God's Politics

God's Politics

Virginia Lohmann Bauman: Women Standing To Save the World

For many of us, Mother’s Day is now a check mark on the “to-do” list, an “x” on the calendar, a card tucked into a drawer or scrapbook. But before the flowers wilt, I wanted to share the power and witness of thousands of women who stood in silence on Mother’s Day, 2007, to manifest a dream to save the world.

The movement started with a book Sharon Mehdi wrote for her granddaughter called The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering. A quick summary of the story: A busboy who worked in a café whose window faced the public park noticed that two grandmotherly looking women had been standing in the park all day without moving at all and without talking. They were dressed up in their Sunday best, and were just staring at the town hall. He asked the other patrons in the café what they thought the women were up to. Then, a 5-year-old spoke up and said, “One of them is my grandmother and I know what they are doing. They are standing there to save the world.” All of the men in the café hooted and howled and laughed. On his way home the busboy decided to ask the women what they were doing – and sure enough, their answer was, “We are saving the world.” Over dinner that evening the busboy told his parents, and he and his father hooted and howled, but his mother was totally silent. After dinner, the mother called her best friends to tell them. The next morning the busboy looked out the café window and the two women were back, along with his mother, her friends, and the women who had been in the café the day before. All were standing in silence staring at the town hall. Again, the men hooted and howled and said things like, “You can’t save the world by standing in the park. That is what we have armies for,” and, “Everyone knows you have to have banners and slogans to save the world – you can’t do it by just standing in the park.” The next day, the women were joined by the women who were in the café the day before and a number of their friends. The news quickly spread and soon women were standing all over the country. The story ended with women standing in every country throughout the globe; standing to save the world.


Like the women in the story, on May 13, 2007, thousands upon thousands of women in 75 nations gathered in 3,586 different locations and stood to save the world. I was one of those women, along with my mother and my daughter – three generations standing in a little park across from a church in Granville, Ohio, standing to save the world on Mother’s Day. As we gathered in a circle with the other women in town – young, old, babies, and children – one of the grandmothers rang a bell and said:

“Today we will be standing for the world’s children and grandchildren, and for the seven generations beyond them. We dream of a world where all of our children have safe drinking water, clean air to breathe, and enough food to eat. A world where they have access to a basic education to develop their minds, and healthcare to nurture their growing bodies. A world where they have a warm, safe, and loving place to call home. A world where they don’t live in fear of violence – in their home, in their neighborhood, in their school, or in their world. This is the world of which we dream. This is the cause for which we stand.”


The bell again rang at the end of our silent witness. As my young daughter ran to see a friend, I saw my mother wipe a tear. And I knew without a doubt that if she could make it so, we would save the world – for her children, for her grandchildren, and for the seven generations beyond them.

Virginia Lohmann Bauman is a Field Organizer for Sojourners/Call to Renewal. For more information on Standing Women and next steps, see .

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posted May 16, 2007 at 10:45 pm

We did this at a nearby park in my hometown. There were about 15 people–women, girls, boys and men. It felt powerful. I hope to see more reports on it on the web-site soon.

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The Radio Mom

posted May 17, 2007 at 12:32 am

AMEN Sister! Talk Radio For Socially Conscious Moms

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posted May 17, 2007 at 6:58 am

I don’t get it, but I do like the part about being silent.

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Amazon Creek

posted May 17, 2007 at 7:37 am

Loved the story! And it’s a good example of faith being the confident expectation of the things we can’t see.Those women had obvious faith in the God the other people in the cafe couldn’t see. If you don’t have faith in the God you can’t see, yes, it is ridiculous to think sitting in a park staring at the town hall could ever have any effect.

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Mike Hayes

posted May 17, 2007 at 1:54 pm

… We dream of a world where all of our children have safe drinking water, clean air to breathe, and enough food to eat. A world where they have access to a basic education to develop their minds, and healthcare to nurture their growing bodies. A world where they have a warm, safe, and loving place to call home. A world where they don t live in fear of violence in their home, in their neighborhood, in their school, or in their world. This is the world of which we dream. This is the cause for which we stand… . I think Martin Luther King would have been moved to hear of this dream… may it come true, some wonderful day…

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posted May 17, 2007 at 5:18 pm

I agree with the dream, I just don’t see how standing around in a group is going to achieve it. Or maybe I’m missing the point. Call me cynical. Very few of us are called to change the world. But we are all called to change lives in a small community around us. This is where we should start. Stop standing and start acting.

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God's Politics Moderator

posted May 17, 2007 at 7:32 pm

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) This message thread has been visited by a God’s Politics Blog moderator for the purpose of removing inappropriate posts. Click here for a detailed explanation of the Beliefnet Rules of Conduct: which includes: Courtesy and Respect: You agree that you will be courteous to every Beliefnet member, even those whose beliefs you think are false or objectionable. When debating, express your opinion about a person’s ideas, not about them personally. You agree not to make negative personal remarks about other Beliefnet members. You agree not to engage in derogatory name-calling, including calling anyone evil, a liar, Satanic, demonic, antichrist, a Nazi, or other inflammatory comparisons. Disruptive behavior: You agree not to disrupt or interfere with discussions, forums, or other community functions. Disruptive behavior may include creating a disproportionate number of posts or discussions to disrupt conversation; creating off-topic posts; making statements that are deliberately inflammatory; expanding a disagreement from one discussion to another; or any behavior that interferes with conversations or inhibits the ability of others to use and enjoy this website for its intended purposes. Vulgarity: You agree not to display words, information, or images that are vulgar, obscene, graphically violent, graphically sexual, harm minors in any way, exploit images of children, or are otherwise objectionable. Copying Content: Beliefnet discussions are intended for interactive conversation; members are encouraged to express their own ideas in their own words, not to parrot the words of others. You agree not to create posts that consist substantially of material copied from another source. Help us keep the conversation civil and respectful by reporting inappropriate posts to:

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posted May 17, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Sadly, I’m seeing the above moderator message more frequently around here these days. Changing your community is changing the world, by changing something in it. And standing in silent witness is an action. We all have different gifts to give. Because one person’s gift is not what you would have given, that’s no reason to dismiss it. Receive it graciously, as you would want your gifts to be received.

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posted May 18, 2007 at 3:37 pm

Lilou – I think you’re missing my point. I’ll be a little more explicit. If I stood all day in front of my TV at home and watched cartoons and said it was using my gifts to stand witness for all the starving childern, I’d be laughed at. If I moved my TV out to the street corner and did the same thing I’d be laughed at too. If I removed the TV and did the same thing…well you see where I’m going.

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Doug Donley

posted May 18, 2007 at 5:10 pm

You rock, Gini. Keep up the good work. You expressed yourself well and gave out a ray of hope in this world. I’m glad there were 3 generations of you courageous women at the Granville Peace Park. I’m reminded of Sister Helen Prejean’s words when she was complemented on her great faith. She said, “It’s not faith. It’s work.” Keep inspiring us, sister! Doug Donley

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