The Gender Justice Working Group of Council for World Mission, Europe and Caribbean regions organized a Zoom webinar on the theme “Rising to Life with Jesus: Worship as Resistance” on the 20th October 2022. The webinar (32 participants) included a fine tapestry of inclusively crafted pre-recorded worship and live conversations woven through the panel discussions. The worship and panel conversations of the webinar were shaped around Jeremiah 31:1-17. (Miss) Karen Campbell, Secretary for Global and Intercultural Ministries with the United Reformed Church (URC) brilliantly moderated the webinar. The panellists included Dr Anna Perkins, former Dean of Studies and Lecturer at St Michael’s Theological College, Jamaica, Rt Rev Garth Minott, the Suffragan Bishop of Kingston, Revd Dr Janet Wootton, Former Congregational Minister and Rt Rev Joy Abdul Mohan, Moderator of the Synod of Presbyterian Church of Trinidad and Tobago.
The panellists robustly explored how ‘Rising to Life with Jesus’ demands a critical connection between holiness and justice through the eyes and experiences of gender and racial injustices as critical pathways to authentic worship, proving a vital opportunity to celebrate God who sustains and gives strength and courage in the struggle for freedom and life in fullness. It was an opportunity for the participants to envision new ways of being and doing – where liturgy does become the ‘work of the people’ and embodies and signals full and flourishing life for all.
The contributors and attendees acknowledged that there are people in churches who are potentially being damaged and even excluded by the very acts of worship in which they are invited to participate, which goes beyond gender and ethnicity and also includes disability, sexuality and generation. The event also gave thought to what is being done to address the exclusion/demonising/alienation of marginalised peoples – locally or structurally – in traditional church spaces. The panel also contemplated the necessity to create liturgy & worship which offers a renewing and hope-filled space for the whole person who might come through the door – whoever they are, whatever their background, and whatever their story. The panel concluded by sharing the hopes that liturgy and worship can be and must reflect God’s inclusive embrace and love for all.
Participants expressed great appreciation for a thought-provoking, robust, constructive and inspiring webinar.
Dated 25 October 2022