Hedgerow Initiative | Women and Christianity: Resilient Women, Emergent Church

The Hedgerow Initiative offers sustained, systematic programming in feminist theological education, spiritual integration, and leadership for a just and holy world. In a particular way, the Initiative highlights the scholarship of women who since the 1950s have worked to reclaim women’s presence and significance in scripture, church, history, theology and culture. The Initiative takes its name from the hedgerow schools in Ireland that kept alive the language, faith, culture and community of the people during the time of the British penal codes. A hedgerow is a biosphere and a haven.

Mondays, February 6 - April 24, 2017
6:30 - 8:30 pm

History: who makes it and who tells it?  Who decides the story line and cast of characters?  Women’s scholars such as Church historian Mary T. Malone retell Christian history with women widening the path of discipleship through the centuries.  From the beginning a company of men and women accompany Jesus, follow him, and serve the emergent community.

In every generation women find their voices, claim authority, act creatively, confront heedless power, and participate in the upheavals of their times.  Some are wives and mothers, some celibate; some reign, others preach and inspire.  What do we inherit from these foremothers?  What do their lives inspire in those of us who seek God today?  To what is God summoning us from the future?

Join creative and resilient women in wrestling with the gospel message today, pondering what the Reformation asks of us in its 500th anniversary year, seeking the holy in a world many label secular, reimagining women’s leadership in our churches.  Where will ecumenical dialogues take us?  Marriage, divorce?

Built around Mary T. Malone’s history Women & Christianity, the seminar will delve into historical persons and controversial topics as well as include guest presenters.


  • February 6: Reading Women into History, Trajectories into the Future
    Instructor: Joan Mitchell

  • February 13: Women of the Gospels, Early Christian Communities and Mission
    Instructor: Joan Mitchell

  • February 20: Gnostic Heroines, Christian Martyrs, Women Using Their Heads & Hearts
    Instructor: Joan Mitchell

  • February 27: Were Women Ordained or Just Blessed?  Queens and Abbesses
    Instructors: Joan Mitchell and Susan Hames

  • March 6: Second Millennium: Marriage, Celibacy, Eleanor of Aquitaine
    Instructors: Joan Mitchell and Mary Kaye Medinger

  • March 13: Mystics, Their Poetry and Purpose; Monastic Missionaries
    Instructors: Joan Mitchell and Mary Kaye Medinger

  • March 20: Women of the People or Witches? Beguines, Marguerite Porete
    Reading: Volume II, Chapters 5 - 8

  • March 27: Women of the Reformation
    Reading: Volume III, Chapters 1 - 3

  • April 3: Women of the New World
    Reading: Volume III, Chapters 4 - 6
    Instructor: Cathy Steffens

  • April 10: Reimagining Ministry/Spirituality Today: What Can We Learn from Each Other?  Power of  Ritual.
    Guest Speaker: Dr. Sherry Jordon, St. Thomas University
    Volume III, Chapters 7 - 9

  • April 17: Reimagining Ministry/Spirituality Today: What Can We Learn from Each Other?
    Guest Speaker: Dr. Dirk G. Lange
    Reading: Reading for April 17

  • April 24: An Inclusive Global Ethic & Vision of Christian Community
    Reading: Volume III, Chapter 10
    Instructor: Barb Lund

Syllabus Weeks 1-6

Syllabus Weeks 9-12

Required Texts:

Mary of Nazareth
Mary Magdalene
Mary of Bethany
Samaritan Woman
Woman who anoints Jesus
Syrophoenician woman
Lois, Eunice
Perpetua, Felicity
Macrina Clotilde
Hilda of Whitby
Hildegard of Bingen
Christina of Markyate
Elizabeth of Schönau
Marguerite Porete
Julian of Norwich
Ursala Jost
Isabelle d’Este
Teresa of Avila
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
Anne Hutchinson
Sarah Edwards

Women & Christianity: Volumes I, II, & III
Mary T. Malone

The First Thousand Years





From 1,000 to Reformation





From the Reformation to the 21st Century






Susan Hames, CSJ, ABD




Rev. Barbara Lund




Mary Kaye Medinger, Consociate, MA




Joan Mitchell,CSJ,PhD





Cathy Steffens, CSJ.



Dr. Sherry Jordon was awarded her Ph.D in Theology from Yale in 1995 and is currently Associate Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas. She specializes in historical theology, particularly the Reformation period, and Women’s Studies. Jordon served on the Coordinating Council of the Re-Imagining Community from 1998-2003, spoke at the 2003 Re-Imagining Gathering, and wrote an essay on feminist theology for Bless Sophia: Worship, Liturgy, and Ritual of the Re-Imagining Community. As part of her current research on the history and theology of Re-Imagining, she completed sixty-five oral interviews with members of the Re-Imagining Community, leading feminist and womanist theologians who presented at the conferences, people who were on the national staff of the women’s units in the Presbyterian (USA) and United Methodist churches, and authors who have written books related to Christian feminism and/or Re-Imagining. 

Dr. Jordon will be a guest speaker at the April 10 Hedgerow class.

Dirk G. Lange, Associate Professor of Worship, has come to Luther Seminary from the Lutheran seminary in Philadelphia where he taught liturgy and homiletics. Dirk's ministerial experience has covered a wide spectrum of activities, but all under one umbrella: liturgy in the lives of people. During the 1980s, as a brother of Taizé, he worked with church leaders and many lay people involved with the prayer groups in the Eastern European underground. During the early 1990s, he was engaged with the prayer and songs of Taizé. After leaving Taizé, he came to LTSP to study under Gordon Lathrop and then went on to do doctoral work under Don Saliers and Mark Jordan at Emory. He is editor and contributor of "Ordo: Bath, Word, Prayer, Table" (OSL, 2006), an introduction to liturgical theology and festschrift in honor of Dr. Lathrop. With Luther and Derrida as dialogue partners, Dr. Lange queries theology, its disruption and its rewriting, through the lens of the liturgy. He has been involved with the Renewing Worship project of the ELCA, serving on the editorial board for Daily Prayer as well as participating on the development panels for Holy Communion. He has published several articles in the liturgical journal Worship as well as in several other scholarly journals. He is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy (NAAL) and founder and convener of the seminar group on Liturgy and Postmodern Questions. He is also a member of American Academy of Religion (AAR), Societas Liturgica and the Academy of Homiletics. He has also served parishes in Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Dr. Lange will be a guest speaker at the April 17 Hedgerow class.

WHEN: Mondays, February 6 through April 24, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

COST: $240.00 for the 12-week series. $25.00 for a single session.
The final session on April 24 is free

This series is nw closed for registration.