This idea has been cooking for a few years now.
Big dream for next few years: establish something like the Sophia Collective. This idea was first germinating in the classroom of Jennifer Davidson of the American Baptist Semianry of the West (ABSW). She is a force, and is SO GOOD in a classroom. I have linked to her site here: https://jenniferwdavidson.com/trauma-informed-andragogy/
No, this series of goals, while in need of refinement, parameters, and accountability (I’m thinking a lot of the SMART technique), these goals are bigger and they scare me and thrill me.
I imagine a network, alliances that are intergenerational, ecumenical, multi-lingual. I imagine this network to live online and in real life – whether for occasional or regular house church gatherings.
This is the Sophia Collective. She’s been gestating awhile. As my mom has wisely told me, you will never be fully “ready” to have a child. It will happen. She has told me that a family will never be financially stable enough, you will never arrive at a point where one is “ready”…it will just unfold. It will come to light. There will be love and pain.
As I re-visit the energy, hope, and powerpoint slides that accompanied this gestating vision from April/May 2017, June 2018, I marvel. I marvel at the goodness of God’s timing – precisely two years ago, a gaggle of young theologians gathered in our own Upper Room, known as the Garden Room, of the inaugural Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality. As I try to convey to people, I came for Joan (because…Joan.) and I stayed for the community. After two long and filled-to-the-brim weeks with the Erie Benedictines in summer 2018, I entered a new phase of hopefulness, rather than exasperation, that I certainly did not anticipate. I guess that is how grace works.
What follows is some text from that final project culmination that has largely been on the backburner due to life transitions and paid work obligations. I’m starting to sense I have more energy and heart space to dedicate to this project. There’s also a link to an inspirational prayer and Sikh activist who has been someone I have looked up to and been inspired by.
Why not… Create a peer mentoring program: to connect those who have graduated from divinity school to current students? Feminist Catholics.
Why not… Foster an online network of women in ministry and divinity schools,: sharing prayer and liturgy resources, book/reading recommendations?
Why not…Establish a fund where those who would need additional financial support to make a retreat, to attend/present at a conference?
Why not… Host annual or bi-annual gatherings (based on region/national) to bring the peer mentors and mentees together?
Why not… produce the Sophia Collective podcast? Offering webinars, conference calls, and the like?
Tangible goals for July 2020
- Do 3 1:1s in July with current folks in grad school/seminary situations and gauge interest/need/feasibility for pilot launch of this fall
- Do 3 1:1s in July with potential mentors/accompaniers (is that a word?)
- Begin research on funding sources and other allied org’s (FTE, etc.)
- set up a coaching session with Shelly Roder in MKE
- Your input is needed…
- Who else needs to be in this room? How can it be more inclusive, more representative of the global church?
- What school(s) do I need to reach out to? Who has the contact information? Best methods of communication?
- Suggestions of mentors and mentees
- Developing a Google Form to get the process going; with the idea to launch a pilot option this fall
- Your ideas…
- Who can host? What are some solid/feasible retreat houses/monasteries/religious communities?
- How to endow/establish a fund for retreats/conferences that is relatively unrestricted?
- The sky’s the limit….
I commit…. To listen! To advocate. To be tenacious.