CLERGY WOMEN’S CONFERENCE – TO GROW A MOVEMENT, HEAR THE VOICES OF YOUNG WOMEN
For the past few years, the women clergy of the three Dioceses of Saldanha Bay, False Bay and Cape Town have gathered for a yearly conference to be renewed, encouraged and get to know each other.
This year Saldanha Bay hosted the Conference on the theme of “take time to be a butterfly” (Gillian Duce) with the support of Green Anglicans
After a fun ice-breaker, we divided into small groups for a time of ministry , sharing our dreams for the year ahead.
Then Margie Davidson taught us how to make beautiful flowers from recycled pew leaflets. St Stephens had started doing this during the Capetown drought and the flowers are very beautiful and water wise!
During a lovely Eucharist service led by the Saldanha Diocese, Rev Rachel Mash shared about the inspiration of St Agnes whom we celebrated during the week.
How to grow a social movement – from a mustard seed to a great tree
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
St Agnes was a 13 years old martyred in Rome , a church built over her and bones venerated. A beautiful girl from a wealthy family who refused to marry so her suitors reported that she was a christian and she was condemned to death. According to legend several men tried to rape her but were struck blind
In the story of Agnes the opposition is not between sex and virginity. The conflict is between a young woman’s power in Christ to define her own identity versus a patriarchal culture’s claim to identify her in terms of her sexuality. According to the view shared by her “suitors” and the state, if she would not be one man’s wife, she might as well be every man’s whore. Failing these options, she might as well be dead. Agnes did not choose death. She chose not to worship the gods of her culture. …Espoused to Christ, she was beyond the power of any man to ‘have his way with her’. ‘Virgin’ in this case is another way of saying Free Woman.
What is the power of young women? I want to start with two sisters from Bali.
When Melati and Saseh Wijsen two sisters were 10 and 12, they had a lesson at School about significant leaders: Gandhi, Mandela etc. All men. They went home and said we want to do something significant. What can we do? Bali is an Island paradise but clogged with plastic. They decided to get the plastic bag banned. Started Bye Bye Plastic bag campaign in 2013.
They decided to get 1 million signatures . after about 1000 they realised we hadn’t quite twigged one million is 1000 x 1000 that is a lot! So they decided to go to the airport, nagged and nagged, used cuteness factor and got permission to stand by immigration.
They got their 1 million and sent the petition to the governor, while they were on holiday in India. He did nothing. Inspired by visiting Gandhi’s house they decided to go on a hunger strike. You can imagine the parents response! So they got them down to fasting every day between sunrise and sunset. Huge social media response
On day two the police came to their school they thought they were being arrested. Taken to governor who said I will do something. I will ban the bag in 2018. Lots of other organisations got on board – visual images of sea plastic were going viral. On the 24th of Dec the president announced a ban on single use plastic..
Greta Tunborg 15 year old from Sweden.
1st of September.
Last year Sweden had its hottest summer in the last 262 years with heatwaves and widfires.
Greta Thunberg 15 year old decided to go on strike from school until the general election on 9th Sep to draw attention to the climate crisis. A small girl with pigtails , She started to sit alone on the cobblestones outside parliament handing out leaflets saying
: “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.”
When people tell her she should be at school, she points to the textbooks in her satchel.
“I have my books here,” What am I going to learn in school? Facts don’t matter any more, politicians aren’t listening to the scientists, so why should I learn?”
Her parents wanted her to give up her protest but she kept on. Slowly people started joining her.
Greta has Asperger’s syndrome, which in the past has affected her health, he says. She sees her condition not as a disability but as a gift which has helped open her eyes to the climate crisis.
“The best thing about my protest has been to see how more and more people have been coming and getting involved,” Greta says.
“I don’t care if I get into trouble at school. I believe that one person can make a difference.”
Climate Change strike – thousands of school students strike across Australia
Thousands of schoolchildren across Australia walked out of class on Fridayto demand action by the federal government on climate change.
The “Strike 4 Climate Action”, inspired by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, brought together children in capital cities and 20 regional centres
The prime minister, Scott Morrison, had earlier this week urged students this week not to take part and told them to be “less activist”.
The kids responded with powerful posters
When kids make a mess, adults tell us to clean it up and that’s fair. But when our leaders make a mess, they’re leaving it to us to clean up.”
Schools have to be parliament when parliament is a schoolyard
Make Earth Great Again
If you don’t act like adults we will
15-year-old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish student, grabbed headlines this past week with her tough message for climate change negotiators at a United Nations climate summit in Poland.
“You are not mature enough to tell it like is,” she said at a climate summit that ended on Sunday. “Even that burden you leave to us children.”
Her remarks quickly gained attention on social media, and video of her speech was shared by leading climate scientists and officials. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted footage of her speech, saying she “called out world leaders for their global inaction on climate change.”
The teenager spoke on behalf of Climate Justice Now, a global network of climate advocacy groups. Officials from nearly 200 countries gathered in Poland to set rules that will govern the Paris Agreement on climate change, which aims to limit global warming.
“You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again,” she told leaders. “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
On Friday she spoke at the World Economic forum in Davos
We are facing [an] existential crisis, the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced,” the 16-year-old said. “If everyone is guilty, then no one is to blame, and someone is to blame… Some people, some companies, some decision makers in particular know exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money, and I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”
I don’t want you to be hopeful – I want you to act as though the house is on fire
So my question to you is this – as women clergy how do we hear the voice of young women how do we put them at the front of our programmes, our ministries our movements.
Our world is burning, gender based violence is out of control and yet we work for a male dominated hierarchical structure when we need a movement. The mustard seed has no chance unless we recognise that we are a movement. The Jesus movement sometimes needs to challenge the institutional structures of the church.
We ended the day with a vegetarian lunch to celebrate Meat Free Monday