“John Calvin and Martin Luther come to mind for many Presbyterians as heroes of the Reformation. But women also played significant roles, and thanks to a new six-part series from Theocademy, their stories have become more accessible.” The Presbyterian Mission Agency
In early 2021, several women at Mid-Coast Church met on Zoom to watch and discuss Theocademy’s Expanding the Narrative: Women and the Reformation. We became aware of this program in the PC(USA) Daily News, and it both piqued our interest and seemed like it would be perfect for our current Zoom format of gathering.
This study spoke to the understanding that the Reformation in the church is not just history but continues even today. The series is by and about women of today continuing in God’s work of reformation, in both the church and the world. It is about women seeking justice and equity for all, including looking at areas where the Presbyterian Church has fallen short.
It was not entirely what we were expecting. It began with discussion about women during the Reformation but expanded to include so much more. It spoke to the understanding that the Reformation in the church is not just history but continues even today. The series is by and about women of today continuing in God’s work of reformation, in both the church and the world. It is about women seeking justice and equity for all, including looking at areas where the Presbyterian Church has fallen short.
Though we are charged to love our neighbor as ourselves, discrimination within the church still exists, against women, against racial and ethnic groups, against LGBTQIA+ persons, and others on the margin of our society. The series lets you listen to the stories of women who have experienced some type of discrimination within the church and women who are determined to see things changed.
The program is presented in six sessions: Neglected Stories, Beyond Calvin, Reforming Movements, Finding Our Voice, Transforming Identity, and Loving Justice, with each segment focusing on some aspect of practices that need to be changed. Questions posed at the end of each video help open discussion that follows. The presentation and their questions made us think. A very worthwhile program, making us aware that the work of reformation continues and calling us to greater participation in the journey.
One woman in our study group summed it up this way:
Women are a part of reformation.
Reformation is transformation.
Everyone has a story to tell and stories matter.
And learn them we did.
A welcome way to enter and understand the importance of our Reformation history.
The final question of session 6 was “Where can you challenge yourself and your church to expand its vision of community?” Certainly not a question with an easy answer, but we thought perhaps that one thing we should do was to share about this with others (We have even shared it with the Men’s Study group at MCPC!) and invite them to go through Expanding the Narrative: Women and the Reformation as well. The series can be found at www.theocademy.com/expanding-the-narrative-women-and-the-reformation.