Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dear All,

As most of you know, I attended the North American Interfaith Network Connect this year in Atlanta Georgia. It is late because I did not wish to interrupt Don’s postings. What a wonderful experience!! As one of only two, anything like Witches, at this event, I usually feel a bit left out and spend most of my time explaining why one issue or another does not apply.

This year was a completely different experience. I came determined to discuss the questions that everyone seems reluctant to discuss and discovered that everyone wanted to discuss them. The younger people especially were really looking for some depth to conversation. As an example they were by far and away in agreement that their favorite panel, on LGBT(et al) where there was actually some drama when, after two young people shared their feelings of isolation because of church policies, a person stood up and read a verse from the Koran condemning alternative sexual orientations. Unfortunately he approached this in a very insensitive manner and…well you can imagine the conversation from there, as I must who did not get to the panel despite my best efforts. I was pleased to discover later that they agreed that they liked my presentation second best. I had the opportunity at one point to accuse them of ageism when I found them all sitting at one table, and they asked if I wanted to volunteer as their token “elder”.

My favorite part of the weekend was when the moderator of our panel introduced us as women of a certain age who were no longer afraid to say what they felt needed to be said. (Not a snicker here).

I had started out as a panel presentation on “The hard questions” and the planners asked if I would combine my talk with another. I know all these ladies and was pleased to do so. They said that we could have 20minutes each originally but when we got to the presentation we discovered that they had allowed us 10 minutes. I curtailed my talk and the moderator, my friend Bettina Grey, did her best to keep the others down in time, but most had written out their talks and it was difficult. This presentation will be available in the evening after council this year.

There was a huge part of this Connect that was based around social justice and Martin Luther King figured large in the tours that we took along with Jimmy Carter. I was able to meet some personal heros of my own, who had marched with and helped plan with King. Dr Rev. Vivian who is now in his late 80’s is one of those men. It was a seminal moment for me.

There is so much more to report but our sight ( has done a much better job so I direct you there for pictorial proof of my attendance along with a complete report on the event.

Rachael Watcher

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