Go, Daughter-Take Advantage of This Education
by June Ramage Rogers
Silvia Maria Silva Barbosa (far right) at the Institute
for Theological Education of Bahia (ITEBA), where she serves
as a professor. She works specifically with other young, Afro-Brazilians
studying theology in order to deepen biblical theological thought
From the time
I was young, my mother's faith and struggle has been a critical
point of reference in my life. An illiterate woman from the drought-stricken
northeast of Brazil, she washed other people's clothes in order
to guarantee the basics of life for her family. A special concern
was the education of her children. On my first day of school,
she said to me, 'Go, daughter---take advantage of this education.
I didn't have an opportunity to study and it is my dream that
you will go all the way through university.'"
These words of Silvia Maria Silva Barbosa, a Presbyterian
pastor, professor of New Testament and a graduate student at
the Methodist University of São Paulo, Brazil, provide
only a glimpse of Silvia's motivation to study and serve. The
powerful send-off from her mother, a poor, black, woman mystic,
gave Silvia a passionate desire to study and the courage and
strength she needed to work for a society where she, and others
like her, might be included.
The only one among her four siblings to attend the university,
Silvia received a bachelor's degree in theology and full licensure
in philosophy, thus fulfilling her mother's dream. In 2003, Silvia
completed her studies for a master's degree in theology, with
help from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Global Education
and International Leadership Development Program. "My educational
process," she says, "is planted in the soil of marginalized
communities and . . . has become part of my personal, vocational
and social history."
While at the university in São Paulo, Silvia was the
pastor of a United Presbyterian congregation on the edge of the
city. She also served as the
vice-moderator of the Presbytery of São Paulo, a position
that allowed her to plan meetings that encouraged the development
of self-esteem for women in that presbytery.
June Ramage Rogers is volunteer coordinator of the Ghana
Project, supported by the Women's Ministries Program Area, PC(USA).
Among her many roles in PW, her congregation and her presbytery,
June is worship coordinator for the coordinating team of Presbyterian
Women in Ohio Valley Presbytery.
What is the most urgent and frequent request of Presbyterian
partner churches around the world? "Help us train our leaders
so that they can train entire generations in our church."
More and more of the requests for training come from women.
Since 1950, more than 3,000 leaders of PC(USA) overseas partner
churches have been trained with the help of the International
Leadership Development program in the Worldwide Ministries Division.
This year 45 scholars have been selected---all are in need of
your prayers and support. For a prayer list and to learn how
to support a scholar, contact the Global Education and International
Leadership Development program, 888/728-7228, ext. 5641, or visit
Read more about quest to connect theology
with that lifestyles of women in the January/February 2004 issue
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