Written by Edith Guffey
January - February 2001
It's already February and as I turned my calendar over to this month, I saw that two of the special events being observed are Women's Week and Race Relations Sunday.
Seeing these two events on the calendar reminded me of a conversation I had not long ago with my sister who works for the IRS. I'm not sure what we were talking about specifically, but it was something about diversity and she said to me, "You know, Edith, you don't live in the real world!"
My first response was to say that wasn't true, but I found myself thinking about her comments. I know that I don't often find myself in the national offices in meetings surrounded by all men and rarely am I the only person of color in the room. Because of the historical commitments of the General Synod and other national bodies, we have a very diverse work force. That doesn't mean that we are perfect; but it does mean that we have worked hard at this over the years and it shows.
Women's Week and Race Relations Sunday are opportunities for us to pay special attention to these two areas.
Yes, they should always be in our consciousness, but these Sundays might be times that we pay special attention and "take stock" of how we are doing.
Maybe these Sundays give us new opportunities to renew our commitments to diverse leadership and to develop some concrete plans of how that will happen.
Maybe they remind us to look at what we are doing personally to address race relations and gender equality in the places that we live, work and worship.
What can we do so that these values are pervasive in our lives and are important and priority values in our "real world"?
These are not easy questions and they don't have quick easy answers; but if we struggle with the questions, then these special Sunday designations become more than just words on a calendar. They become opportunities for transformation in our lives and in our world.
Edith A. Guffey is Associate General Minister of the UCC's Office of General Ministries.