Talitha Koum: The UCC Newsletter for Women, Girls and Their Allies
Volume 1, Issue 2, May 2023
So Many Moving Parts – It’s Not An Accident
Hello! It is great to see you again and bring to you notable events and activities affecting women, girls, and allies in the United Church of Christ.
My mind is cluttered lately; it is swimming with all of the different ways that me, my body, and the bodies of people I love are under attack. It is no coincidence that the Wyoming ban on Mifepristone is occurring at nearly the same time as the numerous anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ bills are being introduced across the United States. We have recently seen efforts to dismantle the Voting Rights Act, the fall of Roe v. Wade (the one-year anniversary of Dobbs is almost upon us), and attacks on the teaching of accurate history through the condemnation of Critical Race Theory – concepts that once seemed untouchable to ensure access and accuracy in understanding the rights of individuals in this nation.
Legislation to control our right to vote, make decisions for our own bodies, and understand this nation’s history through multiple lenses and viewpoints is at an all-time high. These legal attacks are the efforts of people who have experienced a position of power that they have established through domination and inequity. This legislation is a push to quell the demands for justice that grow louder through activism and allyship. We are being called loudly to do justice and love mercy, and we must do this in solidarity with all God’s children being affected by this exclusive and controlling legislation. This goes beyond and includes those of us who call ourselves female, womyn, women, and girls, to all of our siblings who are often pushed to the edges of the decision-making arena. It is time to center the needs of the most overlooked, and know that those of us who have been doing the work of feminist ground-taking are still included in the work of feminism and human rights. Our own and our siblings’ rights are under attack in the same moments our denomination strives to center and celebrate the accomplishments of people often relegated to the margins.
I urge you to take action as a community of Christians united for God’s just vision where all our bodies have access to healthcare that meets our needs, where we can learn about all perspectives and histories without one view taking precedence, and where we can elect people who will represent us fairly in our houses of governance and lawmaking. The all-out assault on the rights and freedoms of those relegated to the wings does not mean less for the rest of us. There is a plentiful justice movement with room for us all in the hard work of making us all seen as equals.
The Washington, D.C. office staff have made it easy to act on important legislative issues. Find action alerts about your most concerning justice issues and take action today!
Gearing up for General Synod 34
Your national staff is busy getting ready to see you in Indianapolis at General Synod 34, and I want to highlight a couple of important happenings. On Sunday July 2 12:00- 1:30 is a fundraising luncheon that will feature national leaders in the Reproductive Justice movement. Guests do not need to register for GS34 as Sunday is an open-to-all day for folks to attend special events that are of interest even if they cannot attend the rest of GS. At this luncheon you can learn more about the history of and contemporary issues surrounding the Reproductive Justice (RJ) movement, intersections with the larger faith community, and how the UCC plays an active role in this work.
Want to Act at Synod?
Sunday July 2 4:30-7:30.
Wider Church Ministries is heartened by your emails and phone calls sharing stories about Period Pack parties hosted in homes and at churches to assemble kits. If you don’t already have an event planned, consider hosting an event on World Menstruation Day (Sunday, May 28) to increase awareness, take action toward menstrual justice, and/or make a donation to support the Period Packs/Menstrual Hygiene Kit service project at General Synod (see more info below).
Lastly, GS 34 takes place just days after the first anniversary of the Dobb’s Decision. A group of activist-leaders within the UCC has submitted a resolution Denouncing the Dobbs Decision and Proclaiming Abortion as Healthcare. Please read about how this resolution connects to our past work on healthcare and bodily autonomy before the assigned committee undertakes this work.
The Ministry of Doing Justice, Loving Kindness, and Walking Humbly
Sharing the work of God’s people… that you may be inspired.
Do justice through God-centered action: Women need skills to engage in activism and advocacy. UCC women can be a voice of progressive inclusion that brings more justice to all of God’s children.
General Synod is not just a decision-making event that gives us the opportunity to engage in our faith democratically. It is also a time to roll up our sleeves and participate in action that moves towards justice through awareness and advocacy while also addressing an immediate need experienced somewhere in God’s kin-dom.
Can’t make it to GS 34? You can still help meet the needs of folks who are experiencing injustice, loss, displacement, and other nature- and human-made catastrophes that cause upheaval in their lives. This year we are assembling period packs to be distributed to refugees and people displaced by natural disasters. In conjunction with Church World Services, we will be assembling period packs to address menstrual health, and we need your support.
The new Period Packs/Menstrual Hygiene Kits recently introduced by Church World Service (CWS), a UCC partner, is one way to help individuals living with period poverty. Unfortunately, many of these individuals lack permanent housing, are in transit or otherwise do not have reliable access to spaces where they can easily clean and sanitize reusable products. The kit provides several products that promote cleanliness and health during a menstrual cycle.
There is still time to give and CWS has pledged to match your donations up to $7,000, so now your gifts will be doubled! This is important because our goal for packs will cost $14,000.
Ways to Give
1. Make a secure gift online
2. Text to give: UCCPERIOD to 41444
3. Mail a check (payable to United Church of Christ with “Period Pack kits” in the memo) to:
United Church of Christ
P.O. Box 71957
Cleveland, Ohio 44194
General Synod delegates and guests can also bring already assembled kits to Synod to drop off in the collection bins that will be available. Whether or not you’re attending General Synod, you may participate by assembling kits at your church using these easy instructions. To assist your efforts, you can apply for a $250 UCC kits matching grant. For more information about the UCC kits matching grants, contact: Craig Hoffman, Program Assistant, UCC Global H.O.P.E., a ministry of Wider Church Ministries.
Has your congregation or women’s group participated in a project that others might enjoy hearing about? Give me a buzz so I can learn more and lift up this work! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spirit-Led Leadership: Women Arising
Love kindness through spirit-led leadership: To address complex social problems and create structures that dismantle racism, sexism, and other oppressions that keep us all from our full potential, women must be ready to courageously speak the love of the gospel in their local communities and congregations.
Every issue of Talitha Koum I like to highlight the work of a woman or girl in our UCC community who is making things happen through spirit-led courage. Rev. Rhina Ramos is a national staff member who not only leads Encuentros Latinx for the UCC, she also is a local church pastor in Oakland, California. I recently had the chance to participate in one of Rev. Rhina’s evening services at Minsterio Latino and enjoy a fantastic meal of pupusas served to guests. I have the pleasure of serving with Rev. Ramos in the national setting on the Health and Wholeness Advocacy team. When I asked her how she became a leader and advocate, she shared, “There are a good number of mentors who have held and nurtured me. My first supervisor Jennifer Gordon, an agnostic Jew, who took me under her wing fresh out of law school and taught me to be a professional, an advocate and a community organizer. Growing up my mother and my aunt have influenced my idea that you have to always be in service of others. My mother was in nurse in El Salvador and our home was the neighborhood clinic. People would come by all the time to get an injection, stiches, or any other first aide consultation. My mother would help even if she was tired, and she always did free of charge. My aunt Maria ventured to the United States in 1976 and later brought us all to this country to give us a better life. San Romero of las Américas is an icon of my childhood in El Salvador that will always remind me our life is only good if we fight for Justice. This is why I try to go back to El Salvador at least once a year to be reminded that I come from a place where faith is courage.” Rev. Rhina puts her law and MDiv degrees to work on behalf of so many people seeking a just life. Learn more about her at:
Know of a UCC woman, girl, or ally who is leading with spirit? Let me know! email@example.com.
Walk humbly through Christ-driven connections: Developing fulfilling connection and genuine compassion is essential to sustainability as caregivers, partners, children, parents, and individuals with responsibilities, hopes, and dreams. Christ-driven connections that focus on spiritual-emotional needs ground us in humility of being precious, worthy, children of God and siblings to those in need.
Every issue I want to share ways we can deepen our spiritual lives. This looks like many different practices for me from writing to intentionally spending time with people I care about to beholding the natural world we inhabit. One resource that I have found that really speaks to my needs is called enfleshed. This content creation team is comprised of diverse writers and thinkers who recognize that the human experience of God/Spirit is not just an intellectual exercise but very much a material experience that many of us have long been told was forbidden, even dangerous. The mind and body are one whole that we cannot not should not separate. I tend to follow their work on Facebook, and they have a rich website as well on which they share their work on deepening our connections through meaning-making and the work of collective liberation.
Want to share your spiritual grounding practice, self-care, or meaningful ritual that brings you peace or connection? Please share! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Growing a Community of UCC Women
Right now this ministry is primarily envisioned by me and this newsletter is written by me. I want that to change. I am looking for people who identify as a woman/girl to join me in defining what an inclusive and expansive women’s justice ministry is for the United Church of Christ. If you care about women’s needs and issues and want to put that concern into action, please reach out to me at email@example.com or 216-736-3287. We can discuss how you can be involved in a growing movement that recognizes women’s involvement as an essential piece of justice.
Women’s Issues Resources
Encounters at the Well
Justice for Women (more changes upcoming)
Health and Wholeness Advocacy
UCC LGBTQ+ Resources
Justice and Peace Action Network
Join the Movement’s Trans Justice is Racial Justice toolkit
UCC Wellness Ministries
The Open and Affirming Coalition of the UCC