Fast and Fabulous

The Women's Center is OPEN for Fall!

Fast and fabulous – is how time seems to be flying here at the Women’s Center as the plans for the Fall semester, its attendant activities, and the preparations for spring (no, it’s not EVEN too early for that) are falling into place. Folks who want to be involved in all the action can get ready for:

Helping to plan this year’s community Transgender Day of Remembrance service and Week of Awareness — the community group meets Thursday, September 8, 7:30 in the Women’s Center;

Getting in on the excitement of setting up V-Week 2012 and the 2012 Women’s Center production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, on Friday, September 9, 12:30 (after chapel), in the Women’s Center;

Planning to attend the Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture, almost upon us, and registering for the Workshop with Rev. Dr. Traci C. West on Monday after Worship with Rev. Clemette Haskins in Caldwell Chapel;

Meeting Rev. Melissa DeRosia, author of A Girlfriend’s Guide to Ministry, just out from Alban Institute, in the Women’s Center for Light + Lunch on Friday, September 23, 12:30;

Joining the Team Women’s Center, Women at the Well, and More Light for the Louisville AIDS Walk by going to our team and donation site, raising money for services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the Louisville Metro area, and then walking with us on Sunday, September 25.

Act fast! Because this Fall is shaping up to be Fabulous!

Click here to help fill the Women's Center's cup.

There is still time to fuel the Women’s Center’s fast and fabulous Fall effort by making a donation to the Women’s Center during our Summer Donation Days!

You can go to OUR ONLINE DONATION SITE, the LPTS Online Donation Site (designate your gift to the Women’s Center), or send your check payable to LPTS – WOMEN’S CENTER FUND to The Women’s Center at Louisville Seminary, 1044 Alta Vista Rd., Louisville, KY 40205.

Thank you!

The Longest Day

A long day in the sun

Today is the Summer Solstice — the longest day of the year. From here on in the days get progressively shorter. It’s as if we’re poised at the peak of the annual solar rolar coaster, about to throw our hands in the air for the descent into the short days of fall and the dark tunnel of winter.

That’s the solar calendar. On the liturgical calendar, we’re already a week into the long, long stretch of ordinary time that runs from Trinity Sunday, this past Sunday, through November’s celebration of the Reign of Christ Sunday and the beginning of Advent on the last Sunday in November — November 27 this year. If it’s true that “when you’re green, you’re growing,” these months of ordinary time should be a stretch of growth for those of us tuned in to the rhythms of the church year.

On the academic calendar, the bass beat for the dances of seminarians, teachers, and mothers of school-age children, this is still the heat of summer in every way. It’s the brief, intense time for team sports and competitions, summer camp with its provisioning, packing, and packing-off-to, tending to gardens, getting in some afternoons at the county pool or some hours at the local library. For some it’s the time of packing, moving, re-organizing and re-structuring, taking a deep breath and taking the plunge into a new movement of the dance.

In the Women’s Center we notice all these rhythms, as each day brings us closer to the events of the Fall: Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture, September 18, and the Post-Lecture Events of Monday, September 19; the Louisville AIDS Walk the following week, Sunday, September 25; a series of lunch-hour talks with Louisville-area clergywomen, on the delights and demands of life in a religious profession; the Transgender Day of Remembrance, Sunday, November 20; 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (November 25 – December 10), for which we are hoping to do something . . . active; and of course, more fundraising, in the form of the Evening with the Stars Benefit, and the now-becoming-traditional Fall Arts and Crafts Sale.

We recognize that the days, even though they still seem long, sunny and warm, are growing shorter daily. We appreciate their tremendous potential for reflection, deliberation, learning, and growth. And we know that they are limited, and for that reason, precious: the summer doesn’t last forever. Nor would we want it to. One day in August, we know from experience, we will notice that leaning towards the fall that is anticipation and desire for its new beginning. For now, though, we are trying to make hay while the sun of this long day is shining, and to cultivate what is green and growing now, so that it will be fruitful, and nourishing, in the days to come.

Click here to help fill the Women's Center's cup.

Among the green and growing things we are cultivating this summer is our annual fund! You can help by making a contribution to the Women’s Center during our Summer Donation Days!

You can go to OUR ONLINE DONATION SITE, the LPTS Online Donation Site (designate your gift to the Women’s Center), or send your check payable to LPTS – WOMEN’S CENTER FUND to The Women’s Center at Louisville Seminary, 1044 Alta Vista Rd., Louisville, KY 40205.

Thank you!

Many Thanks to Lynne Smith

Lynne Smith, O.S.B.

Lynne Smith, O.S.B.

In spite of the various anticipated (Research and Reading Week) and unanticipated (the LPTS “sidewalk project” reached the front door of the Women’s Center, complete with multiple “sidewalk closed” signs and a two-story-tall earth mover digging a pit just feet from the front door) obstacles, Lynne Smith, O.S.B., joined an intrepid group of LPTS staff and students in the Women’s Center for Light + Lunch on Tuesday — and we were glad she did!

She shared with us her fascinating story of “seeds” of monastic interest planted early and often during her life, which blossomed as her deepening association with the Benedictine Women of Madison and her eventual taking of Benedictine vows as a member of the Holy Wisdom Monastery, who is also an ordained Presbyterian Minister of the Word and Sacrament. It’s not a story we hear every day. And yet — as a story of providence, of call, of deepening dedication to “stability, obedience, and conversion of life,” of the importance of community, of mission — Lynne’s story echoes and adds dimensions to story after story we listen to around and through the Women’s Center at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. So, while Lynne’s fascinating story is not common, it’s also not exactly strange or unfamiliar. More than one person in the group perked up and came up with “reformed and always being reformed” when Lynne mentioned the Benedictine commitment to “conversion of life.”

We completely lost track of time listening to Lynne; it was already 2:00 before we noticed most of us were late for various other appointments! There were so many themes to explore in this story: the nature of life in community; the challenges of “doing a new thing” communally within the hierarchy of the ecclesial organization (Roman Catholic Church) that oversees the life of the order; the order’s work of environmental restoration and education (their work includes restoring about 10 acres of mixed tall- and short-grass prairie annually); the history of the community’s answer to the call to become an ecumenical community . . .

Two aspects of Lynne’s story particularly impressed me. One was that the efforts she described of the Benedictine Women to pursue their community’s call provide a rigorous model of feminism in an often rigidly patriarchal context. It’s a model of feminist action quite different from the stereotypic imaginary picture of 70’s-style banner-toting demonstration-holding feminists, but it is not one iota less feminist, or radical — in fact, in some ways, perhaps more so. This striking example of the “multiple models of feminism” principle seemed especially profound and valuable. The second was that the project of becoming and sustaining an ecumenical monastic community constitutes precisely the project of living with undissolved, unflattened out, productive difference that our world so desperately needs models of and practice in. In both of these ways, it seems to me, the Benedictine Women of Madison are on the front lines, and calling to us to listen and do likewise where we live.

I hope we will have further opportunities for conversation with Lynne Smith and this remarkable community! So far, the conversation has been extraordinarily valuable for those who were able to participate in it.