Our God, creator and redeemer, We thank you for women.
That in your wisdom you made humans female and male, in your image. We thank you for the different perspectives and experiences women bring to the world and the Church.
We thank you for the way you have worked through your Word, and your people, to dismantle oppression against women. For creating women and men as equal in value and dignity, and for your people who have recognised this and advocated for this in society. We particularly thank you for all the women through history who despite opposition have persisted in courageously pursuing your reign.
With sorrow, and in confession, we recognise that there is still so much to be done. For whenever the full humanity and worth of women is denied, we have sinned. We also confess that we often sin by omission: when we fail to speak up and to act for justice for women.
Help us to have eyes to see the injustice and oppression, both blatant and subtle, all around us. Prod us into action, even when it may cost us. Women and girls are the most common victims of violence, often perpetrated by someone they know, may we protect them and create environments in which they are safe. When greed creates poverty, it is women and girls who suffer the most. Help us to target our resources to free them from the cycle of poverty. Help us to stand up against the cultural attitudes and practices which objectify and denigrate women.
May your Spirit help us to examine ourselves, that we may repent of our own biases and behaviours that contribute to inequality and oppression. May you also guide us as we teach our children, so that they grow up to give honour to all people as created in the image of God. Finally, with deep regret and with tears, we remember your Church. At the birth of the Church your Spirit was poured out upon all people, both sons and daughters. We should be a beacon of hope for women. And yet we have failed in this. Amongst God’s people women have been devalued, harmed and silenced. Instead, let us follow the example of Christ, who in all his relationships with women gave them full dignity and worth. For there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; all of us are one in Christ Jesus. May it be so.
In alphabetical order, Megan Powell is a daughter, friend, mother, pastor, teacher, twin and wife. These relationships and roles are central to her sense of self, all of the relationships informed by her relationship with God. She is currently doing a PhD in theology, and is wondering why she wasn't warned off by her experience of two previous honours theses (one in literature and another in theology). She longs to live a grace filled life and asks for your grace with her in her repeated failure. You could also call her fickle and unfocused in her pursuits but she would rather you call her a renaissance woman.