Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Womens Day

As I sit here in my red shirt in my office (no, I didn't "strike" today), I am reminded of countless women who have been influential in my own life and so I want to honor them here with brief tributes (this is most certainly not an exhaustive list; and I suspect that I will continue to add to it).

Amanda Peterson Alquist, my great-great grandmother who came from Sweden by herself at 18 to build a new life in the US (we still make her Swedish rye bread today)

Edla Bloomquist, grandmother of my grandfather who spoke only Swedish raised my grandfather and took in boarders to make ends meet

Margaret Berg & Altjie Manske, maternal & paternal grandmothers who's gifts of hospitiality, faith and love reflected throughout their lives.

Elaine Berg, mother extraordinarie who lives as an example of living your life to its fullest no matter the obstacles, setbacks or curveballs that life throws at you.  She showed us what it means to be a "right on woman" and to not accept any less

Marilyn Dyer, "wicked" stepmother whose does celebrate life in all its fullness with love and laughter

Cristina Dyer-Droback, "favorite" sister whose creativity finds its expression in work and play, setting the example for the next generation of "right on women" with Serena

Consciousness-raising women (Mom, Bernice, Pam and Dorothy) who, while they didn't "burn their bras", sought to be and raise "feminists" in their midst

De Brown who helped me to "not take any shit" from others and stand up for myself

Marie Jerge, pastor/bishop/friend  whose gracious leadership and spirit-filled faith serves as an example to me daily (she is also a mentor)

Female Clergy Prayer group (Susan, Ruth, Marie, Maryann) with whom I journeyed in faith during my time in WNY.  Their prayerful support and witness continues to undergird my journey today

Clergy sisters (Lena, Nicole, Stephanie, Lydia) with whom I meet with now as we share the joys, struggles and laughter of parish ministry

Patricia Lull, pastor and internship supervisor helped this "PK" (pastor's kid) find her own voice as a pastor, challenging me and helping me clarify "why I wanted to be a pastor"

Marion Love, Theatre dept. chair at college who encouraged and supported me both in quite literally finding my voice as well as in the discernment process of going to seminary

Through her-story
Suffergettes such as Susan B. Anthony, Sojouner Truth and so many others that we do not know their names who fought so hard for their own rights as well as the rights of others so that I have the privilege and responsiblity of voting

Historical figures like Sybil Luddington, Abigail Adams and the like who only seem to get a footnote in our history books and yet played much larger roles in our history than they are given credit for

Nobel peace recipents like Malala and Leymah Gbowee  for standing up in the face of injustice, despite the dangers, to bring peace and hope into the lives of others

Celebrities like Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Ellen and Oprah who don't like the world define or direct their identity

I thank God everytime that I remember each of you and pray that, inspired by your life and witness, I may help others find their own voice and be bold in the use of our gifts for the sake of all people