When I was in college I joined a college ministry that told me: “Women can ‘share,’ but they cannot ‘preach. They can teach children and other women out of the Scripture, but they cannot teach men.’” I internalized this. I thought it was heresy for a woman to preach. And ordination was out of the question.
Later, after four of the seven greatest sermons I heard were given by women, I reconsidered. I re-examined the Scripture and found that God made both men and women in God’s image with equal and indistinguishable call and capacity to protect, serve, and cultivate the world.
If that is the case, I wondered, why is it that women in my evangelical universe were only encouraged when we took up as little space as possible—when we were a size 0? When our voices were high and thin and located in our heads, not low and full, located in our bellies? When we spoke without conviction, rather slapped a question mark on the end of every sentence?
It turns out, my experience was not unique.
—Lisa Sharon Harper, author, speaker, activist
Since 1988, it has been CBE’s mission to make Lisa’s experience unique, and ultimately, non-existent. To bring about that vision, CBE is sponsoring Lisa Sharon Harper’s brainchild: the #RubyWoo Pilgrimage, which will take place on Nov 12-16.
"Ruby Who?" you ask.
This past May, a diverse group of evangelical women leaders (African American, Latina, white, Asian American, and Native American) found themselves coalescing in a random Twitter conversation. They shared their struggles, their hopes for the church, examples of empowered evangelical women unafraid to take up space… and their favorite lipstick color—#RubyWoo.
That’s when Lisa Sharon Harper got the idea: “What if these 40 diverse evangelical women leaders boarded one bus for three days and rolled through the intersectional story of women’s struggles for equality in the US? What might God do in (and through) us?” Harper explains: “Ruby Woo is a metaphor—a symbol of the God-ordained power many evangelical women have been trained to hide.”
And so, the #RubyWoo Pilgrimage was born.
The #RubyWoo Pilgrimage will convene in Seneca Falls, NY, making stops in NYC and Philadelphia before culminating with a Hill Visit in Washington DC. Along the way, participants will be immersed in museum and historical site visits, presentations, and dialogue pertinent to significant movements and events in the struggle for women’s rights in the US.
The primary goal of the #RubyWoo Pilgrimage is to convene a space and experience set apart for the transformation of top women leaders within the evangelical stream of the body of Christ, allowing them to reconnect to each other; to the stories and struggles of their foremothers; and to the gospel’s intersections with issues that impact the lives of women, their families, and communities today.
The secondary goal of the #RubyWoo Pilgrimage is to leverage the collective power of evangelical women in partnership with women suffering under the weight of policies that marginalize, exploit, or fail to protect, particularly in the areas of voting rights, immigration, and domestic violence.
The final evening of the pilgrimage, CBE’s Washington DC chapter will host a “listening session,” giving women at the grassroots of the egalitarian movement an opportunity to share their stories and concerns with the pilgrimaging women. Two CBE representatives will join the pilgrimage, serving as ambassadors for CBE and sharing CBE’s award-winning publications with the other women. Stay tuned for updates on this amazing journey of empowering women to empower women!
 “evangelical” refers to those who are in and/or of the evangelical tradition.