God, Faith, Women & Church: Exploring Feminist Spiritual Formation (Women’s Retreat in NYC)

[Image by Alice Popkorn on Flickr]

“I stand in my own power now, the questions of permission that I used to choke on for my every meal now dead in a fallen heap, and when they tell me that I will fall, I nod. I will fall, I reply, and

my words are a whisper
my words are a howl

I will fall, I say, and the tumbling will be all my own. The skinned palms and oozing knees are holy wounds, stigmata of my She.”

―Beth Morey, Night Cycles: Poetry for a Dark Night of the Soul

Join Gina Colvin and me for a weekend of exploration into practices and ideas that support the development of feminine spiritual authority. We will practice Ignatian spiritual exercises, contemplative prayer, meditation, along with opportunities for critical reflection and discussion. This will be a sacred space for women forming or reconstituting their spiritual lives and identities that honors the in-dwelling feminine divine.

We will feature women artists and writers whose work demonstrate the intersection of feminist contemplation and action, including Claudia Bushman, Rachel Farmer, Rachel Hunt Steenblik, and Page Turner (more info about them below).

When: November 3-5, 2017
Friday 6:30pm-10:00pm
Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm

Where: CASE, 390 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10013

Cost: $300*


*Snacks provided. Participants responsible for meals (restaurants nearby) and for securing their own lodging. A Saturday evening optional activity to a sing-along piano bar in NYC will be organized for those interested (minimal cost involved).

*Need-based reduced rates and scholarships available. Contact [email protected] to apply.

*Donations to support those otherwise unable to attend the retreat are welcome and greatly appreciated. Simply enter the amount under “Donation” when you register through Eventbrite. Any amount helps!

Claudia L. Bushman, an American historian, has taught at many universities, most recently Columbia University and Claremont Graduate University. She has a long relationship with Harriet Hanson Robinson, a Malden resident, who is also the center of her sixteenth book, Going to Boston, about women’s lives in 1870. Her next book will be her autobiography, I, Claudia. She was the founding editor of Exponent II in 1974 and the New York Mother of the Year in 2002. She and her husband Richard Lyman Bushman have collaborated on historical publications as well as producing a family of six children and twenty grandchildren. One of her current projects is a modest quarterly literary journal for her Wellesley Class entitled Scarlet Letters. Another is the second Mormon Arts Center Festival, a four day celebration of contemporary Mormon arts and artists to be held in June 2018 in New York City.

Rachel Farmer is a Brooklyn-based artist, originally from Provo, Utah. She received a BFA in ceramics from BYU (1995) and an MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1997). She works in a variety of media, often incorporating hand-built ceramic sculpture, photography and video. In addition, Rachel has worked in the field of art education for over 20 years, and is currently an educator for School Programs at both the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her show “Ancestors Traversing Quilts” was on display this summer at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City. Rachel says of her exhibit: “My work draws inspiration from a variety of sources: my Mormon pioneer ancestry, childhood play with ceramic figurines, my grandmother’s quilts, historical dioramas, and pop culture’s invented mythologies of the American West. This installation grew out of pouring over my great-great-grandfather’s diary chronicling his immigrant journey from England to Utah Territory in 1853­­­—while confronting the absence of information about my great-great-grandmother who made the same journey, as a single woman without family, in 1855.” See images of Rachel’s work at

Rachel Hunt Steenblik researched Heavenly Mother full-time for the BYU Studies article, “ ‘A Mother There’: A Survey of Historical Teachings about Mother in Heaven.” She also authored Mother’s Milk: Poems in Search of Heavenly Mother for By Common Consent Press, co-edited Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings for Oxford University Press, and writes at The Exponent II blog. She is a PhD student in philosophy of religion at Claremont Graduate University, and has a BA in philosophy from Brigham Young University and an MS in library and information science from Simmons College. She lives just outside of New York City with her husband and tiny children.

Page Turner is an assemblage artist who collects items of deep personal meaning and creates delicate objects that honor the feminine. Raised as a devout Mormon, she looks to the Church and its complex history as inspiration. While she questions the patriarchal underpinnings and practices of the Church, she celebrates the Mormon sisterhood. Turner stitches objects together with family heirlooms, antique fabric, and other personal objects, by hand, to create delicate sculptural pieces infused with a new feminist aesthetic and a soulful reverence for her heritage. Turner has said, “My sewing box is full of treasures from women long forgotten. Paying respect to these sisters, I turn scraps back into sacred objects.” Indeed, Turner’s assemblages—many seemingly fragile and protected under bell jars—speak powerfully of the strong, enduring legacy of sisterhood. She has exhibited widely in Virginia, North Carolina, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. View a short video about how her Appalachian Mormon heritage informs her art here:

Gina Colvin, PhD, is Host of A Thoughtful Faith Podcast, Mormon Studies Scholar, Author and Critical and Cultural Studies Teacher. Wendy H. Christian, MA, LCSW, is a Psychoanalyst and Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in Manhattan and is featured on A Thoughtful Faith episode, “Enmeshed Family Systems, Differentiation, and Faith Crisis” (episode number 171).

Questions: send an email to [email protected]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Click to subscribe for new post alerts.

Click to subscribe to our magazine, in circulation since 1974.

Related Posts

Covenants: The Stuff of Dreams and Nightmares

I have been thinking and writing about temple covenants during the past few weeks. I am writing a paper for an upcoming Mormon Studies...

Feminists online

A few months ago I got into an argument with my Stake President.  We had a disagreement over a local policy, and he wanted to...

In 2015, the Exponent community urged policy change.

In 2015, several of the most lively conversations on the Exponent blog centered on church policy. The post that received the most comments in...

The Mormon Concept of Heavenly Mother with Rachel Hunt Steenblik and Ashley Mae Hoiland

In this episode of the Religious Feminism interview series, Rachel Hunt Steenblik, author of Mother's Milk: Poems in Search of Heavenly Mother and the...
submit guest post
Submit a Guest Blog Post
subscribe to our magazine
Subscribe to Our Magazine
Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :