Fonds F4005 - Movement for Christian Feminism fonds

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Movement for Christian Feminism fonds

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  • Moving images

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CA ON00340 F4005

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42 cm of textual records
2 video cassettes

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Administrative history

The Movement for Christian Feminism (MCF) was an ecumenical feminist organization based in Toronto that sought to examine the relationship between the church and feminism and bring together experiences of women participating in all levels, but especially employees, of the church. The group developed out of the “Work with Women Project” and Friends of Hagar, before changing its name to MCF. Established in September of 1975, the group was officially funded by the United Church in October and later the Anglican Church to employ a staff member and a part-time typist. MCF also operated with an Advisory/Support Board made up of 10 women from the United, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, and Lutheran Churches as well as women involved in the YWCA and Women’s Inter-Church Council (WICC). Later funding also came from these Churches and the WICC. Shelley Finson acted as Coordinator for MCF throughout its years of operation. Finson, who has previously worked for the YWCA, was also a United Church minister and was part of the United Church Task Force on Women. The broad ecumenical make-up of the MCF advisory board was rooted in the network first established by Friends of Hagar. The MCF rented space from the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) and board meetings took place at the Centre for Christian Studies.

MCF conducted conferences and workshop events, study groups, provided resources and worked with other organizations such as United Church Women, Anglican Register Church Workers, Toronto Association of Professional Church Workers of the United Church, and Presbyterian Sisterhood. Finson spoke to congregations and academic audiences across Canada as well as the United States. The MCF also ran the Friends of Hagar newsletter, an already established ecumenical newsletter for women of faith. By 1978, the MCF was ready to dissolve due to lack of resources, however, money provided by the Canadian federal government (Secretary of State) allowed for a final operational year forming a Coalition with the CCC to develop better inclusion of women at the national level and integrating women’s issues into an institutional mandate. The MCF then ended in 1979. The Friends of Hagar Newsletter carried on for a number of years.

The first year of the MCF focused on building contacts among women across Canada and establishing the MCF among the community. Leading workshops, events and consciousness raising among women, the MCF create space for discussion and analysis of feminism and the church, masculine theology, and women’s employment by the church, and acted to “provid[e] the institutional Church with effective ways of working with women who are disaffected with it” (MCF, March 1976). Events included the Ontario Committee for a Conference on Women and the Church (1975), the United Church Consultation on Sexism and Liberation (1977), Women in Canadian Society seminar (1978), and Women In Ministry: Agents of Social Change (1979).

Custodial history

This material forms part of the General Council program of the United Church of Canada Archive.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records of the Movement of Christian Feminism as well as the Friends of Hagar newsletter, including records of conferences and events, conference evaluation forms from participants, meeting minutes, planning documents, proposals and reports, grant funding and financial statements, membership lists, organizational histories, as well as correspondence regarding newsletter subscriptions, publications, event planning, as well as affiliations with other institutions and organizations including churches, universities, and women’s groups in Canada, the United States and further abroad.

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Refer to the Archives library catalogue for issues of the Friends of Hagar newsletter. See also Division of Mission in Canada fonds (512), Series 14, Subseries 15: Task Force on the Changing Roles of Women and Men in Church Society (Finson participated in the Task Force)


No further accruals are expected.

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