AnneMarie Miller dives into a wonderful new resource for those who work in women’s ministry.
Fresh with practical insights and wisdom, Joyful Momentum: Growing and Sustaining Vibrant Women’s Groups, by Elisabeth A. Tomlin (Ave Maria Press 2020) is an approachable and sparkling resource for those who wish to liven up their parish communities. Drawing from her years of work with the Military Council of Catholic Women Worldwide, Tomlin brings together personal stories, reflections on Scripture, and helpful tips for working in women’s ministry. Covering topics like conflict resolution, spiritual charisms, and outreach, this book encompasses many important issues that can arise.
When I initially picked up this book, I wasn’t sure if there would be any benefit for me. I do not currently work in women’s ministry, and I do not feel called to begin a women’s group at church. However, I found much helpful guidance in these pages as I thought about my own role in the Catholic Church as a lay person. While I may not put Tomlin’s advice into practice for a formal group or event, the wisdom in this book has enriched my perspective. Much of what the author said resonated with me, and I especially liked her section on mentorship. I do not hear the topic of mentorship discussed very much, but seeing Tomlin’s thoughts on mentorship and spiritual accompaniment made me wish that we did talk more about mentorship among the laity.
Tomlin makes it clear that working with other people who love God deeply is not always a rosy, happy experience, and I appreciate that she presents a clear image of what working in ministry can look like. As she dives into the struggles and challenges of this work, she discusses ways to prayerfully, graciously, and practically work through difficulties that may arise.
Reading Joyful Momentum helped me see that, while I don’t feel called to lead a “women’s group,” I am still called to be a leader in my parish and community. In both large and small ways, I can -- and should -- bring others to God and do what I can to create a thriving community. Whether it’s reaching out to another woman in the parish or intentionally finding ways to practice the spiritual charisms that God has given me, there are numerous things that I can do to help the Church in small ways. As someone who is very much a beginner on this journey of leadership and community-building, I am grateful that I was able to read and learn from Joyful Momentum.
Copyright 2020 AnneMarie Miller
About the Author
A bibliophile, wife, mother of young children, and lover of the Liturgy, AnneMarie Miller enjoys exploring the manifold—and quirky—ways in which God speaks. She can often be found reading books to her kids, burrowing her toes in the red Oklahoma dirt, or sipping black coffee. Her reflections on Catholicism, literature, and hope can be found on her blog, Sacrifice of Love.