A Tapestry of Transformation: Women in ABC Metro Chicago Come Together

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A Tapestry of Transformation: Women in ABC Metro Chicago Come Together

For the second year in a row, women in the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago came together in a new way to listen to each other, learn from one another, and lift up women as leaders. They shared their stories, sang songs, and celebrated the sacred gifts women bring to ministry.

Awarded a grant by the North American Baptist Women’s Union (NABWU), partners in ministry Virginia Holmstrom, executive director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries and Rev. Dr. Patricia Hernandez, national director of American Baptist Women in Ministry joined their efforts with women leaders of ABC Metro Chicago (Janet Jamieson, Rev. Jackie Belile, Chosen Chintapalli, Ines Young, and Rev. Joanne Lindstrom) to break barriers and build bridges, bringing women together in a new paradigm of partnership and celebration.

The grant proposal affirms that women are called by God and women are gifted by God. When all of their gifts and all of their calls are able to be fully utilized and fully lived out, women are able to not only live out their full potential but fulfill God’s purposes in their lives.

Recognizing this, the project, “Sisters in Service,” seeks to bring together ordained and non-ordained women of diverse race, culture, age, and ethnicity in a way which strengthens and supports, enables and empowers, names and nurtures women as leaders at all levels in American Baptist Churches USA.

In the opening worship, Rev. Joanne Lindstrom reflected on how Deborah, a warrior woman, wisely wove together the cares and concerns of her people and invited the weaving of her gifts with another leader to create the cloth of a new community. In like manner women came from different places and different vocational positions weaving together an amazing array of gifts, creating a new cloth colored by collaboration. What emerged was a tapestry transformation, a multicolored mosaic of the gifts of many women.

Executive Minister of ABC of Metro Chicago, Rev. Dr. Larry Greenfield, invited those gathered to commit to subversive action, a sacred subversiveness that engages in boundary breaking, bridge building activities, creatively collaborating with women from many walks of life and raising up new leaders.

In honor of such sacred subversiveness a poem emerged which was both call to worship and call:

Sisters in Service

Sisters in Service shining our light
Dancing and dreaming all through the night

Pilgrims of passion finding our way
Mindful meandering each step of the day

Women of wisdom weaving our words
Sharing our stories, every one heard

Colleagues encircling the sacred sinew
Calling, creating the growing new you

ABWIM and ABWM sisters are we
Marching and musing each in our way

Breaking the barriers, bridges we build
Becoming beholding, One Body fulfilled

Entwining our arms, enfolding our hands
Serving together throughout our lands

Folding enfolding the Spirit of Three
Not me, my, mine, but only WE

Sisters in Service shining our light
Dancing together Full of delight

Hermanas al servicio, que brillan como luces

bailando y soñando durante la noche

Apasionadas peregrinas

Pensando y caminando en cada paso del día

Mujeres de sabiduría, que tejen con palabras

Las historias, ya oídas

Entrelazadas en un círculo, como un tendón sagrado

Llamadas a crecer un nuevo ser que han creado

Mujeres Bautistas, Mujeres del Ministerio

Hermanas somos

marchemos unidas y meditemos

Construimos puentes, rompemos barreras

Y que un solo cuerpo nos contemplemos

Uniendo nuestros brazos, tomadas de las manos

Juntas serviremos en nuestros campos

Como el espíritu de un árbol desplegado

No para mí, no mío, no por mí

Pero solamente por NOSOTRAS

Hermanas al servicio, que brillan como luces

Bailando juntas, llenas de gozo.

Poema de la Rev. Patricia Hernández
Traducido por Inés Young