Towards the end of my 20 years travelling New Zealand and Asia working with young people in Christian ministry, my colleague and friend Wynsome Diprose and I began to realise that women’s spirituality requires a very different environment for its flowering than that offered by our culture and its present institutions.
So, who are we then? …..
Perhaps we are those like Inga, who, in those early days, never came without a gift of towels, soap, biscuits or fruit.
Perhaps we are those like Lois who for our first five years made sure that $100 per week went into our bank account to pay for essentials like rates, petrol & repairs.
Perhaps we are like Jenni, Judy & Sally who after Wynsome’s death came out for weekends of cooking and cleaning while I ran the workshops.
Or Jill, Eileen, Sandra, Ann, Lavourney & Janice who helped run those workshops.
Or Barbara, Jill & Lenore who came two days a month for years to write their books, encourage Selma and I in the ‘up-bringing’ of Gavin & who often brought the Older Women’s Festival Committee with them for Retreats and training.
Who are we? Perhaps the staff who work to clean, cook, serve, do accounts, newsletters & hostess all who come.
Or women like Racheal, Marion, Jill, Shiralee, Helen, Norma, Fay Hazel, Carol, Hua and many others who give their time and skills freely to build fences, weed gardens, do dishes, lead walks, give out brochures, paint, buy beds and linen, set up systems etc, etc!
Or perhaps like Margaret, Joslyn, Kirsty, Michelle, Lois, Val, Vicki, Sue, Amanda, Maureen, Bev, Andrea, Fiona, Judith, and others who come over and over again supporting us financially, encouraging us by becoming friends, bringing their healing and enriched selves back to keep the mix at Te Wahi Ora strong and vibrant.
Or …. perhaps “who are we” is the sum total of the 1,000 women who have links with Te Wahi Ora now! Like the 98 different women who visited during the first five months of 2012 when this was written.
And “who will we be?” Who will keep Te Wahi Ora on track, fulfilling its purpose, keeping us company? You?