Feminism is a movement and theory for economic, political, social, and religious equality, rights, and dignity of all wo/men. It is focused on the struggle of wo/men against domination, exploitation, oppression, and dehumanization.
Stacy Boorn is the pastor of herchurch, San Francisco, which is an emerging, liberating feminist congregation in the Christian-Lutheran denomination. Stacy, an ordained Lutheran pastor for 29 years, claims her male-stream theological education opened the door to her presently building a Goddess-inclusive congregation and ministry. Her tradition, which teaches a good-news grounded in liberating love and free grace from the Holy Other, provided a rich soil for growing a new vision.
Pastor and congregation were first challenged by what it meant to lead a liturgy — sacred ritual and community building — that truly included the voices and experiences of both women and the divine feminine. This led to more than just changing words and putting a feminine face on the icons. Of course, this rocked the boat, creating a fertile ground for new growth and transformation.
The voice of the Divine Feminine is not only being mined in the pages of scriptures and the stories trapped between the lines but also from ancient and modern Goddess traditions. A few members of the congregation joined Carol Christ in Crete for a pilgrimage in a land where Goddess and women lead a peaceful civilization.
herchurch instilled a new ritual: The Goddess Rosary. Using the numeration of the Anglican Rosary, congregants bead rosaries and use them in their personal devotional life and every Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. during a public recitation of the Goddess Rosary, which includes prayers that are liberating and empowering (“Our Mother Who is Within Us,” by Mariam Teresa Winters, a Roman Catholic Feminist, and “Hail Goddess Full of Grace,” by Carol Christ, a Goddess Feminist.)
During the hour, Tibetan bowls, bells, incense, water, she-icons, Goddess Rosaries, candles, stones, and sacred space are provided for individual meditation and movement. Minister of Embodiment Judith Lavender Dancer teaches movement for the Our Mother and Hail Goddess prayers. She also brings sacred dance and the body into the Sunday liturgy.
Individuals from all over the globe have visited herchurch.org and find hope for a spiritual journey that need not be oppressed within or trapped by a domination or patriarchal system or presentation of faith or God. To help connect these folks and enrich their spiritual journey, herchurch coordinates an annual Faith and Feminism, Womanist, Mujerista Conference (feast) onsite in November.
Embodying the Goddess
The liturgy, community and ministry of the congregation reflects diverse thealogical works and voices hoping to be a part of the prophetic voice of the divine feminine that will deconstruct Christianity and other patriarchal religions so that both a new paradigm and worldview may emerge that truly creates an egalitarian, just, society and eco-sensitivies that tend to mending the web of life.
Many Christians, even those who are a part of the progressive movement, often question the congregation’s Goddess focus. But more important are the voices of persons who had felt alienated and isolated by the church prior to learning about the work of herchurch.
Pastor Stacy and the congregation who are embodying the Goddess are convinced that the nature of the sacred and divine presented in feminist-inclusive understandings can and will help facilitate a caring culture.
The present church building is painted purple and periwinkle in hopes to help proclaim this liberating love. Sacred dance and chants, classical hymnody with liberating lyrics, beautiful art, children everywhere and engaging faith conversation and acts of justice are a regular part of this worshipping community.
Many feminist theologians and theaologians insist that the masculine images of God will not be transformed unless we can (also) imagine God as “she.” Jewish feminist theologian Judith Plaskow argues that we must learn to speak the name of the Goddess: “The deep resistance called forth by her naming indicates that the needs she answered are still with us. It is precisely because she is not distant that the Goddess needs to be recognized as part of God.” Unless and until the God we have know can (also) be called “Goddess,” the specter of the male God will still be with us. – Carol Christ, “Rebirth of the Goddess”