Looking through the exquisitely crafted stained glass windows of many churches, one might think that all is well inside. Yet, the word from clergywomen is that nothing could be further from the truth. Their commitment to God and to the people of the faith community where they serve remains intact. Yet, underneath this public veneer lie endless inequities, struggles unimaginable, and realities too long undivulged. In this age of “Me Too,” clergywomen dig deep as they share their stories of joys and challenges with boldness and authenticity. In this book the voice of clergymen and others who stand in sollidarity and support of clergywomen can also be heard. Words of hope and suggestions of possibilities for the future call on the church to implement policies and practices that will lead to equitable treatment of clergywomen everywhere. May the church, today and tomorrow, with enhanced equity for clergywomen, reflect all humanity as created in the image of the Divine.
In Equity for Women in the Church: I Wish Someone Had Told Me, I have two chapters, “Wisdom Is Calling: I Wish Someone Had Told Me” and “A Deacon in Heaven: The Age-Old Struggle to Be Heard and Believed.” There are 30 other contributors of various races, genders, and denominations.
A womanist church has great power to transform church and society, primarily because womanist theology centers the experiences of Black women while working for the survival and wholeness of all people and all creation. Experiences of the triple oppression of racism, sexism, and classism give Black women an epistemological insight into recognizing injustice and creating solutions that benefit all. The Gathering is unique, the only church founded and identified as “womanist,” applying womanist theology to the full life and worship of a church. The Gathering, a womanist faith community in Dallas, Texas, welcomes all people to partner in pursuing racial equity, LGBTQ equality, and dismantling PMS (patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism), following Jesus in liberating the oppressed and lifting up the marginalized. The Gathering, A Womanist Church tells the story of the birth and ongoing development of a womanist faith community. This book includes personal narratives of people transformed in this community, womanist co-pastors’ sermons informed by their experiences and those of other Black women, and litanies for womanist worship.
Hersay brings healing and empowerment through songs with lyrics inclusive of the Divine Feminine, drawing from the musical styles of Taizé and other chant traditions. Female names and images of the Divine heal the wounds of patriarchal oppression and violence, and empower us to create a just and peaceful world. This collection includes all new songs for use in multifaith, multicultural, and multigenerational communities, and for individual meditation. The songs in Hersay are simple and short, sung repeatedly and sometimes in canon. The rhymes and rhythms make them fun and easy for children and adults to learn quickly. Through singing multicultural songs inclusive of female names and images of the Divine, we bring healing to ourselves and our communities while giving birth to justice, peace, equity, and new life in our world
Writing and Publishing
Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
April 7-28, 2021 (4 sessions)
This class is for you who have completed a basic or beginning writing course. In this class you will receive specific feedback from the professor and your classmates on portions of your writing you have completed. Your writing may be in any genre, including stories, poems, essays, memoir, blogs, or children’s books. This class will also help you organize and edit your work to get it ready for publication. If you want to take your writing to the next level, this class is for you. Register here.
Equity for Women in the Church partners with The Gathering: A Womanist Church to create “Equity Live” with a mission of dismantling the interlocking injustices of sexism and racism that impede clergywomen. Equity for Women in the Church is an ecumenical movement to facilitate equal representation of clergywomen as pastors of multicultural churches in order to transform church and society. The Gathering’s social justice priorities are racial equity, dismantling PMS (patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism), and LGBTQ equality.
Listen to the latest Equity Live conversation!
Equity Live launched in November of 2019, featuring Equity for Women in the Church co-chairs Rev. Sheila Sholes-Ross and Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton.
Join to support “Equity Live,” conversations on the equal representation of clergywomen as pastors. These liberating and illuminating conversations will be live-streamed on social media and available on YouTube. Your tax deductible donations go to the 501(c)3 nonprofit Equity for Women in the Church, Inc., to be used for professional video equipment and technological expertise and time of production professionals.
Saturdays, 6:00 p.m.
Central Christian Church
4711 Westside Drive
Dallas, Texas 75209
Currently Livestreamed on Facebook
Sunday, May 2, 2021, 11:00 a.m.
Online Zoom Gathering
For 25 years New Wineskins Community has been celebrating rituals especially focused on the Divine Feminine, to change culture from devaluation to empowerment of the feminine. The rituals also symbolize shared power and responsibility to change culture from one up/one down and win/lose to mutual relationships. The mission of New Wineskins is to expand experience of Divine Mystery and to contribute to healing, peace, and justice in our world.
Online third Sunday of each month at 7:30 pm (CST), beginning July, 19, 2020
I will participate in a plenary session titled “What She Says Live,” facilitated by Janene Cates Putman.
Music empowers action for social change. Music stirs our spirits and embeds words in our memories. Words shape our values that drive our actions. Singing our beliefs in justice, peace, and equality will move us to transform our world. Inclusive Songs for Resistance & Social Action will contribute to gender, racial, economic, environmental, and other justice movements. This collection includes songs for marches, rallies, and other activist gatherings to support movements such as Women’s March, Black Lives Matter, Human Rights Campaign, Poor People’s Campaign, and GreenFaith. Many of the songs are also for use in the worship services of faith communities, and some celebrate seasons of the year. Another feature of this new collection is the inclusion of songs that honor women leaders in Scripture and other prophetic women leaders. The songs in this collection highlight the intersection of justice concerns, instilling belief in the sacredness of all people and all creation. They name the Divine as female and male and more to support the foundational biblical truth that all people are created equally in the divine image. This collection includes all new songs, most to well-known tunes and some to new tunes and fresh arrangements of familiar tunes. Many of the songs are appropriate for interfaith and multigenerational settings.
Letha Dawson Scanzoni changed the landscape of American evangelicalism through her groundbreaking work on the gospel-based intersection of gender and LGBTQ justice. She coauthored two of the first books that support women’s equality and LGBTQ rights with the Bible: All We’re Meant to Be and Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? In all her work Letha applies the liberating message of Jesus to women and to people who have been marginalized by church and society because of sexual orientation. Building Bridges combines an exploration of the life and work of Letha Dawson Scanzoni with stories of people she continues to empower through her writing and the Evangelical & Ecumenical Women’s Caucus-Christian Feminism Today, an organization she cofounded. This book illustrates her growing influence as she continues her prophetic collaboration with new generations. In addition, it provides resources for churches as they build bridges for their ministries of liberation, justice, and peace.
Endorsements & Reviews
“This book lifts up one of the most important feminists in the last fifty years. Through it we can trace how Letha Dawson Scanzoni challenged evangelicals’ established and theologically legitimated roles for women and perspectives on LGBTQ persons, and then helped foster significant social change. It’s not only the biography of a long neglected history changer,but a description of how one biblically literate scholar helped the church to think in new ways.”
—Tony Campolo, author of Red Letter Christians: A Citizen’s Guide to Faith and Politics
“Building Bridges displays biography at its best, fully encompassing one life, yet written larger than life. The authors deftly set the narrative of Letha Dawson Scanzoni and her pioneering writings on sex and gender to showcase her pivotal challenge to the reigning contours of American evangelicalism. Scanzoni stands tall and courageous in this book, a prophet calling the American church to the biblical stance of justice for all.”
—Priscilla Pope-Levison, Associate Dean and Professor at Perkins School of Theology,Southern Methodist University
“Many think of Letha Dawson Scanzoni above all as a feminist, and that is no doubt legitimate. But I think of her first and foremost as a courageous biblical interpreter, because when I was a young evangelical, I watched her take the same biblical texts that the (white male) evangelical gatekeepers used to oppress others and instead use them to liberate. I admired her courage to differ from the gatekeepers, having no idea that I would eventually walk that same path. This book tells Letha’s story and celebrates her impact. I highly recommend it.”
—Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migratio
“I have known Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Kendra Weddle for many years, but I have not met Letha Dawson Scanzoni. After reading the book, I wish I knew her. All We’re Meant to Be had a profound influence on my life, moving me toward Christian feminism at a time when that stance was not ‘cool’ on evangelical Christian university campuses. Reading this book reminded me of the journey Letha helped equip me for, and the journeys many women have taken into a worldview that sees people for who they are and values them regardless of race, ethnic identity, gender identity or color. Jann and Kendra have produced a fitting homage to Letha and an excellent review and analysis of the Christian feminist movement. As a church historian, I value their insight into and accurate interpretation of the pilgrimage of Christian women toward equality. I encourage anyone interested in the story of the intertwining of Scanzoni’s life with the development of Christian feminism to read this book. Anyone searching for a good historical presentation of the development of Christian feminism should read this book. It is a fine addition to Christian feminist scholarship.”
—Rosalie Beck, Associate Professor at Baylor University
“If time travel were possible, I’d set the dial back two thousand years and place this book in the hands of the early church. Then I would roll the dial forward, stopping every decade to make sure its lessons were remembered. Alas, now I can only hope its prophetic witness is not too late.”
—Philip Gulley, Author of If the Church Were Christian
“Kendra Weddle and Jann Aldredge-Clanton’s book Building Bridges provides an informative and inspirational story of the life and work of Letha Dawson Scanzoni. Letha’s life paves a pathway for a new generation of feminist theologians. This thoughtful biography will stimulate future generations of feminist thinkers in their work and witness.”
—Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Author of Embracing the Other
“Kendra Weddle and Jann Aldredge-Clanton provide a deeply personal portrait of the pioneering life and work of evangelical feminist Letha Dawson Scanzoni. Breaking boundaries as she built bridges, Scanzoni fails to fit any of our conventional categories. And this is precisely the point. Her work and witness demand that we rethink our categories and consider instead a paradigm shift when it comes to what it means to embrace an evangelical faith. By telling Scanzoni’s story, this book offers intimate glimpses into the evolution of Christian feminism and of an inclusive faith tradition over the past half century.”
—Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Author of A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell
“Great read! This book shows some of the best of the work of the Christian feminist movement and the importance of building bridges and of Letha’s work for a very diverse and broad group of folks! Feminist thought is a joint project, drawing people together to work toward justice. Building Bridges illustrates that truth through tracing the life and work of one of Christian feminism’s most important thinkers and activists. Scanzoni’s Christian feminist publications deeply influenced me while in seminary in the late 70’s. Turns out, I’m not alone. This book shows her influence on thousands. An excellent history and an excellent, must read, for both Christians and others!”
—Mark McLeod-Harrison, Professor at George Fox University
“Thanks to Weddle and Aldredge-Clanton for sharpening the lens on the groundbreaking work of Letha Dawson Scanzoni. Building Bridges documents an often-overlooked revolution in American evangelicalism. Christians seeking to build bridges today on pressing questions of gospel liberation and justice will find here a treasure trove of biblical resources and promising vision.”
—Amy Oden, Professor at Saint Paul School of Theology
“I am so honored to endorse Building Bridges: Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Friends, by Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Kendra Weddle. This important book places Letha Dawson Scanzoni where she belongs–as a founder of Christian feminism. The authors acknowledge her true context–the history of American religion, women in religion, and a branch of Christian feminism that dared to take on homophobia. This is a neglected story of personal and theological courage that helps us understand our current religious and theological struggles. I appreciate that the authors included some of Scanzoni’s most important essays so that we can hear her voice afresh. Thank you also for lifting up her role as a mentor and friend to so many women theologians, expanding their horizons and multiplying their impact. As a leader in Metropolitan Community Churches for over four decades, I can personally attest to the powerful influences of Scanzoni and her friends, such as Nancy Hardesty and Virginia Mollenkott, on more than one generation of women and men of faith. We are ever in her debt.”
—Nancy Wilson, Former Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches
Equity for Women in the Church
Calling for founding partners of Equity for Women in the Church, Inc., a unique ecumenical, multicultural, visionary organization: Equity Membership.
Equity Mission, History, and Current Projects: Equity Mission
Why are most churches still segregated by race and culture? Is it possible to build intercultural ministries today? What are the challenges of creating and maintaining these ministries? How do intercultural churches give equal power and privilege to each culture? How do they avoid assimilating minority cultures into dominant cultures? Intercultural Ministry explores these questions and more with chapters from a racially and denominationally diverse group of pastors, theologians, and teachers who reflect on their experiences and experiments in intercultural ministry.Contributors include Peter Ahn, Amy Butler, Brad Braxton, Brandon Green, Daniel Hill, Angie Hong, Karen Oliveto, Carlos Ruiz, Sheila Sholes-Ross, Christine Smith, and more!