Hannah Mudge, a member of the Christian Feminist Network collective, introduces the group and its aims.
December 1st will see the first meeting in London of a new group interested in exploring the intersection of faith and feminism.
The Christian Feminist Network has been founded by a collective of women in response to a number of discussions and debates online and at other events, which identified the need for a group that could connect Christianity and feminism. Whether that means promoting gender equality in the church, in our relationships, and in society, providing a safe space for those who identify as Christian and feminist to support each other, or contributing a Christian voice to the feminist movement, we felt the time had come to step out and take action.
There’s always a lot of debate around the extent to which feminism and religion are compatible and while it’s true that the church, over the centuries, has certainly bought into patriarchal practices and teachings, we strongly believe that at the heart of Christian teaching are principles of equality and empowerment for the marginalised. During his ministry, Jesus espoused counter-cultural views of women, according them a role in the early church that went against the way women were seen by society. We believe it’s important to fight for recognition of this today.
We also believe it’s vital to build bridges between the Christian and feminist communities, fostering understanding and focusing on shared aims. The two have co-existed for a long time – many prominent first wave feminists had strong Christian beliefs.
With the recent disappointment of the outcome of the vote on women bishops, the formation of CFN seems timely. But while we support women’s leadership at all levels of the church, we hope that the focus of the network will be more wide ranging, identifying with the concerns of the wider feminist movement and supporting members whatever branch of the church they belong to.
CFN is therefore an ecumenical group and inclusive of different perspectives within Christianity, as well as LGBTQI-inclusive, and open to men who identify as feminist or allies. Members of the founding collective currently belong to Anglican, Baptist, and evangelical churches and are involved with a variety of existing feminist and faith organisations.
Our meeting on December 1st will take place at the Gary Weston Library, Southwark Cathedral, SE1 9DA, from 2-4:30pm. We’re keen to see a variety of different perspectives and voices shape the network and want to spend time sharing our vision and ideas as well as getting to know each other. Refreshments will be provided. In the future we hope that meetings can be held in other areas of the country and that activities may include teaching days, getting involved with campaigns, and meetings devoted to discussing particular issues. For more information or to be added to our mailing list, email [email protected].