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Rev. Dr Rebecca Peters receives scholar-activist award

Rev. Dr Rebecca Peters receives scholar-activist award

Rev. Dr Rebecca Toddie Peters, Photo: WCC

06 December 2018

Rev. Dr Rebecca “Toddie” Peters received Auburn Seminary’s 2018 Walter Wink Scholar-Activist Award at the American Academy of Religion on 19 November in Denver, Colorado (USA).

Peters first became involved in gender justice when she responded to an internship advertised on a flyer from the Presbyterian Church headquarters. She also learned the language of faith through the lens of her father’s social justice work as a preacher.

“It was so amazing to think I could go do this work in the church,” said Peters. “I went to Louisville and started in what was then called the Justice for Women office.”

She began to learn, in much deeper and broader ways, about feminism, feminist theology, feminist theory and the plight of women around the world.

That position led to ecumenical work with the World Council of Churches that put Peters in contact with women around the world who, at a conference in Jamaica, opened her eyes to the global structural challenges to economic justice.

“The event was really a metanoia (transformative) experience,” said Peters. “There were probably 25 or 30 of us young women all in our 20s from all across the world and there were very strong critiques about structural adjustment policies, the debt crisis and the IMF and the World Bank.”

She recalled going into the meeting having no understanding of the international global political economy and being simply overwhelmed by her peer group who knew so much more about the problems of the world.

After spending the next years working within the Presbyterian denomination on issues of women and global inequality, Peters attended Union Theological Seminary where she immersed herself in liberation theology and the social gospel while continuing her examination of globalization and how globalized economies might build structures that are oriented towards justice.

Peters is currently a professor of Religious Studies at Elon University where she continues to embody the scholar-activist ethos. Her latest step in the process that started with her first internship just out of college is a book titled: “TRUST WOMEN: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice.”


* Prof. Peters is a member of the WCC Faith and Order commission. She was the co-moderator of the Faith and Order Working Group that produced the study text "Moral Discernment in the Churches"

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