by Dorothy Riley Nevils
It’s the spring gathering at your synodical women’s organization. You walk into the room and look around. Then you find it, the place where you will sit.
You plop your stuff down, flash a quick smile amid the familiar greetings. Then off to grab a coffee and head back to your seat.
You sit at the table and pull the chair up, look around with a smile, and dive into conversation with your friends, all of whom you know by name.
How many of us can identify with that scene? Didn’t our lips just “twiggle” as we read it, a sort of Emmaus Road—or aha! moment–as we revisited past gatherings?
Did you feel welcome, celebrated, appreciated, as a vital, cherished sister at your first gathering? Or did you feel invisible?
I know what it means to be the other, and it’s not pleasant. Yet, so many times we unconsciously visit that on our sisters. Since many of us have been with Women of the ELCA from the beginning, we might not have felt what other women experience today as they join us.
At a spring gathering, Darlene Deck, Indiana-Kentucky’s first synodical president did a presentation, “Where We’ve Come From,” and I followed up with “Where Do We Go from Here?”
How are you welcoming?
One of the discussion questions which women were to take home to their church groups was about welcoming. Gathering the comments for our next newsletter, I was saddened by a message from one attendee that she and another younger, “unfamiliar” woman were virtually left out by the other two members.
[bctt tweet=”We all bring different perspectives to the table, and so, we learn from each other.” username=”womenoftheelca”]
We must remember that we all are daughters, precious in God’s sight. We all bring different perspectives to the table, and so, we learn from each other. Be receptive to new and various ideas. Honor this entire community of women.
In his letter to the Romans (12:6-8), Paul writes that we all have different gifts. Let’s roll that old stone away and welcome all who come bringing their gifts!
Dorothy Riley Nevils is a member of Bethel Lutheran Church in Gary, Indiana, and past president of the Indiana/Kentucky Synodical Women’s Organization. A retired teacher, she writes for a local newspaper. Learn more about connecting with other women.