus far demonstrates their inner strength and God’s faithfulness in their embodied experiences of steadfast perseverance.”

The group will gather in a virtual circle where everyone has a seat from where they can teach and lead one another through storytelling and by honoring their memories, emotions, struggles and victories.

McRae says her ministry is happy to offer this opportunity to women leaders of color. “Despite the restrictions the pandemic has caused, I am grateful that we have the technology that allows us to still gather,” said McRae.

Registration is required and will be limited to the first 25 individuals per event. Register here for the first listening session.

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