Via Eda of Hosanna! People’s Seminary
Are you Called to Join the Women’s Ordination Conference Anti- Racism Team?
In the forty years since the beginning of the movement to ordain Catholic women, massive changes have taken place in U.S. and global societies, and in the theological discussion that emerge from and impact them. The exclusion of women from ordination once seemed an unambiguous example of injustice. Today, in light of the shift of the center of Catholic Christianity to the countries of the South and to communities of color in the North, the question of ordination has become more complex. While it remains true that the exclusion of women from the Catholic priesthood is ethically unacceptable, it is also necessary to ask which women we are referring to when we speak of women being ordained or not ordained. We need strategies that will enable women’s ordination activists to struggle with the question: what does it mean that we are both oppressors and oppressed at the same time?
The women’s ordination movement needs to be more diverse, but we also need to look at power dynamics and the way in which white women, women from the middle-to-upper classes, and women with higher levels of institutional education function within the church, the movement and WOC. How are white women held up differently than women of color? How are women of color isolated, ignored, or not taken seriously? How are white women’s perspectives normalized and made to define what it means to be “feminist”? Or even that we use the term at all? We need to look at power dynamics and the ways this impacts the effectiveness of our work for social justice. In order to do this, WOC has dedicated itself to addressing the ways in which oppression plays out within the organization.
Since May 2004, WOC’s Board of Directors has studied strategies to make WOC anti-racist, diverse and inclusive. In 2006, the WOC Board of Directors approved a plan to incorporate anti-racism, diversity and inclusion into WOC. To view the plan, WOC’s anti-racism history, and related articles, visit: Women’s Ordination under Programs, then Diversity and Inclusion. The next step has been to develop an anti-racism team that gathers people committed to anti-racism, diversity and inclusion work within the women’s ordination movement, and this is what we are inviting you to become a part. The team systematically analyzed how racism and oppression plays out within the women’s ordination movement and created a strategic plan based on this analysis. The strategic plan was presented to WOC’s Board of Directors last month, on September 17, 2011. It is in the process of being approved by the Board, and it will be incorporated into WOC’s overall strategic plan in the coming months.
Team members will have an opportunity to re-commit to the team every year. The term will be from July 1 to June 30 every year (WOC’s fiscal year). You have the ability to make a major difference in the women’s ordination movement. Our collective intentional efforts to confront race and class privilege will enable us to authentically and effectively advocate WOC’s mission: women’s ordination into a renewed priestly ministry.
If you have any additional questions please contact me Eda at: Eda@hopesem.org or the WOC office at202.675.1006. We would be delighted to send more information your way! If you think you may be interested in joining us, please send us your bio and a short letter of intent. Women of color are especially invited to join!