Years ago, when a female pastor was at our church, I started learning about feminism. While I was a child of the early feminist movement, I spent much of that time with my brain filled with Barbie dreams. So I seemed to miss much of what was happening in the larger world. It was easier to stick with my old beliefs and not open my mind to new ideas.
But, I started growing and learning through Women of the ELCA. My mind has been like a sponge, soaking up feminism, soaking up racial justice. Here I am in my 60s, planning to return to school and working toward becoming an ordained pastor, a career not widely available when I was starting a career. Now I look forward to serving God in a different capacity at a time when most people my age are sitting back and taking it easy.
At this time in my life, along comes Junia. The first Junia I met was my new pastor’s 2-year-old daughter. When I asked about her name, I was told Junia was a female apostle mentioned once in the Bible (Romans 16:7). Recently my pastor’s wife posted some of the history of Junia on Facebook. After reading it, I found out about The Junia Project, dedicated to the feminist voice in God’s church. It has been totally eye opening!
There’s too much information to go into in this blog, but I do know one thing. Going forward in my ministry and in my work with Women of the ELCA, the name of Junia will be mentioned often, along with names of other women, silenced for too long by the church and by history.
I also look forward to watching the current Junia and her twin sister Anja as they grow in their lives and grow into their Christian heritage as women in the church, in a time when women’s voices are finally being heard. God is good, all the time.
Nancy Giddings serves on the churchwide executive board; she lives in Blaine, Minn.