Interfaith Service at the Midwinter Meeting

First Interfaith Service held at the Midwinter Meeting

 The first Interfaith Service, an initiative of Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, President of the Society for the Psychology of Women, was held during the Executive Committee Midwinter meeting on January 30, 2011 in Seattle, WA.

The Interfaith service was organized and led by Dr. Asuncion Miteria Austria, chair of the Task Force on Religion and Spirituality in Women's Lives.

The service began with an opening song, "Amazing Grace," led by Dr. Martha Banks.  Dr.  Austria followed with an Opening prayer asking for blessing for those gathered who represented diverse faiths.  She also asked for strength and commitment to deepen the members' appreciation and respect for diversity and to continue to minister to all people.

Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis read the poem "Millennium Messiah" to remind us of the sacredness of each woman and girl, including those who are often overlooked and underestimated.  As we are reminded of the divine light in each other, we are also called to remember the divine light in ourselves.

Dr. Carrie Castaneda-Sound read a verse from the New Testament—II Timothy 1:7—"For the Spirit which God has given us is not a spirit of cowardice, but one of power and of love and of sound judgment."  Carrie said that the verse speaks to the spirit within her to maintain strength within "the struggle" for social justice and advocacy.

Dr. Iva Grey-Wolf read the story "The Pebble People" by Roger Jack from Talking Leaves (1991), a contemporary Native American short story. The story showed how the standards for conduct such as mindfulness and inclusiveness were transmitted from one generation to another in the American Indian traditional life.

Dr. Florence Denmark read a poem that there is sunshine after a rain, bringing hope to all.

Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya read the Closing prayer, giving thanks for our place in history and purpose in life existing.

Dr.Thema Bryant-Davis led the group in singing the closing hymn, "How Great Thou Art."

Asuncion Miteria Austria, PhD
Chair, Task Force on Religion and Spirituality in Women's Lives