mary-and-elizabethFive miles from my house is the Sisters of Visitation monastery, a cloistered community with only a handful of nuns living and working together. On the front lawn of the monastery is an inspiring statue of Mary and Elizabeth. The two women are portrayed as reaching out to one another, sharing a warm embrace, and telling the good news of their pregnancies. I love this visual–two women coming together to celebrate, encourage, nurture, and care for one another. In this season of Advent, the statue is for me a beautiful reminder of the sisterhood shared by women in ministry.

Earlier this year I spent a week with the sisters at the Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Alabama. I watched and listened as they shared life every day, working and praying, laughing and talking. The sisters in Cullman were for me a beautiful reminder of the sisterhood shared by women in ministry.

In the past few months, since returning from my sabbatical, I have pondered on this idea of sisterhood, and I decided it would become my theme for 2017. I hope to explore more fully what it means for us as women called and gifted by God to be sisters, and I hope to help us build a closer sisterhood–one that will provide community and conversation, encouragement and support for Baptist sisters who are serving God through ministry.

In these last few days before Christmas, my prayer is that we will find ways to share the light and love of Christ with one another, that we will seek to lift up those who have stumbled, comfort those who are hurting, cry with those who are grieving, embrace those who are lonely, and rejoice with those who are happy–after all, isn’t that what it means to be sisters and brothers to one another.

Pam Durso is executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia.