Welcome to CBE’s Library

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Scholar Veronica Mary Rolf introduces modern readers to Julian of Norwich by exploring her historical context, illuminating Julian's revelations and writings, and offering connections to a reader's life and experience.

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Two years ago, I made friends with a woman in another state via social media. We communicated through Facebook and Instagram, and sometimes on Twitter. She was thoughtful, caring, and generous. She wrote about her children, her family, and the ways God was working in her life. She has several kids, and always seemed to be laughing about the ups and downs of raising a big family. I admired her, was maybe even a little jealous of her overflowing life.

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You're probably surrounded by women who are making history in one way or another, and you might not know it, because of course, they won't talk about it. They're too busy loving their neighbors. I'm fairly sure that most of these women are content to be forgotten by history, so long as God is remembered.

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May we all be inspired by Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a woman who not only makes history, but does so with boldness and courage, unapologetically and matter-of-factly confronting sexism and racism on the national stage, to powerful leaders, and in some of the world’s most traditional, white and male-dominated halls of power.

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This year, I have noticed Mary more than usual. One of the things I’ve seen is a very strong person who bucks her culture to be what God calls her to be. That resistance has a hidden cost that the Bible doesn’t record directly. 

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Most evangelicals are accustomed to the Mary of icons with an emotionless face, the Mary of statues draped in a powder blue robe, and the Mary of piety who quietly and submissively obeys orders. And, if you are like me, you have been nurtured in a faith that, intentionally or not, ignores Mary.

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Why does history matter? And in the context of Women’s History Month in particular, why does women’s history matter?

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There were some spaces in the medieval Western church where women were free to write theology and have spiritual influence. Yes, patriarchy and misogyny barred women from the priesthood and the great universities that produced scholastic theology. But many women became well-known, admired, and influential in monastic life and through mystic theology.

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Last week, we wrote about the life and work of Jo Anne Lyon, the first female general superintendent of the Wesleyan Church. This week’s article will focus on Rev. Emily Awino Onyango, an Anglican priest ordained in her native Kenya.

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Last week, we told the inspiring story of Shannon Lucid, a woman who persevered against the prevailing biases of her day in order to become part of the first class of NASA astronauts that included women. This week, we will focus on the life and achievements of Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, the first female general superintendent of the Wesleyan Church.

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