Wycliffe Hall is pleased to announce the launch of the Williams fund, set up to increase the representation of women writers in the Wycliffe Hall library. It is the initiative of student, Sarah Haslam, working with the Revd Dr Liz Hoare, Dean for Women.
The fund is named in honour of a much loved Old Testament Tutor, the Revd Dr Jenni Williams. It also draws attention to the way she models working together in ordained ministry with her husband, the Revd Jon Williams, who is director of the mixed-mode training programme at Wycliffe.
The Revd Dr Michael Lloyd welcomed the initiative and said, “As she is such an outstanding theological teacher, it is fitting that Jenni Williams should be honoured in a way that highlights the theological voice of half the human race, and helps it be heard.” He also pointed out that “From Priscilla to Paula Gooder, from Hildegard of Bingen to Adrienne von Speyr, this voice has never been silent, and if we attend to it, we will grow in our understanding of God and therefore in our humanity.” The Williams Fund has also enjoyed the support of former Wycliffe students the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, and the Bishop-designate of Doncaster, the Revd Sophie Jelley.
The need to ensure that theological college reading lists include a good number of women writers, who have so often been overlooked, is at last being addressed, not only in discussions at tutors’ meetings, but in other contexts too. It is notable that the number of women publishing in the field of theology is growing significantly. It is also encouraging to see that greater attention is being given to women writers. The Revd Dr Liz Hoare, Tutor in Spiritual Formation, has recently published, ‘Twelve Great Spiritual Writers’, which puts the spotlight on twelve women who have made a significant contribution to the field of Christian spirituality, and is another significant contribution to rectifying this imbalance.
The Williams Fund not only highlights the need to pay more attention to women writers, but also offers a way to address it, by supplying additional resources for the library. It is a very timely initiative and I hope it will enjoy widespread support.
For information about how to contribute to the Williams Fund, please contact:
Matthew Armstrong, Director of External Relations
+44 (0)1865 274212
Alternatively, you can make a donation directly by going to https://www.development.ox.ac.uk/wycliffe-hall