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PhD Student, Elyssa Salinas‐Lazarski, Receives Fifth Annual Nancy A. Hardesty Memorial Scholarship from EEWC‐Christian Feminism Today

June 19, 2018
Elyssa Salinas‐Lazarski

Indianapolis—The fifth annual Nancy A. Hardesty Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by EEWC‐Christian Feminism Today, has been awarded to Elyssa Salinas‐Lazarski, a doctoral student studying theology and ethics at Garrett‐Evangelical Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL.

Salinas‐Lazarski’s work focuses on sex and body positive theology utilizing her Latina and Lutheran identities. In her dissertation she seeks to construct a sex positive theology from paramount figures in the Christian tradition, including Paul, Augustine, and Luther. As she looks toward the future, her goal is to teach theology and religion in a seminary setting, working with future ministerial leaders.

Writing about her interest in feminist scholarship, Salina‐Lazarski explains that she grew up in “a matriarchal household that gave me the gift of curiosity and the belief that womanhood was something to be treasured.” She continues, “As a child, I was left Susan B. Anthony coins under my pillow from the Tooth Fairy, and when I was sixteen my grandmother gifted me a copy of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. From then on it was only natural for me to gravitate toward feminist scholars.”

Citing her call to do work centering around “sexual and body shame people have endured in the church,” she explains, “The work I do interrogates preconceived notions of sex and dismantles them, but I know that I cannot stop there. While sitting in the rubble, I will construct a liberating theology of sex that I believe is part of this tradition but that has until now been dominated by patriarchal politics. This work will require an in‐depth knowledge of the tradition along with an interdisciplinary understanding of how sex is treated in other areas, including, but not limited to, gender studies and queer studies.”

The Nancy A. Hardesty Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a student who aspires to exemplify the values and achievements of Nancy A. Hardesty, a founding member of the EEWC‐Christian Feminism Today organization. The purpose of the $1,000 scholarship, awarded every June, is to help a student who wants to be in a leadership role that supports and promotes Christian feminism.

Nancy A. Hardesty (1941–2011) was a founding member of the Evangelical Women’s Caucus, which, over the past 44 years, has grown into EEWC‐Christian Feminism Today. Until her death, Dr. Hardesty was a professor of religion in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Clemson University, in Clemson, SC. Previously, she had taught English and writing at Trinity College in Deerfield, IL, and had worked on the editorial staffs of Eternity magazine and The Christian Century.

Ms. Hardesty’s first book, co‐authored with Letha Dawson Scanzoni, was All We’re Meant to Be: A Biblical Approach to Women’s Liberation. Originally published in 1974, the book has gone through several editions and has influenced countless Christian feminists, from evangelicals to mainline Protestants to Roman Catholics. In 2006, Christianity Today magazine ranked All We’re Meant to Be among the top fifty books that had influenced the evangelical Christian movement over half a century.

Nancy A. Hardesty was born in Lima, OH, and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. She went on to earn a master’s degree in newspaper journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and a Ph.D. in the history of Christianity at the University of Chicago.

Her dissertation, “Your Daughters Shall Prophesy”: Revivalism and Feminism in the Age of Finney, was published by Carlson Publishing in 1991.

EEWC‐Christian Feminism Today is a Christian feminist organization with a long history of working for gender equality. The organization welcomes members of any gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, color, creed, marital status, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, age, political party, parental status, economic class, or disability. Its biennial conferences sustain spiritual connectedness and foster learning about critical Christian feminist issues. The Christian Feminism Today website provides Christian feminist news, articles, book reviews, blogs, Bible study, audio, links to explore, and inspiration.

For more information about EEWC‐Christian Feminism Today or the Nancy A. Hardesty Memorial Scholarship, contact Lē Weaver, director of public information, at office@eewc.com or (317) 414‐8157.