Voices, promises, covenant

Leigh Bonner speakingDuring the Commission on the Status of Women, Presbyterian participants made connections with area Presbyterians in several ways. A number of the participants came from the New York City area. The parallel event partnered with the Poverty Initiative from Union Theological Seminary. Participants attended the World Day of Prayer service at Glen Morris Presbyerian Church. A luncheon was held.

And on Sunday, March 4, three participants preached in congregations in the Presbytery of New York City. Marsha Landrith preached at St. James Presbyterian Church. Emily Denton preached at Glen Morris Presbyterian Church. Leigh Bonner preached at the Church of the Covenant.

Leigh’s sermon recalls voices of women living in rural areas – voices long silenced but now heard at the Commission on the Status of Women: Lekeila from Thailand, Ulga from Krgyzstan, and Louisianna from West Papua New Guinea. She affirms the blessing of hearing their voices and the voices of others:

Mostly, the rulers of this world sat and talked about what their governments are doing to further women’s flourishing. During this event called “Rethinking Development,” however, rural women came from places of silence to the world forum, sharing the struggles of their people with other, more powerful nations, seeking their help in improving the lives of those with no voice and no power.

She reflects on the questions raised by their stories:

How can these women inherit God’s promise to Sarah?

What do God’s promises mean today?

Where is God in all this?

Where is the hope?
Who will tell the story of hope?

Who will continue struggling for women like Lekeila, Ulga, and Louisianna?

She closes with the affirmation that God calls us – God covenants with us:

Because God rules over us, we are called to tell future generations about God’s reign. As Abraham and Sarah were called, we are called to walk blamelessly with God so that nations present and future will see and hear the good news that Christ has overcome, is overcoming, and will overcome the powers of this world to make everything right. God’s reign will one day be installed fully. Nations will turn to Christ as ruler. The Palang people will inherit the land where they are now aliens. They will eat and be satisfied. God hears their cry; God does not turn from the afflicted. God will hold up God’s part of the covenant. What are we doing to hasten this peaceful dominion? Who are the Lekeitas, Ulgas, and Louisiannas we know? How can we give them back their land, their health, their dignity? How will we hold up our part of the covenant?


Read the whole sermon.

Thanks to Leigh for sharing this sermon; thanks to the Church of the Covenant for welcoming her to their pulpit.

Leigh Bonner is a student at Vanderbilt Divinity School and an intern at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

The picture shows Leigh Bonner at the Presbyterian side event at the Commission on the Status of Women. Andrew Nam Chul Osborne took the picture.

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