I wonder who is the woman in the mask staring back at me
The one I know so much about but whom I have never met
She is the person I am not but who want to be
But I can’t until I pay this debt
So strong, so brave, so proud
Staring back at me covered in a blue cage
A veil that hides, all the things my society longs for
I can’t even tell if she is happy, sad, or full of rage
There is no need to search for it anymore
She shows me pieces of whom she really is behind the mask
The woman in the mask’s young life is full of accomplishment
Incomparable to what I have done
But this never fills me with resentment
Just queries by the ton
More and more questions about the woman in the mask
The woman in the mask mystifies me
The woman in the mirror even more so
Note: This poem was inspired by the cover of a book called, Zoya’s Story. I read it for a Women’s Studies class as an undergraduate. It is an autobiography by a woman from Afghanistan. The book was very impactful for me. A link to the image that inspired this poem- http://www.amazon.com/Zoyas-Story-Afghan-Struggle-Freedom/dp/0060097825
The Rev. Shelley Wickstrom, WTS, 1986, was elected bishop of the Alaska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Friday, April 27. Shelley currently serves as Co-ordinator of Region 1 of the ELCA. She has served congregations in Alaska and Montana.
Shelley, a woman with gentle strength and wisdom, brings years of experience in parish ministry, and service in the broader ELCA. She lived in Alaska before her studies at Wartburg Seminary and served bi-vocationally in her first call in Alaska. She will be a blessing in the church in Alaska and bring a clear voice to the public world as bishop on behalf of the church.
The Alaska Synod is 64th out of the 65 synods of the ELCA in membership, but the largest in geographic size. It stretches from the congregation in Shismaref to the congregation in Ketchikan 1400 air miles away. They have the largest and only Inupiat (Alaskan Eskimo) population of the ELCA who make up almost 20% of their baptized membership.
The Reverand Agnes Sigurðardóttir, pastor at Bolungarvík and dean of the Westfjord region (far Northwest Iceland), will be the first woman to serve as bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Iceland. She was elected after the second round of ballots this past week. She will succeed Bishop Karl Sigurbjörnsson, who has served as Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Iceland since 1998. Wartburg Seminary has a number of significant relationships with the Church of IceIand, particularly through Professor Sam Giere who regularly takes students there on J-Terms. He invites holding in prayer sisters and brothers in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Iceland, Bishop Karl, and Bishop-elect Agnes as they continue to walk forward in faith.