All of a sudden, they were everywhere I looked. There was the young woman just out of college we hired to work with our children and youth, the one who decided to go on to seminary after just a year with us. Then there was the female seminarian who came to spend a year getting some in-the-trenches experience of congregational ministry. Or the college student who grew up in our congregation who stopped me after church one Sunday to tell me she’d decided to go to seminary.
All these young women, sorting out their life choices and starting to think that ministry just might be the life for them.
Here at Fidelia’s Sisters, we’ve always celebrated young women in ministry. It’s our purpose for being: to support one another in our calling and to share the trials and tribulations of life in the church, or the academy, or the mission field, or the hospital room – wherever it is God has called us. For the most part, we’ve featured writers who are ordained clergy, and young (which we define as under forty and ordained before the age of 35).
But what about those women who aren’t here yet?
Nearly five years ago, in the heat of Washington DC, a group of young clergy women gathered for the very first time to imagine what bonds a group of young clergy women could form.
We started with a conference. We practiced our preaching. We inspired each other, but the conversation continued after most suitcases were packed. A group of 10 young clergy women remained. As Katherine Willis Pershey recounts, most of these women came for the free airfare.
It was there among those women with small continuing education funds that Fidelia's Sisters began.
Fidelia's Sisters is seeking new editorial board members! Editorial board members each serve as a column editors for the e-zine you're currently reading, soliciting and editing pieces for monthly publication. Editorial board members also participate in monthly online editorial chats. Editorial board members are part of the larger Young Clergy Women project board, the other half being the community board. As a aboard member member, column editors commit to meeting in person once a year, if at all possible, and serving on committee along with their sister community board members.
The trusty board of The Young Clergy Women Project has been busy this year coming up with new and exciting opportunities for us to be (and fund!) our community. Here are a few of the up and coming opportunities that you might want to be a part of:
Watch out, world; Fidelia’s Sisters is entering its terrible twos! We trust the year ahead will not involve too many temper tantrums—though the occasional spirited argument in the comments section of an article is always welcomed.
In the last year, we said goodbye to Kate Smanik Moyes, our assistant editor whose job change and new responsibilities demanded her attention. We welcomed Lara Blackwood Pickrel, our new editor for the Divine Details column.
We thank all of you who wrote for and read the e-zine in the last year. We editors are continually impressed by the quality of submissions and the interesting conversations that happen in our comments section and about articles on the Young Clergy Women Community Ning! boards.
The editors of each section have chosen their favorite articles from the last year, which represent the breadth and width of the experiences of our community.
How has The Young Clergy Women Project changed your life? (That would be the organization behind Fidelia's Sisters.) This is your chance to tell the world by participating in our New Catchphrase Contest. Simply get your creative juices flowing and come up with a slogan that sums up what TYCWP is all about. Previously we've used "funded by the Louisville Institute and powered by faith, verve, chocolate, and really great shoes."
Since our grant has ended, now is a great time to dream up a whole new phrase that captures who we are and what we do. If you are a member of The Young Clergy Women Project, please send your submissions to email@example.com by January 31 or look for the threads to post your ideas on our NING site and our protected blog. You'll get the chance to vote on the top submissions in February.
If you are not a member of The Young Clergy Women Project, and are interested in joining, please click on "The Young Clergy Women Project" at the top of this page to find out more! We are always looking for new members. It's a great opportunity to be more connected in the new year.
I suppose January is as good of time as any to take stock in an organization's progress. Annual meetings dot the calendars of churches, college presidents reassure alumni and alumnae with updates, and the United States president interrupts prime time television with his State of the Union address.
Sadly, there is no potluck luncheon following this address, but happily, there will also be no democratic and republican reactions, either.
This space will soon be the location for a fabulous e-zine by, for and about young clergy women. We're planning on an early October launch--stay tuned!