Women give voice to #MeToo movement at Annual Conference


With a “wailing wall” set up outside the general conference board room in Boise, women – and men – have been giving the opportunity during the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference gathering to lament their own #MeToo stories.

On Friday, female leaders gave voice to this lament with a special moment of worship, through prayer, calling on us to know God’s love and listen intently to the voices of people who have been harmed by sexual abuse, assault and harassment.

Men and women attending Conference wore black on Friday to show their solidarity for this movement and the hope to put an end to this degradation of women.

Rev. Erin Martin, Columbia District Superintendent, said the “dam of long-held silence” broke in 2017 when millions of women’s voices flooded the news and media outlets with their stories of abuse and harassment which they had kept silent for far too long.

There was purpose behind Friday’s prayer.

“We are trying to reclaim Jesus’ message of ‘shalom’ for all people,” Martin said.

Members were given statistics, like a 2007 United Methodist study that found 75 percent of women in the church had been victims of harassment, or a 2018 study which showed 81 percent of all women in the U.S. had experienced abuse, assault or sexual harassment.

“Will you preach the good news to them?” Rev. Julia Nielsen asked, along with several other female presenters.

Martin said 1 in 5 women have been the victims of some form of abuse, assault or harassment.

“Look around, church,” she said. “For every 100 women in your church 20 of them have been violated. Will you preach the good news to them?”

Nielsen said if churches are interested in participating in the #MeToo movement, the group of presenters on Friday have created this downloadable resource guidefor worship services.Congregational+Responsive+Prayer.pdf