August 26 is “Women's Equality Day,” commemorating the 1920 passage of the U.S. Constitution’s 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. Now in our church we have an opportunity to join in on a study process for women’s equality and justice. The ELCA Task Force on Women and Justice: One in Christ invites individuals and study groups to take part in the 7-session “Faith, Sexism, Justice: Conversations Toward a Social Statement,” being sent to all ELCA congregations, synod offices, and ELCA colleges before the end of summer 2016. Why do we need to talk together about these issues? And what can a study process do?
The 7 sessions raise questions and highlight issues for a study group to discuss such as: How can we address violence against women and girls? Why do images and words for God matter? And how can we challenge the misuse of Scripture against women and girls? Your reflections, comments and questions sent in by the end of August 2017 will help toward developing a draft ELCA Social Statement by the end of 2017. The draft will be carefully examined at synod assembly hearings and other venues in 2017 and 2018. Then a proposed draft will be brought before the 2019 Churchwide Assembly for its discussion, debate, rewording, and finally its up or down vote.
You can download the 7-session study here entirely or by module. To view a timeline, brochure and additional study materials, visit the ELCA Women and Justice website. Taking part in this process could help you to:
1. Hearten the women in your church and community. Show your church as a place where women’s voices can be heard and respected.
2. Help equip and encourage men as allies. As the group identifies social norms and realities that are unjust to women, men can gain deeper understandings of how systems -- even the church -- have favored white men over women. Men of faith who listen and take action play a significant role in boosting justice for women.
3. Inspire all involved. Help release creative potentials for the cause of peace with justice, and to grow closer to the gospel ideal of community. Create a space where the Holy Spirit can work with us on these issues, locally, synodically, and churchwide. And remember, LPF Women’s Resources are available to you as well, for your women and justice studies!
-- Lily R. Wu, LPF Issue Communicator for the LPF Women’s Initiative