Decorate using quotes describing unity and kindness. These can be found on Pinterest at: https://pin.it/qmd37auqso75iz. Also include Proverbs 31:30.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
(Proverbs 31:30 NIV)
- Put together spa kits that can be donated to a women’s shelter.
- Collect gently used purses and fill with hygiene products to be given to homeless women or those in shelters.
- Clean the home of an elderly or homebound member.
- Host a Prom Prep Night for the high school girls in the corps.
- Take them to the thrift store or dress shop to find dresses.
- Share pictures of members’ proms.
- Take a meal to a widow, homebound member, single mom, or recent divorcee.
- Create Blessing Bags
- Coffee mug, coffee, a devotional book
- Pasta, spaghetti sauce, oven mitt and cooking utensils
- Fuzzy socks, bubble bath, lotions
- Devotional/journal and a pen
- Cookies, a small loaf of bread, or chocolates
- Small flowerpot, seeds and gardening gloves
- Candle, bookmark, book
- Decide on a recipient
- Decorate a bag specifically for her.
- Attach a tag.
- Include a personal note.
Play the “Sister Suffragette” clip from the Mary Poppins movie, which can be found on YouTube.
This movie shares many life lessons. Some were intentional and some may have been accidental. The song “Sister Suffragette” gives a somewhat humorous picture of a suffragette, but the real suffragettes were very serious.
As you sang along and saw the lyrics, were you surprised? It wasn’t until I was older that I actually considered the words to the song. It calls the listener to unity in being “shoulder to shoulder.” Unity is a good thing—that’s what we’ve been talking about today. But where the authors of the song got it wrong were the lines:
“Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they’re rather stupid.” This is not a day for man–bashing. Our Lord calls us to be unified with all—women and men. The intent in looking at this clip was to introduce the topic of a woman’s right to vote. March is Women’s History Month. How did it come about? Who initiated the emphasis?
The meaning of suffrage is simply the right to vote. A suffragette is a woman advocate of female suffrage. Today, women in the United States have the right to vote but that wasn’t always the case. Share information on the 19th amendment from the website: https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/19th-amendment-1
You Have a Voice
Supply each woman with a notecard and a pen or pencil. Ask them to write down a question that they would like to discuss. These should be related to the topics of women’s roles in society, in The Salvation Army, in relationships or concerning the right to vote. They do not need to sign the question. The facilitator will read them and allow time for dialog.
- Would you rather have a man or woman supervisor?
- How do you see female roles within The Salvation Army?
- When you compare yourself with others, is there an area where you feel insecure?
- What situation or circumstance regarding another woman makes it hard for you to rejoice?
- What is the best/worst thing about being a woman in leadership?
- How do you feel about your right to vote?
- What do you feel is most important to share with the next generation of women?
- What do we need to teach our sons about women?
- What is one thing you can do to keep this conversation going?
Look at the quotes displayed around the room. This one (show quote) inspired our time together today. It says, “Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.” I don’t know who to attribute that quote to, but I thank them. What a wonderful encapsulation to show us one of the attributes of a “Proverbs 31” woman.
If I were to mention the reality TV shows “Kardashian” or “Housewives of Orange County,” what comes to mind? You may think of their wealth or physical beauty or even their popularity. The women in these shows are sometimes portrayed as catty, petty and self–absorbed, definitely the opposite of kind. These women are involved in each other’s lives, know each other fairly well, but often “drama” separates them relationally. Does this happen in real life as well? Unfortunately, it sometimes does.
Sometimes you will find yourself surrounded by “frenemies.” A frenemie is an oxymoron and a portmanteau of “friend” and “enemy” that refers to “a person with whom one is friendly, despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry” or “a person who combines the characteristics of a friend and an enemy.” What pours forth from these individuals is most definitely the opposite of kindness. Does this sometimes happen among those who call themselves followers of Jesus? Unfortunately, it sometimes does. I’ve witnessed it among women. One can put on an “all is well between me and you” face, but when the first imagined offense comes, the façade comes off and the real feelings come out. It’s as if all that is known about being in true Christian fellowship is wiped from memory and we listen to any whisper that the enemy of our soul sends our way and we react.
Paul faced this problem and wrote to the Philippian church. In chapter 2 he singled out two women who were separated relationally: “Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co–workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life” (Phil 4:2-3).
These women belonged to the Lord. They were Christians—followers of Jesus. They worked hard telling others the Good News. If alive today, they would be very active member of the women’s ministries. And yet, they had a disagreement, a falling out. Paul was pleading for them to settle their differences. They were busy working for the Lord and it almost seems like their effectiveness for Him ground to a halt because of their disjointed relationship. Paul knew, and we know, that we can only make a positive difference when we work together. United we stand, divided we fall.
Let’s be kind to all women, women who fear the Lord, who are worthy to be praised. Let’s be women who will forgive swiftly and encourage faithfully, and only share words of reproof in love … thus fixing another’s crown.
If anyone here today is at odds with someone, I plead with you to put these things aside so that we can be united in sharing the Good News with others.
Close with a time of prayer.