I watch my 13-year-old daughter and her circle of friends, remembering back to my own days in junior high. The best of what adult women know as community and friendship often is in short supply in these early settings, as girls jockey for rank, position, and popularity. Even so, these young women are beginning to learn that being in community means sharing time and space with those who have similar concerns, values, interests, and beliefs.
In her fascinating book The Friendship of Women: A Spiritual Tradition, Joan Chittister explores women’s friendships by examining biblical women and their lives. Chittister observes that women’s friendships are marked by openness, possibility, support, empathy, personal experience, nurturance, acceptance, and intimacy. She concludes that “for women, relationships—presence to the other—are of the essence of existence, the answer to isolation, the very marrow of their meaning.”
We women in the ELCA, both individually and collectively, offer the church a special model of how to be in relationship with one another.
This message is adapted from “New Hope for the Human Race” written by Linda Post Bushkofsky in the January/February 2004 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine. The churchwide executive board of Women of the ELCA concludes its meeting today.