The African American Women in Ministry (AAWIM) biennial conference is designed for women in all phases of ministry – ordained, licensed, in discernment and licensed in varied ministry settings within the United Church of Christ. The biennial conference was initially scheduled for October 2016. However, due to the impact of Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina and the conditions near the surrounding areas of the conference site, Franklinton Center at Bricks, the conference was rescheduled to take place during Women’s History Month (March 9-11, 2017).
African American women from across the nation convened for this biennial conference – Sisters’ Lives Matter: Facing the Fierce Urgency of Now. The focus scripture, Esther 4:12-14, “Chosen…for such a time as this” (NCV) served as reminder of the importance and significance of the lives and ministries of all conference participants. According to the AAWIM Co-founders, Dr. Yvonne Delk and Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, “All around the country there is an urgency that we as a people come together to end the violence against us and among us, that we come to understand in very real ways that Black Lives Matter – to God and therefore should matter to everyone else.”
The Franklinton Center at Bricks Hospitality House and the perimeter of the Yvonne Delk Fellowship Hall entrances were enhanced with a conference photo exhibit entitled “Sisters Lives Matter: A Visual Installation.” Historical and contemporary images of black and brown women were paired with scripture in a way that brought scripture to life through the lens of African American women. These photos captures the lived experiences of African American women with a wide range of themes, including but not limited to, activism, resistance, struggle, love, parenting, fitness, health, self-care, sorrow, trauma, beauty, sexuality, sister friendship.
Conference participants were empowered through a spirit-filled time of inspiration and renewal – worship, workshops, panel discussions, a prayer room, sister circle discussions, community building, networking and sister time. Three dynamic preaching women – Rev, Traci Blackmon, Rev. Dr. Iva Carruthers, and Rev. Waltrina Middleton – offered inspiration and challenge through the preached Word. Several workshop facilitators, including Rev. Susan Mitchell from the Southeast Conference, also offered challenges and reminders of the fierce urgency of now.
For further info about the African American Women in Ministry Network:
- Email: Rev. Charmaine Penn Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) who served as Co-chair for the 2017 AAWIM Conference.
- Website: http://aawim.spruz.com/
- Facebook Sisah Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/221660301519119/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAWIM_UCC