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NEWS2020-07-31T16:28:06-07:00

Advent 2: Praying with Nature

This Advent Bishop Laurie will be exploring four spiritual practices to keep us grounded. The second practice is praying with nature. Watch the video below to learn more.

50: Mary of Nazareth

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women in the ELCA, the 40th anniversary of women of color, and the 10th anniversary of LGBTQ+ siblings.

It’s an incredibly important marker for the ELCA, though it is only the beginning for the Church, as women are still denied ordination across the denominations and hold less than 15% of the leadership positions in the worldwide church! Therefore, in 2020, we in the Oregon Synod will highlight one woman from Christian history every week for fifty weeks. Some you may know, others you may not, but all worthy of our respect and gratitude.

#50 Mary of Nazareth

When we meet Mary in the Gospel of Luke, she is a young, unmarried, Jewish woman living in Roman-occupied Nazareth. Then, in a terrifying and awe-inspiring moment, she finds out she’s pregnant. She is between two realities. The societal reality of how much more difficult her life will become. And the spiritual reality of her connection to God and her faith in God’s plan. She could fight it, but instead, she chooses to “let it be.” A few days later she sings a song—the longest passage spoken by a woman in the New Testament—known by its Latin name, The Magnificat. A defiant, joyful song—not about the circumstances she is in, which are fraught with danger—but a song of gratitude for the renewal to come. About this song Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonheoffer said “The song of Mary is the oldest Advent hymn. It is at once the most passionate, the wildest, one might even say the most revolutionary Advent hymn ever sung. This is not the gentle, tender, dreamy Mary whom we sometimes see in paintings.…This song has none of the sweet, nostalgic, or even playful tones of some of our Christmas carols. It is instead a hard, strong, inexorable song about the power of God and the powerlessness of humankind.” The Magnificat has been banned at times by repressive governments wanting to suppress its message of hope. Mary’s courage and faith have inspired people for thousands of years. (She is the most honored woman in Islam and the only woman named in the Quran.) Advent is about knowing that the difficulties and injustices of the present moment will not last forever and we don’t have to wait to be grateful for what is to come.

49: Elizabeth Ann Seton

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women in the ELCA, the 40th anniversary of women of color, and the 10th anniversary of LGBTQ+ siblings.

It’s an incredibly important marker for the ELCA, though it is only the beginning for the Church, as women are still denied ordination across the denominations and hold less than 15% of the leadership positions in the worldwide church! Therefore, in 2020, we in the Oregon Synod will highlight one woman from Christian history every week for fifty weeks. Some you may know, others you may not, but all worthy of our respect and gratitude.

#49: Elizabeth Ann Seton

In 1797, Elizabeth Ann Seton was one of the founders of the first charitable institution in New York City, the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children. Six years later, she joined their ranks after her husband died, leaving her to raise five small children. The family left Italy (where they had been living for her husband’s health) and returned to America. These experiences wrought many changes in Elizabeth, including her desire to convert to Catholicism (she was raised Episcopalian). This decision caused her to be ostracized by family and friends, as anti-Catholic sentiment was high during this time. For years she struggled to make a living to support her family. Eventually, she found employment running a small school for boys. In 1808, she accepted her priest’s invitation to open a Catholic girls school. In 1809, she founded the first American religious community, the Sisters of St.Joseph. The sisters started providing free education to Catholic girls—which is now considered by many to be the beginning of Catholic parochial education in America. Mother Seton continued to teach and work for the community until her death in 1821. In 1975, She became the first native-born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

48: Dovey Johnson Roundtree

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women in the ELCA, the 40th anniversary of women of color, and the 10th anniversary of LGBTQ+ siblings.

It’s an incredibly important marker for the ELCA, though it is only the beginning for the Church, as women are still denied ordination across the denominations and hold less than 15% of the leadership positions in the worldwide church! Therefore, in 2020, we in the Oregon Synod will highlight one woman from Christian history every week for fifty weeks. Some you may know, others you may not, but all worthy of our respect and gratitude.

#48: Dovey Johnson Roundtree

In 1965, a poor Black man was charged with the murder of a glamorous white socialite. His only defense? A Black, female lawyer who offered only one exhibit, three witnesses, and a brief closing argument. The man was acquitted. The woman was Dovey Johnson Roundtree. She was born in North Carolina in the Jim Crow South and was fortunate to be encouraged to pursue her education by her grandmother’s friend, Dr. Mary Beth McLeod. Dovey worked her way through school and graduated in 1938 with a double major in English and biology. She joined then joined the Women’s Auxiliary Corps (created by Eleanor Roosevelt and Dr. Bethune), the first cohort of women for training as Army officers. (Dr. Bethune ensured that 40 of the 440 women in the cohort would be Black.) The Army unit was segregated, but Dovey successfully petitioned white officers to take down the “colored only” signs in the mess hall. In 1942, she became one of the first women (of any race) to be commissioned as an Army officer, attaining the rank of captain. She continued with her education graduating from law school in 1950, one of only five women in her class. She went to Washington DC to practice law. Before Rosa Parks took her famous seat, Dovey helped secure a landmark ban on racial segregation in interstate bus travel. In 1962, despite a storm of protest from its members, she became the first African-American admitted to the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia. But she wasn’t done with her education, entering the seminary in 1960. She was one of the first women to be ordained a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. After ordination, she served at a predominantly Black, low-income church in DC. She continued to practice law into her 80s. She died in 2018 at the age of 104.