Celebrating Women Witnesses Sedona
by: Barbara Litrell
The Celebrating Women Witnesses program was launched in January
2003 at St. John Vianney RCC in Sedona Arizona by Barbara Litrell,
Rusty Swavely and Robin Cameron. The three women joined together
to host an evening of discussion and a
prayer service honoring the historic and contemporary women of
faith presented in the materials provided by FutureChurch.
Over the past 2 years of meeting each month, a noticeable transformation has taken place among the participants. What started
out as a “historical” interest
in the women presented has turned into understanding how history suppressed women’s
stories. Participants are now strong advocates for learning the true stories
of women in church history and express a more realistic perspective of how the
church has both shaped and suppressed the power of women to lead in the church.
Interest in the women witnesses program has spread throughout the parish and
expanded into other projects.
Here is how we did it:
At the beginning of the year a letter goes out to all women parishioners announcing
the “women witnesses” to be discussed and honored.
Each month, an announcement is sent to the local papers to be put in the events
listings or as a news item in order to attract new participants.
Each month, an email is sent to everyone who ever attended a CWW meeting to invite
them to the upcoming gathering.
About 1 week before the meeting, a flyer goes out to everyone who has attended
a CWW meeting to alert them to the upcoming meeting.
An announcement is placed in the church bulletin for 2 Sundays prior to the meeting
and flyers are left at the church.
As a result of the wonderful response, the Sedona CWW program has
initiated a Celebrating Women Witnesses Quilt Project. Men and
women from throughout the
Sedona area have been invited to submit a 12” quilt block honoring a CWW
woman or another woman who has been an inspiration. A quilting group will create
a quilt to be exhibited as a reminder of the important roles of women in our
We welcome quilt blocks from women throughout the country! To reserve
a space and for more information call Barbara Litrell at 928-649-0135
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ed note: Barbara gave this report at a reception for Women in Church
Leadership “Anchors” at
CTA in November. Other WICL anchors, Cincinnati’s Sr. Louise Akers, Kathy
Kidder from Gainesville and Mary Platner from Eagle River, Wisconsin shared their
experiences of starting Mary of Magdala celebrations and Celebrating Women Witnesses
programs in their parishes. Platner’s group has developed special
vignettes complete with costumes, which are very popular with religious education
groups. After listening to Littrell, Kidder and, Platner, CTA Pittsburgh’s
Sarah Wellinger is looking forward to starting a Celebrating Women Witnesses
program in Pittsburgh.