Remembering RBG and Her Connection to Pauli Murray

It began with young men, beer, and the Honk ‘n’ Holler in Stillwater, Oklahoma. As I tend my grief around the loss of the inestimable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I find it comforting to learn more about her journey to battle gender discrimination. In her role as an attorney for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, Ginsburg worked to support gender equality through the courts.  In 1976 she joined the team representing the suit brought by a young man named Curtis Craig and Caroline Whitener, the female proprietor of the Honk n’ Holler, a bar near the campus of Oklahoma State University.  At the time women were allowed to buy beer at the age of 18, but men not until they reached the age of 21. Knowing she would be arguing before an all-male Supreme Court, Ginsburg understood that winning this battle for men would necessarily advance gender equality for women as well. Learn more about the case here.

Ginsburg’s legal path was deeply influenced by the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, the Black lesbian, Episcopal priest, and legal scholar. In 1971, the “Reed v. Reed” Supreme Court case marked the first time the Equal Protection Clause was applied to sex discrimination, and has served as precedent for many arguments in the ensuing decades. Ginsburg credits Murray’s work as the inspiration for her brief in that case, and put Murray down as honorary co-author.

Both Murray and Ginsburg will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come. “Preach Like Pauli,” this year’s theme for the annual Homegrown Women’s Preaching Festival, scheduled for Oct 15-16, offers an immediate opportunity to learn from and be inspired by Murray. Yale Homiletics Professor Donyelle McCray, currently working on a book about Murray, will offer two lectures to keynote the conference. Workshop sessions also address ongoing themes of discrimination, as session topics include ableism and disability activism, and decolonizing racist worship practices. Register here.

The chance to learn more about Murray makes this conference fertile ground for both lay women and clergywomen. All of us can deepen our understanding and find inspiration and tools to better address systemic racism in our society.

Pauli Murray, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Harvard University

We are deeply grateful for the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and for her clever and systematic application of the work of Pauli Murray to advance gender equality. Please join in community with us at Homegrown to mourn, to honor, and to be inspired.

2020 Homegrown Schedule and Workshop Descriptions Now Available!

Donyelle McCray, Yale Homiletics Professor

Join us for HOMEGROWN, a gathering for women who preach and women who value women’s preaching. We will meet virtually this year to learn, commune, and recharge with each other.


As our country struggles with the dual crises of the pandemic and widespread racism, we look this year to the legacy of preacher, lawyer, and writer Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray to provide inspiration for our time together. As a historian, attorney, poet, activist, teacher and Episcopal priest, Pauli Murray worked throughout her life to address injustice, to give voice to the unheard, to educate, and to promote reconciliation between races and economic classes. Her insights and vision continue to resonate powerfully in our times.


Keynote speaker Donyelle McCray (Homiletics professor, Yale Divinity School), currently working on a book about Murray, writes about the ways African American women and lay people use the sermon to play, remember, invent, and disrupt.


Other preachers and presenters include Nicole Williams, Karen Ziegler, Grace Hackney, Angie Hong, Maddy Reyes, Margie Quinn, Chelsea Yarborough, and Deborah Williams. They will offer sessions on on disability activism, Sabbath life, decolonizing racist worship practices, and more. Check here for the full schedule.

Homegrown 2020! October 15-16! Register Now!

Mark your calendar and plan to join us October 15-16, 2020 for the 9th annual Homegrown: NC Women’s Preaching Festival.

We are honored to present Donyelle McCray as our keynote speaker this year. McCray is currently working on a book about Pauli Murray, and will offer two sessions illustrating her relevance to our struggles today. This year’s preachers and presenters also include  Chelsea YarboroughKaren Ziegler, Deborah Williams, Grace Hackney, Maddy Reyes, Angie Hong, Nicole Williams, and more to be announced! Check out the full schedule here!

Our Vision: We believe hundreds of clergywomen in North Carolina are faithfully and creatively engaging in ministries where they proclaim the Word of God, week after week. In an ecumenical spirit of love and collegiality, we will lift up the voices of local clergywomen to encourage and inspire; share and learn; and to hone our craft. Together we will hear wonderful preaching from conference attendees and have time for casual group conversations on the art of proclamation in all its forms. We will pray, worship, and celebrate together.

In addition to an incredible line-up of presenters, we are excited about the gifts and wisdom, joys and challenges that each of you bring to this festival every year. In addition to the workshops and worship, we will offer several opportunities for being in communion with each other. Learning in community for two days, even virtually, is the heart of who we are. We hope you will plan to join us!

Learn more about the festival:

Cost: $75 – Regular price ticket and help someone else attend
          $50 – Regular price ticket
          $25 – Limited income/student

Questions? Contact RCWMS:

Register: HERE.
Zoom links for Homegrown will be sent in October prior to the event. Individual workshop registration details will be available once we finalize the schedule.

Homegrown 2018: Her Voice Through the Generations

Registration Coming June 25! Early bird cost $50 through August 30, Student rate $10.

It’s time to make plans to join us from 1:00 pm October 25 – 4:00 pm October 26 at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church in Durham, NC. Click HERE for the preliminary schedule.

From an opening reception, to vibrant worship, to insightful workshops, to intentional conversations we will live into our theme “Her Voice Through the Generations” as we honor the voices of the generations of women that began at the empty tomb and continue through today.

Our featured preachers and presenters include people like Rev. Yvonne Delk, the first African-American woman ordained in the United Church of Christ, and Rev. Jerusha Neal, Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Duke Divinity School.  These women and others will be highlighted here in the weeks to come.

While we aren’t really about big names, fancy titles, or “experts,” we are about academic study, the creative arts, diversity, intentional relationships, and preaching.  Mostly, we are about YOU! The gifts and wisdom, joys and challenges, you bring to this festive learning community for two days are the heart of who we are. We hope you will plan to join us!

Survey on Women’s Preaching Experiences

Kelli Hitchman-Craig, third year MDiv student at Duke Divinity School and United Methodist, is exploring the topic “Preaching While Female” in a Directed Study course this semester. As part of her work,  she is surveying women preachers from a wide variety of denominations, settings, and generations, and we invite you to add your voice to the work.

The survey will take less than ten minutes to complete and is completely anonymous. Click HERE to complete the survey.