One of the most rewarding parts of this project was engaging with young women with different affiliations – Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, Evangelical, Mennonite, Baptist, Unitarian Universalist and Christian Agnostic, young women with different ethnicities – Mexican, Korean, Italian, Chinese, African, and Anglo, and young women with different perspectives on their gender – both egalitarian and complimentarian, both “straight” and “queer.” We sought and selected writers, educators, advocates, artists, pastors, professors, and students, all with a story to share. Sure we have some “big names” who contributed but we also have people who are being published in this collection for the very first time.
Amy Frykholm is the author of three books of non-fiction: Rapture Culture: Left Behind in Evangelical America, Julian of Norwich: A Contemplative Biography, and See Me Naked: Stories of Sexual Exile in American Christianity. She works as an editor for The Christian Century and lives in Leadville, Colorado.
Micha Boyett (pronounced MY-cah) is a youth minister turned stay-at-home mom trying to make sense of vocation and season and place in the midst of her third cross-country move in three years. On a slow journey of learning prayer with eyes open and arms deep in sticky dishes, she blogs at Patheos about motherhood, monasticism, and the sacred in the everyday. Her forthcoming memoir The Mama Monk will be released in 2014 from Worthy Publishing. She lives in San Francisco, California with her husband and two sons.
Enuma Okoro is a Nigerian-American writer, speaker and spiritual director. Her interests intersect religion and spirituality, cultural anthropology, women’s studies, race relations, and the visual and literary arts. Her first book, the spiritual memoir Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert’s Search for Spiritual Community (Fresh Air Books, 2010), was a winning finalist in the 2010 USA Best Books Award and received the 2011 National Indie Excellent Book Awards Winning Finalist in “Spirituality and African-American Non-Fiction.” Enuma is a co-author with Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove of Common Prayer: Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, (Zondervan Publishers, 2010). Enuma’s third book, Silence (Upper Room Books, 2012), is a meditation on faith in the midst of doubt, unanswered prayer, and the seemingly silence of God. In June 2012, Enuma had the honor of being the first woman of African descent to preach at the historic American Church in Paris. (Martin Luther King Jr. was the first man of African descent to preach there in October 1965). Visit Enuma at www.enumaokoro.com.
Amy Julia Becker is the author of A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations and a Little Girl Named Penny (Bethany House), named one of the Top Books of 2011 by Publisher’s Weekly, and Penelope Ayers: A Memoir. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she blogs regularly for Patheos at Thin Places. Her essays have appeared in the Motherlode blog of The New York Times, First Things, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Hartford Courant, The Christian Century, Christianity Today, The Huffington Post, and Parents.com. Amy Julia lives with her husband Peter and three children, Penny, William, and Marilee, in Western Connecticut.
In 2007, at the age of 19, aja monet became the youngest individual to win the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe Grand Slam champion title. She works as an inner-city youth mentor and is staff faculty at Omega Institute, using poetry and prose as a holistic healing tool. With a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in Creative Writing from School of the Art Institute of Chicago, aja monet has performed at various venues, colleges, and universities across America. In 2008, she was invited by the United Nations Youth Delegates to perform at the United Nations in New York City. In fall of that same year, she was invited to perform for NAACP’s Barack Obama Inaugural event in Washington DC. aja monet independently published her first book of poetry, The Black Unicorn Sings (Penmanship Books), in 2010 and in fall of 2012 collaborated with poet/musician Saul Williams on the book Chorus: a literary mixtape (MTV books/Simon & Schuster). She is currently writing Science-Fiction.
Erin Lane, MTS, is a communication strategist for faith-based authors and organizations. Her latest work with author Parker J. Palmer and the non-profit Center for Courage & Renewal combines her background as a book publicist with broader marketing consultation and program development for clergy and congregational leaders. She is also an active board member of the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South and is writing her next book (InterVarsity Press) about the hard work of belonging to communities of faith. Confirmed Catholic, raised Charismatic, and married to a Methodist, she blogs about the intersection of her faith and feminism at www.holyhellions.com.
Bristol Huffman has spent much of her life in the “in-between” places. She grew up in the middle of the country but has spent the last few years moving between the West and East Coasts. She has been a wilderness guide, an outdoor educator, and an academic tutor. Recently, she completed an Americorps term of service teaching kids in Oakland public schools how to play. Bristol studied religion at Loyola University Chicago where she was deeply inspired by the activist theology of Roman Catholic Social Thought. She later studied Christian social ethics at the Graduate Theological Union, a progressive interfaith seminary. Her theology bears the fingerprints of all the people and places she has loved – from the conservative evangelicals of her hometown, to her feminist Catholic professors, to her queer seminary classmates. She has learned something important about Jesus from all of them and looks forward to what her next adventure will teach her about the deep, wide love of God. Bristol currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her wonderful Unitarian Universalist boyfriend, her engineer brother, and her artist sister-in-law, where she directs children and family ministries for a Lutheran church.
Lara Blackwood Pickrel is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and serves Hillside Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri as their Associate Minister for Youth and Young Adults. She is passionate about finding ways to weave together ancient Christian stories and practices, contemporary needs and many generations of God‘s people. Writing and other creative practices are an essential part of her ministry, along with summer camps, social media, women’s issues, sexuality education, and deep conversation over coffee. You can find some of Lara’s written work at Chalice Press, The Thoughtful Christian Blog, and her personal blog: http://serendipitysoiree.wordpress.com. You can also check out how she and her youth ministry colleagues are taking risks for the sake of the Church by visiting www.nPartnership.org.
Julie Clawson is a mother, writer, and former pastor who lives in Austin, Texas with her family. She graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, where she also earned a graduate degree in intercultural studies. She then spent over a decade serving in churches in the Chicago suburbs and is currently back in graduate school studying theology. Julie’s passions include working for social justice and gender equality. She is also a bit of a theology nerd, a huge sci-fi/fantasy geek, wannabe foodie, and board game fan. Julie is the author of Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices and The Hunger Games and the Gospel: Bread, Circuses, and the Kingdom of God. She can be found at julieclawson.com.
Patience Harrison Perry is an educator, dancer, farmer, counselor, artist, and athlete. She enjoys grueling physical activity and dirt under her finger nails. She is mother to three hobbits and married to a giant. A lover of all creatures great and small, she started her career as an inner-city elementary school teacher then left the city to travel the world, eventually returning to North Carolina to become an outdoor educator. Today, she lives on High Haven Farm and continues to facilitate holistic experiences that explore the intersections of the mind, body, spirit, and nature as the assistant director of Watauga Global Community at Appalachian State University.
Sarah McGiverin has always loved to meet new people, to learn their stories, and to get them talking about Jesus. She has brought Jesus into the conversation on her elementary school playground, from behind the wheel of a cab and behind the counter of a coffee shop, at college keggers, while having her hair cut, and in the back office of a convenience store. Through these continuing weekday encounters Sarah encountered the holiness of life beneath the Sunday morning performance of perfection. As a Sunday school teacher, a pastor, and a teaching assistant at Duke Divinity School, Sarah encouraged those in her charge to be wholly authentic and to allow their whole selves to be loved – even and especially the scariest ugliest most hidden parts. Now as a writer and a consultant to local church pastors, Sarah continues to believe that learning to accept God’s love for our whole selves is the key to loving others wisely and well.
Rachel Marie Stone is a writer, a mother, a doula, and a mission coworker with the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has contributed to numerous publications and her first book, Eat With Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food, was published by InterVarsity Press, 2013. Her current writing projects include a book on Jesus for children and a book exploring what technologically advanced birth cultures and traditional birth cultures can learn from one another.
Tara Woodard-Lehman is an ordained PCUSA minister. Since 1998 she has ministered to and with young adults and university students. Prior to coming to Princeton, Tara served as the William C. Bennett Chaplain and assistant professor of religion at Peace College in Raleigh, North Carolina. Over the past four years Tara has served as the executive director of Westminster Foundation and Presbyterian Chaplain at Princeton University. Tara also serves on the pastoral staff of Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, New Jersey. She enjoys good wine, post-apocalyptic films, salvage art, dark chocolate, fresh ocean air, and gardening. Tara and her husband, Derek, live in Princeton, New Jersey with their two beautiful and hilarious boys, Josiah and Eli.
Rahiel Tesfamariam is a writer, social activist, public theologian and cultural critic. She is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of UrbanCusp.com, a cutting-edge online lifestyle magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness. Rahiel is also a columnist and blogger for The Washington Post. Born in war-torn Eritrea a decade prior to independence, Rahiel Tesfamariam’s roots can be traced to slum villages off the coast of the Red Sea. As a product of her nation’s tenacious struggle for self-determination, she went on to earn a BA in American Studies from Stanford University and a master of divinity from Yale University, where she was named the school’s inaugural William Sloane Coffin, Jr. Scholar for Peace and Justice.
Sarah Jobe is an ordained Baptist pastor, prison chaplain, birth doula, and mother of two. She lives with her family at the Rutba House in Durham, North Carolina. The Rutba House is an intentional Christian community devoted to hospitality, discipleship, and peace-making. Sarah also serves as an instructor for Project TURN, a program that offers seminary-style classes inside North Carolina prisons in which incarcerated and non-incarcerated people can learn alongside one another. Sarah is the author of Creating with God: The Holy, Confusing, Blessedness of Pregnancy.
Gina Messina-Dysert, PhD, is visiting assistant professor of theological ethics at Loyola Marymount University and cofounder and codirector of Feminism and Religion, an international project that explores the “F-word” in religion and the intersection between scholarship, activism, and community. As the author of multiple articles and the forthcoming book Rape Culture and Spiritual Violence, and coeditor (with Rosemary Radford Ruether) of the forthcoming anthology Feminism and Religion in the 21st Century, Gina has given serious attention to issues faced by women in relation to religion and social justice. 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. She continues to be active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing for those who have encountered gender-based violence. Gina can be followed on Twitter @FemTheologian and her website can be accessed at http://ginamessinadysert.com.
K.D. Byers grew up the daughter of a Methodist minister in Wisconsin. She earned a Bachelors of Arts in English from the University of Iowa and a Masters of Divinity from Duke University. She is working on a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University.
Andrea Palpant Dilley grew up in Kenya as the daughter of Quaker missionaries and spent the rest of her childhood in the Pacific Northwest. Her recent memoir, Faith and Other Flat Tires: Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt (Zondervan), tells the story of her faith journey. Her work has appeared on cnn.com, huffingtonpost.com, and christianitytoday.com, as well as in Rock and Sling, Geez, Utne Reader, and the anthology Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical (Cascade Books). She lives with her husband and daughter in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit www.andreapalpantdilley.com.
Sharon Hodde Miller grew up in North Carolina, where she earned her BA in Religion at Duke University and her master of divinity at Duke Divinity School. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Sharon has worked for Proverbs 31 Ministries and has served as a college minister, but she feels her primary call is to writing. Today she is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s blog for women, Her.meneutics, Ungrind.org, and CultivateHer.com, in addition to her own blog, SheWorships.com. Sharon currently lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their son.
Jenny Hwang Yang is the vice president of advocacy and policy at World Relief. In this position, Jenny works with U.S. government officials to improve refugee and immigration policy. She also frequently speaks at churches and conferences educating and mobilizing the Christian community on immigration policy. She previously worked in the refugee resettlement program of World Relief and at one of the largest political fundraising firm in Maryland managing fundraising and campaigning for local politicians. Jenny has researched refugee and asylum law in Madrid, Spain through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She is co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate.
Rev. Rebecca Girrell Clark is an ordained clergyperson in the New England Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Now in her ninth year of ministry, Becca serves as pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Montpelier, Vermont, where she also volunteers as cofounder and president of a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing for people’s basic needs. She views her ministry as a calling to live as her authentic self, while advocating for justice and sustainability in the local, global, and online communities. Building relationships, creating something new, and sharing reflections feed and sustain Becca, and she enjoys gardening, time with loved ones, and writing (including blogging at www.pastorbecca.com). Becca enjoys spending time with her two children, Arianna and William, who keep her honest and on her toes.
Alena Amato Ruggerio is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Southern Oregon University, where she has also served as Interim Director of Women’s Studies. She holds a doctorate in communication and culture from Indiana University. She is the editor of Media Depictions of Brides, Wives, and Mothers and the author of You Get a Lifetime: The Chronicle of a Semester in Greece. Her work has also appeared in Feminist Media Studies, Christian Century, and the Encyclopedia of Christianity. A life member of the National Communication Association, she is an officer for the Feminism and Women’s Studies Division. Her teaching specializations are persuasion, argumentation and debate, advanced public speaking, rhetorical criticism, and feminist rhetorical theory. She is an active member of EEWC: Christian Feminism Today, an organization she has served as coordinator, assistant to the editor of Christian Feminism Today magazine, and a frequent speaker. She lives in Medford, Oregon, with her husband, three cats, and her collection of rhinestone tiaras.
Jennifer Danielle Crumpton spent thirteen years as a corporate advertising executive for major global brands before graduating in 2011 with a master of divinity from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. There she immersed in feminist theology, social and structural ethics, and social justice initiatives. Jennifer is a public speaker, a writer for Patheos and Huffington Post, and a contributing author to A New Evangelical Manifesto (Chalice Press). She has worked as a playwright, and a theater, commercial and indie film actress. Jennifer resides in New York City and is the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships for the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy, based in Washington, D.C. Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she is a pastoral associate of Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City.
Anna Broadway is a writer and Web editor living near San Francisco. She holds an MA in religious studies from Arizona State University and has written for publications and websites including Books and Culture, the Her.meneutics and Sojourners blogs, Beliefnet, RejectApathy, Paste, Radiant, Relevant and The Journal of the History of Sexuality. She is a former volunteer editor for The New Pantagruel and a contributor to the anthology Faith at the Edge (Ave Maria Press). A two-time participant in San Francisco’s annual Litquake festival, she has been featured in Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, San Francisco Chronicle, Tampa Tribune, Des Moines Register, San Francisco Magazine and other publications.
Kate M. Ott is a feminist, Catholic scholar addressing current questions of sexuality, children/youth, and the role of public, activist theology. She is assistant professor of Christian social ethics at Drew University Theological School in Madison, New Jersey. Her writings include Let’s Talk about Sex: A Progressive Christian Parent’s Guide from Toddlerhood through the Teenage Years and Faith, Feminism, and Scholarship: The Next Generation. She is the editor of the Feminism in Religion blog at www.fsrinc.org/blog. Prior to Drew, Kate was the deputy director of the Religious Institute, a nonprofit committed to sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and society. There she led the project and publication of Sex and the Seminary: Preparing Ministers for Sexual Health and Justice. She was born and raised in the Midwest as a “cradle catholic,” and now lives on the East Coast with her husband and two children. She attributes her theological journey and development to amazing Roman Catholic women religious teachers and feminist mentors.
Katie Anderson is passionate about communicating the dignity and worth of women from all backgrounds apart from patriarchal constraints, especially those related to limited portrayals of women in media. Since graduating from Duke University, Katie has pursued a fulfilling mix of traveling, working, and writing the manuscript for what she hopes will eventually become a book. Katie is currently a student at Duke Divinity School where she is pursuing a concentration in gender, theology and ministry. Katie’s hope is that God will use her words to give readers a renewed perspective on the intersections of gender and the Christian faith, as well as to stir them toward intimacy with the One who can redeem their hearts and minds.
Robyn Henderson-Espinoza (una Tejana y queermeztiz@) is currently finishing a PhD in philosophical ethics. Robyn identifies as a Christian Agnostic and uses doubt as an important analytic and social tool in considering theology and ethics. Robyn’s research interests reside in interrogating the Mestizaje Body, particularly its materiality. Robyn uses Critical Spatiality, Queer Theories, and the Thought & Theories of Gloria Anzaldúa to conceive of a much more robust notion of bodies, Mestizaje, race, and the epistemological importance of the Mestiz@‘s moral agency. Robyn situates this work as queer\Ethics.
Pilar Timpane is a freelance producer, writer, film editor, and photographer. She was associate producer and assistant editor for the award-winning science documentary Atlantic Crossing: A Robot’s Daring Mission, which aired on PBS in 2011. She was also a producer of Finding Our Pathways, a collaborative interview project with Rutgers Writers House and the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University, a video archival project which continues to provide young women with video skills and opportunities to make films about women in leadership. Most recently she has produced films in Uganda and the United Kingdom for churches and the academy. Pilar graduated from Duke Divinity School with an interest in multimedia storytelling, theology and the arts, and social change. Pilar has lived in various locations including France and Mexico, but currently resides in Durham, North Carolina. More of her work appears at http://pilartimpane.com.
Currently a member of the Class of 2014 at Mount Holyoke College, elizabeth mcmanus fills her time rereading Harry Potter, longing for the sweet tea of her North Carolina homeplace, being a nerdfighter, and doing far too much reading for her religion major. Her academic interests within religion are centered in feminist/womanist theology and the praxis of nonviolence – fields of thought she works to apply in her work as a peer writing mentor at MHC’s speaking, arguing, and writing Center. She is a voracious cat lady in training, but in order to support her feline habits she intends to pursue a PhD in theology. Her primary passion, however, is adventuring in global travel; she lived in Uganda, fell in love with London, and got engaged while dwelling in Edinburgh. She lives to write. Should you like more of her work, check her out at http://wanderingwrites.com.
Ashley-Anne Masters is a pastor, chaplain, author, and theologian in Chicago, Illinois. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and received her master of divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She is coauthor of Bless Her Heart: Life as a Young Clergy Woman and author of Holding Hope: Grieving Pregnancy Loss During Advent. Currently, Ashley-Anne serves as a PRN pediatric chaplain at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where she is passionate about providing education and support to families during their hospital stay. She also serves as an event planner for various Presbyterian Church (USA) events. She blogs at revaam.org.
Sarah Thebarge is a speaker and author who grew up as a pastor’s kid in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She earned a masters degree in medical science from Yale School of Medicine and was studying Journalism at Columbia University when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age twenty-seven. Sarah’s writing has appeared in Christianity Today, BurnsideWriters.com, Relevant, TheOoze.com, Raysd, and Just Between Us. Her writing for Christianity Today‘s This Is Our City project won first prize from the National Evangelical Press Association. Her first book, The Invisible Girls, was published by Jericho Books in April 2013. Sarah currently lives in Portland, Oregon.
Katey Zeh is an advocate for reproductive justice in faith communities. Raised in southern Georgia, she struggled to connect her faith with her progressive values. She began studying theology while at Davidson College where she wrote her honors thesis on theology, ritual, and motherhood. In 2008, she graduated from Yale Divinity School with her masters of divinity. Currently, she directs a grassroots education and mobilization initiative focused on improving global maternal health for The United Methodist Church. Katey serves on the Board of Directors for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice in Washington, DC. She lives in North Carolina with her husband Matt and their dog Lucy.
Grace Biskie is a passionate, big-dreaming, extroverted communicator. Grace holds a bachelor of arts in speech communications and is half way through a masters of divinity from Western Theological Seminary. She has served high school and college students in the nonprofit sector for over fifteen years. Grace has contributed online for Rachel Held Evans, Jim Wallis’ God’s Politics blog, and A Deeper Story and featured syndicated work on Blogher. She blogs regularly at her online home, http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com. Currently, Grace is working on her first book entitled, Detroit’s Daughter, a memoir about surviving her father, her brother, abuse, racism, Christians, boys, and poverty while growing up in Detroit. Grace is married to Dave and raising two ridiculously cute sons, Ransom and Rhys.
Carol Howard Merritt is an author and speaker from Chattanooga. Before moving to Tennessee, she pastored Presbyterian congregations in Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Washington DC. She has written Reframing Hope (Alban 2010) and Tribal Church (Alban, 2007). She blogs at TribalChurch.org and hosts the God Complex Radio podcast with Derrick Weston.
Atinuke O. Diver is an attorney and writer. She blogs regularly at YesWereTogether.com, a humor blog about interracial relationships. Her work on race, culture, and relationships has been featured on BlogHer, Racialicious, The African Immigrant Journal, The Review Review, Love Isn’t Enough, The Fresh Xpress, Wedding Nouveau, Beyond Black &White, and has been recognized as an Editor’s Pick on OpenSalon.com. Born in Boston, Massachusetts to Nigerian immigrant parents, Tinu grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She earned degrees in English, law, and nonprofit leadership from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where the Creative Writing Program awarded her the Random House/Wanda Chappell Scholarship. Following law school, Tinu entered federal service as a Presidential Management Fellow and currently practices law at a transportation research center in the Kendall Square neighborhood of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tinu serves as a board trustee of the Benjamin Banneker Public Charter School and as a board director of the Boston Center for Adult Education. She completed the 2012 Boston Marathon in record heat and lived to talk about it. Tinu and her husband Joshua reside in Boston and are members of Citylife Presbyterian Church in Boston.
Meghan Florian, MTS, is a writer, academic mentor, and tutor, and serves as communications coordinator for the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South (RCWMS), a nonprofit in Durham, North Carolina. She graduated from Hope College, received her master of theological studies from Duke Divinity School and serves on the board of trustees of the RCWMS. She is a deacon at Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship where she also preaches from time to time. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte.
Nikole Lim is the founder and executive director of Freely in Hope, a faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring justice, dignity, and hope by liberating women and their families from the bondages of poverty. Freely in Hope operates in Kenya, and provides educational scholarships, psychological counseling healthcare, and vocational courses for girls who are survivors of or vulnerable to sexual abuse. Nikole graduated with a degree in film production from Loyola Marymount University and resides in Los Angeles. She is an active member of The Salvation Army and works with inner-city youth. Her heart beats for young women whose voices are silenced by oppression and desires to see every heart liberated and restored.
Christy Sim is working on her doctorate in global health and wholeness, with her main area of emphasis in theology and domestic violence, at St. Paul’s School of Theology in Kansas City. She is a graduate of the masters of divinity program at Nazarene Theological Seminary and spent time as an associate pastor and senior pastor before leaving an abusive home. Her recent paper presentations include “The Dehumanization of Abuse” at a conference on domestic violence in British Columbia in 2011. She launched a website, www.awakenimagination.org, for victims & survivors of domestic violence, which also serves as a resource for understanding violence for ministers, leaders, and advocates. At Friends University in Kansas, she teaches imagining healing for violence, and poverty, ethics, and philosophy. She also works as an independent consultant for victims and survivors of violence—teaching courses on surviving violence for moms with young children, and helping women find access to resources.
Mary Allison Cates has worked primarily with college students since her ministry formally began in 2004. Giving credence to a whim, Mary Allison began a second vocation in the spring of 2012 as coowner of Sew Memphis, a neighborhood fabric and sewing shop. She describes her vocation as the work of building community in many shapes and forms and helping to unveil the underlying messages of hope and liberation in sacred texts, others’ stories, our own life narratives, and the act of creating. Mary Allison and her husband, Andy, share adventures in parenting two preschool-aged boys, who occasionally participate in her passions for quilting, cooking, painting, hiking, and practicing yoga. She holds a BA from Rhodes College and a masters of divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School.
Marlena Graves is married to her best friend, Shawn Graves. He’s a philosopher, and the love of her life. Together, they have two little girls: Iliana and Valentina. She received her master of divinity from Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, New York. She is a bylined writer for Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics Blog, and her writing has also appeared in various other venues such as Relevant, The Clergy Journal, and the Conversations Blog. She is also a proud member of the Redbud Writers Guild. She has a book on spiritual formation forthcoming from Brazos Press. Eventually, she hopes to pursue a PhD in theological studies.