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Stories of strength and power

Kjersti Moline, left, and Carolyn Germaine hope to assist women who want to embark on a journey of change through an eight-meeting discussion group titled "Faith Meets Feminism" meeting in Lake Elmo. The group is open to women in the Woodbury area and surrounding region. Staff photo by Andy Blenkush

"Change." It was the buzzword used by Barack Obama is his campaign during the presidential election.

Change is also a concept the discussion group titled "Faith Meets Feminism" hopes to impart in the coming weeks in Lake Elmo.

"I feel like the place where we are now is encouraging a much-needed shift in our culture," theologian Kjersti Moline of Lake Elmo said.

Moline and fellow theologian Carolyn Germaine are hoping to assist women who want to embark on a journey of change with their eight-meeting discussion group.

"I see the whole group as a coming home to one's self," Moline said. "The end product is knowing yourself better, being free enough to speak what matters to you, a freeing up of your voice, connecting with yourself and getting to know who you really are."

The group, being held in Lake Elmo and open to women in the Woodbury area and surrounding region, will delve into eight mythic stories from "Women who Run with the Wolves," a book by Clarissa Pinkoa Estes, and the themes and messages that speak to women.

"I think women just really resonate with the themes that are in these stories," Germaine said. "It's just very clear to me that what these stories offer is a way for women to come to an inner truth in a way that I think is almost impossible to reach."

At each meeting, 13 women will gather to read a different mythic story that deals with themes of wisdom, the duel nature of women, women's intuition, the appreciation of feminine physical power, self-preservation, forgiveness and returning to one-self, among others.

"These stories are 'soul vitamins.' They are like medicine for the soul," Germaine said. "Women start to experience from lack of power to empowerment, from depression to hope, from feeling fatigued and warn to finding their soul's energy and finding clarity in a cloudy place in their life."

Women will explore the stories and their messages through a variety of different activities and "creative expressions," such as discussions, rituals, song, poetry and art. Germaine and Moline who are also trained life-coaches will also be offering coaching sessions to all participants.

"The idea is to look at each of these stories and see how it is speaking to who you are," Moline said. "It's a safe space, a sacred space, to say whatever it is they need to say and delve into whatever they need to delve into."

Germaine has been holding these groups all across the country for the last 10 years and she said they are continuously a success because of how much of a difference these stories can make in a woman's life.

"I gathered a group of women around me and we realized how transformative they were for women's lives," she said. "It's not just about discussing, it's about celebrating these stories."

Germaine and Moline said they are optimistic in women taking the initiative to come to this group, more now than ever, because of the shift the country is taking in both leadership and the hard economic times.

"It is often when life is challenging enough on the outside you finally pause enough to look inward," Germaine said. "I do believe it is that time, and once that happens we are able to step out in life, maybe in a new way, maybe one door closes, but through these stories we tend to see more open doors in front of us."

Faith Meets Feminism meets twice a month, Feb. 5 through May 21, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at 4698 Larkspur Lane N., Lake Elmo. The cost for the group is $200 and this covers the sessions, the book, art supplies, an individual coaching session and the closing ritualistic celebration.

For more information, e-mail or call Kjersti Moline at or (651) 247-7866.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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