Mothers to the World: Christian Women's Short-Term Care Work and Resource Brokering

Team Members/Contributors

Kersten B. Priest Indiana Wesleyan University Contact Me

About this award

This book-writing project will explore gendered spirituality and religious agency exercised by American Christian women on mission trips intended to extend care globally. It will analyze the transformative impact of these involvements on their own identity and experience of gender in their own families, marriages, communities, and churches. Building on my prior ethnographic and interview research on women’s short-term mission teams in Peru, the Dominican Republic, and South Africa, this project will include ethnographic and interview research on an STM mission team to India which has formed an NGO and collaborates with the International Justice Mission. Although women still experience a “stained glass ceiling” – limitations on their participation in top church leadership positions, this research will explore how new patterns of intentional bridging and linking to people (often Christians) in the Global South opens caring leadership platforms as “resource brokers,” NGO organizers, and spokespersons on issues of international need and justice. Research on STM women’s global empathy can potentially rejuvenate congregations, shed light on “every day” pluralism, and advocate leadership for church women. Best practices will be suggested for STM travelers who must also learn to be attentive to misunderstandings and unintended consequences which may derail their lofty caring aims.