Sunday, February 28, 2010

Speaking Up

When I woke up this morning, eager to start my new day here with a whole new family of women and men, I made it my goal to recognize connections between me and another person today. These strong connections with people who are seemingly so different from me were something that has been very apparent in my time here this far. Being a self identified planner, I decided to seek out those connections in my interactions of the day. However, little did I know that God would completely take over and lead me to a deeper connection than I would not have found on my own.

Gathering with all of the young adults of the Ecumenical Women delegation, we all worked together to plan the opening worship at the United Nations Church Center for the next day. After some powerful study and reflection of the scripture passage for the day, we broke into groups to more effectively plan our worship. I gravitated towards the prayer group and was eagerly anticipating digging into the logistics of our service. The small assembly of women gathered together of our own volition was almost awe-inspiring. I was pleasantly surprised at the profundity of the women in my group.

Perhaps the most humbling experience of my planning time today was experienced with a delegate from Argentina. Language was a barrier for this woman, but luckily one of our friends was proficient enough to be a translator for her. As someone who prides myself on my (what I have always touted as being a) strong Spanish background I was instantly overcome with a wave of fear and emotions. I knew exactly what I wanted to say to this woman. I knew what questions I wanted to ask her and I could even form them in my head in Spanish. I understood everything coming out of her mouth and the things that were being translated for her. It was easy to tell that she was a highly intelligent woman with a beautiful spirit. However, when it came to actually conversing with her I became paralyzed. I couldn’t convey the words from my brain to my mouth. All that came out was a mixture of probably incorrectly conjugated verbs and some benign nouns. My inability to speak with the woman probably came from a fear of sounding stupid, a fear of embarrassment. When I finally managed to force out a few broken sentences, she (unsurprisingly) was so kind about speaking slowly with me and assuring me that my nerves were nothing to worry about. This situation made me think about all of the women who are afraid to speak for reasons much more profound than mine. What about the women that cannot speak our for fear of persecution, or violence, or even perhaps because their societies prevent it? What have I to fear? I live in a society where my voice is encouraged, and yet I still am afraid to use it!

While this experience was overwhelming at the time, looking back on it, it reminds me to speak up! To use this opportunity that God has given me to be the voice for all the women that have not been afforded this opportunity to speak! I encourage you to find your voice, to overcome the obstacles that you set for yourself, and to express what is inside you.

with love,

“Love like you have never been hurt”

“God is my light, my light and salvation. In God I trust. In God I trust.”

Called to Listen

by P'tricia Egbert, Diocese of Kentucky

As I gathered with other young people today, my heart was warmed with the silence of contemplation. As our sisters and brothers shared their interpretations of our text from Exodus, others sat and actually listened, taking in each other’s words. This communal listening filled me with hope about the week to come. As we venture out to mingle with officials and advocate for women all over the world, I will attempt to use this same contemplation and actively listen to others whose knowledge proceed my own. I hope that other generations use the young adults example, and pause to actually listen to their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Dear Lord, thank you for the opportunity to form our own opinions as well as being able to hear others. Open our hearts and ears to hear you as clearly as we hear one another and enable us to proclaim you love. Amen.

Welcome to the UN CSW

Despite massive snow fall across the eastern seaboard, all 12 Episcopal Young Adult Delegates have safely arrived in New York City for the 54th United Nations Commission on the Status of women. Joining with over 8,000 other registered NGO representatives, these young adults are setting out on a journey of exploration, expansion, and advocacy. They will have the opportunity to engage with delegates from around the world, including NGO representatives from Geneva, people of Faith from Zimbabwe, and state representatives from member states across the globe. We invite you to share in the journey with us, as people of faith working for a more just world.

Everyday 3 or 4 of our delegates will post their feelings and experiences. We invite you to leave a comment, ask a question, or simply lift them up in prayer. Your engagement is essential as these young people engage on your behalf and explore how and why it is that we as Christians are called to engage the world in questions of equity, justice, and peace.

Preparing for the UN CSW

This is the second year the Episcopal Church Center will sponsor a young adult delegation to join Anglican Women's Empowerment and Ecumenical Women at the UN in participating in the Commission on the Status of Women. Building on the powerful work of the Office for Women's Ministries under Kim Robey, Jason Sierra, Associate for Young Adult and Campus Ministries and Karen Longenecker, UCSD graduate student and former delegate, will lead ten young adults in experiencing, exploring, and fully participating in this year's CSW.

The delegation begins its work this winter with a series of conference calls, the resources for which will be posted on this site under "Learn More." We invite you to join us in exploring and engaging in the amazing work the UN is already doing around Women's Rights and Gender Justice.

During the CSW and in the weeks leading up to it, this page will be populated with blog posts, photos and videos documenting the delegation's experiences and inviting the participation of family, friends, home congregations and all in the church who are interested in what a future generation of Episcopal leaders see to be a more just future for all people.

For now we invite you to read these responses to the CSW from last year's delegation:

Areeta Bridgemohan

Ariel Adamson Strauss

Karen Longenecker

Kiku Langford

Laura Eberly

Episcopal News Service Article 2009