Dr. Nancy Hardesty, one of the original founders of the EEWC (Evangelical & Ecumenical Women’s Caucus), a flagship Christian organization dedicated to furthering biblical feminism, died April 8, 2011, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 69.
Hardesty wrote such ground-breaking books as Women called to Witness: Evangelical Feminism and All We’re Meant To Be: A Bibical Approach to Women’s Liberation (co-authored with friend and fellow-founder of the EEWC, Letha Scanzoni). Her life work–which began at the height of the women’s movement in the 1960s and 70s– was to pose scholarly theological arguments for a more woman-inclusive reading of the Bible. Hardesty’s message was one of an authentic Christian faith that countered the submission theology so often emphasized in a patriarchal society, and with which liberated women so often struggle.
In one of the last essays of her life, Hardesty wrote of feminists’ need to continue the work she’d begun:
“The struggle for full equality for women has not yet been won nor are its gains secure. Within Christianity, one has only to look at evangelical fundamentalism, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Orthodox churches to see the need for continued work. Within American society and around the world, women and children are still very much at risk, despite the courageous work of women leaders everywhere…
We have a responsibility to continue to publish, lecture, preach and speak out professionally with the basic messages of biblical feminism. We need to remind Christian denominations in this country and around the world that ordination of women is a matter of responding to the Holy Spirit’s call, not a political marker to distinguish conservatives from liberals.
We need to keep reminding people that both women and men, girls and boys, are created in God’s image and re-created equally by the grace of God manifested in Christ Jesus. Male domination is a sign of sin, not salvation. All people are called to submit to one another, to love others as themselves.”
A memorial to Nancy Hardesty is to appear on the EEWC-Christian Feminism Today website soon.
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