How much are you able to give to change the lives of women in desperation?
As most of you know, I lead a ministry team, Butterflies of Hope Outreach that exists to make the love and hope of Jesus known to women in sex trade industry. We visit local strip clubs, share meals, celebrate life, pray and build intentional relationships with women in difficult situations.
Over the years it has become apparent that women who decide to leave the industry need help to transition. Financial resources, safe housing, job training and mentoring are essential for women to be able to establish a new path. Dove Harbor provides all this and more and that's why I'm partnering with SisterFitness this month to raise funds for this tremendous ministry in our community.
The Great Give lasts from now until July 30, please consider donating $5 or more to help women help women. You'll find the Donate button below. It is simple and easy to give and a little goes a long way if we are in this together! Thanks in advance for your loving support!!
To learn more about the Great Give click here. All monies donated from now until July 30 will be given to Dove Harbor to help provide transitional services to women and children in need.
I was so honored to contribute to the anthology, "Called to Minister, Empowered to Serve" along with other female clergy and scholars whom I admire greatly. This book offers a biblical, historical, theological and ethical rationale for women in ministry in the voice of, from the perspective of and in the Spirit of women. Below you can read an excerpt from my chapter on Women in the Old Testament. "Called to Minister, Empowered to Serve" is now available in Kindle Edition at amazon.com
In the pages of the Hebrew Bible we find beautiful imagery and noble typography, contours of women who have gone before us and left their mark. In the material known to us today as the Old Testament, we read of women who were prophets, military leaders, priests, wise women and wisdom personified. However, to study the lives of these women is no easy task. The reality is, the stories, as we have them are not handed down to us from the voices of the women themselves, rather what we have is an image rich narrative developed from a covenantal history, drawn upon the map of patriarchy. The narratives then, are primarily concerned with the public lives of men who are or are in some way related to the patriarchs and are connected to the emergence of the monarchy. It must also be stated that the narratives are also recorded, copied, edited and compiled by men who live many centuries after those women and men whose stories they are trying to convey.
We must understand at the outset that the material we have existed first as oral tradition and communities were formed around story, many of these stories endured across the generations to be recorded during the compilation of the codices which are now considered canonical by persons of Jewish and Christian faith. To do these women any justice we must unearth information about their world, status, society and gender roles in ancient Israel. We are helped then to also consider archaeology and anthropological studies in concert with the Scriptures to gain a better picture of life in ancient Israel for women.
In the Hebrew Bible, we find the stories of a people and a society who traverse the land of the Ancient Near East for more than 1,200 years (Murphy, Cullen: 1993). Of the 1,426 persons named within the narrative of the Old Testament, 111 of these named persons are women. While this seems like a small number, the witness of the lives of these women is powerful and their presence in this male dominated text reveals a prominence held by certain women. Though a casual reading of the Old Testament might leave us with the impression that women were confined to the domain of the home and their sole contribution was procreation, a closer look demonstrates another dynamic altogether. Mayer Gruber points out that women served as judges (Judges 4.4-5), officiated funerals as clergy (Jer. 9.16-19; 2 Chron. 35.25), slaughtered animals in priestly and domestic rites, served as prophetesses and sages (2 Samuel 14; 20.16-22), both nursed children and read Scripture in public settings (Gruber, Mayer: 1999). Gruber has also rightly demonstrated that within the Hebrew Scriptures we have accounts of women as priestesses (Exodus 38.8; 1 Sam. 2.22), poets (Exodus 15.21; Judges 5.1-31; Proverbs 31.1-9), musicians (Ps. 68.26), “queens, midwives; wet-nurses; babysitters; business persons; scribes; cooks; bakers; producers of cosmetics (I Sam. 8.13 ) as well as innkeepers and prostitutes (Josh.2).”
While the scope of this study will not allow us to consider the 111 named women of the Hebrew Bible, we will take a representative group and trace their lives, their communal impact and their covenantal significance. We do this in effort to illuminate the reality that though the narrative of Hebrew Bible is primarily concerned with the lives of the patriarchs, there exists also a counter narrative that demonstrates the activity of God present and powerful in the lives of many women which reverberates through the nation of Israel for the good of the world. The group we will consider here is the women of the genealogy of Jesus offered in Matthew’s Gospel as each of these women emerge from the story of ancient Israel and the tradition of their contributions endure into the New Testament Canon and beyond. The narratives of these women, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba offer us traditions of women who were significant in the life of ancient Israel if also representatives of life in a given place and time who simultaneously rise from the narrative to demonstrate women as agents of God’s covenantal and universal work.
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Center Rev. Ada Cooper, Hermitage Church of God, Hermitage, TN
In response to Patheos.com “Why I am a…” in 200 words or less:
I am Church of God, Anderson, IN because I was raised up in love. I have been reared in the tradition that also loved and fostered my parents and grandparents. I was born into a local church where a founding pastor of the 1930’s had been a woman, raised up under a sense of welcome and inclusion, taught the distinctions of our Wesleyan-Holiness heritage.
I was reared in a church where I was invited to sing a special at six years old, where I watched women kneel and wash the feet of other women, spread the feast for a pie social and gather for Tuesday morning prayer.
As an adult I pursued ordination in this tradition and have attained graduate degrees at our School of Theology where I now also teach and I am committed to the fierce, radical passion for justice and evangelism that animated the earliest days of our Movement. I am the Spirit daughter of Lena Schoffner, pioneer Church of God preacher who demanded the rope separating races be torn down, I am an heir to the Movement who would welcome Every One to the table of love.
It's not too late! If you are a clergy woman or a woman preparing for ministry, join us for Rise Up, the tenth annual Wesleyan Holiness Clergy Woman Conference. This was the single most encouraging event of my formation as a woman called to ministry and academy. Here you will worship with other women on a similar path, you will be challenged and equipped for ministerial life. The conference is conceived around workshops that are both academic and practical along with up close and personal time for networking with other women in your tradition and field. Break out sessions include: Narrative Preaching, Balance in Ministry, Responding to the LBGT community, Interfaith Dialogue, Prostitution and Sex Trafficking, Exploring Publishing, and a new Social Justice track added this year. If you need to be refreshed, inspired, encouraged, empowered, if you need to laugh and cry and worship with other women in your vocation; this is the place for you!! Join us in Estes Park next week!!
It's Here!! The latest edition of Called to Minister, Empowered to Serve is hot of the printing press and will be available at The Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy Conference, April 11-14, at warnerpress.org, anderson.edu/sot and Amazon.com. Edited by Dr. Mary Ann Hawkins this book is a collaboration of love by women clergy and scholars in the the Church of God Movement, please find the chapter penned by yours truly below!!
Sunday afternoon, windows open, birds singing, lawn mowers humming outside, a lilac breeze reminds me I am alive and life is good. I rest and my thoughts ramble. I recount the crazy hours of this week past; a quick trip south to dye Easter Eggs and squeeze precious moments out of this life as my sister’s children grow into their double digit years. Manicures, shopping, Wii golf and other beloved rituals that can only be entrusted to an auntie crushed and rendered powerless to the reign of love. Back to Indiana for Sunday to celebrate the resurrection and to share ham and chocolate ice cream cake with more nieces all ruffles and bows.
Shrine of Mary Magdalene, Vezelay, France
_ You can see it in the face of a survivor, the twinkle in her eye that tells you: I have seen the worst, I have fought the devil, I have walked through the fire and I’m still here. Something about the pink feather boa wrapped ‘round her graceful neck, the colorful ribbons born proudly on her chest, the song of hope in a cemetery that makes you want to tip your hat, bow your head or courtesy in her presence. There is something magical and inspirational in her smile that entices us all to believe, we shall overcome. And there is nothing that can rival the power of the heart that bleeds this refrain in all the world.