Renegotiating space around the multicultural United Reformed Church table: towards the intentional intercultural inclusion of ethnically-minoritised women

Henry-Robinson, Revd Dr Tessa D. (2021) Renegotiating space around the multicultural United Reformed Church table: towards the intentional intercultural inclusion of ethnically-minoritised women. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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The research question asks: How might space around the multicultural table be renegotiated in a way that facilitates the intercultural inclusion of ethnically-minoritised women? This involved analysing: what Black/ethnically-minoritised women in two United Reformed Church (URC) congregations think and feel about their positioning within the URC; ascertaining how the significance of what they say can be teased out in light of womanist practical theology; and uncovering what this says to the contemporary URC. A discussion ensued on the possible impact on the denomination, and on the women themselves, of being absent/missing. Sheppard’s womanist practical theological perspective which urges dialogue “between psychoanalytic and womanist perspectives” that “presupposes the valuing of inner life in womanist thought” (2011, p.76) assisted this discussion. Exploring the historical experiences of the women’s social, cultural, psychological realities substantiated the need for employing embodiment thinking as an appropriate undergirding. An inductive case study approach obtained qualitative data using observation techniques in two URC congregations, and questionnaire-interviews with twelve Black/ethnicallyminoritised women in those settings. Utilising memoing as an analytical tool, four issues emerged: (1) fear of being ignored and left-out (2) desire to break through and participate as their authentic selves (3) need to be seen as fully human, and (4) intention to challenge the ‘White’ world environment. The issues were subjected to a womanist theological analysis, as God’s Word was recognised as being the highest source of authority for both the women and the denomination. The issues were further explored considering womanist biblical interpretation of Old and New Testament figures of – Hagar and the Syrophoenician woman. From this discussion emerged a new theological framework—‘A womanist embodiment theology’. Arising from this theological development, I introduced the concept of insiders-without for the context of present research, which provides an identity categorisation/social location framing, inspired by but different from Collins’ (1992) coined outsiders-within identity location. On this understanding, I offer practical conclusions for the URC to consider.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: ethnically-minoritised, raced, womanist practical theology, embodiment, intersectionality, constructivism
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2021 17:30
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2022 15:23

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