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Bold means vulnerable at Eugene, Oregon, church

BWDby Jakki McDonald

The women’s ministry at Bethesda Lutheran Church, Eugene, Oregon, wanted our 2015 Bold Women’s Day Sunday to be special.

We wanted something with meat and real substance that would make an impact on all involved. We especially wanted our men to hear our voices—not to be deaf to what matters in the lives of women.

Because we live in a world where so many women are hurting, our women’s ministry team realized we could find hurting women within our own congregation. These are truly bold women who have lived through difficult circumstances, yet continued to walk in faith trusting the Lord—as savior and companion.

The theme of “Women’s Voices” became our guiding principle as we sought women willing to share their stories from the heart. I was one of several who spoke about our experiences of

  • unexpected widowhood
  • surviving childhood sexual abuse
  • fostering and adopting special needs children
  • broken children and broken dreams
  • ugly divorces
  • loving someone with mental illness or dementia, or
  • raising step-grandchildren as a single woman.

Rather than stand before the congregation and speak the stories that were so close to our hearts, we recorded them with the help of our worship team leader. When we listened to the finished recordings for the first time that Sunday morning, my tears mingled with those of others in the congregation as we heard the depth of pain and the hope and joy. The stillness in the sanctuary was a testament to the impact these stories made.

Bethesda’s new sign language dancers rounded out the program with Holy Spirit-graced dance performed to “Come to Jesus.”

Women in the congregation handled the entire service—from special music to Scripture readings. We used many of the resources suggested on Women of the ELCA’s site.

At the time of this writing and planning for Bold Women’s Day 2016, we are talking about highlighting women involved in volunteer work.

Jakki McDonald is an active member of Bethesda Lutheran Church. She’s the adoptive mother of a young adult special needs daughter and two loving step-daughters. Her husband is a computer programmer and “the nicest nerd you’ll ever meet.” She teaches water aerobics and is development director for a non-profit that sponsors healing retreats for women and men affected by abortion.

Check out Bold Women's Day ideas, certificates, Facebook timeline photos and resources.