Radical self love at She Speaks Christchurch
Last night The Salvation Army Southern Division hosted its second She Speaks, a Women's Ministries' initiative to gather together Salvationist young adult women in empowering community. Read below some of the highlights of this dynamic gathering.
She Speaks is a night to mobilise young adult Salvationists in their life and faith. Women aged 17-35 years old are invited to join together at a local cafe to hear a compelling speaker and debuting young female artists, sharing coffee and souls.
The mission of ‘She Speaks’ is to platform and connect young adult women in relevant, like-minded and empowering communities. We bring in an expert speaker on a subject that young adult women want to hear more about, and two local debuting female Salvationist artists. These nights are intimate and filled with prayer and conversation, time for Q and As with the artists, and a break in the middle for discussion and questions with the speaker.
Buzzing with opportunity
You could feel the buzz among the twenty-five or so young adult women gathered at the very 'Instagrammable' surroundings of local Christchurch cafe Ally + Sid. As we found seats on benches or pallet stools, we waited in expectation for the night's theme - 'radical self love' - to be explained.
Mission Leader Rosy Keane opened the night with prayer, welcoming the young adult women into the space and setting up the hope for the night: that we would all come away with a deeper knowledge of God and ourselves. She prayed for young spoken word artist Megan Searancke, who powerfully delivered her original poem 'Home', written specifically for #SheSpeaks. Meg's spoken word set the absolute stage for vulnerability, speaking about inhabiting our bodies as places of joy, belonging and comfort.
Then followed an open-floor discussion of body image, acceptance and honesty about the deeply ingrained fear many women have of our own bodies. Women thanked Meg for her commitment to celebrating herself as someone who is 'funny, loyal and a good friend', rather than the number on the scale that had dominated previously.
The She Speaks speaker was Fijian-born Urwashi Koroi from The Salvation Army Hornby. Washi is an advocate and Christian feminist who spoke openly and compellingly about 'radical self-love' and invited us to form good boundaries. Washi discussed when an answer should be 'No', to create space to breathe and maintain your own connection with God and good health. Washi shared her testimony, and her wisdom and guidance in this space were teamed with her frank approval of the goodness of who we are and our bodies working for us. We were invited to speak out about something we were proud of in our lives and to celebrate our successes as humans.
The Salvation Army Sydenham Corps's Tracy Boon finished the night by speaking about her and Hagar New Zealand's Youth Intern (and previous She Speaks speaker) Kaitlyn Bunz's role in bringing salve to women and children exited from trafficking. Tracy shared photos and testimony from their journey to witness Hagar's work in Cambodia, inviting us to join in the lineage of advocates by prayer and fundraising. Kaitlyn's recent walk fundraiser brought in over $10,000 to further the rescue work.
We thank Southern Division Women's Ministries for making She Speaks available and championing young adult women. We are also so grateful to these young adult women who showed up in force, showing spectacularly that our voices and presence make a difference and deserve to take up space.