Feminist theology, perhaps for the first time, took center stage at an annual meeting of a mainline denomination. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) at its June meeting in Wichita, Kansas, officially said in a ten-page statement on the feminist RE-Imagining conference last fall that the controversial event went "beyond the boundaries" of Reformed theology.
PCUSA members were the largest group among the 2,000 participants at RE-Imagining. In addition, $66,000 in denominational mission funds supported the conference.
When reports about RE-Imagining surfaced, alleging that participants "worshiped" Sophia as an Old Testament goddess of wisdom, hundreds of outraged PCUSA congregations withheld or redirected millions of dollars away from the denomination's coffers, triggering a grave financial shortfall (CT, April 4, 1994, p. 74).
Recently, five faculty members from Princeton Theological Seminary, a leading Presbyterian institution, issued an open-letter analysis of RE-Imagining, saying participants used feminine images of God with "reckless abandon."
Caught off guard by the furious reaction, RE-Imagining sponsors have spent countless hours defending the conference and feminist theology. In the fallout, Mary Ann Lundy, a top PCUSA official and a key RE-Imagining supporter, was forced to resign her job at the Louisville, Kentucky, denominational headquarters, effective July l.
At women's events during general assembly work in Wichita, Lundy was given several thunderous standing ovations. She told her supporters they were in a "battle for the soul of the Presbyterian church launched by political forces led by the far or radical right."
WILL HEALING TAKE PLACE?
Among the general assembly's many findings about RE-Imagining ...1