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News for 2018 Celebration X

posted Jul 6, 2017, 7:22 AM by UCC Women   [ updated Mar 19, 2021, 1:53 PM ]
Been There, Done That, Still Doing It.  Why?

By the Reverend Alice L. O’Donovan 

            Forty years ago, on a Friday afternoon in March 1982, we drove from Scotland, CT to attend the first ever United Church of Christ New England Women’s Celebration at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, Maine.  It was the largest gathering of women I had seen since attending Girl Scout Roundups when I was in high school.  I could not quite believe  the singing in my heart.  

            I remember hearing the story of Lydia, the seller of purple goods, listening to Pat Schroeder the first woman elected to the US House of Representatives from the state of Colorado, going to great workshops,  and hearing powerful women preach.  I remember the joy of encountering UCC women as we walked from one workshop to another. 

            Most importantly I, a youngish mother of three, a newly out lesbian woman, a member of a UCC church, left that first celebration understanding that I was indeed at home in the right church for me.  The United Church of Christ has continued to be my spiritual home lo these many years hence.                                    

            UCC New England Women’s Celebrations continued to happen every 4 years.  The colors, the biblical themes changed, the Roman numerals designating the each successive event changed, the technology changed, the leadership and location changed.  The quality, importance, and blessing of Celebration remained constant.  We could always count on amazing speakers and worship, fantastic and interesting workshops,   I learned that I would return home from each Celebration renewed, refreshed and rededicated to ministry in this incredible church that has been a powerful voice for justice since its “birth” in 1957.  I’ve been there.

            It was at the end of Celebration VII that my relationship with New England Women’s Celebration changed.  On the evaluation form I checked the little box that said “check here if you are willing to help with Celebration VIII.”  I had just joined the planning team for Celebration VIII.  Within the general planning committee, my specific assignment was “Displays” which meant that I was responsible to help recruit a whole variety of people from artists to missionaries who want to share something of their work with the several hundred women who attend each Celebration. 

            Being part of the planning committee means that I get to join with  creative women who bring so many ideas, gifts, suggestions to the whole collaborative planning process that make that New England Women’s Celebrations such exciting, life-sustaining, life changing events for so many women from our United Church of Christ congregations in the northeast corner of the United States.  I’ve done that

            2010, 2014, 2018 and I’m still doing it. 

            Why?  Why make so many four hour round trips to planning committee meetings?   Why sit on mostly uncomfortable chairs in rooms full of women trying to reach consensus on a million major decisions and tiny details? 

            Because the UCC New England Women’s Celebration X will bring hundreds of women together. 

            Because listening to powerful speakers, like the Rev. Traci Blackmon, Leslie Lewin, and more will nourish your spirit and soul.

            Because worshiping together will make hearts soar and sing with joy. 

            Because attending fascinating workshops on topics like “Understanding Refugee Neighbors, Interfaith Dialogue, Support in Prison Ministry, and many more will inform and encourage  congregations from Houlton ME to Burlington VT, to Williamstown MA, to Provincetown MA, to Providence RI, to Greenwich CT with new ways of ministry and service. 

            Because all over the world, people will be blessed, lives will be better, hope will live because hundreds of women gathered together here in Portland Maine April 6-8, 2018 and became Celebration X.

             You are invited.  Be part of the goodness of Celebration X.  Come for a blessing, leave to be a blessing.  Fill a car, a van or a bus from your town, church,  or village because there really is a place at the table for you, for everyone.   Visit  www.uccwomenscelebration.org check it out, register.  Come to the table, just as you are for everyone is welcome.