At our first meeting of the year in 2018, one of the things our Sacred Sisters Design Team discussed was our vision for Sacred Sisters. Part of that vision includes the importance of the support we need and desire that comes from participating in our Peer Groups. We noted that the words “Peer Group” do not express all that we envision or experience in the sacred space that is created when women of African descent come together. The mutual support, accountability, vision casting, prayer, learning, worship, and play seemed to beg for a different kind of descriptive. “Peer Groups” just does not adequately describe the outcomes of immersing ourselves in this sacred sister space on a regular basis – the healing that results, the inner strength that is nurtured, the energy that is generated, the hope that is restored. These experiences overflow, bringing healing and the capacity to serve God more fully and longer because we become healed healers who can better assist others to find their own healing. “Peer Groups” is definitely what we are, but we just wondered what if we called them something else. After some brainstorming,
the words “SISTER HOODS” rose to the surface.
Sister as in related to one another. Sister as in part of the same family. Sister as in ‘I got your back and nobody better mess with you!’
We are related by culture and by social location in the U.S. Even if we come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, or different classes or different kinds of neighborhoods, we are still Black women and in the context of which we are a part that makes us related to one another in a way we are not related to anyone else.
We are part of the same family. As clergywomen, we are part of the Christian family, part of the Church of Jesus Christ. We come from several denominations and faith traditions. And even if we were to become an interfaith family, we would still be part of a family of people in the world who believe in God and trust that there is a Being in control of the universe who loves humanity and whose plans for us are for good and not for harm.
And we are sisters because as Sacred Sisters we have committed to have each other’s back – to watch out for one another and for all of us -- to be there when one of us has a need.
Then we thought about “hoods.” Hood as in neighborhood. Hood as in grew up in ‘the hood.’ Hood as in hoodie and it’s symbolism of solidarity with marginalized black people. Hoods as in the hoods on the robes of the priest, or in our case, the priestess. Hood as in a covering to protect and cover against harsh elements from the outside.
“SISTER HOODS” seems to describe what we hope will become manifest as we continue to support one another to be healed healers in this broken world. Our Peer Groups are groups of peers – but they are much, much more!
Ours is a model for leadership development, applicable to other groups of women and men.
Because ultimately, we are part of one sistership and fellowship—the human race! Our purpose is not to distance ourselves to create division. Our purpose is to enter into a sacred space for a time, in order to re-enter life and the world whole and well. We want to manifest that wholeness and wellness so that it creates wholeness and wellness and our world! And that is our greatest vision – to participate in creating a world in which all people are healed and enjoy the bounty and blessings that life has to offer.
In every ‘Sister Hood’, ‘Brother Hood’ and ‘People Hood’ – wherever they may be -- God has enough love for all of us! That’s the Real News, the True News, the Good News!