Come and explore stories of women in the Christian tradition whose lives demonstrate the unity and diversity of community. What unites their challenging and seemingly disparate stories is how these women support each other in life and in death. Each session will include readings, input, conversation, and ritual.

May 16 – MARY AND ELIZABETH: Perhaps the earliest story of community in the Christian Scriptures is the story of Mary of Nazareth and her kinswoman Elizabeth in The Visitation (Luke 1:39-56). As they with their unexpectedly pregnant bodies embrace and celebrate one another, they honor each other as well as their unborn children. Community is formed as a child leaps in Elizabeth’s womb and Mary sings God’s praises in the longest passage that comes from the lips of a woman in the whole of the Christian testament. With music, art and ritual, we will celebrate the May feast day of The Visitation.

May 23 – THE BURNING TIMES: Many centuries later, many women in both formal and informal communities came to be seen as a threat in the political and ecclesiastical worlds. During “the burning times,” one of the most painful chapters in Christian history, tens of thousands of women lost their lives. Together we’ll view the film The Burning Times, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, explore the research of scholar Anne Llewellyn Barstow, and honor our foremothers who were persecuted.

May 30 – JOAN OF ARC: Come celebrate Joan’s feast day and remember the story of the patron saint of France burned as a heretic at the age of nineteen in 1431. Joan’s mother Isabelle Romée,was one of her strongest defenders and instrumental in having Joan’s guilty verdict nullified in 1456. Drawing on transcripts of Joan’s trial and research of scholar Anne Llewellyn Barstow, we’ll explore Joan as mystic, shaman, and heretic, the role played by Saints Margaret and Catherine, Joan’s spiritual companions, and how Joan the visionary has been invoked by Catholic and Protestant women seeking to claim their own voice in church and society.

January 31st, 2019