What would church look like if women created it?

"What would church look like if women created it?"

When I was a girl I used to go to church. We would gather every Sunday, sit in hard wooden pews, and listen to men in robes tell us how to worship and how to be a good person. I went to church for most of my life—even through college–but at some point I just stopped going. It wasn’t a conscious decision. I didn’t think much of it at all. It wasn’t because I judged the church I belonged to—it was mostly because nothing was keeping me there. Nothing was really drawing me in or speaking to me as the woman I was becoming. And so I quietly left, and unknowingly started searching for my own sense of self and my own expression of what “sacred” means to me.

As I continued on my journey of becoming, I found yoga. I found holistic health. I found feminine teachers and women mentors who filled the “church” void and kept me returning home to myself. Those women I surrounded myself with taught me to find the sacred inside of me. My body feels sacred. Moving and doing my yoga like a prayer feels sacred. Meditation, reverence for nature, presence, and simple rituals feel sacred. Connecting with other women feels sacred, like we’re letting our stories become our scripture.

I learned more about myself through the stories of other women than I did from decades of sitting in front of the men in robes.

Soon, I started making my own rituals like lighting a candle and writing a letter to my mom, or building a beautiful altar of candles and flowers and inviting women I love to sit in a circle with me. All of these things feel sacred. So does watching my children play, lying in the grass and letting the earth hold me in my woundedness, and leading my yoga classes. In a way, as I dropped deeper into myself, I started to build a “church” around me.

But there were things I still missed about the church I went to as a kid. I missed gathering every week, getting dressed up, and feeling like I was going to a special place with people I love. I missed the community, connections and relationships that are built by people gathering to honor something larger than ourselves. And I missed having something to ponder in my heart and to deepen my thoughts. The stained glass windows, the smell of the old worshipped building, the familiar songs we sang—I missed all of that.

I believe we need to find something sacred in our lives in order to feel whole. Something like church. We need community and connection and a sense of belonging. But I think we can create something just as sacred, in our own way.

What would church look like if women created it?

I see a sacred, beautiful space, with sweet smelling flowers and incense. I hear music that makes us cry. I see circles of women sharing stories and connecting through truth. I see healing and hope and inspiration that comes from us just showing up as our true selves. It’s actually so simple and so beautiful.

To me, this is what we need right now to heal. We need each other. We need ways to bring reverence to the simple things in our everyday lives. We need our own church.

I’ve been told many times over the years that The Practice feels like church. I think it’s true, and it’s because we drop into something much larger than ourselves. It can be sacred and meaningful and transformative, if we allow it.

So, in the new year, I will be offering The Sunday Service for Women. The intention is to gather women and drop into ourselves. We will do this by creating a place where our stories can wrap their arms around each other, where we can build community, and remember who we truly are. It will be a place where we can feel reverence for life, especially when it’s hard.

The structure is simple. I will guide us through meaningful conversations, bring us into ourselves through meditation, and lead us to a sense of community by allowing time to share our stories. There will be music. There will be ritual. There might be tears. There will always be beauty and there will always be healing.

The Sunday Service is my way of giving back to the community during this difficult time. We are all struggling, and I want to create a space for us to be together and to heal. It’s a donation-based service held virtually on Zoom. All you have to do is show up as your true self and invite anyone else you want to share sacred space with. I want to gather as many women as we can because I believe we heal best in numbers.

The first Sunday Service is on January 17, 2021 at 10:00 am PST.

I hope you will come.

Register for the Sunday Service here.

xx,

Michelle Long

 

 

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