With special references to the shooting at the Pulse club in Orlando, Florida, conflict between police and the communities they serve, and the attack on Bastille Day in Nice, France, the service of lament included readings from the Psalms. The Rev. Valerie Andrews and several AB GIRLS led a candlelight prayer for the seven continents of the world. American Baptist Women’s Ministries Events Coordinator Deborah Malavé Díaz performed a monologue as the biblical woman Naomi, sharing a biblical story of lament. Dramatist Beth Hettrick Berry shared a personal testimony of crying out to God and the healing she received. The More and More Praise Liturgical Dance Ministry of Mount Olive Baptist Church, Centreville, Virginia, conveyed God’s grace and mercy through creative dance interpretations of contemporary gospel songs.
Participants in the service were led through small group sharing of their own experiences of pain and the encouragement of hope through Christ. The service closed with a multicultural and multilingual sharing of the Lord’s Table led by AB Women’s Ministries national president Rev. Angel L. Sullivan, national director of American Baptist Women in Ministry Rev. Patricia Hernandez, conference chaplain Rev. Yana Pagan, conference participant Hkadin Lahtaw Lee, and Ja Ing Zahkung and Ja Nu Lahtaw, two guests from the Kachin Baptist Women Department of the Kachin Baptist Convention, Myanmar.
“The lament experience on Friday night at our conference was a holy time, a holy place, and a holy gathering,” says AB Women’s Ministries national events coordinator Deborah Malavé Díaz. “The experience gave us the blessing of journeying through Psalm 27 in a ‘3D’ way. We discovered lament as a bridge between God and ourselves, and it brought us together as a sisterhood. The bonding of women of different backgrounds, ages, and places, over common experiences of loss proved powerful, liberating, and ultimately joyful!”
American Baptist Women’s Ministries is a Christ-centered ministry with a commitment to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God. For more information, please visit www.abwministries.org.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.