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Theme Introduction

Upon rereading our Women and Religion Resolution (within which the International Association of Liberal Religious Women, IALRW, is included), I see our yearning to facilitate peaceful influence. I call the means to that influence, egalitarian complementarity. It is the opposite of controlling, top/down patriarchal ways. It is a way for collaborative partnership when a relationship between two or more persons is based on sharing leadership power. Egalitarian complementarity has flexible “give and take” for idea creation as the situation for action specifically demands.


This decision making exchange naturally determines who assumes leadership through respectful exploration to find who has the best ideas and resources “to do the job.” It’s a liberating process, releasing human potential. Freedom for those involved to act from one’s best self for the good of all is a prerequisite. This attitude comes from each person’s heart and starts with practicing this peaceful process of creative liberation with those closest to us at home. As the ancient Chinese put it, the attitude of peacefulness then can spread to neighbors, cities and nations to finally becoming peace in the world.

... Our Spring 2011 Theme ...

Our W&R work is in the flow of the worldwide coming together for interdependence and freedom. The human evolution of our going to this partnership level of empowerment  makes our W&R movement ever strong.

Helen’s March 14, 2011 Note:  My love letter of concern to all my Japanese IALRW, International Association of Liberal Religious Women, sisters:

A teapot holding tea leaves becomes active with strong essence when the water is added.  I see you “in hot water” and being strong in this time of tragedy.  Today, it’s so hard to know what the escape of radiation from your quake-damaged nuclear plants really will mean for human health.  However what I have witnessed about all of you is the steadfastness of your supportive interdependence and industrious positive energy.  I’m sure that “when in hot water” from the earthquake, each one of you is becoming strong enough “to take it” and give what you can to your people’s struggle.  This vision I carry inspires me to send, daily, my positive vibrations of concerned love.  May you be safe and able to be resilient every step of the way to recovery.  History proves you’ve done it before.  I hold you in my heart dear sisters.

[Details on IALRW members' aid efforts in Japan are on their Facebook group page.]

Egypt’s weaponless January liberation protest connects to WW II’s A-bomb devastation in Japan.

By Helen Popenoe, (written February 21, 2011, but relevant to Japan’s tragedy, today, in its connection to Michiko Tsuchihashi’s mission, described in this report.)

February Article Introduction (followed by early March responses):

If Jeremiah could have looked at Egypt this beginning of 2011, how would he have interpreted the motivation behind the protestors’ movement?  Might they have baked cakes for the Queen of Heaven in their pre-protest communication?  In WOMUUNWEB’S fall issue, I started a series based on my reactions to presentations I heard at September’s conference for the International Association of Liberal Religious Women (IALRW.)  Now, my second report is an opinion piece about Egypt’s strong protest, one minus the violence of warring with weapons.  The weaponless Egyptian January freedom demonstrators’ success ties in with IALRW’s Michiko Tsuchihashi’s unforgettable sharing of her mission in life. 

WOMUUNWEB’s last issue’s report was based on a description of Dolma’s peace education.  Michiko, in her presentation, acknowledged how Dolma’s  good work in India connects with Michiko’s peace work in Japan.

Shirley-GA2009Yes!  Distinguished scholars tell us we humans may have an ancient heritage of partnership and peace.  My hope is that the current uprisings mean that people everywhere are beginning the process of reclaiming that heritage.  Surely we have all had enough of domination and war.  -- Shirley Ranck, author Cakes for the Queen of Heaven

Rev. Dorothy Emerson on rightMaking connections is so important. Women weaving the web of life remind us to connect the difficult past with present struggles and give birth to hope in a more peaceful and just future.

Back in the early 1980s, I remember questioning the traditional mythology presented at my son’s Waldorf school, mythology that told of war as inevitable. Weren’t there any powerful, responsible women who might come up with better solutions to conflict, if they weren’t depicted as eternally weak and shallow? Where were the stories of wise women and men making peace, protecting the web of relationships and life? I was just beginning to learn about goddesses and alternative gender relationships in very early times, so I knew there was more to the story. Maybe changing the belief that war would always exist needed to precede the end of war.