FAR PROJECT CO-WEAVERS
Xochitl Alvizo, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Religious Studies in the area of Women and Religion and the Philosophy of Gender (LGBT), Sex, and Sexuality at California State University, Northridge. She received her Ph.D. in Practical Theology at Boston University School of Theology. Her research is focused on new and postmodern forms of church, feminist theology, and feminist ecclesiology. Finding herself on the boundary of different social and cultural contexts, she works hard to develop her voice and to hear and encourage the voice of others. Her work is inspired by the conviction that all people are inextricably connected and the good one can do in any one area inevitably and positively impacts all others. Her volume, co-edited with Gina Messina-Dysert, Women Religion Revolution, is available through FSR Books. Xochitl is one of the four women who co-founded Feminism and Religion in June 2011.
Laura Montoya is from Bogotá, Colombia. She is a Psychologist, devoted to work alongside communities affected by the 60 years of war in her country. Currently, she is a second-year student in the Masters of Divinity program at Boston University School of Theology. She is also a FAR intern and Office Assistant in the Anna Howard Shaw Center. Due to the pandemic, she is living in her hometown with her husband, a baby dog named Joy, and two lovely cats, Agustin of Hippo and Consentido.Laura completed her Service Learning for Boston University with FAR 2020-2021.
Gina Messina-Dysert, Ph.D. is Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Ursuline College and Co-founder and Co-director of Feminism and Religion. Gina has authored multiple articles, the forthcoming book Rape Culture and Spiritual Violence, and is co-editor (with Rosemary Radford Ruether) of the forthcoming anthology, Feminism and Religion in the 21st Century. Her research interests are theologically and ethically driven, involve a feminist and interdisciplinary approach, and are influenced by her activist roots and experience working with survivors of rape and domestic violence. Gina can be followed on Twitter @FemTheologian and her website can be accessed at http://ginamessinadysert.com. Gina is one of the four women who co-founded Feminism and Religion in June 2011.
Kecia Ali, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University where she teaches a range of classes related to Islam. She writes on early Islamic law, women, ethics, and biography. Her newest books are The Lives of Muhammad and the co-edited Guide for Women in Religion, revised edition. Her earlier books include Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence (2006), Marriage and Slavery in Early Islam (2010), and Imam Shafi’i: Scholar and Saint (2011). She currently serves on the Membership Task Force of the American Academy of Religion and serves as president of the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics. She lives in the Boston area with her family.
Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D.: (http://www.barbaraardinger.com) Author most recently of Secret Lives, a novel in the magical realism style about grandmothers who do magic. Her previous books include Pagan Every Day, a daybook that celebrates holy days in numerous religions; Finding New Goddesses, a pun-filled parody of goddess encyclopedias; and Practicing the Presence of the Goddess, a sort of Feminist Spirituality primer that is now available on Kindle. Barbara’s day job is editing for smart people with good ideas but marginal writing skills. To date, she has edited 250 books, both fiction and nonfiction, in genres that range from theology to science fiction, plus academic theses and dissertations, textbooks, screenplays, poetry, and children’s books. She lives in Long Beach, California, with her two Maine coon cats, Heisenberg and Schroedinger. When she gets up from the computer, she would rather go to the theater and see musicals than almost anything else.
Stephanie N. Arel is an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the September 11 Memorial and Museum and a visiting researcher at New York University. She is the author of Affect Theory, Shame and Christian Formation (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) and co-editor of Post-Traumatic Public Theology (Palgrave Macmillan 2016). Her work revolves around the interplay of psychology and religion to inform an evaluation of trauma and its impact on human dignity.
Carolyn Lee Boyd is a writer whose work focuses on the sacred in the everyday lives of women. Her essays, short stories, memoirs, reviews and more have been published in numerous print and online publications. You can read more of her work at her blog,www.goddessinateapot.com. She has also been an elder services professional for almost three decades in New York City, throughout Massachusetts, and in two local communities including projects focusing on the needs of older women.
Kelly Brown Douglas is the Susan D. Morgan Professor and Director of Religion at Goucher College. Author of several books including Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (Forthcoming Orbis, Spring 2015).
Marie Cartier. Dr. Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine. She is also a published poet and playwright, accomplished performance artist, scholar, and social change activist. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) and an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting), both from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University. She is co-chair of the Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion session of the national American Academy of Religion and co-chair at the regional level of the Queer Studies in Religion session, founder of the western region Queer Caucus, and a perma-blogger for Feminism and Religion. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style, and a 500 hour Yoga Alliance certified Hatha Yoga teacher.
Kate Brunner is a freelance writer & member of The Sisterhood of Avalon, studying at the Avalonian Thealogical Seminary. She is a current resident of a Colorafo cohousing community and homeschools her children. Before motherhood, Kate earned a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University, while studying Economics, International Relations, & Religion. She then served four years as a logistics officer in the US Army after which Kate became a doula and holistic birth educator. She is a regular contributor to The Sisterhood of Avalon’s online journal, The Tor Stone and is active in the Red Tent Movement. Kate serves as a presenter for Red Tents and women’s spirituality retreats & festivals. She enjoys international travel, perfecting her cooking, reading great books, & having fascinating conversations with friends; old or new. Kate started as a FAR blog intern in 2014 and then served as a FAR Co-Weaver until 2018.
Carol P. Christ, Ph.D.: (1945-2021) was a leading feminist historian of religion and theologian who led the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete, a life transforming tour for women, for over 20 years. She is deeply missed, but her words live on in her blogs for FAR and her many other writings. The Goddess tours of Crete will continue, following Carol’s template: www.goddessariadne.org. Carol earned her B.A. at Stanford University and Ph.D. at Yale University. She was a founding mother in the study of women and religion, feminist theology, women’s spirituality, and the Goddess movement, and her work revolutionized the field of feminism and religion. She taught online courses in the Women’s Spirituality program at CIIS and through Ariadne Institute offered Goddess Pilgrimages to Crete. Her books include She Who Changes , Rebirth of the Goddess, Odyssey with the Goddess, Laughter of Aphrodite, Diving Deep and Surfacing, and the widely used anthologies she co-edited with Judith Plaskow, Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions. Carol taught at Wesleyan, Columbia, San Jose State, Harvard Divinity School, Pacific School of Religion, and other universities and seminaries. She was born in southern California and lived in Greece for over 20 years where she became a dual citizen of Greece and the US. She was active in anti-racist, anti-war, feminist, and anti-nuclear causes for many years. From 2001 until the end, Carol worked with Friends of Green Lesbos to save the wetlands of her home island. In 2010 she ran for office in Lesbos and helped to elect the first Green Party representative to the Regional Council of the North Aegean. She helped to organize Lesbos Go Green, which is working on recycling in Lesbos.
Monica A. Coleman, Ph.D.: Scholar and activist committed to connecting faith and social justice. An ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Monica has earned degrees at Harvard University, Vanderbilt University and Claremont Graduate University. Monica is currently Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions and Co-Director of the Center for Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology in southern California. She is also Associate Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University. Her writings focus on the role of faith in addressing critical social issues. Monica wrote about church responses to sexual violence in The Dinah Project: a Handbook for Congregational Response to Sexual Violence. In Making a Way Out of No Way: a Womanist Theology, Monica discusses inter-religious responses to the joys and pains of black women’s lives. She is the co-editor of the forthcoming Creating Women’s Theologies: A Movement Engaging Process Thought and editor of the forthcoming Ain’t I a Womanist Too?: Third Wave Womanist Religious Thought.
Christy Croft is a writer, teacher, and healer whose interfaith, personal spiritual practice is inspired by nature, informed by science, and grounded in compassion. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from The University of South Florida and is currently a graduate student at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has facilitated safe and sacred space for over twenty years, as a suicide hotline counselor, doula, rape crisis companion, support group facilitator, priestess, mentor, mother, and friend. Her research interests include spirituality, compassion, trauma, gender, sexuality, and intimacy, and she sometimes blogs at The Sacred Loom.
Elizabeth Cunningham is best known as the author of The Maeve Chronicles, a series of award-winning novels featuring a feisty Celtic Magdalen. The 25th anniversary edition of The Return of the Goddess, A Divine Comedy will be published on August 15, 2017. She has published three collections of poems, most recently So Ecstasy Can Find You. Her debut mystery novel, Murder at the Rummage Sale, was published last summer; she is at work on a sequel. Her graphic novels The Book of Madge and Madge Returns are forthcoming this November. An interfaith minister and counselor in private practice, she lives in New York State’s Hudson Valley. She is a fellow emeritus ofBlack Earth Institute.
Max Dashu is the author of Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, an ethnohistorical sourcebook just published by Veleda Press. She founded the Suppressed Histories Archives in 1970, and is known for her visual talks on global women’s history. Her two videos are Woman Shaman: the Ancients (2013) and Women’s Power in Global Perspective (2008).
Katie M. Deaver holds a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology with an emphasis in Feminist Theology from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Deaver also holds a BA in Religion and Music from Luther College in Decorah, IA as well as MATS and Th.M. degrees from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Her primary area of interest explores the connections between Christian understandings of atonement theology and the prevalence of domestic violence within the United States context. Katie is currently an Adjunct Professor at Elmhurst College. Katie was originally a FAR blog intern and then a FAR co-weaver from 2017-2019.
Elise M. Edwards, PhD is a Lecturer in Christian Ethics at Baylor University and a graduate of Claremont Graduate University. She is also a registered architect in the State of Florida. Her interdisciplinary work examines issues of civic engagement and how beliefs and commitments are expressed publicly. As a black feminist, she primarily focuses on cultural expressions by, for, and about women and marginalized communities. Follow her on twitter, google+ or academia.edu.
John Erickson is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Religious History at Claremont Graduate University. He holds a MA in Women’s Studies in Religion; an MA in Applied Women’s Studies; and a BA in Women’s Literature and Women’s Studies. The LGBTQ and women’s rights movements, masculinity studies, gender theory, and the utilization of technology in forming communities and creating new teaching methodologies influence his research interests. His work is inspired by the intersectionality of feminism, queer identity, LGBTQ history, and religious and sexual cultural rhetoric. He is a Non-Fiction Reviewer for Lambda Literary, the leader in LGBT reviews, author interviews, opinions and news since 1989 and the Co-Chair of the Queer Studies in Religion section of the American Academy of Religion’s Western Region, the only regional section of the American Academy of Religion that is dedicated to the exploration of queer studies in religion and other relevant fields in the nation. When he is not working on his dissertation, he can be found at West Hollywood City Hall where he works on policies and special events relating to women, gender, sexuality, and human rights issues that are sponsored or co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood. He is the author of the blog From Wisconsin, with Love and can be followed on Twitter @JErickson85
Sara Frykenberg, Ph.D.: Graduate of the women studies in religion program at Claremont Graduate University, Sara’s research considers the way in which process feminist theo/alogies reveal a kind transitory violence present in the liminal space between abusive paradigms and new non-abusive creations: a counter-necessary violence. In addition to her feminist, theo/alogical and pedagogical pursuits, Sara is also an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy literature, and a level one Kundalini yoga teacher.
Cynthie Garrity-Bond: Feminist theologian and social ethicist, is completing her doctorate at Claremont Graduate University in women studies in religion with a secondary focus in theology, ethics and culture. For the past two years Cynthie has been teaching in the department of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University where she completed both her BA and MA in Theology. Her research interests includes feminist sexual theology, historical theology with particular emphasis on religious movements of women, agency and resistance to ecclesial authority, embodiment, Mariology and transnational feminisms. Having recently returned from Southern Africa, Cynthie is researching the decriminalization of prostitution from a theological perspective. Cynthie is one of the four women who co-founded Feminism and Religion in June 2011.
Heide Goettner-Abendroth is a mother and a grandmother. She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy of science at the University of Munich where she taught for ten years (1973-1983). She has published extensively on philosophy of science, in addition to various books on matriarchal society and culture, and is a founder of Modern Matriarchal Studies. Her magnum opus: Matriarchal Societies. Studies on Indigenous Cultures across the Globe, (Lang 2012, New York) defines the topic and provides a world tour of examples of contemporary matriarchal cultures. She has been visiting professor at the University of Montreal in Canada, and the University of Innsbruck in Austria. In 1986, she founded the International ACADEMY HAGIA for Matriarchal Studies and Matriarchal Spirituality in Germany is its director. In 2003, 2005 and 2011 she organized three World Congresses on Matriarchal Studies in Europe and the U.S.A. In 2005, she was elected by the international initiative “1000 Peace Women Across the Globe” as a nominee for the Nobel Peace.
Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee recently earned her Ph.D. in social and ecological ethics from Boston University School of Theology. She continues to study intersections of ecofeminism, permaculture ethics, grief, and nature connection. She previously did graduate research on Alzheimer’s Disease and preventive research on Ovarian Cancer. She received a B.Sc. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.A. in Molecular Biology from Harvard University, and an M.Div. from the Boston University School of Theology. She lives in central Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters, and enjoys gardening, canoeing, learning about medicinal and edible wild plants, and rewriting old hymns to make them more inclusive.
Trelawney Grenfell-Muir is an author, professor, and peacebuilder. She writes and teaches on topics of Feminism, Cross-Cultural Conflict, Ethics, Sex, Dating, Marriage, Parenting, Education, Conflict Transformation, and Peacebuilding. Grenfell-Muir holds an M.Div. from the Boston University School of Theology with a concentration in Religion and Conflict, and a Ph.D. in Conflict Studies and Religion with the University Professors Program at Boston University. She was a fellow at the Institute of Culture, Religion, and World Affairs, and at the Earhart Foundation, and she is currently a Senior Discussant at the Harvard University Colloquium on Religions and the Practice of Peace. Grenfell-Muir has conducted field research in situations of ongoing conflict in Syria, Lebanon, and Northern Ireland. Her dissertation explores the methodology, constraints, and effectiveness of clergy peacebuilders in Northern Ireland. She has been an invited speaker in community settings and at Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Tufts, and Boston College on topics of gender violence, economic injustice, and religious or ethnic conflicts and has also moderated panels on genetic engineering, cloning, and other bioethics issues.
Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, is the co-founder of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute (www.kohenet.org) and the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion (www.ajrsem.org). She is the author of essays, poems, rituals and stories, and of seven books including Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women, The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons, The Omer Calendar of Biblical Women, The Hebrew Priestess (with Taya Shere, 2015), and the new volume of poetry The Book of Earth and Other Mysteries (2016).
Ivy Helman, Ph.D.: A feminist scholar and faculty member at Charles University and Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic where she teaches a variety of Jewish Studies and Feminist and Ecofeminist courses. She is a past Associate of Merrimack College‘s Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations and spent many years as an Adjunct Lecturer in their Religious and Theological Studies Department. She has taught at Boston College and Carroll University in Wisconsin. While her primary focus is Judaism and Roman Catholicism, her research interests range from the relationship between anti-modernism and anti-feminism in religious traditions and the rise of various fundamentalisms to queer theology and eco-feminism. Her publications include: “Queer Systems: The Benefits of a More Systematic Approach to Queer Theology,” in CrossCurrents (March 2011) and Women and the Vatican: An Exploration of Official Documents (2012). In addition to teaching and research, Ivy spends time learning Czech, painting, drawing, creating new kosher vegan delicacies and playing with her dog, Mini, and cat, Gabbi.
Karen Leslie Hernandez is a theologian and interfaith activist. With a focus in Christian-Muslim understanding, as well as religious fundamentalism and extremism, Karen is the only theologian who is a Latina and a United Methodist doing this type of theological work in the US. She has published with several media outlets including the Women’s United Nations Report Network, The Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue/Studies, the Interfaith Observer, and she is the only Christian to publish an ongoing Op-Ed Column with OnIslam out of Cairo, Egypt. As an instructor, Karen designed and taught an Interfaith Dialogue workshop with Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, and she teaches workshops throughout the Bay Area. Karen currently lives in San Francisco, is consulting with the United Religions Initiative, is an Ambassador with Parliament of the World’s Religions, is pursuing her Doctor of Ministry at Claremont School of Theology, and she is also a domestic violence advocate.
Grace Yia-Hei Kao, Ph.D.: A second generation Taiwanese American and Christian, Grace is Associate Professor of Ethics at Claremont School of Theology in the Claremont Lincoln University Consortium and Associate Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University. Since earning a B.A. in philosophy & religious studies at Stanford University and a Ph.D. in theology with a subspecialization in philosophy at Harvard University, her scholarly interests have remained at the intersection of philosophical and theological ethics. Her research and publications can be grouped under four major areas: (1) rights, human and animal, (2) religion in the public sphere, (3) ecofeminism, and (4) Asian American Christianity. Grace is the author of Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World (Georgetown University Press, 2011) and is working on an anthology exploring women’s theological lives as well as two other book projects that develop the subfield of Asian American Christian Ethics.
Valentina Khan received her Masters of Arts in Muslim Leadership Context at the Claremont School of Theology. She is also a law graduate and candidate for the California Bar Exam. Valentina is a co-founder of I Am Jerusalem, an interfaith organization which promotes friendship, understanding, and striving for the “greater purpose” by dedicating time to community service and social justice. She spends her time at UpLift:body, life, community where she is the owner and teacher of all things positive for the mind, body, and soul.
Caroline Kline: A Mormon feminist, Caroline is completing her coursework for her Ph.D. in religion with a focus on women’s studies in religion. Her areas of interest revolve around the intersections of Mormon and feminist theology and the study of contemporary Mormon feminist communities. She is the co-founder of the Mormon feminist blog, The Exponent, and is a committed believer in the importance of online feminist forums and communities. Caroline is one of the four women who co-founded Feminism and Religion in June 2011.
Anjeanette LeBoeuf is currently studying for her qualifying exams in Women Studies in Religion at Claremont Graduate University. Her focuses are divided between South Asian religions and religion and popular culture. She has become focused on exploring the representations of women in all forms of popular culture and how religion plays into them. Recently she drove across country to learn Sanskrit at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is an avid supporter of both soccer and hockey. She is also a television and movie buff which probably takes way too much of her time, but she enjoys every minute of it.
Molly Remer has been “gathering the women” to circle, sing, celebrate, and share since 2008. She plans and facilitates women’s circles, seasonal retreats and rituals, mother-daughter circles, family ceremonies, and red tent circles in rural Missouri and teaches online courses in Red Tent facilitation and Practical Priestessing. She is a priestess who holds MSW, M.Div, and D.Min degrees and finished her dissertation about contemporary priestessing in the U.S. Molly and her husband Mark co-create Story Goddesses, original goddess sculptures, ceremony kits, and jewelry at Brigid’s Grove. Molly is the author of Womanrunes, Earthprayer, and The Red Tent Resource Kit and she writes about thealogy, nature, practical priestessing, and the goddess at Brigid’s Grove.
Rev. Marcia Mount Shoop, Ph.D. is ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church and is deeply engaged in the multicultural movement in the Presbyterian denomination nationally. She earned a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School a Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Emory University. Marcia is the author of multiple articles and the book Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ. Her current ministry involves teaching, preaching, leading retreats and workshops, facilitating and consulting, and writing.
Esther Nelson is an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va. She has taught courses on Human Spirituality, Global Ethics, Christian-Muslim Relations, and Religions of the World, but focuses on her favorite course, Women in Islam. She is the co-author (with Nasr Abu Zaid) of VOICE OF AN EXILE REFLECTIONS ON ISLAM and the co-author (with Kristen Swenson) of WHAT IS RELIGIOUS STUDIES? A JOURNEY OF INQUIRY.
Oxana Poberejnaia was an Officer of the University of Manchester Buddhist Society while studying for a PhD in Government, and has been involved in organising the Manchester Buddhist Convention, now in its 9th year. Oxana is now exploring the Sacred Feminine through marking seasonal festivals, working with her menstrual cycle, frame drumming and shamanic journeying, while keeping the practice of Buddhist meditation. Oxana is an artist and an author. Her works can be found on her blog.
Deanne Quarrie, D. Min. is a Priestess of The Goddess, and author of five books. She is an Adjunct Professor at Ocean Seminary College teaching classes in Druidism, Celtic Shamanism, Runes, Ogham and European Witchcraft. She is the founder of Global Goddess, a worldwide organization open to all women who honor some form of the divine feminine, as well as The Apple Branch where she mentors those who wish to serve as priestesses and priests in their communities. Through the years Deanne has organized many women’s festivals, seasonal celebrations, taught workshops and formed groups of women to honor the age-old tradition of women coming together to share. As a spiritual mentor, Deanne assists others in their search for spiritual meaning in life. Deanne’s books can be found at Amazon. For more information about Deanne, visit: The Blue Roebuck, Global Goddess, The Apple Branch – A Dianic Tradition and Beyond the Ninth Wave.
Rosemary Radford Ruether, Ph.D.: Professor of Feminist Theology at Claremont Graduate University and Claremont School of Theology. She is also the Carpenter Emerita Professor of Feminist Theology at Pacific School of Religion and the GTU, as well as the Georgia Harkness Emerita Professor of Applied Theology at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Rosemary has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a scholar, teacher, and activist in the Roman Catholic Church, and is well known as a groundbreaking figure in Christian feminist theology. Ruether is the author of multiple articles and books including Sexism and God-Talk, Gaia and God, Women Healing Earth and The Wrath of Jonah: The Crisis of Religious Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Her most recent books include Catholic Does Not Equal the Vatican: A Vision for Progressive Catholicism(2008), Many Forms of Madness: A Family’s Struggle with Mental Illness(2010), and Women and Redemption: A Theological History, 2nd ed. (2011).
Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente, a feminist writer, gender journalist, and specialist in social communication and grass roots projects. She is a Muslim and pioneer of Islamic feminism in Latin America, a lecturer on women’s rights and activism against gender violence and religious fundamentalism issues.
Laura Shannon has been researching and teaching traditional women’s ritual dances since 1987, with a focus on their inherently therapeutic qualities. She is considered one of the ‘grandmothers’ of the worldwide Sacred/Circle Dance movement and teaches regularly in over twenty countries worldwide. Laura holds an honours degree in Intercultural Studies (1986) and a diploma in Dance Movement Therapy (1990), and is currently pursuing postgraduate studies in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred at Canterbury Christ Church University in England. She has been on the faculty of the Sacred Dance Department at the Findhorn ecological community in Scotland and is Founding Director of the non-profit Athena Institute for Women’s Dance and Culture based in Germany. In 2018 Laura was chosen as an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Sacred Dance Guild in recognition of her ‘significant and lasting contribution to dance as a sacred art’. Laura’s work has been mentioned in Iris Stewart’s book Sacred Woman, Sacred Dance, and her articles and essays on women’s ritual dances have appeared in Dancing on the Earth: Women’s Stories of Healing Through Dance (Findhorn Press), She Rises! Vol. 2 and Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess (Mago Books), Re-Enchanting the Academy (Rubedo Press), Inanna’s Ascent and Revisioning Medusa(Girl God Press), Spiritual Herstories, Feminist Theology and numerous other publications. She edited the book String of Pearls: Forty Years of Sacred Dance in the Findhorn Community. Laura is also a musician and has produced or collaborated on numerous recordings of music for traditional dance, and frequently performs with her husband, Kostantis Kourmadias. When not travelling for her research and teaching, Laura divides her time between Findhorn, Canterbury, and Greece.
Mary Sharratt is on a mission to write women back into history. Her new novel, Ecstasy, drawn from the dramatic life of composer, muse, and life artist, Alma Schindler Mahler, will be published in April and is now available on preorder. She is also the author of Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen, inspired by one of the most creative women of all time. Visit her website.
Judith Shaw, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has been interested in myth, culture and mystical studies all her life. Not long after graduating from SFAI, while living in Greece, Judith began exploring the Goddess in her artwork. She continues to be inspired by the Divine Feminine in all of Her manifestations. Originally from New Orleans, Judith now makes her home in New Mexico where she continues to paint and teach part-time. She is currently hard at work on a deck of Goddess cards. Her work, which expresses her belief in the interconnectedness of all life, can be seen on her website at http://judithshawart.com.
Vibha Shetiya was born in India and raised in Zambia before moving back to India as a teenager. She has been living in the US since 1999. Vibha moved to Albuquerque last year from Austin where she completed her dissertation on feminist versions of the “Ramayana,” an ancient Hindu epic. She teaches at the University of New Mexico.
LaChelle Schilling, Ph.D., graduated in 2014 from the Women and Religion program at Claremont Graduate University. She teaches composition from a contemplative pedagogical approach at Oklahoma State University. Currently, she is working on a book project titled Minimalism, Mindfulness, and the Middle Way, incorporating guidance from sacred wisdom literatures. She is also working on certification as a yoga instructor.
Laury Silvers, Ph.D., is an academic and activist. She is a sessional professor at the University of Toronto for the Department for the Study of Religion. She writes on Sufism in Early Islam as well as women’s religious authority and theological concerns in North American Islam. Her publications include: A Soaring Minaret: Abu Bakr al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism; “‘God Loves Me’: Early Pious and Sufi Women and the Theological Debate over God’s Love”; and with Ahmed Elewa, “‘I am One of the People’: A Survey and Analysis of Legal Arguments on Woman-led Prayer in Islam.” Her chapter, “Early Pious and Sufi Women” is forthcoming in The Cambridge Companion to Sufism. With El-Farouk Khaki and Troy Jackson, she founded Toronto’s Unity Mosque (ETJC) a Gender-Equal/LGBTQI-open mosque in Toronto www.jumacircle.com.
Michele Stopera Freyhauf: Doctoral (Ph.D.) Candidate in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and a Member of the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University as well as an Instructor at John Carroll University’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies. Michele has an M. A. in Theology and Religious Studies from John Carroll University, and did post-graduate work at the University of Akron in the area of History of Religion, Women, and Sexuality. She is also a Member-at-Large on the Student Advisory Board for the Society of Biblical Literature and the student representative on the Board for Eastern Great Lakes Biblical Society (EGLBS). Michele’s research interests involve Cultural Syncretism, especially under conquest; Hebrew Scriptures and Apocrypha; Cultural Memory and Identity; Anthropology of Religion; Biblical Archaeology; Religion, Terrorism, and Cultural Property; Historical Theology and Social Scientific Criticism; Gendered Violence and Role of Women in Religion; Forced Migration, Exile, and Human Trafficking. Michele is a feminist scholar, activist, and author of several articles and published essays including “Hagia Sophia: Political and Religious Symbolism in Stones and Spolia” and lectured during the Commission for the Status of Women at the United Nations (2013 and 2014). Michele can be followed on Twitter @msfreyhauf and @biblicalfem. Her website can be accessed here and is visible on other social media sites like LinkedIn and Google+
Linn Marie Tonstad, Ph.D., is a constructive theologian working at the intersection of Christian systematic theology with feminist and queer theology and theory. She is an assistant professor of systematic theology at Yale Divinity School and earned her PhD in religious studies from Yale University. She is currently completing her first book, provisionally entitled God and Difference: Experimental Trinitarian Theology.
Karen Torjesen, Ph.D.: Margo L. Goldsmith Professor of Women’s Studies in Religion at Claremont Graduate University where she has helped establish graduate programs in Women’s Studies in Religion and Applied Women’s Studies. For ten years she served as Dean of the School of Religion, partnering with religious communities to create programs in comparative religion. She has published extensively on women, gender and sexuality within Christianity. Her research interests include constructions of gender and sexuality in early Christianity, authority and institutionalization in the early churches, hermeneutics and rhetoric in late antiquity, and comparative study of Greek and Latin patristic traditions. During her tenure as assistant professor of patristic theology at the University of Goettingen (Germany), her book Hermeneutical Procedure and Theological Structure in Origen’s Exegesis was published by de Gruyter. Her most recent book is When Women Were Priests: Women’s Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity.
Amina Wadud, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of Islamic Studies, now traveling the world over seeking answers to the questions that move many of us through our lives. Author of Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective and Inside the Gender Jihad, she will blog on her life journey and anything that moves her about Islam, gender and justice, especially as these intersect with the rest of the universe. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Jassy Watson, who lives on the sub-tropical coast of Queensland Australia, is a mother of four, a passionate organic gardener, an artist, and a student of ancient history and religion at Macquarie University, Sydney. She runs a small business Goddesses Garden to keep women’s sacred circles, art, music and gardening practices alive.
Natalie Kertes Weaver, Ph.D., is Chair and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio. In addition, Natalie is the Director of the Humanities Program at Ursuline College and Secretary for the Catholic Theological Society of America. Natalie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Classics degree from John Carroll University, with majors in classical languages and philosophy; a Master of Arts in Religion with a concentration in ethics from Pepperdine University; and Doctor of Philosophy in Constructive Theology from Loyola University Chicago. Natalie’s academic books include: Marriage and Family: A Christian Theological Foundation (Anselm, 2009); Christian Thought and Practice: A Primer (Anselm, 2012); and The Theology of Suffering and Death: An Introduction for Caregivers (Routledge, 2013). Natalie is currently writing Made in the Image of God: Intersex and the Revisioning of Theological Anthropology (Wipf & Stock, 2014). Natalie has also authored two art books: Interior Design: Rooms of a Half-Life and Baby’s First Latin. Natalie’s areas of interest and expertise include: feminist theology; theology of suffering; theology of the family; religion and violence; and (inter)sex and theology. Natalie is a married mother of two sons, Valentine and Nathan. For pleasure, Natalie studies classical Hebrew, poetry, piano, and voice.
Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber is the Founder and Creative Director of the Holy Women Icons Project. She holds a Ph.D. in Art and Religion. A professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, she is the author of seven books. As an author and professional artist, she is creating a retreat center with her wife and child on Hawai’i Island as a part of the Holy Women Icons Project non-profit.
Katey Zeh, M.Div is a strategist, writer, and educator who inspires intentional communities to create a more just, compassionate world through building connection, sacred truth telling, and striving for the common good. In 2010 Zeh launched the first and only denominationally-sponsored advocacy campaign focused on improving global reproductive health for The United Methodist Church. She has written extensively about global maternal health, family planning, and women’s sacred worth for outlets including the Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches, Response magazine, the Good Mother Project, Mothering Matters, the Journal for Feminist Studies in Religion, and the United Methodist News Service. Find her on Twitter at @ktzeh or on her website http://www.kateyzeh.com.
Joyce Zonana is the author of a memoir, Dream Homes: From Cairo to Katrina, An Exile’s Journey. After participating in Carol Christ’s Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete in 1997, she served for a time as Co-Director of the Ariadne Institute for the Study of Myth and Ritual. She teaches writing and literature at Borough of Manhattan Community College and is currently completing a translation from the French of Henri Bosco’s Malicroix, a novel set in the Camargue.
PAST FAR INTERNS
Race MoChridhe (MRS, NationsUniversity) works at the intersections of feminism, Traditionalism, and New Religious Movements, focusing especially on the Oxford Goddess Revival. He is himself a practicing Deanist/Filianist and has shared his knowledge and experience in numerous rôles, ranging from Spiritual Resource Volunteer for the Minnesota Department of Human Services to respondent for the Religious Studies Project (www.religiousstudiesproject.com). He can be found at Pagan conventions, Christian book clubs, academic Twitter dust-ups, and his website, www.racemochridhe.com
Safa N. Plenty is an educator and mental health counselor. She holds a Masters of Social Work from Columbia University in Applied Generalist Practice and Programming and an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies with a minor in Africana Studies. Her research interest include Sufism, Attachment to God, indigenous eschatology, particularly Native American and Somatic psychology. She is also interested in religious mysticism, mindfulness practice in Buddhism and the role of feminism and religion in cultivating a peacemaking capacity among young Muslim women. Safa is currently working to develop a faith based healthy relationships program for Mothers and daughters. She enjoys writing poetry, research, and contemplative practice in art and crafts in her free time.
Stuart Dean has a B.A. (Tulane, 1976) and J.D. (Cornell, 1995) and is currently an independent researcher and writer living in New York City. Previously he worked in a variety of other capacities, including 15 years as a corporate attorney.
Rita M. Gross, Ph.D. is a Buddhist scholar-practitioner who teaches Buddhist dharma and meditation nationwide and who has published on many aspects of feminism and religion. She received her Ph. D. from the University of Chicago and is Professor of Comparative Study of Religions, Emerita, at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire. In 2005, she was named a lopon (senior dharma teacher) by Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, head of the Mindrolling lineage of Nyingma Tibetan Buddhism. Her books include Buddhism after Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism, Feminism and Religion: An Introduction, Soaring and Settling: Buddhist Perspectives on Contemporary Social and Religious Issues, and A Garland of Feminist Reflections: Forty Years of Religious Exploration. She co-authored Religious Feminism and the Future of the Planet: A Buddhist-Christian-Feminist Dialogue with Rosemary Radforth Reuther and co-edited Unspoken Worlds: Religious Lives with Nancy Auer Falk. Her forthcoming book is Religious Diversity—What’s the Problem? Buddhist Advice for Flourishing with Religious Diversity. She live in Eau Claire, Wisconsin where she leads a small Buddhist dharma study group. With her live three Siamese cats and a Border collie. She gardens extensively and has about five hundred house plants.
Corinna Guerrero is a 5th year doctoral student at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Biblical Studieswith specializations in Hebrew Bible and Literary Theory. She will be proposing her dissertation on Adoni-bezek and Characterization Theory in the near future. In addition to her studies Ms. Guerrero is currently a Newhall Teaching Fellow at the GTU and an Adjunct Instructor at the American Baptist Seminary of the West. In her personal life Ms. Guerrero is also a wife and mother of a 3 year old daughter named Eva.
Stacia Guzzo: A homesteading theologian/stay-at-home mother, Stacia received her Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Loyola Marymount University and is currently working toward a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary. Stacia has been a teacher and speaker in the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archdiocese and has served as managing editor for Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality. Her areas of interest include embodiment theology, ecological justice, food ethics, and the spirituality of birth. Stacia’s perspective offers unique insight into the raw, fresh theological undertones of every day life; coming from a Jesuit background, she embraces the Ignatian attitude of “finding God in all things.” In addition to her theological studies, Stacia currently works part-time as a doula, childbirth educator, and apiarist.
Kathryn House is a North Carolina native who has made her home in Jamaica Plain since 2005. She completed a BA in Religion at Duke University in 2003, and her Master of Divinity degree at Boston University School of Theology in 2008. She is currently a doctoral student in Practical Theology at Boston University. Her academic interests include the constructions of gender and sexuality in evangelical Christian traditions and ecclesiologies. She is in the process of ordination in the American Baptist Churches, USA and a member of The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, MA. She is also the co-founder of Bridesmaid Trade, an online bridesmaid dress consignment business. Kathryn can be found online at @kharthouse.
Kile Jones holds a Bachelors of Theology (B.Th.) from Faith Seminary, a Masters of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) and a Masters of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) from Boston University, and is a current Ph.D. in Religion student at Claremont Lincoln University. He also holds a Certificate in Science and Religion from the Boston Theological Institute. Mr. Jones has been published in Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, Philosophy Now, Free Inquiry, World Futures, Human Affairs, and the Secular Web. He has presented at Conferences around the United States and the United Kingdom. He is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Claremont Journal of Religion (www.claremontjournal.com). His interests include religion and science, atheism, secularism, and philosophy of religion. He also reviews books for Reviews in Religion and Theology (RRT) and is a Contributing Scholar for State of Formation (www.stateofformation.org), an academic blog for emerging religious and ethical leaders.
Erin Lane is a freelance communication strategist for faith-based authors and organizations. She received her Masters in Theological Studies from Duke Divinity School with a focus in gender, ministry, and theology. Confirmed Catholic, raised Charismatic, and married to a Methodist, she blogs about the intersection of her faith and feminism at www.holyhellions.com. She is also co-editing an upcoming anthology on the taboos experienced by young American Christian women. She lives in Durham, NC.
Amy Levin: A graduate student in religious studies at New York University with an interdisciplinary focus on American religion, gender and queer theory, secularization, spirituality, and consumption, Amy is a regular contributor to The Revealer, a practicing feminist, and can be followed on Twitter @levinam.
Jameelah X. Medina, Ph.D., is an educator, author, and orator. Her latest book, ABCs of Living a Good Life: 26 Things I’ve Learned along the Way, is available for free on her website: www.jameelahmedina.com She is also the owner and operator of Dr. J’s Apothecary where she makes all-natural products for health and wellness.
Andreea Nica is a freelance writer, media strategist, and PhD Candidate. You can find her freelancing on Apartments.com, Huffington Post, AlterNet, Sociologists for Women in Society, amongst others. She is a featured expert on SheSource, Women’s Media Center, and the Founder of OrganiCommunications, a consultancy that empowers organizations in content development and strategic media ventures. Andreea is also writing a memoir on her transition from the Pentecostal sect. She holds a M.S. from the London School of Economics and a B.A. in Psychology from Northern Arizona University. Currently, she is pursuing her PhD in Sociology at Portland State University. Her research interests include religion, immigration, and gender. Follow her @integratedcom and connect on LinkedIn.
Martha Cecilia Ovadia is an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Student in Feminist Theology and Children’s Literature at Claremont Graduate University. She holds a MA in Religion, Ethics and Culture, focusing on Catholic Sexual Ethics and a BA in Religious Studies. She has written extensively on Revisionist Catholic Theology and has dedicated quite a bit of her studies to her very special interest: Harry Potter. Her proposed dissertation is on feminist writers and emerging young adult dystopian literature. She currently works with academic journals in the publishing industry in Los Angeles. When she is not working on her dissertation or editing journals, she can be found working on her debut novel or cuddling her two ferocious Pomeranians.
Sarah Sentilles is a scholar of religion, an award-winning speaker, and the author of three books including A Church of Her Own: What Happens When a Woman Takes the Pulpit (Harcourt, 2008) and Breaking Up with God (HarperOne, 2011). She earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale and a master’s of divinity and a doctorate in theology from Harvard, where she was awarded the Billings Preaching Prize and was the managing editor of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. At the core of her scholarship, writing, and activism is a commitment to investigating the roles religious language, images, and practices play in oppression, violence, social transformation, and justice movements. She is currently at work on a novel and an edited volume that investigates the intersections of torture and Christianity.