Joyce Hollyday is a co-founder and co-pastor of Circle of Mercy, an ecumenical congregation in Asheville, North Carolina. Her most recent book, Pillar of Fire, is a historical novel that celebrates the extraordinary witness of the medieval mystics known as Beguines. She is the author of other several books, including Clothed with the Sun: Biblical Women, Social Justice, and Us and Then Shall Your Light Rise: Spiritual Formation and Social Witness. She was a founding member of Witness for Peace, a grassroots organization committed to nonviolence and led by faith and conscience. She was formerly the Associate Editor for Sojourners. 

Posts By This Author

The Vision That Sustains Us

by Joyce Hollyday 12-01-1990

Healing has come to the community

Paying the Price

by Joyce Hollyday, by Robert E. White 12-01-1990

Former Ambassador Robert E. White remembers the tragedy

Express Yourself

by Joyce Hollyday 10-01-1990

The creativity and joy of the children of Columbia Heights was unveiled in a new mural

Ending the War Against Women

by Joyce Hollyday, by The Editors 08-01-1990
Calling on the Spirit to help end violence against women

On June 3, 1990, the church celebrated Pentecost. Sojourners sponsored Peace Pentecost 1990"Breaking the Silence: A Call to End Violence Against Women." Worship services, vigils, and processions were held throughout the country.

In Washington, DC, we began our service at Luther Place Memorial Church. We followed with a procession to McPherson Square Park. Along the way we stopped four times: at Bethany Women's Shelter, where we focused on domestic violence; at The Washington Post building, where we made a note of the media's silence about incest; at an alley where a homeless woman had been raped; and at a video store whichlike most video storescarries a large selection of pornography. At each stop, we listened to statistics, then offered a litany and a refrain of the song, "O God, Give Us Power."

We concluded our service at the park, where we were moved and empowered by testimonies from survivors of the war against women. A bell was rung every three-and-a-half minutes throughout our service, a powerful reminder that every three-and-a-half minutes a woman is a target of rape or attempted rape in the United States. Below is the reflection offered by Joyce Hollyday at Luther Place Memorial Church.
—The Editors

When the day of Pentecost had come, the apostles were all together in one place" (Acts 2:1). So begins the Pentecost passage. In the verses preceding this one, the apostles are named: Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Thaddeus and Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Matthias, whom the others had chosen to replace their fallen brother, Judas. These men have personalities—we know during the ordeal they have just gone through who was courageous, who doubted, who denied.

And after the list of their names, the scripture tells us they were together "with the women" and Mary the mother of Jesus. These other women have no names. Like most of the women in the record of our faith, these remain marginal, unknown, present but unaccounted for.

Marshmallow Beach

by Joyce Hollyday 08-01-1990
Land "progress" and reflections on family

A black salamander with a bright red stripe the length of its back skittered out from under a rock and headed toward the water. I was walking on "Marshmallow Beach," a narrow strip of pebbles, mud, and small weeds near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, bearing no resemblance whatsoever to its name. My sisters and I had named this stretch of earth bordering Marsh Creek some 30 years ago.

The creek and the seven acres of wooded land surrounding it, owned by my grandfather, were our childhood playground. We spent countless hours climbing the rocks, sending sticks shooting over the rapids of the rushing waterfall, and wading in the creek's shallow, sunny pools filled with minnows.

The large rocks were just as I remembered them. One resembles a whale's back, with a hollowed-out spot where I placed handfuls of grain and birdseed as soon as I was old enough to walk through snow. And the "Old Man of the Falls" remains steadfast, a profile in rock who still grows bushy eyebrows of moss above his sharp nose every summer.

Daffodils form a bright yellow carpet in spring, the children and grandchildren of the first flowers my grandfather planted three decades ago, flourishing as they spread. And the land still holds the delights that he first introduced me to—the mitten-leaved sassafras with its sweet-smelling bark; the myrrh with a halo of seeds and a root that tastes like licorice; the clean white Indian pipes that grow buried under leaves; and the mayapples on the underside of broad plants that look like umbrellas.

Smack Dab in the Middle

by Joyce Hollyday 07-01-1990

The thrill of semi-victory

A Decade of Solidarity

by Joyce Hollyday 06-01-1990

Honoring Oscar Romero ten years later

The Costs of Societal Neglect

by Joyce Hollyday 06-01-1990

Reports on America

'We Shall Not Be Moved'

by Joyce Hollyday 05-01-1990

War tax resistance creates a community of conscience

Breaking the Silence: A Call to End Violence Against Women

by Joyce Hollyday 04-01-1990

Peace Pentecost 1990

Clearing a Path for Lent

by Joyce Hollyday 02-01-1990

Lenten retreat to the countryside

A Deeper Response to AIDS

by Joyce Hollyday 02-01-1990

The quilt for justice and grief

Shielded from Justice

by Joyce Hollyday 01-01-1990

Consider the case of Mary Stone. 

The Language of Friendship

by Joyce Hollyday 01-01-1990

World Council of Churches in Zaire

A Collection of Mustard Seeds

by Joyce Hollyday 12-01-1989

The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith!' 

A Recipe for Change

by Joyce Hollyday 11-01-1989

A bent-over woman with a mantilla draped over her head slowly makes her way down the aisle of the small church. 

Sisters of Dignity and Courage

by Joyce Hollyday 10-01-1989

Rosa Parks stands tall, the light streaming behind her through the window of the bare church, her face a statement of gentle pride.

Courting Discrimination

by Joyce Hollyday 10-01-1989

Just as those "lazy days" of summer descended on the capital city...

Lighting the Torch of Conscience

by Joyce Hollyday 08-01-1989

The sun glistened on the reflecting pool on this clear April morning in Atlanta. In the shadow of the tomb of Martin Luther King Jr., a torch was lit for human dignity and justice.