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This morning, March 20th, the Salvation Army led worship for Ecumenical Women and Josephine, an intern with the Salvation Army and a member of our communications team, offered this dance as a part of the service.

Check out the following video from the chaplain at the Church Center for the United Nations Rev. Dionne Boissiere, who discusses the use of difficult Bible texts in this year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women and how we should interpret such texts. Specifically, she explains the use of 2 Kings 6: 28-29, the story of “The Two Starving Mothers” to center a worship service around Millennium Development Goal #1, “eradicating poverty and extreme hunger” which was led by our young adult delegates on 11 March 2014.

This morning’s worship service was led by Ecumenical Women’s young adult delegates from Church Women United and the Presbyterian Church (USA). Focusing on Millennium Development Goal #1, “Eradicate Poverty and Extreme Hunger,” the young adults worked with an extremely difficult Bible text, 2 Kings 6:28-29, through song, prayer and reflection. Check out the following videos from worship below.

Our Call to Worship/ Welcome

 

Singing “Canticle of the Turning.”

 

Furthermore, we ask you to reflect as well on how to deal with difficult Bible texts like 2 Kings 6: 28 -29. Please send us your comments and we’ll be sure to share them with our delegates!

 

A variety of views about the text were then shared. One woman suggested all the characters in the story were selfish and that this reflected on the selfishness of all those who have privilege. Someone else commented that despite the horrific manner in which she went about it, the woman who cooked her son was acting in a form of solidarity with the other desperate woman. Another delegate stated that there is something powerful about dwelling in anger, in being angry at the desperation of many of those girls and women living in extreme poverty, and that there is hope in action. Another young adult commented that desperation makes people do things that we cannot even imagine, but that righteous indignation at that desperation empowers us to help end systems of injustice. Chaplain Dionne ended the conversation and raised our spirits in proclaiming “the joy of the Lord is our strength!”

What follows is the powerful Call to Worship that was part of Ecumenical Women’s service this morning in the Church Center for the United Nations chapel:

LEADER: Come praise the Lord with me as we lift up our voices together in prayer and advocacy coming from north, south, east and west.

PEOPLE: We will affirm our work together.

LEADER: Cry out to the Lord for the least of these. Do not become weary. Do not lose heart.

PEOPLE: We will wait on the Lord. We will share our stories. We will 

listen to the stories of others.

LEADER: The Lord requires us to love mercy, seek justice and to walk humbly with our God.

ALL:  The Lord is a God of hope. We will persevere. We will eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. We will achieve universal primary education. We will promote gender equality and empower women. We will reduce child mortality. We will improve maternal health. We will combat HIV/ AIDS, malaria and other diseases. We will ensure environmental sustainability. We will create a global partnership for development. These are human rights for God’s people. If we have faith of a mustard seed, God’s grace and justice will endure to all generations!

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Check out the two videos below from this morning’s Ecumenical Women worship at the 58th Commission on the Status of Women. Ecumenical Women has well over 150 delegates here at CSW across many denominations and from around the world! Stay tuned to http://www.ecumenicalwomen.org for stories and reflections from our many delegates throughout the next two weeks!

 

Check out the two videos below from Saturday’s closing worship at Ecumenical Women’s Orientation Day for the CSW58 Commission on the Status of Women. Ecumenical Women has well over 150 delegates here at CSW across many denominations and from around the world! Stay tuned to http://www.ecumenicalwomen.org for more stories and reflections from our many delegates throughout the next two weeks!

 

Blessed-Virgin-Mary-Virgin-with-angelsEcumenical Women is currently updating our list of worship resources! If you or your organization have developed additional relevant worship resources, we’d love to link to them as well! Just either email us at ecumenicalwomen@gmail.com or comment on this post. Here are our two new additions:

Scripture and the Millennium Development Goals – This guide sheet was created by the Victoria Edmonds of the Salvation Army to guide our October 2013 monthly meeting. It suggests a number of different passages from Scriptures there pertain to each of the eight Millennium Development Goals.

International Day of the Girl Liturgy – This morning prayer liturgy was created for the 2013 International Day of the Girl by the G.I.R.L.s of St. George’s Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg, Virginia. For more information, click here.

Delegates from the World Student Christian Federation and the World Council of Churches leading the Ecumenical Women morning worship at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women.


Delegates from the World Student Christian Federation and the World Council of Churches leading the Ecumenical Women morning worship at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women.

by Mary Button, Ecumenical Women artist and member of the Evangelical Church in America.

The walls of the chapel at the Church Center for the UN have ten banners hanging on them. Each one features a silhouette of a woman who represents the shadowy nature of the unwieldy topic that we’re all gathered here at CSW to address. During our orientation on Saturday each of you was given a sheet of paper with four silhouettes on them and asked to name the women in your lives who live in the shadows because of violence against women and girls. You were asked to list their names and to share what part of their story you would like remembered. On the walk from the Salvation Army to the Church Center you carried these shadow pictures with you then offered them up during our closing service in which we memorialized the daughter of Jephthah.

I have been transcribing the names and stories that were offered during our closing worship on Saturday onto colorful pieces of cloth and weaving them through the shadows. Over the course of two weeks Ecumenical Women will be working to bring gender based violence out of the shadows and each morning during worship you will find a new banner embellished with colorful fabric prayers from the day before. On the baptismal font in the chapel you will find pieces of cloth and markers – please continue to share words and stories with me to help bring color and life to the shadows. Use the materials provided and I’ll integrate it into the banners so that we move from shadow to light together. I’ve also had several women approach me with materials that they’ve collected in the short time that they’ve been here at CSW. Please bring me anything that has inspired you or moved you and we’ll work to incorporate it into these banners that we’re creating together.

Yesterday morning a member of our delegation shared with me a large pack of cards with the names and faces of women who have disappeared from Juarez, Mexico. The murders and disappearances of women in Juarez is a topic that has haunted me since I was an undergraduate. Since 1993 close to 400 women have been murdered in Juarez. But, that number is just a best guess estimate because so many women live on the margins in Juarez. The city lies on the Rio Grande, south of El Paso, Texas and there are a total of 19 maquiladoras in the city. Maquiladora is the Mexican name for factories in a Free Trade Zone where products can be assembled on a duty-free and tariff-free basis. Many of the young women who have been murdered and disappeared in Juarez are women who worked in these factories. Learning about the violence in Juarez motivated my advocacy work as a young woman and put me on the road to this year’s CSW. It was an honor to add the names and faces of women from Juarez on one of our banners, to wrap them in our prayers. I look forward to gathering meaningful materials from many of you and integrating it into the sanctuary artwork.

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by Rochelle Rawls-Shaw

Presbyterians from the United States and Aotearoa New Zealand prepared to lead this morning’s Ecumenical Women (EW)’s worship service at the 57th Session of the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW) for over a month.

As we met and got to know each other on conference calls, we shared our nicknames and their origins; we identified our special talents (or talents we wished we had). We shared what friends or family would say to describe us to a complete stranger. Our conversations were a great beginning for a group of women who were blessed and being used to bless others who would gather together for worship.

IMG_0255The EW worship committee who assigned each organization a scripture passage associated with women in the bible and guidelines for worship services during CSW. We received the story of the woman caught in adultery – John 8:2-11. This story became the focus of our liturgy. Exploring the story, we  began to experience the Divine Momentum leading us.

The momentum built when we were introduced to Pamela Tankersley from Presbyterian Women of Aotearoa New Zealand. She had prepared a liturgy for International Women’s Day (March 8) based on our scripture and in remembrance of the brutal gang rape that occurred in India on December 16, 2012. She entitled the liturgy, “Laying down the Stones.”

The momentum continued to build as planning members suggestions to the liturgy. A prayer of invocation was added to the call to worship and assignments made to the various parts. Our team included talented singers who would lead congregational songs and a soloist who would sing “Safe Within Your Arms.” Carolyn Winfrey Gillette wrote a new hymn for the service: “Christ Would Not Cast the Judgment Stone.”

We planned that the worship service would involve people who were not even present at the Church Center for the United Nations. Planning team members were invited to bring at least 15-20 stones with them to New York. A planning team member from Puerto Rico had members of her congregation bring stones to church that she brought to CSW.

This morning dawned and we made our final plans. We placed larger stones around the communion table and gathered the stones brought by the planning team members into baskets. As worshippers entered the chapel, each received a stone.

There was something about the stones.

A single red candle was lit. The service began. I strongly felt the Divine Presence.

IMG_0403After scripture had been read, songs had been sung, and words had been said, the worshipping community was invited to bring forth their stones and put them down around the table as symbols to remember the violence that our sisters have endured, to express our intention to put aside our complicity in that violence and to renew

Reflecting on the service, Laetitia Wells observed, “As the women brought their various stones to the table, I was moved during worship when I heard the loud sound of the stones hitting the table. Symbolically I felt that WE were taking a definitive STAND against violence against women and girls. Hearing the loud sound of the stones allowed me to think that we were eradicating the horrors that come with violence against women.” Jill Bolander Cohen commented, “This was a deeply spiritual and moving experience. It was really something watching women and men lay down stones which seemed to release something–something that weighed them down.” Jaime Staehle said, “Working together with women from all generations, walks of life, and places in the world was quite meaningful and really helped the theme of the service blossom.”

There was something about the stones–something special about being able to release some things that have burdened us all our lives. The Divine Momentum presented the opportunity for us to release them during our worship here today. Thanks be to God!

Photos by Andrew Nam Chul Osborne

Nearing the end of our first amazing day of the 57th Commission on the Status of Women at the UN, we absolutely needed to post the following video of a powerful worship experience we had as Ecumenical Women this past Saturday evening.

I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love even when I don’t feel it.
I believe in God even when God is silent.

This morning a group of young adult delegates to the 57th Commission on the Status of Women led worship on behalf of Ecumenical Women in the Church Center for the United Nations’ Tillman Chapel.  The title of the worship service was “Breaking Open the Jar,” which focused on the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet in Mark 14.  In sharing the good news of eliminating violence against women and girls, we remember this woman.  Check out complete video footage of the service below:

 

Ecumenical Women will be hosting service in the Tillman Chapel every morning during CSW57 at 8:00am, so be sure to come worship with us if you’re in New York City!

Young Adult delegates related to Ecumenical Women are invited to gather for Contextual Bible Study (Mark 14:3-9) and Worship Planning on Sunday, 3 March.  On Monday, 4 March the group will lead morning worship in the Church Center for the United Nations (CCUN) Chapel.  This Bible study / worship planning event is coordinated by the Church Women United / National Council of Churches Women’s Ministries young adult delegation and will take place at The Interchurch Center in Manhattan’s Upper Westside neighborhood.  It also requires an RSVP by this Thursday to atiemeyer@nccusa.org in order to get into the building.

Event: Contextual Bible Study and Worship Planning
Who: Young Adult participants to CSW from delegations related to Ecumenical Women
When: Sunday, 3 March 3 from 3 pm to 5:30 pm (Gather at 7:30am the following day to practice for worship at CCUN)
Where: The Interchurch Center, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY (Enter building at 61 Claremont @ 120th Street, one block west of Broadway)

RSVP REQUIRED: No later than Thursday, 28 February at 12 noon to atiemeyer@nccusa.org.

Check out the video below which features Christine Mangale and Mia Adjali, members of the Ecumenical Women Worship Committee. The video provides a great and concise update of all that we’ve been working on at Ecumenical Women to prepare for CSW57 this past month. We’d love to hear your feedback!

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