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Prof. Evelyn Parker selected as Fulbright scholar

Prof. Evelyn Parker selected as Fulbright scholar

Evelyn L. Parker reads the Bible during morning prayer at the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, 2013. Photo: Peter Williams/WCC

11 June 2019

Evelyn L. Parker, a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, has been selected for a 2019-20 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant.

Parker will spend six months based at the University of Western Cape and the South African Faith and Family Institute in Cape Town, South Africa, working on a project titled “Role of Religious Leaders in Preventing and Intervening in Teen Dating Violence in South Africa.”

Parker is also the Susanna Wesley Centennial professor of Practical Theology at Perkins School of Theology.

“The #MeToo Movement has raised global awareness of sexual harassment of women and girls,” Parker said. “I’m looking to explore the role that religious leaders of multiple faiths in Cape Town, South Africa play in addressing teen dating violence through ecumenical and interfaith institutions.”

In a November 2018 statement on sexual and gender-based violence, the WCC Executive Committee encouraged member churches and ecumenical partners and their theological institutions and networks to promote research on gender justice to influence religious, ecumenical, inter-religious and cross-cultural curricula development.

Parker said that a good deal of research and scholarship has originated from South Africa on teen dating violence, which includes controlling, abusive, and violent behavior in adolescent romantic relationships.

“They are more progressive about having a conversation about this issue in South Africa,” she said. “I believe that community leaders in the U.S. who are concerned about teen dating violence can benefit from the experiences and knowledge of religious leaders there.”

Parker will use qualitative methods of observation and interviews, to explore the nature of religious leadership in preventing the problem.

WCC Executive Committee Statement on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Commission of the Churches on International Affairs

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