The Religious Lives of Older Laywomen: The Last Active Anglican Generation

ISBN : 9780198739586

Abby Day
256 Pages
135 x 216 mm
Pub date
Feb 2017
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The Religious Lives of Older Laywomen draws on ethnographic fieldwork, cross-cultural comparisons, and relevant theories exploring the beliefs, identities, and practices of 'Generation A'-Anglican laywomen born in the 1920s and 1930s. Now in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, they are often described as the 'backbone' of the Church and likely its final active generation. The prevalence of laywomen in mainstream Christian congregations is a widely accepted phenomenon that will cause little surprise amongst the research community or Christian adherents. What is surprising is that we know so little about them. Generation A laywomen have remained largely invisible in previous work on institutional religion in Euro-American countries, particularly as the focus on religion and gender has turned to youth, sexuality, and priesthood. Female Christian Generation A is on the cusp of a catastrophic decline in mainstream Christianity that accelerated during the 'post-war' (post-1945) age. The age profile of mainstream Christianity represents an increasingly aging pattern, with Generation A not being replaced by their children or grandchildren-the Baby-Boomers and generations X, Y, and Z. Generation A is irreplaceable and unique. 'Generation' shares specific values, beliefs, behaviours, and orientations, therefore, when this generation finally disappears within the next five to 10 years, their knowledge, insights, and experiences will be lost forever. Abby Day both documents and interprets their religious lives and what we can learn about them and more widely, about contemporary Christianity and its future.


Section I: Roots and Branches
1 Introduction to the Anglican Communion
2 Gendering Generation

Section II: Holy Women
3 Maintaining Open Churches
4 Powers of Purification
5 Doing Theology
6 Sacred Sundays

Section III: Ties that Bind: The Pew of Power of Generation A
7 Family and Community
8 More Party than Piety
9 The Final Active Generation


About the author: 

Abby Day is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Kent.

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