former board member Pauline Dongala at "Sounding the River"
at Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center July 2008
photo credit: Paul Paukulis
Harvest Celebration
Last night (November 20) the Women’s Interfaith Institute’s annual Harvest Celebration ended in a crescendo of sound which we offered up to our world and to our own hearts. Starting with the simple sound “ah,” we chimed in with prayers, words of thanks and hope . The chorus of voices continues to resonate within me.
At all of our gatherings, the stories we share and kindnesses we give each other deeply touch me. Last night Rev. Natalie Shiras spoke about her trip to Accra, Ghana where she was to give a sermon and present WII’s gift to a church to build a roof. Natalie was anxious that she was arriving late to give the sermon. She was amazed to be greeted by church members who were just elated that she’d arrived safely, and only wanted to make sure for her and her children’s comfort, insisting that they eat breakfast before any sermon. Natalie spoke of the gratitude of learning to receive. Pauline shared pictures of the group of women in Congo, also recipients of WII assistance, who are starting a sewing cooperative, and spoke of her gratitude in being able to help the women of her country of origin. Reading the first Proclamation of Thanksgiving from just after the American Revolution, Pauline expressed her gratitude and amazement that we live in a country where Thanksgiving is honored and is actually part of our legal system. She helped us all remember something I, for one, have taken for granted. JoAnne created a song with us on the spot: " Gratitude Road," which became a co-creation as we all spontaneously and joyously contributed our personal gratitudes. Many of us spoke of being happy “for life itself. ” Very touchingly, one woman spoke of having always hated her body, and through her serious illness has learned to love it: “ I’ve died and been reborn.” Words of wisdom, honesty and thoughtfulness. I feel tremendous gratitude to be part of our courageous group.
One Woman in Gratitude

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