As women of spirit and faith,
we know something important about this moment in history.
We know it from our rich experiences in the world
and we know it from a place of deep wisdom within.
Our unique patterns of knowing
are part of a larger pattern of feminine wisdom
being called forth at this time
in service of this Earth and of humanity.
Women of Spirit and Faith offers a safe and sacred space where women can explore the edges of their emerging spiritual leadership. This vibrant community of intergenerational women from diverse spiritual traditions is engaged in a bold experiment to discover new ways of doing things that are in alignment with feminine principle, always remaining open to guidance from Spirit.
Our work together is grounded in simple yet revolutionary core values:
• Shared leadership – Every woman is valued as a leader.
• Collaboration – Every voice is heard and the wisdom of every woman is invited.
• Circle principles – All of our interactions, meeting, events and offerings use circle process.
• Honor our spiritual nature – Silence, reflection, divine guidance and prayer are important tools for discernment and grounding.
• Modeling rather than teaching – We offer a ‘lived experience’ of feminine leadership in action.
• Alert to a default to patriarchy – We observe ourselves individually and collectively, staying alert to our often unconscious default to hierarchy and patriarchal values.
As WSF co-founders wrote in The Interfaith Observer:
It is not just women who are marginalized by the long reign of patriarchy on our planet. So much having to do with “the feminine” is also devalued and silenced in the dominant culture of values, language, spirituality, education, politics, leadership and power in which we have been living for many generations. It is the air we have been breathing for so long that we are often unconscious about the ways it has shaped and formed (or deformed) our own personal experiences and expectations.
As women bring forward their gifts and leadership in the coming years – and as the Divine Feminine seeks to bring Her gift of healing to the world through those women – it will be important to consciously make room for new ways of doing things, for feminine wisdom brought in feminine ways. This will require nothing less than radically different definitions of what leadership looks like and how success should be measured.
In the years since WSF was born at the Parliament of the World’s Religion’s in 2009, we have generated many tangible and celebrated outcomes (see below) … and perhaps our greatest contribution to a new world has been our deep commitment to offering feminine leadership in feminine ways.
The founders of Women of Spirit and Faith were among the thousands gathered at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, where we had a lived experience of the feminine rising.
This Parliament was buzzing with feminine energy. Everywhere we went people were talking about Earth-based spirituality, the Sacred Feminine, feminine principles, women’s leadership and women’s issues. Little pink buttons with the question ‘What happens when women lead?’ showed up sprinkled liberally among the 4,000+ attendees and there was a full page of workshops listed under the Program Cluster ‘Women in Leadership.
Kathe Schaaf, Kay Lindahl, Guo Cheen and Kathleen Hurty began a conversation at the Parliament which resulted in the formation of this non-profit organization and a dynamic community of intergenerational women called Women of Spirit and Faith.
WSF discovered that there is a hunger among women to engage in this conversation at the intersection of women’s spirituality and transformative leadership. Our work is to offer space for those authentic conversations through events, media platforms and publications.
Since 2010 we have:
• Convened a series of Exploratory Conversations so that we could listen deeply to the needs, concerns and hopes of many women from diverse faith and spiritual perspectives.
• Convened a Leadership Retreat in November 2010 bringing together 30 diverse spiritual leaders from the U.S. and Canada for connection and collaboration.
• Convened “The Alchemy of our Spiritual Leadership: Women Redefining Power” – a large conference held in San Francisco in April 2011 Alchemy 1
• Published, collaboratively, the book Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power in November 2011
• Hosted more than 40 book events connecting with women across the U.S. and Canada.
• For 5 years, we offered The Divine Feminine blog as a collaborative platform for women’s voices
• Convened a Young Leaders Retreat bringing together 29 intergenerational women in April 2012 in Atlanta
• Produced a series of short inspirational videos featuring dynamic spiritual leaders and activists
• Convened our second large gathering in 2013 – “Alchemy: Occupy Your Sacred Self“ – in San Francisco where we modeled shared leadership inviting the wisdom of every woman present
• Collaborated with numerous women’s organizations to convene “On Feminine Ground” – a one day gathering prior to the opening of the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions and anchored numerous workshops at that global gathering.
• Participated annually in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, often offering circle-centered programs as part of the Parallel Events.
• Currently convening a series of smaller gatherings and retreats creating space for deep listening, authentic relationships and spiritual guidance.
• Used our social media, newsletter and regional gatherings to encouraged women to reconnect with their authentic spiritual roots and with one another.
As many of us feel a sense of urgency in the face of global challenges, it is imperative for women to fully take their place alongside men. The way we work as women adds to the wholeness of leadership and makes possible a new paradigm of balanced, responsible and caring global citizenship. In truth, we women are still learning individually and collectively how to effectively bring forth our leadership. The work of this organization is to support and nurture that learning at every level.