Anna M. Jackson, co-pastor of Second Reformed Church in Hackensack, New Jersey, was the featured speaker at the 2021 Women’s Stories Day, held on Saturday, March 13, 2021, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Jackson, who is the 2020-2021 Hazel B. Gnade Fellow in RCA Women’s Studies at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, presented “Like Trees Planted By the Water: RCA New York City Black Women Lay Leaders of the 1950s-1970s,” her study of matriarchs in Black RCA congregations and the larger church in the 1970s and 80s. There were a large number of Black women, even more so than in other RCA congregations, who were not ministers of the Word and Sacrament but who took leadership for their congregations, in denominational settings, and even on the world stage—with the struggle against Apartheid—during these pivotal years. Jackson plans to look at the work they did, and conducting oral interviews with several of the woman and people who knew them.
Sharon Atkins, pastor of Bethany Memorial Reformed Church in New York City and the new president of the RCA African-American Black Council, was our devotional leader. A native of Montego Bay, Jamaica, she was raised in Brooklyn and has been an active member of the RCA since her youth.
There was also information about other storytelling projects going on in the RCA and how participants from this conference can help make those reality.
Women’s Stories Day has been hosted by the Reformed Church Center at NBTS and the RCA Office of Women’s Transformation and Leadership annually since 2016.