AN APPEAL – MOW = working for women
Dear MOW supporters and friends
As you know, we are committed to challenging and transforming the Anglican Church of Australia and its role in the community. Our efforts include promoting the expression of women’s perspectives in theology and encouraging theological learning and discussion.
Recently, MOW was approached by a Sydney mother seeking assistance with living costs as she embarks on a part-time Master of Divinity degree at the Trinity College Theological School (University of Divinity) in Melbourne (https://www.trinity.unimelb.edu.au/theological-school).
The MOWatch Board Directors are most sympathetic to this request and have agreed to lodge an appeal for financial support. We are not set up to take monies and we don’t have tax deductible status, but we have been in discussion with the Dean of Trinity College, The Rev’d Canon Dr Bob Derrenbacker. He has advised that any donations that were directed to the Dean’s Discretionary Fund “for the support of female theological students” would be tax deductible. We cannot name an individual to whom the donations should be directed, as that would be counter to Tax Office regulations and, as you will see below, there are reasons why this Sydney mother needs to remain anonymous. It will be up to the trustees of the Fund to decide who should benefit from the donations, but the Dean and the Registrar know her, are delighted that she has commenced her studies and are likely to offer her some support as well, even though she is not a candidate for ordination.
We realise that you may wish to know why we are asking you to consider supporting this Sydney mother. She has been very open in telling us of her circumstances, but needs to remain anonymous. In brief, she grew up in a theologically conservative family and was actively discouraged by her church from pursuing academic biblical studies (despite achieving First Class Honours BA in Biblical Languages at the University of Sydney). She married, had three children, but was subject to extreme coercive control and escalating abuse. After escaping the marriage, she has spent five of the last six years in traumatic Family Court processes while trying to find secure employment and stay housed in order to retain partial care of her children.
She has received support and encouragement from her local church and now feels ready to undertake serious study of the Bible texts again. She has also been very much involved in domestic violence survivor advocacy in the Diocese of Sydney and is hoping that the Masters of Divinity will be of value for her ongoing advocacy for victims and survivors of all forms of spiritual abuse.
She is, however, in a very difficult position financially, with no safety net to draw on. She has a part-time job but also three children to care for. She has estimated that the shortfall in her income, if she were to study part-time will come close to $10,000, in the first year. She is hoping to qualify for scholarship support from Trinity College but this would not cover her living expenses, even though she is living extremely frugally. She hopes to complete the Masters part-time in 4 -5 years.
The MOW directors ask you to consider this request and, if you are able to contribute, please visit the Trinity College donation site at https://www.trinity.unimelb.edu.au/alumni-and-friends/giving/areas-you-can-supportand register your donation under “Other” for the Dean’s Discretionary Fund for the support of female theological students. If you know anyone else who may be moved to support women’s theological education and ministry, particularly in the areas of domestic violence and spiritual abuse, please forward this appeal on to them.