Your Faith on Feminism: October 20 – 22

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 9.58.36 PM

Your Faith on Feminism is an interfaith and ecumenical conference where feminist advocates of various ages and walks of life will come together to share ideas, build community and participate in worship. Friday evening to Sunday, the program will encompass discussion-based educational and creative breakout sessions, music and worship, and reflections on what it means to be a feminist in the present, global
atmosphere of fear, war and oppression.

Individuals and groups are invited to submit papers at any stage of the writing process to be workshopped in an informal, academic group environment, facilitated by experienced and knowledgeable feminist advocates but with the understanding that everyone has wisdom. Participants will eat, pray, study and share with one another throughout the weekend.

A set of conference papers will be published on the ideas presented and discussed by participating students and ministers, including the influence of workshops and the community.

Participants of all intersections, including age, race, culture, gender, size, ability, sexuality and faith, will contribute to their collective knowledge on diversity in feminism and enrich their activism with interfaith dialogue, friendships and intergenerational context. Relationships of mutual giving will develop across distance and divides both literal and figurative to help empower women and feminist advocates of various faiths to create meaningful change in their communities.

What?​ Your Faith on Feminism Conference
When?​ October 20 – 22, 2017
Where?​ St. Joseph’s College, University of Alberta, Edmonton
How?​ Please register by filling out the Registration Form​.
Fee?​ Registration costs vary based on if you require a billet and whether you are a student.

Full attendance with meals and lodging: $200 CAD/$160 USD for students and under 35; $275 CAD/$225 USD for clergy/faculty and over 35

Full attendance with meals, no billet needed: $175 CAD/$140 USD for students and under 35; $250 CAD/$200 USD for clergy/faculty and over 35

Saturday-only attendance with meals, no billet provided: $100 CAD/$80 USD for students and under 35; $125 CAD/$100 USD for clergy/faculty and over 35

Scholarships and bursaries are provided on an individual basis and are dependent on funding and demand. If you require financial assistance, please indicate so and we will contact you. Priority will be given to students and young adults.

WSCF encourages participants to seek funding with their schools, family, communities, family and houses of worship. Christian participants can also go to their home denomination for assistance.

NOTE: If you need extra time to prepare for travel, secure a visa, book flights or for any other reason— please let us know and we will do our best to fast-track your submission review and acceptance. 

Land acknowledgement: ​The WSCF-NA recognises that we are meeting on Treaty Six territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Papaschase, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/ Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community.

Payments can be made:
In Canada – through our donation page or by mailing a cheque to SCM Canada’s Office at 310 Dupont Street, Suite 200, Toronto ON M5R 1V9
In the U.S. – through our donation page or by mailing a cheque to WSCF-NA 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 700, New York, NY 10115

Call for Papers
Feminist advocacy is, as bell hooks has said, a movement to end sexist oppression. Sexist oppression enacted on different groups and identities confers varying degrees of power and privilege (or a lack thereof) to different aspects of our identities. Feminism must—or ought to, by the great diversity of its advocates—be an intersectional movement. As people of faith, in all our varying contexts, we are called to challenge
injustices and empower each other to free ourselves from spiritual, emotional and physical bondage.

Feminisms must subvert misogyny and patriarchy wherever they are found, including in our holy texts. Feminist theology intersects with and incorporates rich and diverse ways of understanding and critiquing both feminism and faith, such as liberation theology or queer theology.

This conference focuses on how faith and feminisms come together, sometimes explosively, in our time of global political upheaval, war, oppression and increased fear of the other.

We are seeking papers at any stage of the writing process that are rooted in faith and use intersectional feminist theology to address at least one of the following themes:
● Terrorism and fear
● War
● Racism
● Xenophobia
● Islamophobia
● Antisemitism
● Colonialism and reconciliation
● Gender identity
● Sexual orientation

Abstracts (limit 300 words) can be sent to wscfna@gmail.com for review.
The deadline for submissions is August 18, 2017 and participants will be informed of acceptance by October 1, 2017. Participation from all walks of life is welcome and celebrated.

Post-conference, finished papers and reflections will be published, if consent is given, by World Student Christian Federation North America.

Call for Volunteers

Click here to sign up.

World Student Christian Federation North America, in collaboration with St Joseph’s College, is seeking volunteers to assist with hospitality at an interfaith feminist theology conference on October 20-22, Friday to Sunday. Volunteers may choose as many or as few shifts as they like, using the attached form. Each shift will be 1-3 hours in length and, if desired, should not impede volunteers’ participation in the conference.

We require assistance with the following:
● Setup and takedown in the College’s Newman Centre
● Preparing and serving snacks, coffee and tea
● Sound operation
● Workshop hosting
● Registration and accessibility

For more information, please contact wscfna@gmail.com.

Download Your Faith on Feminism (PDF) here.

Ecumenical Tranformative Diakonia: Border Solidarity Trip

BorderFrom October 1st to October 11th, 2016, World Student Christian Federation (WSCF)-North America held a solidarity trip to the Arizona border between the US and Mexico as a regional follow-up project on the Inter-Regional Leadership Training Program on Migrants, Refugees and Asylum seekers. The solidarity trip was organized in the framework of WSCF’s strategy of Transformative Ecumenical Diakonia and Overcoming Violence Program.

During the program, a delegation of ten young adults and students from across the United States were able to roam in the border and witness the cruelty of human-made efforts to keep off migrants coming from the Southern part of the Americas on the basis of “illegally” crossing the border.

The participants visited the site where a border patrol officer killed Jose’ Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a harmless 16-year-old Mexican boy. The agent has always claimed to have acted to defend himself from rocks being hurled at him, a very warped hypothesis given the 12-15 meters wall sitting on an already tall stone embankment rising off the street where Jose’ Antonio was standing. Likewise they joined a vigil and interfaith servicein front of the Eloy Detention center on the eve of the School of the Americas Convergence in Nogales.

The group was also able to witness the cruelty of a border enforcement program called Operation Streamline, a strategy set up in 2005 to fast track deportation practice consisting in a pre-agreed plea where migrants who are caught crossing the desert are arraigned and sentenced to “illegal entry into the United States”. In the Federal Court of Tucson 60-70 migrants appear in front of a judge in shackles and chains on any given day in a show reminiscent of slaves just off the boat where they plead guilty to entering the US. Many of these people are imprisoned in so-called detention centers where inmates are subjected to all kind of abuse, which often ends up in unexplained deaths or suicides.

At the end of the program, participants recommended that the Solidarity Border trip should become a WSCF signature program, as it challenge participants and changes young people’s lives. In the words of a participant: “Thank you for disturbing me”. “We all need to be disturbed to fully understand what is ethical in doing solidarity in deep and meaningful ways”. This program enabled participants to see that “thereis hope amidst suffering and that marginalized people continue to take charge of their narratives”. The program was in partnership with the American Waldensian Society and Borderlinks, a Tucson-based non-profit organization that receives delegations throughout the year for a full-immersion visits in the borderlands.

Originally published in the WSCF Federation News.

Reflection: Romans & Resistance

By Brandon Cook

As I write this I recognize that it is not enough. There is too much to protest. Too much to call out against. Our clothes are already in tatters and the ash is running into our eyes, and yet there are more miles to march. I wish to examine a simple thing in many ways because it feels small and unimportant, but it is the small beliefs that we build on. They become actions. It is easy to let the small things pass us by before it is too late.

After President Trump signed his executive order halting our refugee program and banning travelers from seven countries, I witnessed many people highlight the injustice using scripture. Supporters of the President threw scriptures back, including Romans 13:1: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God (NRSV).”

They accused Christian protestors of abandoning God’s chosen president. To say that this verse is taken out of context is a gross understatement. To claim that it means that all Christians should be absolutely obedient to whatever authority is placed over them, not only ignores the context of this verse in Romans, but also the core messages of the Gospel.

History repeatedly has shown up that those with evil actions and intents often rise to positions of power in our society. One cannot look at Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears and claim that it was right not to oppose the suffering created. America, along with other nations, has allowed evil to be perpetrated in the name of security, economic growth, Manifest Destiny, and greed. The Christian relationship to government and authority should not minimized to “Obedience is God’s command”.

Romans 13 continues by explaining that the role of the authority is to be “God’s servant of good (V. 4).” This is where our obedience as Christians lies. Authority, when it furthers the Kindom of God, whether intentionally or accidently, demands obedience. Those who name themselves as authorities and demand that Christians abandon what is good, never bear divine authority. Paul Achtemeier puts it this way, “If then a government claims for itself the kind of devotion proper only to God and demands that its subjects that they preform evil rather then good, and if it punishes those who disobey such demands to do evil, that government no longer functions as a servant of God and therefore is no longer to be obeyed as such (205).” To acquiesce to others because they claim authority is to abandon the authority that God placed on us.

So, where do our guides to what is good come from? This is one of the true beauties of this passage: It is surrounded by love. Literally. Chapter 12 is a litany of the virtues of a Christian, which famously begins, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” It instructs each person to “Let love be genuine (v 10)” and to “Extend hospitality to strangers (v. 13)” It concludes by condemning vengeful acts and anger, saying “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads (v 20)”. Chapter 13 boldly claims, “The commandments … are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law (v 9-10).” Romans 13:1 is not isolated from these verses, but is dependent on them. When Christians approach the world through love, we can discern when God is calling us to follow.

Those who resist in this time do not do so out of jealousy or bitterness. We stand boldly and proclaim that just as we have been transformed by God’s love, we are transforming through love. I long for a day when obedience is warranted, in this administration or any other. But so long as evil is done is my name, I will resist. So long as refugees are denied shelter, clean water is threatened, and patients are denied healthcare, I will resist. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “It may be that the day of judgement will dawn tomorrow; in that case, we will gladly stop working for a better future. But not before (16-17).”

Achtemeier, P.(1985). Romans: Interpretation, A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. John Knox Press (Louisville, KY)
Bonhoeffer, D. (1997). Letters & Papers from Prison: The Enlarged Edition. Touchstone (New York, NY)