Women's History Month 2022

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March is Women’s History Month, a time to acknowledge the contributions women have made over the centuries, in the arts, sciences and commerce, as well as activists seeking equality and change. What began as Women’s History Day … observed annually on March 8 … grew to become a week and ultimately a month.

Litany in Honor of Women

 

God of all, we give thanks for the witness of bold women. From the earliest times until today - and on into the future, bold women show us how to live as the Beloved of God embracing our call to work for justice and peace as we care for all God’s creatures.

We walk in the company of the women who have gone before, mothers of the faith both named and unnamed, testifying with passion and faith to the Spirit of wisdom and healing.

They are the judges, the prophets, the martyrs, the warriors, poets, lovers, and saints who are near to us in the shadow of awareness, in the crevices of memory, in the landscape of our dreams.

We walk in the company of Deborah, who judged the Israelites with authority and strength.

We walk in the company of Esther, who used her position as queen to ensure the welfare of her people.

We walk in the company of you whose names have been lost and silenced, who kept and cradled the wisdom of the ages.

We walk in the company of the woman with the flow of blood, who audaciously sought her healing and release.

We walk in the company of Mary Magdalene, who wept at the empty tomb until the risen Christ appeared.

We walk in the company of Phoebe, who led an early church in the empire of Rome.

We walk in the company of Perpetua of Carthage, whose witness in the third century led to her martyrdom.

We walk in the company of St. Christina the Astonishing, who resisted death with persistence and wonder.

We walk in the company of Julian of Norwich, who wed imagination and theology, proclaiming, “All shall be well.”

 

We walk in the company of Sojourner Truth, who stood against oppression, righteously declaring in 1852, “Ain’t I a woman!”

We walk in the company of the Argentine mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who turned their grief to strength, standing together to remember “the disappeared” children of war with a holy indignation.

We walk in the company of Alice Walker, who named the lavender hue of womanish strength.

We walk in the company of you mothers of the faith, who teach us to resist evil with boldness, to lead with wisdom, and to heal.

For the witness of all bold women, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we thank you and praise you. For the work of Vice President Kamala Harris, Justice Ruth Bater Ginsberg, Stacey Abrams, Maggie Walker, Harriet Tubman, Angela Merkel, Dr. Rachel Levine, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Michelle Obama, Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston, Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, and countless others we offer our gratitude and love.

God of all, let the boldness of these women and others grow in our own hearts and empower us to live our call to Love God by caring for and serving others with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our strength. Thank you, God! Amen.

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In gratitude, we give thanks for the contributions the following women have made in our lives:

I would like to recognize Catherine Pall. She is incredible. She always puts others first and she gives so much of herself to the church. Her knowledge of electronics and the world of computers put MCC Richmond online at the beginning of Covid-19 and brought in so many watchers around the country and the world. She doesn't let having Cerebral Palsy hold her back or determine her boundaries as she leads RAIN and also advocates for others with "disabilities". She gives time and talent to the Spirits of Joy Choir as well as usually manning the camera on Sunday mornings. She did a great job teaching us all new things with her interactive teaching at the Wednesday night supper. No one felt left out or left behind because she understands inclusiveness. She is a shining star in our community of stars.

 

-Submitted by Leslie Nelson

 

In honor of Woman's History Month, I would like to recognize the most wonderful woman I know. I was going to say the most wonderful woman in the world but in all fairness I have not met all of them yet. Leslie Nelson, Greg's and my wife, is incredibly giving and loving to everyone but especially to us. I would not have the joy I have in life without her. She does everything she can to make our dreams into reality and accepts our imperfections. Well, I feel confident that she would accept them if we did have imperfections.

 

-Submitted by Kendell McKnight

 

A Woman who made a difference in my life is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Another is a woman named Sheila Plott who offered me motherly support during a difficult time in my life. Another is a therapist named Katie who I was able to see for many years. Another is a woman named Scotty Hoye who started the campground where I have been going since the late 70's. She served as a model of a strong, independent, adventurous single woman who worked hard and demanded respect by how she lived her life.

 

-Submitted by Loretta Mountcastle

 

I will always admire my aunt and my grandmother for raising while my mom was away. My aunt says I'm the son she never had.

 

-Submitted by Les Quintana-Branch

 

I am profoundly grateful to many women who have helped shape my life and have helped me become the person I am today. My grandmother, Margie, who taught me the value of family and reminded me to laughter often, clean up my after myself … including when I need to apologize, and to always hold my head high. To Dr. Ruth who taught me that my needs are important to recognize. To Elizabeth who taught me to be bold … to speak up and stand up for what I believe in, To my sibling Kari … my sib from a different crib … who taught me that being family is more about matters of the heart than skin color. To Dale … my future mother-in-law who says I love you when saying good-bye. To Nancy and Julie who lovingly welcome me into their family and call me brother. To all these beautiful women … thank YOU!

 

-Pastor Kenny Callaghan

She made a difference…

 

As a 6 year old having my first “school experience,” Mrs. Shepherd, my first grade teacher, became my 2nd mom.  She encouraged me, believed in my, picked me up when I fell down, loved me … I was her favorite (of course, we all thought that)!  All those years ago, I knew she greatly impacted my world but I had no idea how she would plant the seed for what would become my life.  It is in large part, due to her, that I entered the field of education where I hopefully touched lives the way she touched mine!

 

-Submitted by Ginny Loving

The woman that has touched my life and has been a true friend is Rev. Georgia Thweatt-Johnson. She has been there to help me after I had heart surgery. She took care of me when I had neck surgery. She has been there to help anytime that I’ve needed someone.

 

She was there for me both times I was in the nursing home for rehabilitation. She has been more than a caregiver and friend, she has been an Angel of mercy and grace. She has helped me through some of the hardest times of my life.

 

She is an amazing woman who has dedicated he life to helping others. She has been a nurse for most of her life and has taken care of me on more than one occasion. She has been a real God send.

 

-Submitted by Carla England

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the times to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."  -Proverbs 31:25-27

Those words are the life and legacy of two women whose love and guidance paved the way for me to become the person I am today, two women so diverse in many aspects; racial, social, economical, and   educational, yet with a shared vision to see in me a good I didn’t see for myself.

Corrine Taylor

My mother was a product of her time, when many black women shouldered much of the economic responsibilities for the family because domestic work was steady year-round so, she was the main provider for the family. My mother was short in stature, but all so tall in endurance and self-reliance, she taught me what strength and dignity look like at a time of helplessness and shame. I was fifteen pregnant and ostracized by family, friends and unable to go back to school, see back then only bad girls and prostitutes had sexual encounters before marriage. However, my mother refused to hide me, my pregnancy or allow others to demean my worth and dignity. Looking back I now know that this was a difficult period for her more so than for me, because she bore the brunt of my actions.  But she walked with me in the strength and dignity that only unconditional love could have created. She taught me that love is expressed countless ways, not just the physical situation I had put myself in, she told me that a stumble on life’s journey is but a pulse in motion and I would be alright. Her words and action of kindness and times of laughter saw me through, as I was depressed, felt hopeless and thought about giving up my baby but she encouraged me to keep my child and for that I am ever grateful. She gave me what she knew at the time, and that was best of her-self and her life experiences. I am humbled when I think of the sacrifices she made for me and my child and the many sacrifices she would make further down the road for me and my siblings.  I have taken a lot of liberty with these words, because my mother was a basic little lady with little education, economic withal or family support, but she was big on prayer and knew how to pray in times of sorrows, she depended on God’s grace to see her through many hard times throughout her 79 years, she spent a lot of time on her knees interceding for God’s grace and mercy for her six children. She always said “when you don’t know what to do, do something! Put feet to your faith!” Thank you Miss Corrine for seeing in me what I could not see in myself and doing  for me what I could not do for  myself at a time when I didn’t know who I was in mind, body or spirit. Thank you, Mommy, for feet of faith.

 

 

Emily Blunt

As a nurse’s aide I enjoyed helping people get well and I was good at it, and it didn’t require high school diploma at that time because I didn’t have one and what I did was not considered a skilled care. I gave baths, made beds, fed patents, passed out water, emptied bed pans, urinal bags and bottles, did pharmacy runs and escort patients to and from in- house appointments. I did not make observations, write nurse notes, or take vital sign information this was left to licensed personnel. But I had a burning desire to be a nurse I wanted to be a registered nurse to do more and be more than what was my present situation, I was put off when I spoke on it to others, especially by black folk, they would give all the reasons why I couldn’t do it, first no high school diploma, second five kids, third no money, fourth no black registered nurse programs in Richmond. If anything I should settle for being a License Practical Nurse (LPN), but there were lots of black LPN’s at Richmond Memorial Hospital, not one black RN, then entered my guardian angel, Miss Emily L. Blunt. 

 

Miss Emily L. Blunt was my nursing supervisor at Richmond Memorial Hospital, from 1972 to 1980. She was a proper and sterile Scandinavian woman that I seldom saw smile or ever heard a sound of humor coming from her. She was politely reserved to all, from the housekeepers to the doctors. She was the epitome correctness as she made rounds on time, checking the emergency carts and medical equipment with precision of jeweler cutting a find diamond. My association with Miss Blunt was during a period of social and racial unrest in Richmond, and discriminatory tactics were prevalent especially in the medical field. Richmond had two BSN nursing programs, one for whites and one for blacks directly facing one another. Unfortunately the Black school would close its doors and the opportunity for black girls to get a degree in nursing closed with it leaving the only other local opposition, Richmond Technical Center for Practical Nursing (PN). It was during an emergency crisis on my assigned floor that Miss Blunt and I had the chance to work together in middle of a critical crisis. I was told to go here, get this, do that, and hold things, read lab results. It will be a night never forgotten. I felt I was exactly where I belonged, doing what I was supposed to do. My name came up later when Miss Blunt wanted to recognize the nurse who was so helpful throughout the crisis. She was amazed that I was not a nurse, but an aide. I was scold for working outside of my job description yet commented for my nursing skills which I learned through observing the RN’s. It was Miss Bunt’s straight and earnest words” get your GED now! You belong in nursing! You are a born nurse! I watched how you worked in the middle of a bad situation.” She supported me from the beginning of my journey of getting my GED to graduating from J Sergeant Reynolds Community College with a degree in Applied Science in Nursing. Some nights I would be exhausted from class and taking care of my children I could hardly keep my eyes open, she came by with a very faint smile to let me know she understood when I nodded off. What make this story unique is that this foreigner saw my abilities not my race, culture, social, or economical conditions. She came from a place where people of color are few in number and perhaps none in her community, yet that did not keep her from seeing in me what my own folks could not or would not see in me, or an America that said I did not have rights to a good education, or rights to financial equality. She never engaged in political talk, but her actions with her peers and subrogates spoke volumes; she was equal in doling praise, or penalty based on the action alone. Thanks to this quiet lady from Sweden I served ten years in the Army Nurse Corp, as Captain, and was privileged to serve on multiple health panels for HIV Prevention, open the first female minority owned wellness center in Richmond, Co-Created the first American Red Cross Nurse-Aide Program. Thank you, Miss Blunt, for seeing in me what I desired and help making that desire a reality.

 

-Humbly submitted by Rev. Georgia Thweatt-Johnson