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Loren Hague, Intern
King of Peace Episcopal Church
Kingsland, Georgia
July 20, 2005

His hands and His feet
Luke 11:5-10

Tonight we celebrate 4 women who made an exceptional impact on our nation:  Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman.   

Stanton dedicated her life to gaining a voice for women, long denied by both

Church and state.  She led the charge to gain the vote for the

disenfranchised and organized the first Women’s Rights

Convention from July 19-20, 1848 in Seneca Falls, New

York.  She worked with other famous advocates for women’s suffrage, such

as her longtime colleague Susan B. Anthony, as well as notable

abolitionists including Frederick Douglass.  Drawing on her

faith, she worked to rid the nation of deep-rooted

prejudice and helped instigate a movement toward equality. 


Amelia Bloomer, a contemporary of Stanton, worked throughout her life for

the causes of temperance and women’s rights, particularly equality in

education, fair marriage and property laws and dress reforms (it

was she who led the movement away from unnecessarily

binding and heavy clothing for women and toward more practical

fashions…from her we get the term “bloomers”).  She used her paper,

The Lily, as a tool for spreading the word of women’s rights

activism all over the country.


Isabella, as she was called early on in life, was born a slave, owned by a

wealthy Dutchman in New York.  She escaped when she was around

28 years old and spent her days as a traveling evangelist,

working to help the poor and the homeless.  At the age of

46 she gave herself the name Sojourner Truth, stating that she was a

wanderer on earth, and that God was her only master and his name

was Truth.  She had an impressive 6 foot stature and

charismatic presence that made her an effective preacher,

and she spoke to many different congregations about abolitionism and women’s rights. 


Sustained by her faith and encouraged by the story of the Exodus, Harriet

Tubman escaped slavery as a young woman.  Rather than going on

about her own life as a free woman, she traveled back to

Maryland 19 times to lead other slaves to freedom

through the Underground Railroad…all told she helped over 300 people

escape and became known as the Moses of her people.  During the

Civil War she worked for the Union Army as a cook, nurse and

spy and later joined Stanton in the fight for women’s rights.


Individually, these women lived lives of courage, conviction and passion,

each in their own right.  Collectively, they emancipated untold

numbers of people from the bondage of physical and emotional

oppression.  They were liberators and prophets, women

who worked tirelessly to help proclaim the hope of the Resurrection to all

they encountered.  Theirs was a mission for justice and peace in a time

when neither reigned. 


It is easy to feel removed from such experiences, to say that injustices

are merely a part of history.  But, even today, in places not nearly as

far away as we would like, selfish acts are carried out against

God’s children without a second thought for their well

being.  Our world is full of sadness, anger and terror.  Our own communities

are ravaged by  poverty, hunger, prejudice, abuse and neglect.  The

women we celebrate tonight fought against such injustice and

oppression and we are called to continue that fight.  As

individuals living our own quiet lives that call can seem daunting.  How can

we affect change in such a world?  “Ask and you shall receive…seek

and you shall find…knock and the door shall be opened”.  We

have an advocate.  The grace of God was given to us

through Jesus Christ, and by His example we see how to do our work in such

a world.  Love.  Reach out.  Be His hands and His feet in whatever

small ways we know how.  We are called to bring about the joy

of God’s kingdom in our own time…to follow in the

footsteps of ordinary women who through their acts of love became

liberators and prophets.


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