The Faith of Girls : Children's Spirituality and Transition to Adulthood book cover
1st Edition

The Faith of Girls
Children's Spirituality and Transition to Adulthood

ISBN 9781138277144
Published November 28, 2016 by Routledge
218 Pages

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Book Description

Exploring the spirituality and faith of girls on the verge of adolescence, this book presents fresh insights into children's spirituality and their transition to adulthood. Phillips has listened to girls' voices speaking in depth on the themes of self, God, church, and world, and reflected on their experiences and understandings in the light of current psychological, philosophical and sociological thinking, all placed into dialogue with a feminist approach to contemporary theology and bible. Phillips offers 'wombing' as a metaphor for their transition to young adulthood, and suggests strategies faith communities might adopt to companion girls more effectively through the fragility of puberty. This book will appeal to all those exploring areas of youth ministry, pastoral care, Christian education, nurture and childhood studies, psychology and theology.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Breaking the silence around girls in transition; Methods for learning from girls; Girls in transitional space; Theological reflection 1: Lucy; Girls in Godspace; Theological reflection 2: Rosie; Girls in nurturing space; Affirming girls through transition; Bibliography; Indexes.

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An Oxford graduate in Theology and formerly a secondary school teacher, I have been a Baptist minister for 20 years, first in a local pastorate and now as a theological teacher and Co-Principal of Northern Baptist College in Manchester, UK, part of the ecumenical Partnership for Theological Education. Besides teaching in the areas of theological reflection, children, and pastoral care, my other responsibilities include formation of prospective ministers and facilitation of learning in local churches. I have a long professional interest in the spiritual growth of children, for several years a member of the Consultative Group on Ministry among Children (CTBI). I have written study material published by NCEC including "Getting Across", and contributed chapters to other publications on children in the church. I jointly authored the original child protection guidleines published by the Baptist Union, 'Safe to Grow', and have worked with survivors of abuse, overwhelmingly women. This led to further work on pastoral and theological issues around the silencing of women and girls, which helped shape my doctoral thesis on the spirituality and faith of girls around the time of puberty. I now chair a Working Group within the Baptist Union of Great Britain addressing resistance to women's leadership, one consequence of which is the stifling of girls' aspirations.


’This is a landmark text which breaks new ground in the study of the faith of girls. It deserves to be widely read and reflected upon. Grounded in nuanced biblical readings of neglected texts about girls, an impressive range of diverse theoretical perspectives from theology, gender studies, psychology and sociology, and offering original qualitative field work, Anne Phillips skilfully works all this together into a powerful text which will excite feminist scholars and practical theologians alike, while being of immense value to practitioners. Both church and academy should welcome and honour this text.’ Nicola Slee, The Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, UK 'In this work, Anne Phillips makes a significant practical theological contribution to recent feminist scholarship on adolescent girls. She addresses a gap in the current literature by focusing on the religious lives of younger adolescent girls and offers fresh constructions of their narratives, with scholarly insights spanning the gamut from traditional developmentalists to feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray. Based on interviews with girls, the book is grounded in engagement with girls' narratives of their experiences of girlhood and faith. This book is an exciting new resource.' Joyce Ann Mercer, Virginia Theological Seminary, USA 'This book, part of the excellent Ashgate series Explorations in Practical, Pastoral and Empirical Theology, is a fascinating account of a qualitative research project with girls aged 11-13 who regularly attend church... for me it is worth buying as one of those books that you will want to lend to other people to read, both because of its subject matter and as an example of a good qualitative research. There is an excellent bibliography and footnotes which will be invaluable to other researchers in this area.' Journal of Education and Christian Belief ’Most interesting is to hear the authentic voices of the interviewees, how perceptive they