|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in four series: Publications, Audio and video materials, Re-Imagining Events, and Administrative records.
Scope and Contents
The records of the Re-Imagining Community consist of organizational newsletters and other publications; audio cassette recordings of the annual Re-Imagining conferences and video recordings of responses to the 1993 conference; records pertaining to various aspects of the annual conference including financial, program, registration, and publicity materials as well as meeting minutes and correspondence; and administrative records including a Certificate of Incorporation, an Article of Dissolution, and records of the Coordinating Council, including press, personal, and denominational responses to the 1993 conference.
Burke Library record group:
Archives of Women in Theological Scholarship (AWTS)
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
All original copies of audio and moving image media are closed until reformatting in mid-2021.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, AWTS: The Re-Imagining Community records, 1988-2016, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Re-Imagining Community donated its records to the Archives of Women in Theological Scholarship in 1999. Subsequent donations of material were made in 2001-2005.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Folded materials were flattened and newspaper clippings were photocopied on acid free paper. Staples, rubber bands, and metal clips were removed. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. The finding aid was created by Leslie Reyman in 2001, revised by Elizabeth Russey in 2002, revised with additions by Ruth Tonkiss Cameron in 2005, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2021.
2021-01-20 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Re-imagining Community was a grassroots, ecumenical movement that was organized to challenge what it saw as a patriarchal church hierarchy, promoting justice and equality in the church and society as a whole. The Community, centered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, called for the revitalization of the Christian church.
The Re-Imagining Community was an outgrowth of a "global theological colloquium" held in November 1993 in Minneapolis, Minnesota that gathered women, scholars, and church leaders together to address the goals of the World Council of Churches report, Ecumenical Decade: Churches in Solidarity with Women. Mary Ann Lundy, who worked in the national office of the Presbyterian Church, first had the idea to hold the conference five years earlier in 1988. As Lundy began to garner support for her plan, a group of women at a retreat in Minnesota chose the name "re-imagining," trying to capture the idea of a new image in the church. A group of nearly 150 volunteers, both clergy and laypersons, worked together to plan, produce, and implement the ReImagining Conference. It drew 2,200 people from around the world. The conference was sponsored by the Minnesota, Greater Minneapolis, and St. Paul Area Councils of Churches and supported partially with funds from several denominations. In 1993 the Christian Century listed the heightened involvement of women in the church as one of the top ten religious stories of the year. Unfortunately, the Re-Imagining movement encountered hostility and backlash from groups within several denominations, including the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA). They, and other conservative critics, charged that the conference was heretical and sought to prevent church funds from supporting any further Re-Imagining activities. The PCUSA called for the resignation of Mary Ann Lundy in 1994. Ironically, it was these actions that sparked the call to continue the Re-Imagining experience. In February 1994, nine women friends met and drafted a statement to the press, "A Time of Hope, A Time of Threat." Over 800 endorsements followed. After a number of discussions and debates, in September 1994, the Re-Imagining Community was incorporated with a coordinating council of lay and clergy volunteers to continue the work begun in 1993. Using quarterly newsletters and regular e-newsletter services to keep in touch, major conferences were held. At the "Gathering" in 2003 over the future of Re-Imagining, it was decided that the organization had achieved its aims and was no longer needed. Because of declining membership, the Re-Imagining Community disbanded in 2003, although email support was still to continue. In an article in the final Re-Imagining e-newsletter, former ReImagining members were encouraged to connect to the organization "WATER."