“Let Justice Roll On Like a River!”
The Christian Feminism Today 2014 Gathering
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
Amos 5:24 (NIV)
June 26-29, 2014 at the Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri.
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With so many dedicated people working on social justice issues, we have witnessed some important gains recently. Especially for LGBTQ people in the US—although the work is by no means finished. And the struggle to protect women’s rights, the rights of the poor, and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities and other marginalized people continues. There is much to celebrate, yet much more work to be done.
Thursday, June 26 (reception and conversation in the evening – registration open) through Sunday, June 29 at 12 Noon. Programming begins at 9 am on Friday, June 27.
A special early registration rate of $139.00 will be available through April 30. May 1 and later, registration will be $159.00. Registration includes all programming and lunch Friday and Saturday. Breakfast for two is included with your hotel reservation. If you cannot afford registration, please let us know. We will have a limited number of scholarships available.
The EEWC-CFT 2014 Gathering will be held at the Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. Westport Plaza features several shops, hotels, and restaurants, all located within walking distance of each other.
You can book your room at the Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel any time from now through June 5, 2014. Click here to book. Please book online if at all possible. If you are unable to book online you may call (314) 878-1500 and explain you are with EEWC-CFT to receive our rate. An email to the Gathering Registrar would also be appreciated if you register by phone, just to let us know to make sure you are included on our group reservation and get the correct rate.
Rooms are available at a special rate of $119.00 per night (plus applicable taxes). This rate includes a free buffet breakfast every morning for up to two people staying in your room (a $14.00 value each).
The special room rate is available for three days prior to the gathering and three days after, in case you want to arrive early or stay late to explore St. Louis.
This is a great hotel offering the following amenities:
Pet friendly (extra charge will apply)
Hotel shuttle goes to Metro (bus) station for downtown access
Free transport to and from airport (shuttle comes every half hour or so)
Free internet in your guest room, our meeting room, and public areas
Enterprise car rental picks up and delivers to hotel
Several different kinds of restaurants within walking distance
Several accessible rooms available
Starbucks coffee service in lobby
A special early registration rate of $139.00 is available through April 30. May 1 and later, registration will be $159.00.
If you cannot afford registration, please let us know. We will have a limited number of scholarships available. Please apply early.
Susan Campbell is the award-winning author of Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl. For more than 25 years, she worked as a twice-a-week columnist and feature writer for the Hartford Courant, America’s oldest continuously published newspaper. Her column about a 1998 mass shooting was part of the Courant’s coverage awarded a Pulitzer Prize that year. Susan grew up in Christian fundamentalism, which laid the groundwork for her interest in religion in all its forms. As a dedicated feminist and progressive Christian with a vision for social justice, she says the four most controversial topics she addressed in her newspaper columns were Jesus, homosexuality, women, and poverty—especially hunger and homelessness. These topics continue to drive her, and she is now employed by Partnership for Strong Communities, an advocacy/policy organization that seeks to end homelessness and increase the amount of affordable housing in Connecticut. She also teaches a class in journalism for homeless people who publish and sell their own “street newspaper.” Susan’s latest book, a biography of Isabella Beecher Hooker, a 19th century activist for women’s suffrage, will be published in 2014. Susan also has a blog, Hot Dogma: The Belief Blog, co-written with former AP religion writer Tom Breen.
Sharon Groves directs the Religion and Faith program of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Based in Washington, DC, the Human Rights Campaign is the nation’s largest civil rights organization working for LGBT equal rights. Sharon gives lectures and writes articles that inform the general public on matters related to religion and LGBT concerns and questions. She also writes, edits, and oversees the creation of educational resources directly aimed toward faith communities to increase understanding of specific issues, such as gender identity, the coming out process, and the importance of religious advocacy in the struggle for LGBT equality— including marriage equality and fairness in the workplace, housing, and adoption. Sharon holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Maryland and has also studied theology and sexuality at Wesley Theological Seminary and the Chicago Theological Seminary. Before assuming her present position with HRC, she was the managing editor of Feminist Studies, an interdisciplinary scholarly journal, and also taught courses in English literature, literature and social change, and women’s studies at the University of Maryland.
Mary E. Hunt
Mary E. Hunt is a feminist theologian. With her partner, Diann Neu, she co-founded and co-directs the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER). A Roman Catholic active in the women-church movement, Mary lectures and writes on theology and ethics with particular attention to social justice concerns. She is fluent in Spanish and spent a number of years in Argentina, teaching and working on women’s issues and human rights, a work that continues through WATER’s “Women Crossing Worlds” project, an ongoing exchange with Latin American women. A prolific writer, Mary has written articles for numerous journals; contributed chapters to many books on theology, feminism, and other social issues; and is a frequent contributor to the website, Religion Dispatches. Among the books she has authored, edited, or co-edited are Fierce Tenderness: A Feminist Theology of Friendship; New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views; A Guide for Women in Religion: Making Your Way from A to Z; and Good Sex: Feminist Perspectives from the World’s Religions. (For additional information, see the 2013 profile of Mary E. Hunt on Jann Aldredge-Clanton’s Changing Church blog.)
Kendra Weddle Irons
Kendra Weddle Irons teaches religion at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas. As a scholar and university professor, her research interests have centered around Christianity in America, women in Christianity, and Methodism. Her first book, Preaching on the Plains: Methodist Women Preachers in Kansas, 1969-1956 was published by University Press of America in 2007. Kendra says she has constantly sought to understand the ways her feminist convictions have contributed to her Christian faith and at the same time have challenged it. She serves as a representative for the Southwest on the EEWC-Christian Feminism Today Executive Council. Her articles and book reviews appear frequently on our Christian Feminism Today website; and she, along with Melanie Springer Mock and Letha Dawson Scanzoni, also wrote the intergenerational FemFaith blog for that website. Kendra now co-writes with Melanie Springer Mock a blog called Ain’t I a Woman, in which they point out (and deconstruct) false images presented by conservative Christians about what a woman should be an do. The two women are also working on a book on the topic.
Melanie Springer Mock
Melanie Springer Mock is a Professor of English at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Her articles have appeared in Christian Feminism Today; Adoptive Families; Mennonite Weekly Review; the Chronicle of Higher Education; Literary Mama; Brain, Child; the Oregonian, and elsewhere. She is the author of Writing Peace: The Unheard Voices of Great War Mennonite Objectors, published by Cascadia in 2003. And in 2011, she co-edited Just Moms: Conveying Justice in an Unjust World (Barclay Press). A frequent contributor to Christian Feminism Today and coordinator for the ViewPoint section of the website, she also serves as Northwest representative on the EEWC-CFT Executive Council. Melanie is the other half of the Ain’t I a Woman blog team, working with Kendra Weddle Irons to post thought-provoking, challenging, funny, and always engaging essays on a regular basis to help deconstruct erroneous ideas about women’s nature and roles as they are presented in conservative evangelical popular culture.
Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni is an independent scholar and writer, specializing in the intersection of religion and social issues. She is the author or coauthor of nine books, and since 1994 has served as editor of Christian Feminism Today (both in its former print version and in its Web version). Her books have been published by HarperCollins, McGraw-Hill, Bantam, Abingdon, Eerdmans, Westminster John Knox, and others; and her articles have appeared in publications ranging from Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, the Utne Reader, and SIECUS Report (published by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S), to The Other Side, Eternity, the Christian Century, Christianity Today, and Sojourners. She has also contributed chapters to various edited volumes and is the coauthor of a college sociology textbook, Men, Women, and Change. Letha is perhaps best known for coauthoring with Nancy Hardesty, All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today( first edition published In 1974) and coauthoring with Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? A Positive Christian Response (first edition, 1978). Letha’s most recent book is What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage, coauthored with psychologist David G. Myers (2005)
Troubadours of Divine Bliss
In 1995, these two women had the wild wish of being Troubadours of Divine Bliss, street performers who travel around encouraging Revolution of the Spirit & Courage of the Heart. Renée had a dream she was playing an accordion, so she got one. Aim Me learned two chords on the guitar and Bliss was born.
They quit their jobs, piled everything in a Mazda 626 and headed off to The Big Easy to free their dream. They followed their destiny to the streets of New Orleans where (wrapped in battery-operated Christmas lights) they debuted as Christmas carolers in 1995 on the corner of Royal & Toulouse. They sang their little hearts out and people said, “keep doing this,” so they did. God has rolled out the red carpet for them ever since they made the leap in to fulfilling their call.
The Troubadours have traveled all over the U.S., Canada & Europe freeing their dream and embracing life in pure delight.
Renee Ananda plays electric accordion. Aim Me Smiley plays guitar. They both sing. The music is built on their vocal harmony and excellent songwriting.
The Troubadours of Divine Bliss have released six albums. You can buy the two most recent collections on iTunes (“Sacred Letters of Surrender” from 2009, and 2012′s “Awakening to Love”). Two others (their Live album “Off the Cuff: Live at the Winchester” from 2004, and “Dying, Laughing—Firecrackers on a Funeral Pyre” from 2002) are available on the Troubadours’ website here. Their first two releases, “No Place Like OM” (1998) and “Dressing Room for Eternity” (2001) are available only by special order from the Troubadours (contact them through their website).
She Grieves – Dispelling the Myths and Bringing Healing
presented by Rev. Deb Vaughn
Our society as a whole doesn’t “do” grieving very well. We either attempt to “keep calm and carry on” or we assign an artificial timeline to the grieving process. We also make assumptions about what grieving should look like for men and women. We believe the research that tells us how to grieve. We think that there is no need to grieve for pets, for a miscarriage, for changes in life stages, for broken relationships, or for health challenges. In short, we have not allowed this common human experience to be experienced and even welcomed fully into our lives.
This workshop will combine current theories and practices for grief therapies, moving past Kubler-Ross’ “5 stages.” It will dispel myths and offer suggestions that promote personal healing. It will also include examples of music, art, photography and literature that have been helpful for others.
It will conclude with a short time of remembrance and prayer for those places where The Holy can and will bring healing.
About Rev. Deb Vaughn:
Rev. Deborah (Deb) Vaughn is a professional chaplain working in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. She has four units of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) and additional training in ethics and palliative care chaplaincy. She earned a Masters of Divinity from the Regent University School of Divinity, with a concentration in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care. Deb also holds a Masters degree in Music Therapy from the University of Miami, and a Bachelors degree in Music Education from the Ohio State University.
Deb draws from her broad experience in health care, education and non-profit sectors. She builds on the common ground that undergirds all human interactions – acceptance, love, identity and purpose. She embraces new strategies and trends, not only in cultural considerations such as the religion and the arts, but in understanding how the postmodern world influences humanity’s response to suffering. As ordained clergy, she has served in progressive churches that focus on a contemporary expression and response to the needs of a multi-cultural, postmodern world.
Rev. Vaughn has presented at workshops, retreats and conferences, and is well-regarded public speaker. Most recently, she authored a chapter for the book Emerging Pastoral Care, “Prayers without Words: Changing Views of Theodicy” (pending 2014). Her research interests include understanding how spirituality and health contribute to positive outcomes in chronically ill patients.
Deb’s many interests include being an amateur photographer, blogger, musician, occasional gardener and an avid Ohio State football fan.
Deb’s blog, An Unfinished Symphony, is here. She is a frequent contributor to Christian Feminism Today.
Bringing Justice to Birth: A Body Theology
presented by Peg Conway
Childbirth is a momentous rite of passage in a woman’s personal journey, but birth is also a family and communal event as well as a profound metaphor in the spiritual life. Despite this sweeping impact, our culture regards birth only as a medical event that occurs in the hospital.
In the realm of religion, Christian theology has historically been silent or unhelpful when it comes to childbirth. After all, the tradition’s most well-known statement on the matter is that birth pain is God’s punishment on women! Yet religion has an important role to play in transforming the conversation about birth, to broaden and deepen our appreciation of it.
Using James Nelson’s concept of “body theology” as a basis, this presentation will reflect on the physical process of birth as a means of articulating its holiness. To illustrate how to draw on the tradition to discover new symbolic meanings, it will explore in depth the question of birth pain and reframe typical understandings in a way that is empowering of women. Further, it will suggest that developing awareness of bodily holiness regarding childbirth can refute the disregard for women’s bodies exemplified by rape culture, trafficking, and pornography. And finally, the presentation will discuss birthing as a meaningful metaphor for the work of bringing about justice in any setting.
About Peg Conway
Peg Conway is the author of Embodying the Sacred: A Spiritual Preparation for Birth and she presents retreats for pregnant women based on this book.
Recently certified as a Celebrant, she also serves on the Village Council in her community. Peg is married with three young adult children.
Inclusive Music for All Ages
presented by Jann Aldredge-Clanton. Ph.D.
In this workshop participants will experience inclusive music that can be used in various settings and for all age groups. Jann Aldredge-Clanton will draw from her music collections: Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians, Inclusive Hymns for Liberation, Peace, and Justice; Sing and Dance and Play with Joy! Inclusive Songs for Young Children, and Imagine God! A Children’s Musical Exploring and Expressing Images of God.
Jann will lead participants in experiencing music intended to instill in children and adults an expansive theology of God and an ethic of equality and justice in human relationships. She will include music appropriate for interfaith and multigenerational settings.
The songs include female and male images of the divine to teach the foundational biblical truth that female and male are created equally in the divine image. The wide variety of biblical divine names and images in the songs contribute to belief in the sacredness of all people and all creation. Peace and justice flow from this belief.
Participants will experience music that can be used in worship services, retreats, Church School classes, Vacation Bible Schools, music camps, and daycare programs. The rich variety of divine names and images in this music invites the use of other creative arts in these settings.
About Jann Aldredge-Clanton, Ph.D.
Jann Aldredge-Clanton, Ph.D., ordained minister, author, teacher, and chaplain, currently serves as adjunct professor at Perkins School of Theology and Richland College, Dallas, Texas.
Her published books and music include Changing Church: Stories of Liberating Ministers; Seeking Wisdom: Inclusive Blessings and Prayers for Public Occasions; Breaking Free: The Story of a Feminist Baptist Minister; In Search of the Christ-Sophia; Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians; Inclusive Hymns for Liberation, Peace, & Justice; Imagine God! A Children’s Musical Exploring and Expressing Images of God; Sing & Dance & Play with Joy: Inclusive Songs for Children.
Her YouTube channel features her music paired with female Divine images.
The Bible’s Legacy of Violence against Women
presented by Dr. Reta Halteman Finger
Is the Hebrew Bible still important for Christian feminists?
What biblical legacy of violence against women persists in some churches and communities?
How is this patriarchal legacy connected to sexual harassment and abuse in religious contexts today?
What do Christian feminists need to know about ancient cultures and methods of interpretation that can confront and oppose this legacy?
Bring a Bible!
About Dr. Reta Halteman Finger
Reta Halteman Finger holds a Ph.D. in theology and religion from Northwestern University, masters of theological studies from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary and Northern Baptist University, and a master of education from Boston University.
Reta retired in 2009 from teaching Bible (mostly New Testament) at Messiah College in Grantham, PA. She lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and since her retirement from Messiah College has been devoting her time to writing and speaking projects, as well as some part-time teaching at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.
For fifteen years, Reta edited the Christian feminist magazine, Daughters of Sarah (no longer published), and is a frequent writer and reviewer for Christian Feminism Today. She writes the popular Reta’s Reflections Bible study blog on Christian Feminism Today.
“Mom, I’m Gay” – Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faith
Presented by Susan Cottrell
Does my unconditional love for my child somehow conflict with my Christian faith? Is it possible to love, accept and affirm my gay child without feeling that I have compromised my faith? These are core questions that Christian parents struggle with, and answer, when their child is gay.
Susan Cottrell knows that not only is all-embracing love possible, but our Christian faith demands it! Susan speaks boldly to groups and on her blog about the vital importance being the love of Jesus said, instead of the judgment of the “religious.”
LGBTQ children and their parents are in a unique position to wrestle with assumptions they had taken for granted. Parents can encourage their children with more strength than they ever knew they had, as parent and child find complete peace in Christ.
What are the answers to the tough questions? What is and what is not my job as a parent? Join Susan to discuss these questions, common fears for LGBTQ kids, and how God has uniquely positioned Christian parents to love them. She will share practical steps and answers that help you understand that unconditionally loving, accepting and affirming your LGBTQ child is actually consistent with your faith and the heart of God.
Now more than ever, we must seek God’s unique leading and embrace the privileged role of parent of a gay child.
About Susan Cottrell
Susan Cottrell is a mom of five children, with one in the LGBTQ community. Susan came out as an ally and quickly found the limits of the church’s acceptance. She is the founder of FreedHearts, and she champions LGBTQ individuals and their families, with her characteristic tender-heartedness and intimacy – in person and through her popular blog – always bringing the love of Christ to the LGBTQ community (…and challenging the church to do the same).
Susan has led retreats and seminars for years. She teaches from her new book, “Mom, I’m Gay” – Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faith. This book, with a foreward by Justin Lee, Author of Torn and the Executive Director of the Gay Christian Network, has been endorsed by PFLAG and the Human Rights Campaign.
Let Justice for Biblical Women Roll Like a River!
My Sunday School teachers used to tell my mother, “She always asks the hard questions.” My most pressing questions were, “Where are all the women and why are the ones I hear about prostitutes,virgins or mothers? Didn’t they do anything else?”
Over the years I began to realize that the stories of biblical women were conveyed to me by men or by women who were relying on the interpretations of men. I heard the story of Bathsheba. I was being taught that she was a temptress but it sounded more like rape to me. Where was the justice for Bathsheba when she was raped? Where was the justice for Bathsheba when her husband was killed? Where was the justice for Bathsheba when her baby died?
In the endorsement Reza Aslan wrote for my book Prostitutes, Virgins and Mothers: Questioning Teachings About Biblical Women he says.” The women warriors, prophets, and disciples of the Bible have ben miscast for centuries as demons, harlots, and jezebels — and intentionally so. For if the truth about who these women were and what they represented were more widely known, it would challenge most of the assumptions we have about Judaism and Christianity.”
I will give selected biblical women a voice and let them tell their stories. Women who took their lives back like Tamar and the hemorrhaging woman. Women who were disciples like Tabitha or apostles like Junia. Voices to correct the impression that they were only prostitutes, virgins or mothers.
Please bring your Bible to this workshop.
About Dr. Paula Trimble-Familetti
I am a passionate advocate for woman’s rights, inclusive language and biblical literacy. I hold a B. A. in Religion from Chapman University, an M.A. in Religion from Liberty University and a Dr. of Ministry in International Feminist Theology from San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Yoga and Movement
Facilitated by Lisa DeWeese, RYT 200, and Kenetha Stanton, RYT 200
For an hour every morning and at other times throughout the 2014 Gathering Lisa DeWeese and Kenetha Stanton, both registered yoga teachers, will be helping attendees to remember to move their bodies, breathe, and experience the present moment.
Kenetha reminds us:
“Yoga is well-known for its physical benefits on flexibility, strength, range of motion, and stress reduction. These benefits are vitally important in today’s sedentary culture where we tend to spend many hours in front of the computer. However, yoga also affects our psychological and emotional health in positive ways. As a culture, we tend to spend a lot of time with our mind focused on the future or the past. In the process, we tend to miss out on the present.”
Both Lisa and Kenetha are skilled at adapting yoga practice to work for people with all types of bodies and all levels of physical fitness. Both believe their is beauty in every body. The morning practice will be suitable for those who are already yoga practitioners and for those who have limited mobility and/or no yoga experience.
About Lisa DeWeese and Kenetha Stanton
Lisa DeWeese, RYT200, earned her teacher certification in Peace through Yoga’s teacher training program. 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.”
Kenetha Stanton, RYT200, is a writer, artist, and healer who has intentionally chosen under-employment in this season of my life to make space for creative expression.
She earned her yoga teacher certification in CityYoga’s teacher training program. She teaches basic hatha yoga classes that are appropriate for beginning students and those with some experience. While emphasizing safe alignment to prevent injury, she works to encourage each student to honor the needs of their own body in the poses on any given day. This practice of self-observation and self-kindness allows each student to adapt the practice to their own body and encourages staying present in the moment throughout the class.
NALT Video Creation
Facilitated by Marg Herder and Tiana Marquez
The Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project is a website where, through homemade YouTube videos, LGBT-affirming Christians share their belief that there is nothing anti-biblical or sinful about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
EEWC-Christian Feminism Today is one of the many LGBTQ affirming Christian organizations that partner with NALT to support this excellent project.
During the 2014 Gathering Marg Herder and Tiana Marquez will be working with any gathering attendees to record short 3-5 minute informal videos to upload to the NALT project website.
All you do is sit down in a chair and talk. Tiana and Marg will handle the recording and all the technical details. You can memorize what you want to say ahead of time, or just talk off the top of your head.
You can make a video by yourself, or with a friend or partner.
Our hope is that EVERY gathering attendee will take a few minutes to make a short video speaking of your personal story, and your personal understanding of why God’s love extends to ALL people. We’ll have the video camera set up Thursday night, and at other times by appointment.
Want more direction? We’ve reprinted the instructions from the NALT website below:
If in your video all you say is, “I’m a Christian, and I do not believe that being gay is a sin,” then you will have succeeded. That clear and simple message alone could help change someone’s life. If you’d like to say more than that, then …
Tell us who you are
Tell us your Christian bonafides. What is your relationship to the faith, or to your church? Do you sing in your church’s choir, work in its nursery, attend any of its Bible study or small group meetings? Are you a pastor? A worship leader? Perhaps you’re on one or another committee at your church. Let us know what, if any, role you play in the life of your church.
Make it personal
Feel free to share a bit of your personal story. How did you come to believe what you do? Did you grow up in a church where it was taught that being gay is a sin? If so, what changed your mind about that? How did you come to evolve your theology? Did you meet someone special? Did you have a transformative experience of some sort? Perhaps you had a gay friend or family member whom you found unable to consider condemned by God. Feel free to relate not just what you believe, but why.
Use the words “Not All Like That!”
That’s our tagline, so feel free to use it toward the end of your video. Your video will show that you’re one of the millions of Christians who are Not All Like That. Reaffirming that vitally important truth at the end of your video would be great.
About the facilitators:
Marg Herder is the Director of Public Information for EEWC-Christian Feminism Today and EEWC’s Website Developer. Tiana Marquez is a freelance videographer who has been working to document the stories of many of the pioneering Christian feminists in EEWC-Christian Feminism Today.
We’ve got all kinds of fun gear this year. Get your T-Shirts, bags, and water bottles by visiting our CafePress store.