What’s an Evangelical Feminist?

Anne Eggebrotten

Anne Eggebrotten, who teaches on women and religion at California State University, Northridge, recently published her article The Persistence of Patriarchy in Sojourners (July 2010). Anne is one of the founding member of the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus.

The EEWC grew out of the 1973 Chicago gathering of young evangelicals who eventually launched the Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern. Some of these folks went on to lead Evangelicals for Social Action. Among the participants were women concerned about the inferior status of women in Church and society and who called on the group to consider issues related to sexism from a Christian perspective.

At ESA’s second consultation in 1974 the women’s caucus was one of six task forces formed by participants to study such concerns as racism, sexism, peace, and simpler lifestyles. Thus our group was born as the Evangelical Women’s Caucus. EWC presented proposals to Evangelicals for Social Action on a variety of topics including endorsement of the Equal Rights Amendment, support for inclusive language in Bible translation and Christian publications, affirmation of the ordination of women, and criticism of discriminatory hiring policies in Christian institutions.

The first national EWC conference, held in 1975 in Washington, D.C., addressed “Women in Transition: A Biblical Approach to Feminism.” The conference attracted more than 360 women from 36 of the 50 United States and from Canada. Many of the speakers at this conference were also writing on this topic for The Post American, the predecessor of Sojourners magazine.

Since many people may not be familiar with the EECW’s work, I thought I’d post their mission statement below:

Mission: We support, educate, and celebrate Christian feminists from many traditions.

Purpose:
* to encourage and advocate the use of women’s gifts in all forms of Christian vocation.
* to provide educational opportunities for Christian feminists to grow in their belief and understanding.
* to promote networking and mutual encouragement within the Christian community.

Statement of Faith:
We believe God is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of all. We believe God created all people in the divine image for relationship with God and one another. We further believe our relationship with God was shattered by sin with a consequent disruption of all other relationships. We believe God in love has made possible a new beginning through the incarnation in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was and is truly divine and truly human. We believe the Bible is the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and is a central guide and authority for Christian faith and life. We believe the church is a community of people who have been divinely called to do God’s will, exercising their gifts responsibly in church, home, and society, and looking forward to God’s new creation.

We Are Christian Feminists:
* EEWC affirms that the Bible supports the equality of the sexes.
* We believe that our society and churches have irresponsibly encouraged men to domination and women to passivity.
*We proclaim God’s redemptive word on mutuality and active discipleship.
* We value inclusive images and language for God.
*We advocate ordination of women and full expression of women’s leadership and spiritual gifts.

We Are Inclusive:
* EEWC is evangelical because our formation was rooted in the belief that the Gospel is good news for all persons.
* EEWC is ecumenical because we recognize that faith is expressed through a rich diversity of traditions and forms of spirituality.
* We offer a community of safety for all who have experienced abuse, marginalization, or exclusion by Christian churches.
*We have discovered that the expansiveness of God calls us to be an inclusive community.

We Welcome You: EEWC welcomes members of any gender, race, ethnicity, color, creed, marital status, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, age, political party, parental status, economic class, or disability. Our biennial conferences sustain our spiritual connectedness and foster our learning about critical Christian feminist issues.

EEWC has a quarterly newsletter, Christian Feminism Today magazine that provides Christian feminist news, articles, book reviews, and inspiration. For more information, see www.eewc.com.

Happy Birthday, Gloria Steinem!

“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.”–Gloria Steinem

Steinem crop

Feminist and journalist, Gloria Steinem was a key figure in the women’s movement from 1969. She founded Ms. magazine, starting in 1972. She is an outspoken advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment and helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus.

I met Ms. Steinem in New York City at a Women’s Funding Network gathering fundraiser in 2007. Happy birthday, Gloria (who turns 76 today) — and thank you.