” . . . Our plans grew into a two-day preaching event designed and led by women. Men were welcome in the space, but for once, women held the stage. We named it, ‘Unauthorized: Nevertheless She Preached,’ a title that resonated with women across the nation and across denominations. We saw it as an outward sign and symbol that women desperately needed a place to be fully seen and heard, and that we were not getting that support out in the world — not consistently, not enough, not in our churches, not even in our seminaries . . .

So we got busy enacting the reality we already knew to be true — God has called and gifted women, and we were never, ever meant to be silenced or repressed. I would say God has called us equally to men, but because of our experience on the margins, it’s probable women intuitively understand more about the Gospel than the average man.

. . . We created our preaching event out of the sense that we were not the only women who felt unheard and unseen, who needed a word of sincere and unmitigated acknowledgment. We weren’t the only denomination still struggling to give women a place at the table . . .

When the event came, we were not disappointed. Every lecture, every sermon, every word was dynamite. The energy in the room was palpable, and so was the Holy Spirit, and so was the freedom, and so was the affirmation. It was like setting a caged thing free and together we soared.

The whole thing was a like a dream. The myth of our isolation was over, and we were more clear-eyed than ever that the patriarchy had been keeping women apart from each other.”

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