by Linda Post Bushkofsky

Have you ever thought about Mary as a bold woman? Our Advent memories of Mary’s song of justice have not waned so much that we can’t appreciate her boldness. During Epiphany Mary persists, caring for the infant Jesus as visitors follow the star to find the Savior. How extraordinary is Mary’s faith, acceptance and willingness to serve! Her vision of God’s world foretells the bold landscape that her son Jesus ushers in.

Bold women are a part of our faith’s genealogy, e.g., the woman at the well, the persistent widow, the women at the tomb, and those certain women who supported Jesus and the disciples. Within Women of the ELCA we celebrate bold women the fourth Sunday of February every year, on Bold Women’s Day. On this day congregational units honor or remember bold women from their community. These women may be members of the congregation, notable for acting boldly on their faith in some way. They may also be part of the larger community, notable for their boldness in helping to bring about healing and wholeness for the church, the society or the world.

Celebrations can take many forms, limited only by the creativity of the women in your congregational unit. To help you with your Bold Women’s Day planning, turn to our resource, “Celebrate Bold Women’s Day,” available for free download at welca.org/bwd. Certificates to use in recognizing these women can be found there too, along with a downloadable poster to promote the day. We even have a Bold Women’s Day cover photo you can use on Facebook!

Additionally, this year we are introducing a new resource, a Bold Women’s Day liturgy that lifts up women from the Reformation. Written by two seminarians at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (now United Theological Seminary), the liturgy includes a litany of thanks in which worship participants are invited to name bold women they know or remember. (This litany—and the prayers included—are also appropriate for use by themselves during a circle or congregational unit meeting.)

In lieu of a sermon, the liturgy includes a script that shares the faith stories of four Reformation-era women: Katharina Schutz Zell of Strasbourg; Olimpia Fulvia Morata of Italy; Argula von Grumbach of Germany; and our own Katharina von Bora Luther. Or you can customize the sermon to tell the faith stories of bold women in our own time or in your own community.
You can find the liturgy and scripts at welca.org/bwd.

Share your Bold Women’s Day celebration ideas on the Women of the ELCA Facebook page (visit facebook.com/womenoftheelca) or send them to Wome[email protected] Your creative ideas could be featured next year!

Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director of Women of the ELCA.

This article appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of Gather magazine. To read the full article or more like it, subscribe to Gather.