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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1112; DVD-162; T-583; Vt-336

Records of Renew Network, 1971-2020 (inclusive), 1990-2009 (bulk)

Overview

Correspondence, reports, programming materials, and other records of the Renew Network, an organization of evangelical women and men within the United Methodist Church.

Dates

  • 1971-2020
  • Majority of material found within 1990-2009

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by the Renew Network is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Extent

29.83 linear feet ((29 cartons, 2 file boxes, 2 roll boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 2 folio+ folders, 1 supersize folder, 22 audiotapes, 8 videotapes, 2 DVDs, 1 archived web site)
35.06 Megabytes (38 files)

The collection documents the work of Renew from its founding in 1989 to 2020. The bulk of the collection relates to founder Faye Short's tenure as president of Renew. It includes her correspondence throughout her presidency as well as her retirement speech; correspondence, writings, and printed material on issues addressed by Renew including abortion, homosexuality, and the supremacy of Christ; material related to a mission trip to Paraguay; the "Call for Reform of the Women's Division" report produced by Renew, with background material (including Short's preliminary report "Our Basis for Concern") and letters (both positive and critical) in response to the report; Renew's annual reports to the Good News board of directors; and correspondence, agendas, and related material for Renew meetings, workshops, and retreats. The collection also includes publications prepared or endorsed by the Women's Division, several with annotations by Renew members; Renew's correspondence with various members of the Women's Division, as well as notes and background materials on those individuals; and reports on the Women's Division's meetings, activities, and conferences. Also included are publicity and reports on the interfaith, feminist Re-Imagining conferences; and correspondence, planning documents, and reports regarding Renew's 2005 Christian Conversation with the Women's Division, an event aimed at improving understanding between the two organizations. The collection also contains reports, etc. regarding meetings of the United Methodist Women's Assembly; petitions, resolutions, reports, and other materials for United Methodist General Conferences; banners and display panels used at conferences and during a mission trip to Paraguay; and conference packets, press releases etc. for the United Nation's World Conference on Women. The files of presidents Liza Kittle and Katy Kiser are also included, with Kiser's files including electronic records which were received via Dropbox and imaged using FTK Imager. These records are represented in this finding aid by #E.1-E.38. The collection also includes audio- and videotapes of religious conferences and other events, a DVD of the Renew/Women's Division Conversation, and a DVD describing Renew's mission work in Paraguay. Renew's web site is being captured periodically as part of Schlesinger Library's web archiving program.

Most of the material in the collection arrived at the Schlesinger Library foldered and arranged by Renew. The archivist has largely maintained the existing arrangement and folder titles and in most cases did not refolder material. The materials in Series VI arrived loose and were housed in acid-free folders by the archivist. Folder titles created by the archivist appear in square brackets.

Series I, CORRESPONDENCE OF FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR FAYE SHORT, 1990-2009 (Carton 1-Carton 4), includes Renew founder Faye Short's correspondence throughout her tenure with Renew. It includes explanations of Renew's purpose and operations; steering committee/support team correspondence; fund-raising letters and thanks for financial contributions; and reactions to the activities of the Women's Division. It is arranged chronologically.

Series II, DIRECTORS' FILES, 2001-2020 (Carton 5, E.1-E.38), includes the files of directors Liza Kettle and Kathryn Kiser. Kettle served as director from 2008 to 2013. She volunteered for Renew for several years and some of her files predate her directorship. The files include special project files; newsletters, a file documenting perceived persecution of Renew by United Methodist Women; articles by Kittle on changes facing the church and United Methodist Women; press releases; reports of Women's Division board meetings and general conferences; and materials regarding a conversation between Kittle and Faye Short at the time of Short's resignation as director. See #DVD-162.2 for a recording of this conversation. Kiser's files include monitoring reports; newsletters; correspondence; reports on General Conferences; and writings on the bible's view of human sexuality by Kiser and Short. Many of Kiser's files (or files closely resembling them) also exist in electronic form and are represented in the finding aid by #E.1-E.38. The series is arranged with Kettle's files appearing first, followed by Kiser's.

Series III, RENEW ADMINISTRATION AND PROGRAMS, 1974-2020 (Carton 6-Carton 12, E. 39, F+D.1-F+D.2, 32 Roll-33 Roll, SD.1) documents Renew's history, administration, and programming. It consists of the three subseries described below.

Subseries A, Administration and history, 1974-2020 (Carton 6-Carton 9, E.39, 32 Roll, SD.1), includes histories of Renew; Short's retirement speech and correspondence, meeting agendas, and other documents regarding planning for Renew's transition to new leadership; steering committee including notes and agendas; analyses of the Women's Division finances; correspondence, etc. regarding the formation of a taskforce on women's ministries; reports, correspondence, etc. related to Renew support teams in states including Alabama, Ohio, and Texas; drafts of the proposal for Renew's affiliate membership program and correspondence regarding the program itself; readings and other materials from annual retreats; a report by the Esther Action Council (a precursor of Renew); and resource and program planning files, including files on issues of significance to Renew such as abortion and homosexuality. The subseries also includes a banner used by Renew on a mission trip to Paraguay. Renew's archives web site is also included in this subseries.

Subseries B, Programs, 1990-2008 (Carton 9-Carton 12, 33 Roll, F+D.1-F+D.2), includes correspondence and other materials (including a banner) for workshops held by Renew throughout the country; writer's workshops; and Good News summer celebrations. Some folders contain material for several different events. Program planning guidelines, notebooks, and other resources are also included. The subseries is arranged with the programming material first, followed by chronologically arranged events files.

Subseries C, Publications, 1989-2008 (Carton 12), includes Renew brochures and pamphlets; Candle, Good News and Renew magazine articles, including Short's final article as Renew president; the proposal for Kiser and Short's book Reclaiming Wesleyan Social Witness: Offering Christ, related correspondence (including with contributors to the book) and endorsements. Correspondence related to the release of Marilyn Anderes's book The Great Encourager: A Study of John XIV is also included. The subseries is arranged with brochures and pamphlets appearing first, followed by the book projects and finally by magazine articles.

Series IV, UNITED METHODIST WOMEN--WOMEN'S DIVISION, 1989-2008 (Carton 13-Carton 22), documents Renew's efforts to monitor and disclose the activities of the Women's Division. It is arranged in the five subseries described below.

Subseries A, Review/Monitoring of United Methodist Women/Women's Division, 1989-2008 (Carton 13-Carton 15), includes financial analysis of the Women's Division; material related to Women's Division programs and to the Division's involvement in the 1995 Beijing Women's conference and other United Nations events; and monitoring reports by members of Renew.

Subseries B, Our basis for concern/A Call for Reform, 1995-2004 (Carton 15-Carton 17), includes press releases, questionnaires, correspondence (both supportive and critical), and information packets related to the joint Good News/Renew campaign for the reform of the Women's Division. This campaign was prompted by the Women's Division's Fall 2001 board meeting, which was held a few days after the September 11th terrorist attack. At the board meeting, a resolution was passed calling for the cessation of the bombing of Afghanistan and critical remarks were made about United States policies; support for the Sophia Circle and the Re-Imagining Conferences was also expressed. Good News and Renew both strongly opposed these decisions. Short wrote "Our Basis for Concern" as a background document for the campaign. The subseries is arranged with the files related to "Our Basis for Concern" appearing first. See #Vt-336.1 for a related videotape.

Subseries C, Women's Division board meetings, 1991-2008 (Carton 17-Carton 19), includes reports, schedules, background readings, resolutions, etc. for meetings of the Women's Division's board of directors. Reports on the proceedings by members of Renew are sometimes included. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries D, Women's Division National Seminar and United Methodist Women Assembly, 1994-2007 (Carton 19-Carton 21), includes reports and analysis of Women's Division seminars and contact and biographical information; publicity; programs; workshop and focus group reports; and correspondence related to United Methodist Women Assemblies. Of note is the material on lesbian folksinger Emily Saliers (one half of the folk rock duo Indigo Girls) and her theologian father Don Saliers; the father and daughter performed at the 2006 Assembly, with Emily's participation protested by members of Renew due to what Short referred to as her "open practice of lesbianism." The subseries includes several folders of letters sent to the Women's Division regarding their decision to include Emily Saliers in the Assembly, as well as publicity about her appearance there. The subseries is arranged with the National Seminar material appearing first, followed by the Assembly files. Both groupings are arranged chronologically.

Subseries E, Women's Division conversation with Renew, 1999-2005 (Carton 21-Carton 22), includes correspondence, questions and answers, press releases, planning materials, etc. for the 2005 "conversation" between members of Renew and the Women's Division, including the Division's newly appointed chief executive officer, Jan Love. The event featured six panelists from each organization, with each side asking four pre-announced questions of the other. Both sides hoped to reach greater understanding or common ground but this proved unsuccessful. See #DVD-162.1 for a recording of the event.

Series V, CHRISTIAN CONFERENCES, 1990-2008 (Carton 22-Carton 25), includes material on Re-Imagining conferences and on the United Methodist general conference. The series includes transcripts from the first Re-Imagining event; correspondence about the conference, including grassroots responses to the event and the subsequent controversy; reactions to the Re-Imagining community's press statement "A Time of Hope---a Time of Threat"; articles and letters on the controversy regarding the Goddess Sophia; and attendee reports, correspondence, transcripts, and articles regarding subsequent conferences. The material related to the United Methodist general conferences includes correspondence, conference materials, legislative packets; petitions by both Renew and the Women's Division and Renew's analysis of Women's Division petitions; and pre-conference planning materials. The material related to the 2004 General Conference includes speeches and writings regarding the proposed split in the Methodist Church due to disagreement over homosexuality; this proposal was voted down at the Conference. The subseries is arranged with the Re-Imagining material appearing first, followed by the General Conference files. Both groupings are arranged chronologically.

Series VI, PRINTED MATERIALS REVIEWED BY RENEW, 1971-2009 (Carton 26-B.31, FD.1) consists of books, pamphlets, and magazines published or used by the Women's Division and reviewed by members of Renew. Most of the books address Christianity or other forms of religion; a few children's books (including a retelling of the story of the three little pigs) are also included. Some of the books were annotated by Renew members and this has been noted in the folder headings. The series is arranged alphabetically by title, with leader's guides and youth study guides to various books appearing under the title of the relevant book.

Series VII, AUDIOVISUAL, 1992-2008, undated (#T-583.1--T-583.22, DVD-162.1--DVD-162.2, Vt-336.1--Vt-336.8), includes recordings of Renew events; the 2005 conversation between members of Renew and the Women's Division; a conversation between Liza Kittle and Faye Short; a videotape about mission work in Paraguay; and recordings related to religious conferences. Of note are an event organized by the United Methodist Church to discuss the first Re-Imagining conference, the response to it by the Women's Division and the Church as a whole and the reactions of attendees and other church members; and reports on the 2003 Re-Imagining conference by Renew members who attended it. The series is arranged by format and thereunder chronologically.

HISTORICAL NOTE

The Renew Network (originally the Evangelical Coalition for United Methodist Women) was formed in 1989 as a network for evangelical women within the United Methodist Church. It is the women's program arm of the Good News organization, the church's forum for Scriptural Christianity. In the 1960s and 1970s, many of the more evangelical women in the church felt that the materials produced by the church's Women's Division (which served as the national policy-making body of United Methodist Women, an organization merging the church's women's organizations) were increasingly influenced by liberal social and political concepts; as such, these materials were deeply at odds with the evangelical women's core beliefs. The first challenge to the Women's Division's activities was mounted by a group of evangelical women from Dallas, Texas, who formed the Esther Action Council Task Force for Accountability and published a comprehensive handbook documenting what they perceived as the radical political, social and theological actions and resources coming from the Women's Division. The Good News Taskforce on Women in the Church also aimed to provide an alternative to what evangelical women saw as the misdirection of the Women's Division. The Taskforce published a bi-monthly newsletter, Candle, produced supplemental program resource books to challenge the works issued by the Women's Division, and also reviewed United Methodist Women publications. By the early 1980s, both these groups had become less active.

Faye Short worked as an officer for United Methodist Women in the 1970s and 1980s. She found that the Women's Division's worldview and goals conflicted with the Wesleyan worldview, with its focus on the doctrine of salvation and the relationship between grace, faith, and holiness of heart and life, which she shared with other evangelical women within the church. She expressed her differing views on issues such as theological pluralism, abortion, homosexuality, inclusive language, and political and social liberalism, and resigned after finding herself ostracized. In 1988 she joined the board of Good News and the following year organized a workshop for evangelical women at the Good News summer convocation. The workshop was well attended and Short and others including Helen Rhea Stumbo, Julia Williams, and Dianne Knippers resolved to establish a network for evangelical women, aimed at support at the local level and accountability on the part of the Women's Division. Because of the theological, political, and social scope of the Women's Division, the Renew Network (also known as the Renewing, Enabling Network for Evangelical Women) initially operated under the combined purview of Good News, The Mission Society for United Methodists, and the Institute on Religion and Democracy. This provided the organization with resources and umbrella protection. Eventually Renew came under the sole purview of Good News. Williams and Short initially served as co-directors but due to Williams's other responsibilities, Short soon became sole director and later president of the organization. She served in this role until 2008.

Renew encouraged women to remain within the organization of United Methodist Women, working from within for change and accountability. However, the dismissal of their concerns by the Women's Division led many women to leave the organization. Renew served as a connection for these women, offering program resources and guidelines for women's ministries and also providing a place for evangelical Methodist women to unite and network. The group established support teams in several states and also developed an affiliate membership program for women who withdrew from United Methodist Women. Short and other members of Renew held workshops and other events for women throughout the country.

From Renew's inception, monitoring the Women's Division has been one of the organization's major goals. In order to be aware of the activities and direction of the Division and its various committees, members of Renew began reviewing the Division's publications; attending and reporting on the Division's board meetings; covering United Methodist Women assemblies and United Methodist Church national conferences (both held quadrennially); and examining the Women's Division's spending patterns, programs, and policy directions. While attending and monitoring a Women's Division board meeting, Renew members heard about the upcoming 1993 Re-Imagining conference, which was one of the major events of the Ecumenical Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women, and learned that the conference would be a "coming out" of radical feminism within Christianity. Representatives of Renew, the American Baptist Church, and the Presbyterian Church (USA) attended the conference and subsequently reported that it included worship of the goddess Sophia, denial of the necessity of Christ's atoning death, and promotion of the syncretism (or amalgamation) of religions. Renew's sharing of the meeting's content shocked the church, causing the Women's Division to refrain from completely endorsing the Re-Imagining community, though they also refrained from fully denouncing the community. A number of women withdrew from United Methodist Women over the Re-Imagining controversy. Renew monitored all subsequent Re-Imagining conferences.

In 2005, members of Renew and the Women's Division met to try to find common ground but the attempt proved unsuccessful. Liza Kittle, a self-described former radical feminist, became president of Renew after Short's retirement in 2008. During her time as president, she helped establish ministries for women who had left United Methodist Women, and led a delegation to the 2012 General Conference. Kathryn Kiser became Renew's team leader following Kittle's stepping down as president in 2013. During her tenure, the church's General Conference passed legislation to officially allow alternative women's ministries outside United Methodist Women, something for which Renew had been advocating for years. Renew continues monitoring United Methodist Women National (formerly the Women's Division) and also emphasizes the positive work that is being done in United Methodist churches. Kiser noted in one of her reports that Renew did not want to be seen "as merely against the work of UMW National," and that she was making a conscious effort to maintain the organization's website as a positive resource for Methodist women. Kiser remains president as of 2021.

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in seven series:

  1. Series I. Correspondence of founder and director Faye Short, 1990-2009 (Carton 1-Carton 4)
  2. Series II. Directors' files, 2001-2020 Carton 5, E.1-E.38)
  3. Series III. Renew administration and programs, 1974-2020 (Carton 6-Carton 12, E.39, F+D.1-F+D.2, 32 Roll-33 Roll, SD.1)
  4. Series IV. United Methodist Women--Women's Division, 1989-2008 Carton 13-Carton 22)
  5. Series V. Christian conferences, 1990-2008 (Carton 22-Carton 25)
  6. Series VI. Printed materials reviewed by Renew, 1971-2009 (Carton 26-Box 31, FD.1)
  7. Series VII. Audiovisual, 1992-2008, undated (#T-583.1--T-583.22, DVD-162.1--DVD-162.2, Vt-336.1--Vt-336.8)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2020-M134, 2021-M94, 2021-M114

The records of the Renew Network were given to the Schlesinger Library by Kathryn Kiser and Helen Rhea Stumbo on behalf of the Renew Network in November 2020, with additional donations by Kathryn Kiser and Liza Kittle in July 2021.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Minnesota Historical Society; see the records of the Re-Imagining Community (Catalog ID number: 007351993).

SEPARATION RECORD

Donors: Faye Short and Liza Kittle

Accession numbers: 2021-M134, 2021-M114

Processed by: Susan Earle

The following items have been removed from the collection and offered to the Schlesinger Library Printed Materials Department

  1. Candle: Equipping Evangelical Women within the United Methodist Church, Vol. 1, No. 1 (September 1977) - Vol. 5 No. 1 (September 1982)
  2. ChurchWoman News, Vol.2 issue 4 (August 2007) - Vol. 3 Issue 2 (June 2008)
  3. Dharmaraj, Glory E. Concepts of Mission, Women's Division, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church: New York, New York, 1999
  4. Noble, Rae. Rae's Writings: Poems and Stories Inspirational, LifeSprings Resources: Franklin Springs, Georgia, 2002
  5. Pitts, Carolyn. But on the Other Hand or To Like Ourselves as Women, Women's Division, The Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1979
  6. Empowering Young Women: A Guide for Local, District and Conference Organizations of United Methodist Women, Women's Division, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, ca.2001
  7. Hunter, Anne Marie and Peggy Halsey. Women in Crisis: Stories of Ministry and Empowerment, National Program Division, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1976?
  8. Re-Imagining: Quarterly Newsletter of the Re-Imagining Community, Issue 1 (Nov. 1994)-Issue 35 (May 2003)
  9. Renew newsletter, vol. 1 No. 1 (19?) - Vol.18 Issue 2 (2010-2011)
  10. Response: The Voice of Women in Ministry, April 2000 - September 2006
  11. Short, L. Faye and Kiser, Kathryn. D. Reclaiming the Wesleyan Social Witness: Offering Christ, Providence House Publishers: Franklin, Tennessee, 2008
  12. Stevens, Thelma. Legacy for the Future: The History of Christian Social Relations in the Woman's Division of Christian Service 1940-1968, Women's Division, Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1978
  13. Task Group on the History of the Central Jurisdiction Women's Organization, Women's Division of the Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, To a Higher Glory: The Growth and Development of Black Women Organized for Mission in the Methodist Church 1940-1968
  14. Wehrheim, Carol A. The Great Parade: Learning about Women, Justice and the Church, Friendship Press: New York, 1992
  15. What's the Purpose? Exploring the PURPOSE of United Methodist Women with Teens and College/University Women, Women's Division, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 2000

SEPARATION RECORD

Donors: Faye Short and Liza Kittle

Accession numbers: 2021-M134, 2021-M114

Processed by: Susan Earle

The following items duplicate existing holdings in the Harvard Library catalog and have been removed from the collection:

  1. Amanecida Collective, Revolutionary Forgiveness: Feminist Reflections on Nicaragua, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1988
  2. Bennett, Anne McGrew. From Woman-Pain to Woman-Vision, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989
  3. The Dee Brestin Bible Study Series: A Woman of Worship, Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2006
  4. Eisler, Riane Tennenhaus, The Equal Rights Handbook: What ERA Means to Your Life, Your Rights, and the Future, New York: Avon Books, 1978
  5. Cady, Susan, Marian Ronan, Hal Taussig, Wisdom's Feast: Sophia in Study and Celebration, San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1986
  6. Common Ground-Different Planes: The Women of Color Partnership Program Newsletter, August 1989
  7. Fagan, Ann, This Is Our Song: Employed Women in the United Methodist Tradition, Mission Education and Cultivation Program Department, The Women's Division, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1986
  8. From Local to Global: Making Peace Work for Women, New York: NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, 2005
  9. Gorman, Michael J. and Ann Loar Brooks, Holy Abortion? A Theological Critique of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Why Christians and Christian Churches Should Reconsider the Issue of Abortion, Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003
  10. Hoover, Theressa, With Unveiled Face: Centennial Reflections on Women and Men in the Community of the Church, Women's Division, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1983
  11. Kimball, Charles A., Angle of Vision, New York: Friendship Press, 1992
  12. Kyung, Chung Hyun, Struggle to be the Sun Again: Introducing Asian Women's Theology, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1993
  13. Lodwick, Robert C. Remembering the Future: The Challenge of the Churches in EUROPE, New York: Friendship Press, 1995
  14. Marrs, Wanda. New Age Lies to Women, Austin: Living Truth Publishers, 1989
  15. Mollenkott, Virginia Ramey, Sensuous Spirituality: Out from Fundamentalism, New York: Crossroad, 1993
  16. Russell, Letty M. Household of Freedom: Authority in Feminist Theology. The 1986 Annie Kinkead Warfield Lectures, Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1987
  17. Spencer, Aída Besançon with Donna F.G. Hailson, Catherine Clark Kroeger, William David Spencer, The Goddess Revival, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995
  18. They Went Out Not Knowing: 100 Women in Mission, General Board of GLOBAL Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1986
  19. Weems, Renita J. I Asked for Intimacy: Stories of Blessings, Betrayals, and Birthings, Philadelphia: Innisfree Press, Inc., 1993
  20. Women and Men in China: Facts and Figures, 1995

Processing Information

Processed: November 2021

By: Susan Earle and Laura Peimer

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Creator

Author
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
eng
Sponsor
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Carl & Lily Pforzheimer Fund, Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library, Sybil Shainwald Fund at the Schlesinger Library, Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing Fund, Class of 1956 Schlesinger Library Fund, and Class of 1955 Manuscript Processing Fund.
EAD ID
sch02088

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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