I've got the house cleaned (well, the bathroom, anyhow), the goodies purchased (strawberries and cookies), the coffee/tea ready to drip/boil, and I am awaiting the arrival later this morning of a group of women in ministry here on the island.
In seminary, there were lots of women students and I felt well-supported by my friendships there. But out in the real world of ministry, it can be a little lonely. And being a woman in a traditionally male vocation can be very isolating, even though there are many women in UU ministry. It's not so out there in the interfaith world.
When I went to my first parish, I was lucky enough to have a couple of women colleagues in the area, both UU, but it wasn't enough, so I started looking for other women colleagues outside UUism. We eventually formed a small group which met monthly at a restaurant for lunch and talked about our lives as clergy, shared what was going on in our work and denominations around a variety of issues, and generally enjoyed each other's company.
In that group, we were Sue and I, both UU, Pat, an Episcopal deacon, Wendy, a United Methodist pastor, and Margaret, an American Baptist in community service. When I left Portland, I missed their company a lot.
When I lived in Seattle, the desire to form another such group didn't materialize very strongly, but when I moved to the island and realized I was far from other district colleagues, surrounded by male parish clergy (lovely, but not exactly soul mates), I decided I wanted to find women colleagues and form a group.
When I started asking around, I discovered quite a few women in ministry, though most are not in parish ministry. Some are not ordained, though trained; some are ordained in a non-traditional way; others are community ministers, teaching, training, organizing.
So now I have a list of about eight women who minister in a wide variety of ways, and they are coming to my house in a little while! I'm very excited!