[Episcopal News Service, by Pat McCaughan] Carrying signs reading “The Episcopal Church is Here” and “The Episcopal Church Cares About This,” the Revd LeeAnne Watkins and other Minnesota Episcopalians joined thousands of marchers in St Paul on Saturday (21 January), sparking “a miserable day of puddles and ice” into the beginnings of a movement.
A day later, Watkins was already heeding the Women’s March movement’s call to continue post-march local action. With the help of a professional facilitator and theatre troupe, St Mary’s Episcopal Church in St Paul hosted an intergenerational forum. It included roleplaying aimed at “elders teaching young people about what it means to respect women,” said Watkins, 50, rector for 18 years.
As elsewhere, the numbers of marchers exploded expectations. In St Paul, for example, Watkins said that while organisers had planned for about 20,000, police estimated the crowd at about 100,000.
“It was joyful and peaceful and fun,” she said. “There were hugs as people recognised one another. There were workplace groups and a lot of young people, people in wheelchairs.
“I went because it was about marching for women . . . the rights of women and girls, about reproductive freedom, about immigrants in our state, about dignity for all people. It wasn’t an anti-march. It was a pro-march for all the values I hold that are informed by my faith.”
She added that: “Everywhere we went, people came up to us and said I’m so glad the Episcopal Church is here. Tell me about the Episcopal Church. To be an Episcopal presence there was really important for us.”
- Read Pat McCaughan’s full in-depth report on the Episcopal News Service website.