by Linda Post Bushkofsky
Ever since Mary Magdalene and the other Mary met the resurrected Jesus at the tomb, women have been telling their stories of encountering Jesus, stories of how their lives have been changed.
As the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation approaches, we have a new, important opportunity to tell our stories. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is championing a process to collect women’s stories from around the globe, stories that tell how women have provoked change in church and society, stories that tell how women have empowered others and engaged in theology.
To assist the LWF, our organization will collect up your stories throughout 2016. The LWF-driven collection of stories will help future generations to do what we seek to accomplish every day: mobilizing women to act boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ.
The churchwide organization will record the significant movements of the whole organization, such as banning landmines and boycotting Nestle and American Home products. We need you to contribute the local stories, stories about supporting transitional women’s housing, creating after-school programs or clothing closets, making relief quilts and layette kits. You may see these as ordinary, commonplace activities. “Why, that’s just what we do,” you might say.
These ordinary, commonplace activities are our prayers, our worship, our acts of love that transform the world around us. These are the stories we must capture for future generations. Stories can be presented in many different forms: written essays, videos, blogs, art, interviews, even quilts or photo collages. Involve multiple generations in the process. (Have a teen interview an older woman.)
Address questions like: What are the main contributions of the individual woman (or a women’s group) to the lives of the people in your congregation or community? Highlight one or two important moments in the woman’s life. What or who contributed to the development of that woman’s life of faith? What did the woman or women do to bring about reform in the congregation, the community or society? Basic information should be included: name(s), dates of birth (and death), address.
Start your story collecting this month and continue your efforts all year long. Send your contributions to [email protected] or drop in the mail to Women of the ELCA, Attn: LWF Stories, 8765 W Higgins Road, Chicago IL 60631. Direct your questions to me, [email protected] or 1-800-638-3522, ext. 2740.
Linda Post Bushkofsky ([email protected]) is executive director of Women of the ELCA.
Photo: Quilt was made by Susan Long of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for the 2014 triennial gathering