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Liturgical Resources for Women's History Month

By Cynthia Wilson

Stock women with arms on each other cropped

“We speak your names”

by Pearl Cleage (excerpt)

Voice #1

Because we are free women, born of free women,
who are born of free women, back as far as time begins,
we celebrate your freedom.

Because we are wise women, born of wise women,
who are born of wise women, we celebrate your wisdom.

Because we are strong women, born of strong women,
who are born of strong women, we celebrate your strength.

Because we are magical women, born of magical women,
who are born of magical women, we celebrate your magic.

Voice #2

My sisters, we are gathered here to speak your names.
We are here because we are your daughters
as surely as if you had conceived us,
nurtured us,
carried us in your wombs,
and then sent us out into the world to make our mark
and see what we see,
and be what we be,
but better, truer, deeper,
because of the shining example of your own incandescent lives.

Voice #3

We are here because you taught us that
sisterspeak can continue to be our native tongue,
no matter how many languages we learn
as we move about as citizens of the world,
and of the ever-evolving universe.
We are here to speak your names
because of the way you made for us.
Because of the prayers you prayed for us.

Voice #4

We are the ones you conjured up,
hoping we would have strength enough,
and discipline enough,
and talent enough,
and nerve enough to step into the light
when it turned in our direction, and just smile awhile.

Voice #5

We are the ones you hoped would make you proud
because all of our hard work makes all of yours
part of something better, truer, deeper.
Something that lights the way ahead
like a lamp unto our feet,
as steady as the unforgettable beat of our collective heart.


We speak your names.
We speak your names.
We speak your names.

Excerpted from WE SPEAK YOUR NAMES by Pearl Cleage. Copyright © 2006 by Pearl Cleage. Reprinted by arrangement with The Random House Publishing Group. Published 07/15/2006

Litany of Sending

In the spirit of the women who survived the middle passage, withstood and overcame the oppression of enslavement,
We go forth, heading North.

In the spirit of women who dared obstacles and challenged unjust barriers and forged new peoples in new lands,
We go forth, heading South.

In the spirit of women who refused to be browbeaten and held back and opened new paths for others to follow,
We go forth, heading East.

In the spirit of women who refused to be shut out and who demolished boundaries to open new spaces for sisters unborn,
We go forth, heading West.

We go forth, moving in all directions, moving at the directive of the Holy One, moving boldly and courageously in the assurance of divine guidance, anointing presence, and enabling power; in the Spirit not only of our ancestors in the sisterhood, but at the direction of Sistah Wisdom, Sofia, who calls each and all to encourage her for the sake of God’s glory.

We go forth!
We go forth!
Thanks be to God!

By Dr. Gennifer B. Brooks Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Preaching
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
B.B.A., M.B.A., Pace University
M.Div., D.Min., New Brunswick Theological Seminary Ph.D., Drew University

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