Saturday, July 14, 2007

In Loving Memory of Our Mother in Faith

Our mother in the faith, feminist theologian, Letty Russell, has passed. News of her death was posted on WATER's website as follows:

"Letty Russell, feminist theologian, died peacefully at home last night (July 12, 2007) after a valiant and graceful struggle with cancer. Shannon Clarkson was with her. They were accompanied near and far by legions of friends and colleagues. May she rest in the peace she envisioned and worked for throughout her life of scholarship, service, hospitality, and friendship. WATER extends sympathy to Shannon on this great loss. May Letty's memory be a blessing and her work a source on inspiration to the many people around the world whose lives she touched." Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D., Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual,

Words cannot describe the influence her work has had on my life and ministry...not only her academic work, but her powerful presence as a woman of faith who created change in the Church. It is Russell's vision of communities of faith and struggle that informed the creation of Cambridge Welcoming Ministries and continues to this day to inspire my own ministry within the institutional Church.

Russell was a great Crone of the Church, a foremother who led the way for so many of us as a brilliant scholar, courageous activist and powerful role-model. She will be deeply missed.

In her honor, I invite you to listen to her final lecture given last year at Harvard University or pick up one of her many texts on hope, faith and struggle.

A full obituary can be found posted on the Yale Divinity School website.


Kirk VanGilder said...

oh wow. yeah big loss here in seeing Letty pass on.

What very few people know is that she was married for a period of time to the great missiologist Johannes C. Hoekendijk. His "The Church Inside Out" bears a lot of similarities with Russell's "Church in the Round." Which only makes sense seeing as they both formed their ecclesiological visions in the same environment of the 1960's World Council of Churches theologians group.

In her latter years, Letty also become re-involved in missiology from a feminist perspective and in particular from a post-colonial stance that sought to empower more self-theologizing in post-colonial contexts. So her voice was primarily one of 'standing aside' to let others come to their theological expressions.

ppb said...

I haven't seen that picture in a long time. It looks like the Letty I knew as a student. The more recent one used on the Yale website is nice, but not the "old" letty.

Anonymous said...


I wrote on your blog before (a few blogs back) and you gave me your email address. However I tried emailing you yesterday and it was returned. Did i send it to a non-working address or has something changed? I would really like to dialogue with you. Thanks

Rev. Tiffany Steinwert said...


My church email is

It is still functioning.


Larry José said...

Me uno a las muestras de pesar por la pérdida de Letty Rusell. Como estudiante de teología en la UBL en San José, Costa Rica, tuvimos muchas oportunidades para leerla, escuchar comentarios y anécdotas de quienes le conocían personalmente y de quiene fueron movidas o movidos con sus ideas. Ahora, en mi trbaho teológico y de género, la recuerda y valoro mucho. Gracias por los comentarios. Larry J. Madrigal, Centro Bartolomé de las Casas, San Salvador.