“Prophets In Every Generation”
The 2016 Christian Feminism Today Gathering
Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets.
Wisdom of Solomon 7:27 NRSV
June 23-26, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana
“The Gathering was an incredibly empowering, holy, enriching, transformational time together. The threads of friendship, support, challenge, enlightenment, love, kindness, humor, music, sharing meals, affirming one another and being affirmed were woven together in a tapestry full of rich and varied color and texture, Moments, voices, faces come to mind during the day now.”
Linda Williams, CFT member
- Gathering Reflections
- Letha's Welcome Letter
- Virginia's Letter
- In Memoriam
- Plenary Presenters
- Student Presenters
- Workshops & Worship
- Gear Store
2016 CFT Gathering Reflections and More
Developing A Divine Feminine Version (DFV) of the New Testament
Mark M. Mattison’s presentation transcript.
Christian Feminism for the 21st Century
Cherice Bock’s Gathering presentation transcript.
Biblical Feminists Shake It Up
by Anne Eggebroten (report from the Gathering)
“Embracing the Other,” presentation by Grace Ji-Sun Kim at Christian Feminism Today Gathering
by Jann Aldredge-Clanton (on her blog)
“Lady Wisdom and Her Prophets,” presentation by Reta Halteman Finger at Christian Feminism Today Gathering
by Jann Aldredge-Clanton (on her blog)
“Making Peace,” presentation by Austin Channing Brown at Christian Feminism Today Gathering
by Jann Aldredge-Clanton (on her blog)
“If Eve Only Knew: Finding Hope in the Midst of Change,” workshop facilitated by Kendra Weddle Irons and Melanie Springer Mock at Christian Feminism Today Gathering
by Jann Aldredge-Clanton (on her blog)
“Inclusion as Prophetic Action: Creating Spaces Where All Are Welcome,” workshop facilitated by Alicia Crosby at Christian Feminism Today Gathering
by Jann Aldredge-Clanton (on her blog)
Prophets in Every Generation
by Kendra Weddle Irons (below)
The Energy of Life and Hope… In Indianapolis!
by Mary Rudy (below)
Prophets in Every Generation
by Kendra Weddle Irons
My college professor taught me to care deeply about the Old Testament prophets. It wasn’t so much what we read, but how I saw how much the prophets—Amos, Hosea, Jeremiah, and Isaiah, just to name a few—affected him on a personal level. Whoever they were and whatever they conveyed, they had reached deep within him so much so that when we were gathered circled around him in that old, dusty third-floor classroom, he seemed to me to be prophetic, too.
Before then, I had pretty much believed what my conservative pastors and youth leaders had taught me: the Old Testament prophets pointed toward the end of the world. What they taught was about what is yet to come. Their message was about the future and therefore, it didn’t much apply specifically to our current situation.
As it turned out, my earliest teachers were wrong. The Old Testament prophets spoke not only to their current social context, but to ours, too. Their message was one that stood against the prevailing ideas of the day where the majority took their plenty for granted and shunned their responsibility to care for the neediest among them. So, it isn’t difficult to realize, that American society today is essentially in the same boat: we have worshiped at the altar of consumerism and thereby disregarded our accountability to take care of those in our society who are most at risk: the poor, sick, immigrants, LGBTQ persons, and countless others who we often label as “other.”
So, I was glad when EEWC-CFT decided to have “Prophets in Every Generation” as our theme for the 2016 Gathering. Taken from the Wisdom of Solomon, our conference verse reads: “Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things, in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets.” Of course, those familiar with theologian Elizabeth A. Johnson will recognize the phrase “Friends of God and Prophets” as the title to one of her books where she draws inspiration from the image of a circle of companions inspired by the Spirit Sophia. In her book, she brings into dialogue ancient Christian Scripture and writings with contemporary insights of people working in mutual relationships for greater justice and wholeness.
EEWC-CFT is one of these circles of companions.
As Letha Dawson Scanzoni—one of our founding members—writes in her “Welcome Letter” to the 2016 Gathering, we have a long history of being evangelical (promoting good news for all people) as well as ecumenical (reflecting our rich diversity, including LGBTQ persons, even when this wasn’t as accepted as it is becoming today). Too, we are committed to equality for all people, believing that God’s gifts are not given through roles but through individual gifts to be developed and celebrated. We strive to show empathy, to create an atmosphere of acceptance and love. We are educated and enjoy being challenged by what we learn. In our Gatherings and our literature, for example, we refer to the great multiplicity of images and names for God because we realize that as we learn about gender fluidity, this teaches us more about God, our Divine Mother and Father and in-between. We seek to empower all people, recognizing how limiting patriarchy has been and continues to be. But, rather than fall into victimization, we seek to inspire people to work for justice. Finally, we know first-hand that prophetic circles are not always very large numerically. But we are okay with our smallness because we know that we are part of the “broadening vision of the Holy One and the work She has entrusted us to us.”
Our 2016 Gathering held in Indianpolis June 23-26, 2016, was indeed, all that Letha suggested in her “Welcome Letter.” Over the next days and weeks, you may see further writings about aspects of this conference. Our hope is that as you learn more about us, you’ll find we are radically committed to being and birthing prophets in every generation and that you may want to join with us in this grand adventure.
The Energy of Life and Hope… In Indianapolis!
by Mary Rudy
I have completed the experience of first meeting you, and figured out how to navigate the energy field that we create together, and am stunned at the gift you all are to me and to the world.
It’s fitting the gathering was held in Indianapolis, a city with a rich history of feminism.
May Wright Sewall, Indianapolis’s own “suffragette,” worked directly with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. She was a leading social activist for women’s rights, and an active participant on the world stage for peace and gender equality. She contributed to women’s education, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Children’s Museum, and much more.
Indianapolis is home to a living jewel of Christian feminism, Rev. Dr. Sue Webb Cardwell, a woman of firsts. She was the first female student at Indianapolis’s Christian Theological Seminary. She went on to become the seminary’s first woman professor, she helped create their pastoral counseling center, and she later became the first woman president of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. She is 98 now, and many alums of Christian Theological Seminary attest that, just by knowing and working with her, their lives (and mine) have changed.
I want you to know her, and she is astounded that CFT exists.
For these reasons and many others, I am so happy to have met all of you here in Indianapolis, a city I love. You are welcome here as family, and you are invited to come back for fun and spiritual growth any time you can.
Over 2000 years ago, Jesus wrote a new chapter in history, breaking the power of the thought-form of sexual domination. Christians have been developing our brains and our stories to live into that reality ever since. We continue the work of living into this new chapter, into the deep truths and treasures of the Gospel, a new story in which no one treats women and children and nature in an abusive, intrusive way.
As we closed our time together, I asked myself, what will Godde do through us now? I think we will work together to continue to see and hear the Gospel anew, I think we will drink deeply from the well that springs eternal within, the Living Water, and I think we will put on the New Self in Christ, and walk proudly.
I could sense the energy of life and hope when we were together. And I felt reborn.
Letha’s Welcome Letter
The 2016 CFT Gathering program included this welcome letter written by one of the organization’s founders, Letha Dawson Scanzoni.
Welcome to the 2016 Gathering of the Evangelical & Ecumenical Women’s Caucus-Christian Feminism Today! We’re so glad you’re here—whether you’re attending for the first time or back again after many times.
Some of you weren’t yet born when our organization formed in 1974. You may wonder what to expect from a group that began so long ago. Others, remembering a time when most people considered the words “Christian” and “feminism” incompatible, may wonder what this organization has to say to today’s
changing world. Have we kept up so that we can speak to the challenges of 2016 and beyond?
Some of you may be concerned about the word “evangelical”— part of our official name. It meant “good news” when the Evangelical Women’s Caucus (EWC) was incorporated but has now become a victim of identity theft by the religious right, which has appropriated it as a political tool for promoting “bad news” for women, LGBTQ people, immigrants and refugees, poor people, people of color, and the earth itself as our planet suffers the effects of climate change.
Twenty-six years ago, at one of our biennial conferences, I presented a plenary address titled “Back to the Future: Forward to the Dream.” At that 1990 gathering in Chicago, we would be voting on whether to add another “E” to our name, changing it from the “Evangelical Women’s Caucus” (EWC) to the “Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus” (EEWC) to reflect the greater religious diversity of our membership. (Currently, we often use the organization’s “doing business as” name, Christian Feminism Today, or EEWC-CFT.)
But leading up to that 1990 conference was the concern of some people that our organization was changing too fast from its original vision of women’s equality in the home, church, and society—that we were getting involved in too many additional justice causes and driving other Christians away. The most controversial of these justice concerns had been our 1986 resolution supporting civil rights for
homosexual persons. We had lost many members over that resolution, particularly because we acknowledged that our membership included a small number of lesbians. Such opposition to our standing up for fairness and justice seems so absurd now. But there were serious consequences, making us outcasts in some Christian circles.
And so, in my 1990 speech, as our organization was acknowledging our expanding vision once again by adding another “E” to our name, I pointed out that since we seemed to show a penchant for the letter “E,” I would “use alliteration to compose a variation on an ‘E’ theme.” It would show that EWC’s vision has always been one of equality, empathy, education, empowerment, and expansiveness.” And it is this same constellation of five “E’s” that I want to share as we think about another “E,” expectations.
Expectations: What we hope you’ll experience at this 2016 gathering
Equality. You can expect an emphasis on equality here because we’re convinced that roles and responsibilities in the church or any other religious body should not be assigned according to gender but based on the gifts and calling the Spirit has given to individuals. We’re also called to practice a spirit of equal respect and mutuality in all our human relationships, which we trust you’ll sense here. We strive to follow what Jesus said about not lording it over others or judging anyone, remembering we’re all siblings together in the family of God. We want this gathering to be a safe place where you can feel at ease.
Empathy. Many of you have come to this gathering with heavy hearts, longing for someone to listen and understand. You may be experiencing physical or emotional pain. Maybe you’re grieving someone you loved. You may be facing financial distress. Perhaps you’re trying to decide what to do about a relationship that appears to be ending or has turned abusive. Maybe your children are facing difficulties, or you have decisions to make about aging parents. Perhaps you’ve lost your job and aren’t sure where to turn next. You may be struggling with personal issues of faith, or sexual orientation, or career choice. Maybe you’re lonely. We trust you’ll feel accepted here just as you are, knowing you’re loved by people who care and empathize. EEWC-CFT is a place where deep friendships are formed, many of them lasting a lifetime. We’re also a group that prays for each other and keeps in touch through a group email list.
Education. We like to learn and aren’t afraid to ask questions and even express doubts, so you can expect to find your mind stimulated by what you learn at this conference. We’ve been a studious bunch from the beginning, caring about serious scholarship in biblical studies, theology, hermeneutics, and other areas of the humanities, as well as the social, behavioral, and physical sciences. We believe in integrating our faith and our intellect, loving God with both heart and mind. That’s why we feature workshops and speakers who stretch our minds as well as warm our hearts. We’re exposed to new ways of thinking about the Bible, the world, and God, including biblically-based new names and images for the Divine, reminding us that God is beyond gender classifications and that referring to our Creator as She is just as biblical as the traditional He.
And in view of new understandings of gender fluidity and a gender continuum, we may gain new language and understandings about each other as well. Learning is empowering.
Empowerment. From its beginning, this organization has stressed empowerment. We’ve encouraged each other to be all we’re meant to be, not held back by assigned roles, assumptions, attitudes, and actions of a patriarchal system that limits and restricts. We hope this gathering will help you feel empowered to find your voice and use it, unafraid to be assertive, to confront bigotry, to stand up against discrimination, and to channel your anger against injustice by working for change.
Expansiveness. This final “E” word is not primarily about numerical growth, although we do want our message to reach as many people as possible and hope to see EEWC-CFT grow. But it’s also about not letting our minds and hearts shrivel into complacency but rather opening them ever wider to a broadening vision of the Holy One and the work She has entrusted to us.
So we hope each of you will approach this gathering expectantly, enjoy your experience
enormously, and leave here energized!
—Letha Dawson Scanzoni
A founding member of EEWC-CFT
Former editor of Christian Feminism Today
Conference program team volunteer
Virginia’s Letter, “True Minds”
The 2016 CFT Gathering program included this letter from one of our founding members, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, to the next generation of Christian feminists.
Dear Younger Christian Feminists:
Warmest greetings to all of you who were able to attend the 2016 gathering of Christian Feminism Today! And if you are under 84 years of age, be assured that, from my angle of
vision, you are the younger generation. And this is my message to you.
My favorite Shakespeare sonnet is number 116, which begins, “Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments.” Shakespeare has borrowed the word Impediments from the Anglican wedding service, where the officiant asks the witnesses to “speak now or forever hold their peace” if they are aware of any impediments to the marriage. But Shakespeare is not writing exclusively about weddings based on physical attraction. No; his focus is on “the marriage of true minds.”
What does it mean to form a lasting connection between and among true minds? I would define it this way: the people involved sense the eternal oneness that is created within them and between them by “the Spirit that flows through all things” (Wordsworth’s phrase). They are able to feel what others are feeling because the Spirit has enlightened their sympathetic imaginations, a universal empathy that does not value anyone more than anyone else but rather honors the sanctity of every thing and every being—female, male, cisgender, transgender, whoever, whatsoever. And in that sense, by the authority vested in me by my 84 ½ years of living, I hereby pronounce the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus a collective marriage of true minds.
As such, we call ourselves feminists, but not because we think women are superior to men, or that feminine women are better than masculine men, or for that matter better than queer people or people of any other variety. We are feminists because we are universally egalitarian, and because girls and women have been for centuries excluded from “equal justice for all.” In other words, we took the name of the marginalized and exploited gender only in order to expedite the justice that would ensure decent minimum wages, equal pay for equal work, opportunity for religious and political leadership, freedom of reproductive
control, and the like.
Rather than cringing from the label feminist, you younger feminists will (I hope) continue to use the term to correct erroneous assumptions about its meaning. Just as “Black lives matter” does not mean that white lives don’t matter—only that, to date, black lives have not been cherished equally along with all other lives—in the same way, feminism does not exalt some people above others but instead pushes toward universal and equal justice. Of course we could call our Christian feminist movement Christian humanism; but that would be like substituting “All lives matter” for “Black lives matter.” It is important to name specifically those who have been marginalized in order to end that trivialization. Female lives matter. Black lives matter. Queer lives matter. Only by insisting on naming unjust exclusions can we hope to do away with these exclusions.
For this reason it is vital that you younger feminists continue to challenge Christian congregations to speak of God as our Mother, Sister, Friend, Beloved, She Who Is, both male and female and neither male nor female. Frequently! Such insistence does not imply that “If God is female, then females are God,” as our sister Mary Daly rightly declared about men and exclusively androcentric God-language. No; we lift up female, trans, and neuter God-language in order to raise the formerly excluded images to a healthful and balanced inclusion in our imaginations. In this way we honor girls and women and transpeople and the natural environment on an equal basis with the androcentric bias that has supported male supremacy for centuries. Our only “bias” should honor universal equality!
Make no mistake: if Christian pastors and priests refuse to use inclusive God-language, they do not sincerely care about justice for every body and every thing. Language is free, whereas fair practices entail a great outlay of energy and money, and for some, a significant yielding of previous power. So if Christian leaders will not make use of inclusive God-language to the degree that it becomes “usual” and “everyday,” they are
denying the importance of the Bible’s gendered symbolism. Either from sheer ignorance or stubborn bigotry, they are actively denying equality and blocking universal justice. We cannot give up until the Divine Presence is honored as truly omnipresent.
Shakespeare’s sonnet 116 asserts that “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds / Or bends with the remover to remove.” So when you younger feminists encounter disagreements within your ranks, I hope you will continue cherishing your connectedness until you can reach a fair and workable consensus. Like the stars that provide guidance for ships at sea, our Christian feminist commitment can keep our “marriage of true minds” steady and “on course.”
I love you and wish I could be with you. But part of old age is learning to “let go” gracefully. And I am hugely thankful for the younger leaders who have sprung up to take the place of the leaders from my generation. At one time, years ago, feminists shied away from leadership, as if it always implied inequality. But it implies no such thing as long as opportunity remains open to all who are willing to do the work that leadership requires. I thank God for each of you who have demonstrated that willingness!
Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Ph.D., D. Min. (honorary) is listed in Who’s Who in America. She is the author of 14 books, including Women, Men, and the Bible (1977), Omnigender (2001), and The Divine Feminine: Biblical Imagery of God as Female (1983) and is a founding member of EEWC-CFT and plenary speaker at many gatherings.”
We included a section in the gathering program celebrating the courageous Christian feminists and social justice advocates who were an important part of EEWC-CFT.
David Abbott (1940–2011) David was a Presbyterian pastor, a long-term, devoted member of EEWC-CFT, and a founder and faithful supporter of the Michigan chapter of EEWC-CFT. After graduating from Yale Theological Seminary, he served a number of congregations in southeast Michigan. He was also a psychologist and counselor. An issue of EEWC Update in 1996 featured men in EEWC, including David.
Helen Bray-Garretson (1952–2012) Helen was a member of the Boston chapter from the earliest years of EEWC-CFT. She served as coordinator of EWC from 1984 to 1986 and presented workshops on issues in psychology at our national conferences. She also helped to prepare our mission statement. After graduating from Harvard University in 1975, she earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Boston University and worked in private practice as a child psychologist, specializing in severe emotional and behavioral problems. Her book Chaotic Eating: A Guide to Recovery was published by Zondervan in 1992 with coauthor Kaye Cook.
Margo Goldsmith (1919–2010) Margo was a philanthropist, real estate investor, and long-time EEWC member. She made a number of generous donations to EEWC over the years, enabling it to survive while other early feminist organizations dissolved. At age 58 she returned to college, earning a B.A. and then an MA in marriage and family counseling at Azusa Pacific University near Los Angeles. In 1981 she cofounded a counseling and advocacy program called Stop Abusive Family Environments (SAFE) at Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Psychology in Pasadena and worked as a counselor in the program. She offered to fund chairs for women professors in the mid-1980s at Fuller, but the seminary’s president turned her down. Instead she became the founding donor of a Women’s Studies in Religion program at Claremont Graduate University and endowed a chair in that program. Feminist scholars there are making a lasting impact on religious understanding and gender inequality world-wide.
Nancy Hardesty (1941–2011) Nancy was a founding member of EEWC in 1974 and a coauthor with Letha Dawson Scanzoni of All We’re Meant To Be: A Biblical Approach to Women’s Liberation (1974). In the 50th anniversary edition of Christianity Today magazine, their book was ranked 23rd of the top fifty books that had influenced the evangelical Christian movement over the last half century. Nancy worked tirelessly in the first few years of EWC’s growth and continued to serve on the Council many times over the next 37 years. She earned her B.A. at Wheaton College in 1963 and then an M.A. in journalism at Northwestern University. In 1963 she earned her doctorate in the history of Christianity at the University of Chicago, working under Dr. Martin E. Marty. She met Letha while working as an assistant editor at Eternity magazine. She taught in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Clemson University in Clemson, SC, from 1988 until her death. Her books in addition to AWMTB include “Your Daughters Shall Prophesy”: Revivalism and Feminism in the Age of Finney (1991), Great Women of Faith (1980), Women Called To Witness: Evangelical Feminism in the 19th Century (1984), Inclusive Language in the Church (1987), and Faith Cure: Divine Healing in the Holiness and Pentecostal Movements (2003).
Marillia Hinds (1920–2013) Marillia was a passionate feminist and member of the Indianapolis chapter of EEWC-CFT. She served on Council, attended EEWC conferences, and frequently wrote letters to the editors of newspapers commenting on inequalities for women. One of her formative experiences was when, at 9 years old, she was taken by her grandmother to see a 15-year-old friend lying in a casket; the girl had died during a pregnancy. Marilla also witnessed two at-home abortions during the 1930s by women who had not had access to birth control. She became a strong advocate for women’s rights and shared these early experiences in Abortion: My Choice, God’s Grace edited by Anne Eggebroten (1994).
Dorothy Meyer (1930–2016) Dorothy was an advocate for women’s equality, an ardent member of EWC, and founding leader of the Greater Boston chapter of EWC. She taught at Wellesley Junior High school and served as president of the Massachusetts Teacher Association, later becoming a professor of education at Newton College and then the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. We are also grateful to her for organizing the sixth plenary EWC conference “Free Indeed, the Fulfillment of Our Faith” in 1984 at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.
Evelyn M. Monahan (d. 2015) Evelyn served in the Women’s Army Corps 1961–67 as a corpsman and psychiatric technician. She earned her doctorate at Georgia State University and her M.Div. in theology and ethics at Emory University, where she met Nancy Hardesty and became her partner late in life. Evelyn served in the Department of Veterans Affairs 1980–96 and interviewed women veterans to coauthor a number of books with major publishers, including And If I Perish: Frontline US Army Nurses in World War II (Alfred. A. Knopf, 2004) and A Few Good Women: America’s Military Women from World War I to the Wars in Irag and Afghanistan (Penguin-Random House, 2011).
Kathryn Klassen Neufeld (1943–1995) Kathryn served as EEWC’s coordinator in 1984 and 1985, and planned the Fresno conference in 1986. She was a licensed psychologist who specialized in suicidology. During the 1960s and 1970s, she served with the Mennonite Central Committee in Nigeria and Zambia. After her divorce, she lived in Santa Fe, NM, with her partner, the Reverend Patricia Moore.
Kathryn Pigg (1939–2016) Kathy was an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and served in a number of churches. She died in February in Harrisonburg, VA, where several EEWC members attended her service and Letha Dawson Scanzoni spoke. Kathy’s art has been displayed in a number of galleries; she helped to plan the Norfolk conference and provided the open art studio for members to relax and do arts & crafts during the Charlotte conference. Her poems, articles, and reviews were often featured in EEWC Update/CFT, and she was especially known for her “Meditation on a Pedicure” in the July–September 2008 issue of CFT and reprinted on the CFT website. This piece was in part a reflection on aging and dying.
Audrey Price Audrey was a member of the Albany chapter in the earliest years of EWC and helped to write our bylaws in 1978. She was very active in the League of Women Voters in Albany, NY, and kept her EWC chapter informed on LWV efforts to win ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. There’s a memorial scholarship in her name at Asbury College near Lexington, KY.
Faith Sand (1939–2015) Faith was a member of the Southwest chapter of EEWC-CFT for many years and hosted the annual Epiphany party. She graduated from Wheaton College in 1961 and then served in the mission field in Brazil for 15 years. Moving to Pasadena, CA, she founded Hope Publishing House and earned an M.A. in Missiology from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Ruth Schmidt (1930–2010) Ruth wrote one of the earliest articles on the need for equality of women and men in the church: “Second-Class Citizenship in the Kingdom of God” published in Christianity Today in 1971. She chaired the committee that wrote EWC’s Bylaws in 1978 and chaired the business meeting in Pasadena, CA, where they were adopted. She was a founder of the Albany, NY, and Boston chapters of EWC, and served on EWC’s first Council formed in 1978. She always worked for peace and for women’s empowerment. In 2004 she attended EEWC’s conference in Claremont, CA. After earning a doctorate in Spanish from the University of Illinois, she taught at several universities before completing her career as president of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.
David Scholer (1938–2008) David served as professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena 1994–2008. He joined EWC in the 1970s soon after it was founded and remained a member after EWC took its pro-gay stance in 1986. He taught “Women and Ministry in the New Testament and the Church Today” for 26 years at four seminaries, personally mentoring many women students and friends as they became pastors. Ordained in the American Baptist Church in 1966, he earned his doctorate at Harvard Divinity School. He worked against and publicly debated the idea that “women should be silent in the churches,” still held by the Southern Baptist Convention, and he contributed to EEWC-CFT’s publications. See his article “My Fifty-Year Journey with Women in Ministry in the New Testament and in the Church Today” (CFT, 2006). In 2004 EEWC honored him for 32 years of service to biblical feminism. He is survived by his wife Jeannette, also a long-term member.
Margaret Sparling Terpenning (1952–2013) Margaret was a physician in Ann Arbor, MI, and beloved of Fran Mayes, long-term council member of EEWC-CFT. Margaret taught at the University of Michigan School of Medicine and chaired the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Care department at Ann Arbor VA Hospital. She attended several EEWC conferences and provided support in a slip-and-fall accident at one of them. She reviewed Growing Old in Christ for our print publication years ago. She suffered a stroke in 2009 that led to her death in 2013.
“Singing Justice and Peace” – Friday at 7:30 pm
Jann Aldredge-Clanton is an ordained minister, author, teacher, and chaplain. She currently serves as adjunct professor at Perkins School of Theology and Richland Community College, Dallas, Texas. She also serves as co-chair of Equity for Women in the Church, Inc., on the Dallas Workers’ Rights Board, and on the council of Evangelical & Ecumenical Women’s Caucus-Christian Feminism Today (EEWC-CWT).
A native of Louisiana, Jann received the B.A. degree from Louisiana Polytechnic University, the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Texas Christian University, and the M.Div. from Southwestern Theological Seminary.
She is the author of She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World (Skylight Paths Publishing, 2014); Earth Transformed with Music! Inclusive Songs for Worship (Eakin Press, 2015); Changing Church: Stories of Liberating Ministers (Cascade Books, 2011); Inclusive Hymns for Liberation, Peace, and Justice (Eakin Press, 2011); Seeking Wisdom: Inclusive Blessings and Prayers for Public Occasions (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2010); Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians (Eakin Press, 2006); Breaking Free: The Story of a Feminist Baptist Minister (Eakin Press, 2002);In Search of the Christ-Sophia: An Inclusive Christology for Liberating Christians (Twenty-Third Publications, 1995; Eakin Press, 2004); Imagine God! A Children’s Musical Exploring and Expressing Images of God (Choristers Guild, 2004); In Whose Image? God and Gender (Crossroad, 1990, 2001); Praying with Christ-Sophia: Services for Healing and Renewal (Twenty-Third Publications, 1996; Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2007); Counseling People with Cancer (Westminster John Knox, 1998); God, A Word for Girls and Boys (Glad River, 1993; Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2007). She has also published articles in The Journal of Pastoral Care, The Christian Ministry, and elsewhere.
Diana Butler Bass
“Spiritual DNA” – Saturday at 1:00 pm
Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture.
She holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the author of nine books, including Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution (HarperOne, 2015) and the widely influential Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening (HarperOne, 2012). Her other books include A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story (HarperOne, 2009), nominated for a Library of Virginia literary award, and the best-selling Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith (2006) which was named as one of the best religion books of the year by Publishers Weekly and was featured in a cover story in USA TODAY.
Diana regularly speaks at conferences, consults with religious organizations, leads educational events for religious leaders, and teaches and preaches in a variety of venues. She writes at The Huffington Post and The Washington Post and comments on religion, politics, and culture in the media, including USA TODAY, Time, Newsweek, CBS, CNN, FOX, PBS, and NPR.
From 1995 to 2000, she wrote a weekly column on American religion for the New York Times Syndicate. She is a contributing editor for Sojourners Magazine and has written widely in the religious press, including Christian Century, Clergy Journal, and Congregations.
Austin Channing Brown
“Making Peace” – Saturday at 9:15 am
Austin C Brown began her journey as a racial reconciler in college with an experience called Sankofa–a three-day bus trip exploring black history sites throughout the South. It was on this pilgrimage that she first connected with her own history and share that experience with others.
Following her undergraduate work, Austin went on to earn a masters degree in social Justice from Marygrove College in Detroit, MI. From her experience with Sankofa and the foundation of her graduate work, she has directed a short-term missions site on the west side of Chicago, creating interactive opportunities for youth to engage issues of poverty, injustice, and race and worked on staff with Willow Creek Community Church developing strategies and programming around multiculturalism. Currently she serves as Resident Director and Multicultural Liaison for Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, MI.
As a speaker, Austin travels the country throughout the year sharing her message at colleges, universities, conferences, and churches. She has been featured at The Justice Conference, Why Christian? Conference, Christians for Biblical Equality Intl. Conference, University of Northwestern, and the CCDA National Conference, to name a few.
In the midst of all of her accomplishments, racial justice and reconciliation, and womanhood have continued to be the core of her message. She writes about these topics on her popular blog austinchanning.com and as regular contributor to Today’s Christian Woman. She has also contributed to Her.maneutics, Relevant and The High Calling.
She is married to her best friend, Tommie, an attorney in Grand Rapids, MI and adores her little puppy, Mowgli.
Reta Halteman Finger
“Lady Wisdom and Her Prophets” – Friday at 9:15 am
Reta Halteman Finger retired in 2009 from teaching Bible (mostly New Testament) at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. She now serves as an affiliate associate professor of New Testament at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Reta is the author of the Bible study blog, “Reta’s Reflections,” on our EEWC-Christian Feminism Today website and is also a contributing editor for Sojourners magazine.
In addition to other speaking and writing projects, she edited the Christian feminist magazine, Daughters of Sarah, for 15 years. A gifted teacher, Reta is uniquely skilled in relating the Bible to today’s issues and in getting others involved in discussions about the material she presents. She specializes in life in the early church and is the author of Roman House Churches for Today: A Practical Guide for Small Groups, and Of Widows and Meals: Communal Meals in the Book of Acts. She is also co-editor with Kari Sandhaas of Wisdom of Daughers: Two Decades of the Voice of Christian Feminism (a book of selected articles from Daughters of Sarah magazine). Reta is a longtime member of EEWC-CFT and has served the organization in many ways, including past service on the executive council.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim
“Embracing the Other” – Saturday at 8:00 pm
Grace Ji-Sun Kim received her M.Div. from Knox College (University of Toronto) and her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. She is an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion.
Grace is the author of 6 books, Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love (Eerdmans); Theological Reflections on “Gangnam Style”: A Racial, Sexual, and Cultural Critique (Palgrave Macmillan) co-written with Joseph Cheah; Contemplations from the Heart (Wipf & Stock); Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Power (Palgrave Macmillan); The Holy Spirit, Chi and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology (Palgrave Macmillan); and The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology(Pilgrim Press).
She is the editor of 3 books, Christian Doctrines for Global Gender Justice (Palgrave) co-edited with Jenny Daggers; Here I Am: Faith Stories of Korean American Clergywomen (Judson Press, forthcoming); and Reimagining with Christian Doctrines co-edited with Jenny Daggers (Palgrave Macmillan).
Grace is an ordained minister of word and sacrament within the PC (USA) denomination. She is married to Dr. Perry Y.C. Lee (Associate Professor of Mathematics, Kutztown University), and they have 3 children: Theo, Elisabeth, and Joshua.
Rev. Erica Lea
“At First Blush” – Sunday Worship Sermon (Worship starts at 10 am)
Rev. Erica Lea received her bachelor of arts from Texas A&M University with a major in psychology and a minor in women’s and gender studies. She received her master of divinity from George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University with a concentration in spiritual formation.
She has continued her studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and currently serves at the Pastoral Resident at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Previously she served as the interim pastor at Houston Mennonite Church in Houston, TX, and as a pastoral intern at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, TX.
Erica is a member of the Capital Area Anabaptist Network, DC EcoWomen, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, The Alliance of Baptists, Gay Christian Network, Renovaré Spiritual Formation Covenant Member, The Academy of Preachers, Mennonite Women USA, and The Young Clergy Women Project.
Rev. Lea will be preaching the sermon during the Gathering worship service.
Cherice Bock lives in Oregon where she teaches at George Fox University and its seminary, and serves as the community garden coordinator.
She holds an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, and is working on a PhD in environmental studies at Antioch University New England.
Cherice was honored to serve as a 2015 Re:Generate Fellow at the Wake Forest School of Divinity’s Food, Faith, & Religious Leadership Institute, and she is a 2016 GreenFaith Fellow.
She edits the environmental studies journal Whole Terrain, and is a regional editor for Christ & Cascadia, an online journal exploring theology and culture in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.
Cherice enjoys growing and tending fruits, veggies, and chickens, hiking and camping in the mountains, and biking around town with her spouse and two sons.
Cherice will be presenting “Christian Feminism for the 21st Century: a prophetic eco-praxis mash-up of tradition and culture that would cause my homesteader great-grandmother and earlier feminists to roll over in their graves.” The presentation will explore the deep connections between environmental concerns, feminism, and theology while addressing the direction of the church in the 21st century. Specifically Cherice will share her attempts to live out her faith through solidarity with and care for creation.
Katie Deaver is a native of Viroqua, WI. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Religion from Luther College in Decorah, IA, as well as a Master of Arts in Theological Studies and a Masters of Theology from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
Deaver works as the Director of Music Ministry at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Glenview, IL.
Her research interests focus on Christian feminist reinterpretations of atonement theology, violence against women, and sexual ethics. In her doctoral dissertation, she will explore the specific question of whether the doctrine of atonement can and ought to be reclaimed within Lutheran feminist circles. She aspires to teach theology at a college, university, or seminary.
Katie Deaver was the 2015 Nancy A. Hardesty Memorial Scholarship recipient.
Deaver will present “Theology and Abuse: Prophets Then and Now.” The presentation will address feminist voices, from throughout the ages, who have critiqued Christianity for perpetuating, and in some cases even encouraging, violence against women.
Jennifer is a Master of Theological Studies Candidate at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Prior to entering her masters program, Newman graduated summa cum laude from George Fox University with a BA in Philosophy, a BA in Politics, and a minor in Women’s Studies.
In addition to her schooling, Newman currently works for the Tennessee Disability Pathfinder and is a graduate assistant coach with the Vanderbilt Debate team.
When she is not doing any of those things, you can find her on campus listening to lectures, reading at a Nashville coffee shop, or trying to catch up on television shows like Madam Secretary or Downton Abbey. In the future, Jennifer hopes to pursue doctoral work in feminist philosophy of religion.
Jennifer will be presenting “Beyond the Gender Binary: Theology of Healing for Gender and the Divine,” a discussion of different historical feminist approaches to language about God, ultimately arguing that Virginia Remy Mollenkott’s term “omnigender” is helpful in creating a theology that is affirmative and inclusive of the multiplicity of gender experiences, and incredibly important to the life of the church today.
Former student presenters include:
Jacinda Thomas, George Fox University
McKenzie Brown, Texas Wesleyan University
Ashley Cason, University of Central Missouri
Workshops & Worship
Teresa B. Pasquale presents “Sacred Wounds: Spiritual Trauma, Activism & Healing”
We are in a time of radical transformation on our world. There is great suffering, but there is also great potential for healing. For women in communities of faith there are personal, cultural, and intergenerational lineages of hurt in spaces of faith. This hurt can ignite a fire for justice-seeking, but it can, simultaneously, bring the hurt to the forefront of our lives and communities.
This workshop will explore the nature of hurt created in religious contexts (negating based on gender, sexuality, and beyond), and help attendees begin to identify methods for healing— bringing hope to individuals and communities seeking justice and igniting social transformation in the world.
Teresa B. Pasquale, LCSW, E-RYT 200, is a trauma specialist, contemplative practice facilitator and Director of Sacred Wounds for Transform Network. She has a MSW in Clinical Social Work from NYU and is a graduate of Richard Rohr’s Living School at the Center for Action and Contemplation.
Teresa co-facilitates Seekers, a dinner church service in Delray Beach, Florida and is co-curator of the Emerging Voices blog on Patheos.com.
She is author of Sacred Wounds: A Path To Healing from Spiritual Trauma and Mending Broken: A Personal Journey Through the Stages of Trauma & Recovery. She offers talks, workshops, retreats, and events on issues of trauma, contemplative spirituality and healing in a variety of contexts, sacred and secular.
Teresa will be presenting the workshop “Sacred Wounds: Spiritual Trauma, Activism & Healing.”
Kendra Weddle Irons and Melanie Springer Mock present “If Eve Only Knew: Deconstructing Evangelical Popular Culture”
“If Eve Only Knew” will offer a unique perspective on Christian popular culture, and can serve as an important guide for others who are baffled by the religious right and concerned (rightly so) about the ways conservative Christianity is shaping our cultural conversations, our government polices, our understanding of gender.
Kendra Weddle Irons teaches Religion at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas and is a member of EEWC. She has served on the EEWC Council for six years, several as coordinator. Her essays and articles appear in publications such as Christian Feminism Today and Christian Scholar’s Review, and Methodist History. Her first book, Preaching on the Plains: Methodist Women in Kansas, 1920-1956, was published in 2007. Her second, coauthored with Melanie Springer Mock, If Eve Only Knew: Deconstructing Evangelical Popular Culture was published in 2015 by Chalice Press. She and Melanie blog at Ain’t I a Woman?
Connect with Kendra on Twitter at @
Melanie Springer Mock is a Professor of English at George Fox University, in Newberg, Oregon. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Christian Feminism Today, Literary Mama, Christianity Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Nation, Runners World, and Mennonite Weekly Review, among other places. Her books include Writing Peace: The Unheard Voices of Great War Mennonite Objectors, Just Moms: Conveying Justice in an Unjust World, The Spirit of Adoption: Writers on Religion, Adoption, Faith, and More, and If Eve Only Knew: Deconstructing Evangelical Popular Culture (with Kendra Weddle Irons). She blogs about (and deconstructs) images of women embedded in evangelical popular culture at Ain’t I a Woman?
Connect with Melanie on Twitter (@aintiwomanblog).
Kendra and Melanie will be presenting the workshop “If Eve Only Knew: Deconstructing Evangelical Popular Culture.”
Elisabeth Mehl Greene presents “Lady Midrash: Reclaiming the Voices of Biblical Women”
Elisabeth Mehl Greene and Mitra Motlagh will perform monologues and dialogues from Greene’s forthcoming book, Lady Midrash: Reclaiming the Voices of Biblical Women (Wipf & Stock’s Resource Publications) featuring alternative interpretations and forgotten female perspectives from the Tanakh and New Testament.
The performance takes advantage of the oral tradition heritage of Biblical texts, presenting the selected woman’s own perspective orally, emphasizing a neglected part of her story, or giving her narrative a reading in opposition to the way she is characterized in scripture. At the conclusion, the performers will engage the attendees in a question and answer session.
Elisabeth Mehl Greene is a writer and composer working in a variety of creative writing and musical genres. Greene’s work of poetry Lady Midrash will be published by Resource Publications. Greene received her doctorate from the University of Maryland and is currently a fellow at the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.
Mitra Motlagh received an M.A. in Counseling from Western Seminary in Portland, OR and a B.A. in Theatre and B.A. in Writing/Literature from George Fox University. She has contributed her poetry and theatrical knowledge in collaboration with Elisabeth Mehl Greene on various projects, including a libretto adapted from the memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran and several musical pieces. Mitra is honored to continue this collaboration by performing selections from Lady Midrash, and she looks forward to using diverse approaches to helping people embody a more empowering narrative.
Alicia Crosby presents “Inclusion as Prophetic Action: Creating Spaces Where All Are Welcome”
When we speak of building inclusive community, what does that mean for us? What can it mean for others? Join us as we use self-reflection and dialogue to unpack what inclusion looks and feels like in practical terms. During this session we will explore inclusivity as prophetic action— considering the psychic, spiritual, and emotional liberation it makes space for— while navigating the major challenges that lie in creating safe places for people across a wide range of ideological and demographic difference.
Alicia Crosby has always been the type of person to color outside the lines. This trait comes in handy as the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Center for Inclusivity (CFI), an organization that seeks to “foster healing communities among people of all faiths, genders and sexual orientations.” Her affinity for strategizing and planning makes spending her days dedicated to managing the organization’s logistical and programmatic needs a great joy.
Alicia’s love of justice, contemplative activism, and community engagement led her to pursue a M.A. in Social Justice and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management & Philanthropy at Loyola University Chicago. She also holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Education, Psychology, and Pastoral Studies from Hollins University.
Learn more about this Chicago-based writer and social entrepreneur’s passions for faith, journey, sexuality, and love on the CFI website, her blog Chasing the Promise, Facebook, Twitter (@promisechaser), and her social media project #ThisIsMyChristianity.
Mark M. Mattison presents “Developing A Divine Feminine Version (DFV) of the New Testament”
The problem of language and gender is perhaps nowhere more pronounced in Christian faith communities than in the experience of reading authoritative scripture. Gender-inclusive hymns and liturgies constitute a critical step toward addressing feminist
concerns in the experience of worship, but when it comes to the reading of scripture, a fundamental disconnect is often unavoidable.
The Divine Feminine Version (DFV) of the New Testament seeks to address this problem by using divine feminine pronouns. During the five-year development of this unique version, the editors struggled with numerous translation problems and difficult
decisions. This workshop will highlight some of the issues and bring the work into a larger dialogue within the feminist Christian community.
Mark M. Mattison is an independent writer and scholar. He is the author of The Gospel of Judas: The Sarcastic Gospel,The Gospel of Thomas: A New Translation for Spiritual Seekers, The Gospel of Mary: A Fresh Translation and Holistic Approach, and The Goblin Gambit.
Kristin Kobes Du Mez presents “Purity, Patriarchy, and the First Wave of Christian Anti-Trafficking Activism: Christian Feminism and the Case of Katharine Bushnell”
In recent years, churches and religious nonprofits have awakened to the plight of women and children caught up in human trafficking. But Christian anti-trafficking activism goes back nearly 150 years. This workshop explores the first wave of Christian anti-trafficking activism, and the way in which pioneering women like Katharine Bushnell, a leading anti-trafficking activist, came to understand that patriarchal Christianity itself needed to be reformed in order to combat the abuse of women and bring about their true emancipation. Turning to history, this workshop will introduce one of the most fascinating Christian feminists in American history, explore her remarkable feminist theology, and consider how lessons from the past might help Christians refine both their theology and their approach to global anti-trafficking efforts today.
Kristin Kobes Du Mez is the author of A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell and the Challenge of Christian Feminism (Oxford, 2015). A historian of gender and religion in American history, she teaches at Calvin College. Her current book project is a religious history of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
She earned her B.A. in History and German from Dordt College, and her Ph.D. in American History (specializing in women’s history and religious history) from the University of Notre Dame
Prof. Du Mez’s research areas include gender and religion in late-19th and 20th-century U.S. history, specifically gender, religion, and foreign policy, and the intersections between Christianity and feminism.
Lisa Deweese, RYT200 presents “Yoga For All Bodies”
Start your morning (Friday and Saturday) with Lisa’s gentle yoga practice, suitable for all skill levels, including those requiring a chair. Mama Lisa’s life-enhancing, slow moving practice proceeds at a relaxed pace to help you ground yourself, let go of tension, and dive within to find balance. Holistically integrate and align your body, mind, and spirit though purposeful movement, breath, and healing sound. Come with an open mind and allow deep integration of playfulness, mindfulness, and consciousness.
Lisa DeWeese, RYT200, earned her yoga teaching certification in 2013. Her primary focus is making yoga accessible for people with all different bodies and skill levels. Lisa’s warm and engaging presence makes all her students feel confident and right at home.
“Yoga has made a huge difference in my life,” says Lisa, “physically, of course, but I have been especially surprised by the impact it has on my emotional and spiritual outlook. I want other people to experience this change in their lives. So many people feel a deep sense of shame about their bodies, because they don’t look like what someone else says is beautiful. But we are all beautiful and our bodies are so remarkable. I want to help people learn to love and appreciate the beauty each of us brings to the world.”
Tiana Marquez leads a Guided Meditation each morning
Tiana follows no particular practice of meditation. Participants will experience a simple guided deep breathing meditation. Each person is encouraged to breathe deeply and have thoughtful awareness of self.
Tiana, has done guided daily meditations for more than 30 years. She, also does monthly meditation with her women’s group and has done guided meditations for the National Women’s Music Festival and has held meditations in her home.
Rev. Deb Vaughn and Rev. Leslie Harrison, Sunday Worship Service Coordinators
One of the highlights of each of our conferences or gatherings is our Sunday worship service. This year’s worship service will be coordinated by CFT Executive Council Members Rev. Deb Vaughn (left) and Rev. Leslie Harrison (right). Rev. Erica Lea will be preaching (look for her bio under the “Speakers” tab. Other CFT members will also be involved in the presentation of the service. The Sunday worship service is always open to the public. Please join us!
Rev. Harrison, known for the fantastic prayers she shares on our online community group, will also be leading us in prayer throughout the gathering.
We’ve created all kinds of fun gear this year. Get your T-Shirts, bags, and water bottles by visiting our CafePress store. We’ll leave the products in the store for a while, so you still have a chance to purchase something to remember the gathering.