In the spirit of the Women’s Marches held around the country today, I want to publicly give thanks for some of the incredible women in my life …
For all female bishops and pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America …
Especially, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton; Margaret Payne, Bishop of the New England Synod (2000-2012); my new colleague Pastor Susan Nachtigal, longest serving pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Worcester; and Pastor Lauren Holm and Pastor Tiffany Chaney, my former interns and now pastors and leaders in their own right. The contributions, faithfulness, and dedication of these leaders heap shame on the idea that only men should serve as clergy. That just a few decades ago they would have been prohibited from serving as clergy is unthinkable and ridiculous.
For my friend and softball coach, Elaine Otte. For many years, Elaine was the only woman coach in our league, and one of just a handful of women playing. She led our team to three division championships and was widely recognized as one of the best pitchers in our league. Elaine didn’t achieve her goal of being the first female pitcher in Major League Baseball, but she did teach me that when it comes to sports its performance that counts, not gender. She coached as she played: insisting on teamwork, individual accountability, effort, sportsmanship, and pride.
For my Mom, my Grandmother, and my Great-Grandmother … My Mom is tireless in her
love and devotion to family and is a constant source of unconditional love and support. From my grandmother she learned duty and hard work and from my great-grandmother she learned how to find laughter and joy in the midst of life. If all the children of the world were blessed with a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother like mine, the world would be a more beautiful and loving place.
Finally, I give thanks for my niece … Perhaps it’s my bias as her uncle that leads me to say that she’s a stand out five-year-old possessing incredible talent and an unlimited future. But what I most give thanks for, is that she reminds me that it is up to me, and all men, to educate ourselves on the obstacles to full equality, respect, and dignity that continue to face women in this country. I can’t at the same time want the best for my niece, while not doing all I can to ensure that all women are granted the access they deserve in society.
March on sisters! March on brothers! Until that day when all are truly equal!