Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The National Network of Presbyterian College Women

The National Network of Presbyterian College Women (NNPCW) is a PCUSA entity. Here is what they are about:

We are young women in college connected by our belief in God, seeking to understand what it means to claim a Christian faith that empowers women. Rooted in the Reformed tradition, we desire to nurture young women's spiritual development through study, discussion, prayer and action. Honoring the movement of the Spirit in the lives of young women, we encourage and celebrate their theological, liturgical and ethical contributions.

We commit ourselves to use theology informed by women's perspectives, feminism, diversity, peace and justice, evangelism, ecumenism, education, honest questioning and dialogue, and women's issues, locally, nationally and globally.

If you are a woman in college or if you know of a woman in college, this is a great organization with which to affiliate. Peruse the website. Check out the blog, Network Notes.

A couple of posts ago, I linked to the Presbyterian Gayman, a satirical website in the late 90s. Few except hardcore Presbyterians will understand the historical context and so get the jokes.

Yet this is a story that needs to be told and remembered. The NNPCW was almost booted out of existence nearly a decade ago. Our story begins in 1998...

...with the editor of the Presbyterian Layman.

He was lovingly concerned with the sexual lives of these young college women and decided to investigate the NNPCW's website. To his horror he found some of the links were three clicks away from pornography!

He gathered his staff to continue this important investigation. And investigate they did.

They investigated a lot.

And a lot.

Yup, there was a lot of pornography to investigate.

You can follow the story from the Layman's point of view. They have conveniently archived their odd behavior on their website.

They almost succeeded in burning these women at the stake for the crimes of

1) Reading inappropriate books,
2) Offering a variety of resources about gender and sexuality issues, and
3) Exploring theological views.

In fact, the NNPCW nearly lost its funding. At the 1998 General Assembly in Charlotte, the GA voted to end funding for the NNPCW.

A demonstration was held at the assembly by those uppity women and the GA reversed its decision, deciding to fund them for one more year.

A task force was established to investigate the NNPCW and as it turned out the 1999 General Assembly approved of their work and provided more funding as well as full-time staffing.

The Layman's publicity attracted more women to this ministry.

Eight years later The National Network of Presbyterian College Women is going strong.

In the words of Molly Williams...

"The NNPCW kept me in the PC(USA) throughout my college years and showed me that there were other young feminists out there!" Her peers, she says, were "wonderful, wise, strong women!"

As for Boss, well, in his words...

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