Celebrating the gift

I’m a Christian theologian. I participate in the continuing education of clergy. I preach occasionally. This fall I’m teaching an interdisciplinary undergraduate course that will examine the “strange community” of monastics.

All of which connects me strongly to the cause for which Earthchick is holding a magnificent raffle, Women Touched By Grace. It’s a program started by a nun to bring together Catholic nuns and Protestant clergywomen to learn about each others’ ministries. Earthchick was one of the participants in the first go-around, and now it’s starting with a new group of 29 women — but this time, it’s not fully funded. Donations are needed.

Earthchick writes:

The proceeds of this raffle will go towards a religious institution, but I hope that even if you are not Christian or religious, you might consider participating. Because in truth this money is meant to help women who need as much friendship and support as they can get. The whole program is based on women reaching out to women. I want to celebrate how women have sustained me in difficult times by trying to reach out and sustain other women too. These women need this time away and the nurture it will provide. They need community – both that of their colleagues and that of the nuns. They need the rest and renewal. They need the support that will keep them from burning out and from failing in the midst of isolation and other challenges.

To that I will add: We need to encourage any endeavor that brings together people in different faith traditions for mutual understanding.  I have an idea of the challenges faced by women in the clergy, and I know how difficult it’s been historically for Protestants and Catholics to find common ground, especially on issues concerning women.  This cause strikes a blow for communication and therefore for communion — a small blow, but one that can ripple out to dozens of congregations and communities.  So whether you are Christian, religious, spiritual, or none of the above, I hope you’ll share your bounty with these women in the interest of forging ties across the lines that divide us.

And if that’s not enough … just go look at the prizes.  Oh my gracious Lord almighty in heaven.  Good luck to all!

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