Coralie Ling—Retired Pastor of the Fitzroy Uniting Church in Melbourne, Australia, Coralie returns for a week each year during the AAR season to update herself on the issues. She spent a month each two different summers at WATER in preparation for her Doctorate in Ministry program in feminist theology at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She writes:
“Dignified with the title of Visiting Scholar, I spent four weeks pursuing my program of research into the spirituality of healing from various kinds of abuse, and guiding principles for doing feminist rituals and liturgy. The people and resources, including unpublished manuscripts and tapes, were just what I needed. The experience at WATER was never boring–from shared lunches to seminars, breakfasts with Janet Kalven, empowering rituals, and visits to cuddle ‘boarder’ babies. A rich time!
“WATER will continue to enliven my spirit, be a well to draw on, and a meeting place for strong and vulnerable women. As an Australian, I appreciate the goals of WATER and hope that we may establish a similar billabong.” [Editor’s note: Billabong, though not found in the Wickedary, means “a backwater channel that forms a lagoon or pool; a river branch that reenters the main stream.”]
Nina Beckmann—Dr. Beckmann wrote about feminist liturgy in the context of the Swedish Lutheran Church. Her two weeks at WATER helped her to get a handle on the U.S. liturgical scene and the many books on the topic. She writes of her experience:
“My days as a Visiting Scholar at WATER resulted in getting to know several good women with whom I will continue to share insights and doubts, laughter and tears, food for our bodies and food for our souls. I realize that we are all sharing at the table of Sophia, the Wisdom of God, who today puts up her tent in so many women-church groups all over the world, wishing to transform us and our churches and societies into Her likeness.”
Susan Davies—Dr. Davies, professor at Bangor Theological Seminary, graced WATER during her sabbatical year in fall 2002. She created good conversation on a range of topics, including how progressive religious folks can be supportive of one another within and beyond religious institutions.
Marli Wandermurem—Dr. Wandermurem, an ordained Presbyterian minister, spent the fall of 2001 at WATER working on her doctoral dissertation on the topic of violence in the books of Samuel and Kings. She is currently teaching in feminist theology in Salvador de Bahia in Brasil. She writes:
“For me, WATER for these three months was a space of possibilities, not only for the present but also for the future. As a Black Latin American woman, I am part of a group that confronts many difficulties in academic formation. For this reason, I am extremely grateful to WATER for this possibility.
“I can affirm that my objective was met. Access to WATER’s library was essential to conclude the work for my dissertation. I was able to get all of the materials I needed. What really helped me to achieve my goal was the aid and incentive of Mary and Diann who provided me with the setting in which my learning and production would be realized day by day.”
Sandra Duarte—Dr. Duarte wrote her doctoral dissertation for the Methodist University in Sao Paulo, Brasil, on ecofeminism when she was at WATER for four months in 1999. She is now professor of religion and social sciences at the Methodist University in Sao Paulo, Brasil. She enjoyed U.S. life with the Scinto Family while in residence at WATER. She says:
“When I first arrived at WATER I had a feeling that I am sure many other women before me have had: I found the fountain I was looking for!
“As a feminist source like none I had ever found before, WATER is a reference place for anyone who is dealing with women’s issues in theology, ethics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, liturgy and many other areas. But the books are just a sample of the richness one can find there. I really hope that other women can drink from this fountain. It has powerful WATER.”
Solveig Boasdottir—The first Icelandic feminist ethicist, Solveig received her Ph.D. in May, 1998 at Uppsala University in Sweden. Solveig spent the school year 1995-1996 at WATER writing her dissertation on safety in intimate relationships.
Anne Hall-—Social activist and Good Shepherd sister from Melbourne, Australia, also found a home at WATER as a summer Visiting Scholar. Her reflections follow:
“What do you do at a watering hole/billabong in summer? You drink deeply! My time at WATER has been rich with women’s cutting edge energy, celebration, and creativity. The wealth of resources and women’s wisdom was mind blowing, a powerhouse of energy for me, a weary activist fighting for women’s human rights. I loved the stimulating conversations and rituals that gathered women together, validating and honoring women’s experiences and wisdom.”
“I journey back to Australia knowing that I have many companions that link me to women’s liberation worldwide. Thank Godde for women of vision and courage, like Mary and Diann, and all those who dare to risk being fully alive!”