As we near the end of Women’s History Month, we would like to feature a few of the women in our church to remind everyone that there are universal and unique ways in which womanhood is celebrated in the church and throughout the nation. Today we are speaking with Kathlene Judd (she/her), theologian-in-residence at Prince of Peace Lutheran in Greensboro, N.C.
Responses have been edited for publication.
What women have inspired you, and why?
My grandmothers, biological and not, inspire me daily. Their love created space for all around them to blossom, including me. I aspire to be a gentle place for all to land and live a life with uninhibited love. Being on the receiving end of that kind of love, in real time on earth, can change the course of life for anyone. I saw firsthand examples of living good news; the only option for me is to keep living it.
How have you seen the role of women in the ELCA change during your time with the church?
I’ve been with the church a few years, and during that time I have seen women navigate leadership with a contagious assurance. I’ve seen women call upon other women to be leaders that otherwise would have been overlooked; a delightful legacy. It’s encouraging to see and one day participate in.
What do you believe are the most pressing issues facing all women today? How can the ELCA help with these causes?
Food insecurity, equitable health care and the impact of those at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality and ability. Listening to the voices of those impacted while investing money in what people need would help. Living and dying at that intersection in dominant American culture means navigating a system that has never considered you whole. By listening and investing in impactful change the ELCA can stand with the God who created each of us in loving all people.
How has your faith impacted your understanding of women’s history and the contributions of women to society?
Some of the most impactful women in history have been the best theologians; however, their gender removes them from the conversation of great religious thinkers. Focusing on theological contributions from people navigating life in specific bodies, the world misses some of the most beautiful voices. As a Black woman I have seen the faith that nourishes my soul shift the world, but only when voiced from a male body. From that lens I’ve intentionally sought those silenced through storytelling and have learned much more than could have ever been anticipated.
What actions do you think the ELCA could take to better support and empower women within the church and in the wider community?
Listen and act.