by Brian Romero, Diocese of Long Island
Yesterday during the Ecumenical Women’s orientation at the United Nations Church Center a youth from the Presbyterian Church of USA stood up to share her reflection on the day so far and hosting the session was Rev. Kathleen Stone, Chaplain of the UN church center. Their dialogue was a little something like this: Youth: “I’m afraid I’m going to say something stupid-”, Rev. Kathleen “You will”, Youth: “or offend someone-”, Rev: “You will”, Youth: “I feel guilty of the privilege I have”, Rev: “Good!” These fears of saying something stupid, offending others and the feeling of guilt (along with various other reasons) are what have given birth to our call to serve women all over the globe. Before attending the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women I was aware of my privilege as a man in society (despite my disadvantage as a gay man) but it was not until I was surrounded by these women who have many stories and experiences that I realized I now have this guilt as well. But stronger than the guilt of my privilege as man is my sense of duty to spread the good news of Christ on Earth and the feeling of duty I have to my sisters to speak with (not for) them to promote more opportunities and the advancement of women internationally. During a panel discussion Itang Young, a representative of Church Women United Inc. reminded the audience that Jesus in the Book of Matthew said “I am here to heal the sick”. She then spoke about “the sick” as a metaphor for biologically, psychologically and socially marginalized people which includes women and said that as Christians of many denominations (Episcopal, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist etc.) we are called to participate in the healing of oppressed people worldwide. In the next couple of days we will be attending UNCSW caucus meetings, parallel events and briefings to continue to contribute to the dialogue of this work. The work of continuing this advocacy in the future will be up to us (and we have big shoes to fill) so here we are, 10 young adults forming the Episcopal Young Adult Delegation to the UNCSW. We have been called to serve and help in the healing of the oppressed and so far we’re doing a pretty good job.