By Kim McKay Allen
As the day for our journey neared, I began dreaming of what it would be like when my WLI cohort of seminary sisters gathered together with the pastoras of Cuba and the community that we might create.
I was praying one morning and thoughts of the Trinity came clearly to my heart and I wrote a prayer in anticipation and expectation of being together as women of God. You may be wondering why I would think of the Trinity when I thought of this gathering of women?
The idea of the Trinity is not new to me. As seminary students we often delve into the deeper meanings and explore the complexity of important theological concepts.
In fact, during my seminary studies, I have discovered a beautiful aspect of God’s character as the Triune God, and it has changed how I see community. The Trinity demonstrates a fluidity of interaction, often compared to a beautiful dance…It is a realization of the synergistic unity and the collaborative nature of God. The Trinity is a beautiful model of what our very own community could look like in this world.
This vision is what I imagined as I thought of gathering in community with my Cuban sisters. The reality of what I experienced was even richer than what I had envisioned.
In our travels we encountered the beautiful and gracious lives of Cuban women who lead the church. Their strength of resilience and perseverance, the creativity and ingenuity of these women inspired me. We made friends easily though we did not speak the same language, yet we still understood one another. The welcome and hospitality were overwhelming as the love of God overflowed in our interactions.
One evening, after a day full of learning, a group of WLI students, leaders and pastoras walked together towards the Malecón in Havana. We stopped at a local shop and drank batidos (Cuban milkshakes) along with other sweet treats. Intermingled in our Spanish and English, was the joy of laughter and sharing life together. For many of us, our week together was brief, yet it seemed like we were meeting up with longtime, cherished friends. How does sweet spirit of sorority happen?
In this week-long collaboration in Havana and Matanzas, we reflected the complexity and unity of the Trinity of God…we are all equal, though we have differing cultures and perspectives, we shared similar struggles and amazing victories.
As part of a learning session on self-care, we assembled into small groups (both WLI students and Cuban pastoras) to discuss the challenges of balancing home, family, ministry, education, and life. Together, we shared in the blessings of comforting one another in grief and heartache, and encouraged one another to reach towards our callings as we fortified each another. There were no barriers, only understanding.
The love of God was tangible in my small group and the beauty of that will be with me always. There is a sweetness of Spirit that happens when a group is of one mind. Words cannot describe its richness and wholeness, as we related together as a cohesive group, as one sisterhood. Our hearts were enriched and our spirits were uplifted.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be together, learn from one another, and collaborate for an even greater good in the world. I am thankful that we will endeavor to continue in sisterhood, where we will walk hand in hand, supporting one other, and reflecting God in a troubled world, and speaking hope to those who may wonder if there is any left. Yes, there is hope. I saw it in the faces of this sisterhood, each time we gathered together in one unified circle, holding hands and praying together in solidarity….We were one.
I am encouraged by the birth of this sisterhood. At the end of one of our sessions, I offered the following prayer to my WLI cohort and Cuban pastoras. We prayed this together for the unity of our meeting, but now I offer it as a prayer of hope for things to come. I will continue to speak this as a blessing of unity to my cherished Cuban and WLI sisters…though we are not geographically together, we are still one.
Oh Blessed Trinity,
Creator, Redeemer, Inspirer
Oh, that we would learn and reflect your collaborative spirit
That we would work together so seamlessly, so unselfishly. (Effortless)
That we would no longer see where we end and another begins.
That we could work in solidarity of mind, effort and spirit. (Synergy)
That our hearts would reel in the beauty of lifting each other up
That our mission and calling would unify us
That we would join hands and walk together
I pray that your love, God, overflows us.
I pray that we will learn to love like you do.
I pray that we will see others like you do.
I pray that we will take action like you do.
I pray that we will be your hands and feet and care like you do.
I pray that we will be unified, just like you are
Oh Blessed Trinity, thank you for revealing to us,
How we can live together as ONE.
Kim McKay Allen is a third-year MDiv student
at Central Seminary in the Women’s Leadership Initiative.
She lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee
and serves as a lay minister seeking ordination,
and as a volunteer chaplain.