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Women's History

Throughout March Sweet Magnolia emphasized the outstanding contributions of brilliant+beautiful+brave Black women. 
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March is Women's History Month, with the theme "Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion." This theme recognizes women nationwide who believe that bias and discrimination should be eliminated from our lives and institutions to achieve a positive and fairer future. Women from all backgrounds know that an uneven playing field will never bring equality or justice. Many of them feel the need to speak up and work harder for fairness in our institutions and social interactions.


We celebrate women who promote inclusion and diversity and exclude no one in our quest for freedom and opportunity. We know that people can change with the help of families, teachers, and friends and that young people, in particular, need to learn the value of hearing from different voices and perspectives as they grow up.


Today, equity, diversity, and inclusion are powerful driving forces that greatly impact our country. Women are at the forefront of reevaluating the status quo in their roles as members of families, civic and community groups, businesses, and legislative bodies. They look fresh at harmful social policies and behaviors that often subtly determine our future. In response, women in communities nationwide are helping to develop innovative programs and projects within corporations, the military, federal agencies, and educational organizations to address these injustices.


It takes courage for women to advocate for practical goals like equity, diversity, and inclusion when established forces aim to misinterpret, exploit, or discredit them. We honor women from the past and present who have taken the lead to show the importance of change and to establish firmer safeguards, practices, and legislation reflecting these values. After centuries of discrimination, we proudly celebrate women who work for basic inclusion, equality, and fairness.

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This year we reflected upon the contributions of Amelia Isadora Platts Boynton Robinson (August 18, 1911 – August 26, 2015); Justice Leah Ward Sears; Terrica Redfield Ganzy,  Ella Josephine Baker  (1903 – 1986), and Fannie Lou Hamer as examples ofbrilliant+beauitful+brave local and global women whose life's work improved the human condition. 

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ABOUT THE COVERS | Throughout Women's History Month, the Church programs featured the work of Tamara Natalie Madden (1975 –2017). Professor Madden was a Jamaican-born mother, mixed-media artist, and professor of art and visual culture at Spelman College in Atlanta. On November 4, 2017, she died at her home in Snellville, Georgia, only two weeks after being diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. She was 42.  Learn more.

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SERMON SERIES | Haggar, The Mother of Faith.  

Pastor Francys Johnson preached a three-part Series on Haggar, The Mother of Faith drawing lessons inspired by this often overlooked old testament character who is Abraham's second wife and Ishmael's mother.


Ultimately cast into the desert by Abraham and Sarah, but protected by God; Pastor Johnson draws parallels to the struggle of African-American women using the rich womanists' scholarship of Delores Williams; Will Gafney; and Mitzi J. Smith.


What began as an Annual Sermon on Hagar has expanded to a whole month of preaching and teaching from this extraordinary woman of faith.

This year's Sermon Series is entitled The One Thing I Know For Sure. In Part 1: Prayer Works, Pastor Johnson explores the power of prayer as a conversation with God. Prayer is universal across all religions, and the types of prayers (worship, petitions, praise, thanksgiving, and confessions) we offer reveal much about our thoughts about God's personality. Praying with my Feet is a powerful concept attributed to Frederick Douglass emphasizing action and movement as a form of prayer or spiritual practice. It suggests that our actions, especially when aligned with our values and beliefs, can be a way of connecting with God. So powerful was Hagar's prayer that God saw her situation and showed up in that wilderness.

Last year's Sermon Series, framed from the discography of Chaka Khan, including Part I: I’m Every Woman (Genesis 16:13); Part II: Tell Me Something Good (Genesis 17:20-25), and Part III: Through the Fire (Genesis 21:8-20) was preached from Haggar's perspective. We have historically misplaced Haggar. Indeed, see Hagar mercilessly beaten by Sarai and sexually abused by Abram.  She was afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed as to how she got from Egypt’s glory to this hard place - perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” In the end, Haggar makes it back to Egypt where she exercises extraordinary agency having seen God faithful keep God's promises.

We are cognizant of the longstanding and problematic stereotype: Black women must be strong. Black women must be resilient. Black women must prioritize others over themselves.  The stereotype of the “strong Black woman” creates an unrealistic idea that Black women need less support than others and has death-dealing consequences. 

Beyond the important emphasis on Women during March, this Church is taking the following affirmative actions throughout the year:

  1. Ensure gender equity across all areas of Leadership of the Church. This Church was the first Church in the area to ordain women as ministers and deacons. Consistent with that action, this Church:

    • seeks opportunities to promote the inclusion of women in non-traditional positions across the life of the Church;

    • utilize and pay women equally to men; and

    • resist discrimination in denominational practices.

  2. Address historical and contemporary issues of sexism and misogyny through preaching, teaching, and ministry which centers the experience and perspectives of Black women. Consistent with this action, this Church:

    • utilizes Black women to preach, teach, and minister.

    • includes womanist and other liberation sources in all applicable preaching and teaching.

    • educates the congregation on womanist preachers, theologians, and other liberation scholars. ​

  3. Recognize the contributions of brilliant+beauitful+brave local and global women whose life's work improved the human condition. Consistent with this action, this Church:

    • budgets for ministry programs supporting women and children.

    • affirms the contributions of local and global women throughout the year across the life of the Church.

    • supports other community initiatives aimed at supporting women and children.

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