The 2023 Spring Conference of The Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership was extraordinary. It was meaningful to connect, worship, and learn with those I already knew from the PCUSA and to meet new womxn from other denominations! This was the opportunity that I had been waiting for, a chance to immerse myself in Womanist thinking with those who are leaders in the field. Not only will this experience be reflected in my personal life and ministry service but it will also help as I work on my Doctor of Ministry Thesis Project: Remember Who You Are! How Clergy and Christian Leaders Can Affect the Self-Image of Black, Christian Gen Z Women.
At the conference I was reminded of the achievements and sacrifices of Black women who have come before me in a multitude of disciplines from politics to religion; women upon whose shoulders I stand and to whom I owe thanks for paving the way. I was also reminded that in every moment, each one of us is positioned simultaneously 1) as the future our ancestors labored and hoped for, 2) in the present moment of a plethora of opportunities and challenges, and 3) positioned as the living past on which our descendants will use as their foundation. This realization was empowering and humbling and frightening. When we go through the fire, the ancestors whose shoulders we stand on are a source of strength in ways we realize and ways we do not. How we respond provides a basis for those who come after us.
This conference has only increased my desire to learn more, be more, and do more as a Womanist.
The Rev. British Hyrams is the Jack and Jane Presseau Associate Chaplain at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina.