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Women’s Spiritual Leadership Focus of Upcoming Event

September 15, 2013

The Women’s Task Force of CPWR will partner with Women of Spirit and Faith and numerous other faith and interfaith organizations to host a dynamic event this fall. Alchemy: Occupy Your Sacred Self will bring together 240 women November 7-10 at the San Francisco Bay Sofitel. This intergenerational gathering of women from all spiritual and faith perspectives will explore the intersection of women’s transformative leadership and authentic feminine spirituality.

“Alchemy is rooted in a process of listening deeply to women for the past three years,” says Kathe Schaaf, a co-founder of Women of Spirit and Faith and a member of the Women’s Task Force. “We’ve learned so much about what women are longing for, about the passions that guide their service to something larger than themselves. We’re excited about the potential synergy of bringing this remarkable community together to connect, co-create and cross-pollinate.”

Alchemy will offer a unique opportunity for women to both nourish their personal spiritual connections and explore emerging issues at the heart of faith and feminism. Multiple partner organizations will also be invited to explore the potent opportunities as they move beyond networking to collective transformative impact.
“By partnering with Women of Spirit and Faith for this exciting gathering, the Women’s Task Force continues its commitment to new models of mutual support and accomplishment,” said Phyllis Curott. “This kind of collaborative relationship expands organizational resources and impact and generates an inspiring spirit. These were among the wisdom gifts we received at our inaugural event in 2012, attended by over 500 people because of the generous sponsorship of University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel and its Dean, Dr. Elizabeth Davenport, and we are delighted to have yet another opportunity to serve the community that is growing at the nexus of women and interfaith work.”

The innovative design for Alchemy grows from commitment to shared leadership and a profound belief that every woman in the room is equally valued as a leader. Rather than the usual conference structure built around keynote speakers and panels of experts, Alchemy will unfold through a series of circle dialogues designed to invite, harvest and illuminate the wisdom emerging in the room. These generative conversations will be interspersed with breakout sessions and open space designed to invite women to “occupy their sacred selves” – through movement, music, poetry, journaling, meditation, nature walks, rituals and focused discussions on topics of interest to the group.
Like the first Alchemy gathering held in April 2011, this event will actively invite the participation and nurture the leadership of young women leaders. Special events, activities and focused conversations will offer young women an opportunity to explore the issues that matter to them.

Women of Spirit and Faith was born at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne. Over the past three years, the organization has been working to support and nurture women’s spiritual leadership in North America. They have convened a number of retreats and gatherings bringing together women from diverse faith traditions and have expanded the interfaith invitation to include women who are spiritual but not religions, a fast-growing demographic often identified in the media as ‘unaffiliated’ or ‘the Nones’. The co-founders of Women of Spirit and Faith also edited an anthology of women’s spiritual wisdom, Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power published by SkyLight Paths. The book, which features reflections from more than 30 women including CPWR Vice-Chair Phyllis Curott, was honored as one of the Top Ten Religion/ Spirituality books of 2012 by the American Library Association.
Anne Benvenuti, a Trustee of CPWR says, “’If women ran the world, what would it be like?’ a wondering, a longing, a frustration that I have often heard. There is a challenge in it, too. A challenge to move beyond feelings of exclusion and frustration with obstacles, a challenge to be the change we want to see in the world. Can women claim power and voice while being true to their religious and spiritual paths? Yes! Can they find their voices as women, and not just imitate men in order to break into the circles of power? Yes! Women of Spirit and Faith doesn’t just talk about women’s voices, but is a place for women’s voices, for expression of the deepest spiritual longings of women’s hearts, and for the transformation of those longings into creative action. The Women’s Task Force of the Parliament is delighted to join in the journey of Alchemy with Women of Spirit and Faith. “

To learn more about Alchemy: Occupy Your Sacred Self and to register, visit
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