AuthorsGraham, Elaine L.
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractWhilst women comprise the majority of active lay members of most Christian denominations, they have been vastly under-represented within the Church’s ministries of Word and Sacrament. Critical feminist ecclesiologies invariably have to begin from this situation of invisibility and discrimination, whilst arguing for the historic and contemporary legitimacy of women’s full participation alongside men. Feminist critiques and reconstructions have drawn on Biblical and historical evidence in order to refute patterns of hierarchy and exclusion in favour of more egalitarian traditions of the Church as a community of equals. The various strands of the ‘Women-Church’ movement have also been central to a practical feminist ecclesiology, in which women have sought new ways to name their everyday experience as sacred and to exercise new patterns of ministry and leadership. Institutionally-led initiatives, such as the World Council of Churches’ programme on The Community of Women and Men in the Church, have met with mixed success; and increasingly, feminist ecclesiology has focused on the lived experience of women, not only in mainstream churches but in locally-based, informal liturgical communities. These serve to illustrate the extent to which liturgy and worship has been one of the most creative well-springs of feminist activity and renewal; and may, in the long run, be seen to have exercised the greatest lasting impact on the life of the Church.
CitationGraham, E. (2018). Feminist critiques, visions and models of the church. In P. Avis (Ed.), Oxford Companion to Ecclesiology. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
PublisherOxford University Press
CollectionsTheology and Religious Studies
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