Young Asian Leaders React to Radical Grace

“Why can’t there be a female Pope?”

This was one of the various questions posed by the young adults and theologians discussing Radical Grace. These innovative minds from 15 different countries joined in Surat Thani, Thailand for a conference to discuss opportunities for justice within the church. The participants discussed the connection they felt to the stars of Radical Grace,  and other nuns who fight for faith and social justice.
One of the conference participants voiced how inspired she was to learn from the film that there were female leaders in the church in the past. This knowledge made her realize that gender equality did exist and can exist in the future, maybe not in our lifetime, as the participant shared, but we must not lose hope. We need to continue the fight because we  are making history today so that the faithful one  of the future can live in a better world. In this world, a female Pope will be a given, rather than a fantasy.

Watch the video to learn more about the Asian Youth Academy and Asian Theological Forum in Surat Thani, Thailand and the lessons they learned from Radical Grace (12 min). 


“A Church for Our Daughters” Builds Steam


Photo: Russ Petrus

What do you want to be when you grow up? For many children, this question is packaged with gendered limitations—including within the Catholic Church. Radical Grace is continuing its commitment to dismantling patriarchy within the Church through our partnership with A Church for Our Daughters. The campaign aims to secure a more inclusive Church, one defined by equality and not female subordination. Nearly 30 church reform organizations have committed to championing A Church for Our Daughters and its petition to U.S. bishops, and we’re showing no signs of slowing down. Check out some of the highlights from this inspiring coalition:

With the power of A Church for Our Daughters, we are raising the Catholic consciousness to these vital issues— we hope impacting not only the future of the church structure, but also future generations of our daughters. Join us in the crusade to build A Church for Our Daughters and check out for the next steps.

Help Us Build A Church For Our Daughters

On Mother’s Day, Radical Grace joined with an outstanding group of partners to launch a campaign to build a Church For Our Daughters.


What would that Church look like? A Church for Our Daughters is one that strikes down every oppressive practice, teaching, and law that assigns women and girls to a subordinate status. It’s a Church that is truly inclusive and alive with the gifts, spirit, and potential of all its members.

We hope you’ll join us in the movement to build this Church. Here are a few actions you can take:

  1. Sign the online petition.
  2. Share the petition with your friends, colleagues, mothers, daughters, nieces, goddaughters, neighbors and friends using the #AChurchForOurDaughters.
  3. Visit to find resources and take action to build a church for our daughters together.

We look forward to seeing this campaign grow, and hope you will join us in taking action!

Join the Conversation on Women’s Leadership


Over the last few months, the Radical Grace team has been working on a collaboration with Sojourners, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA), Muslims for Progressive Values, Ordain Women, FutureChurch, and Faithfully Feminist. We are very excited to be able to share it with you, at last!

From Tuesday, April 5th through Thursday, April 7th, we’ll be experimenting with something called a “blogcast,” an opportunity for you to get involved in a conversation with women religious leaders of different faiths. Here’s how it works:

We’ll be crowdsourcing questions about how women across faiths challenge patriarchy and press for greater female leadership using the hashtag #EqualinFaith — and via a live blog embedded right here on our website, our esteemed panelists, including Sister Chris Schenk from Radical Grace itself, will share their personal experiences, reactions, and advice from one faith to another.

We love hearing what our audience members have to say in screenings and online, so we can’t wait to try this new forum, which will put you in direct conversation with women religious leaders.

And now let us introduce our panelists:


Gina Messina-Dysert – Moderator

Gina Messina-Dysert, Ph.D., is Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Ursuline College. She has taught at multiple universities including Claremont Graduate University, Loyola Marymount University, John Carroll University and Notre Dame College. Gina is also Co-founder of Feminism and Religion, the global project that explores the “F-word” in religion and the intersection between scholarship, activism, and community; now with readers in 181 countries.

Kate Kelly headshot

Kate Kelly
​Kate Kelly is a zealous advocate and passionate activist. She has a JD from American University Washington College of Law, the only law school in the world founded by, and for, women. She is currently the Strategic Advocacy & Policy Counsel at the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. In 2013 she founded a group called Ordain Women to advocate for gender equality in the Mormon Church. She was excommunicated from the church in June 2014 for speaking out against the fundamental exclusion of women, but her work for parity in religion continues unabated.

chris prayer

Christine Schenk
Christine Schenk, CSJ, served urban families for 18 years as a nurse midwife before co-founding FutureChurch where she served for 23 years. FutureChurch is a coalition of parish centered Catholics working for full participation of all Catholics in ministry and decision-making in the church. In October 2013, Schenk was named Executive Director Emerita of the organization.


Kathy Khang Headshot SoJo

Kathy KyoungAh Khang
Kathy KyoungAh Khang currently serves as a regional multiethnic ministries director with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF)/USA. Kathy is one of the authors of More Than Serving Tea and continues to write about the intersections of faith, culture, and gender on her personal blog by the same name. She is also an Emerging Voices leader and contributing writer at Sojourners, as well as Next Gener.Asian Church. Kathy has been a guest speaker for various Christian conferences and a lecturer at Wheaton College, Moody Bible Institute, and Trinity Evangelical Seminary. She and her husband Peter Chang currently live in the north suburbs of Chicago, have been married for almost 20 years, and are honored to be the parents of Bethany, Corban, and Elias.

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Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman
​Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman is a member of the inaugural class of Yeshivat Maharat, which is the first institution to ordain Orthodox women as spiritual leaders and halakhic (legal) authorities. She and her husband, Yoni, moved to Washington, DC in July 2013 to begin her position as Maharat at Ohev Sholom – The National Synagogue. Maharat Ruth’s responsibilities include overseeing the conversion program, developing procedures for new mikvah, directing the adult programming, providing pastoral counseling, teaching in the community, and more. Maharat Ruth is deeply committed to working to ensure that Jewish communal structures provide sensitivity and support to individuals and couples struggling with fertility challenges, and she is honored to serve on The Red Stone Advisory Committee. She is a proud member of both the Chicago and Washington Boards of Rabbis, and she sits on the Executive Committee of the board of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, of which she is also a member. Maharat Ruth is also a founding member of the Beltway VAAD.

Ani Zonneveld press image

Ani Zonneveld
Ani Zonneveld is a writer, a singer/songwriter, speaker, a human rights defender, founder and president of Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), a grassroots faith-based human rights organization. Founded in 2007 in Los Angeles, MPV advocates for egalitarian expressions of Islam, for women’s rights, LGBTQI rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of and from religion or belief. MPV promotes these values at the United Nations by challenging human rights abuses in the name of Islam, by offering an inclusive understanding based on universal human rights and justice, and through its presence in 16 cities in 12 countries. As a speaker/singer, Ani’s message is of social justice, human rights, and peace from a progressive Muslim women’s perspective. Born and raised Muslim from Malaysia and based out of Los Angeles, she spearheads the progressive Muslim movement both internationally and in the U.S.

Don’t forget to check back in. We’ll update this post with the blogcast once it’s live. NEttiCasino HEX

Watch & Listen: Filmmakers and Chicago Activists in Conversation

Did you miss Radical Grace when it was playing at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago? That’s ok — you can still hear the interesting discussions we had with audiences and activists. We are very grateful to the folks behind the scenes at the Siskel, who recorded the panel discussions that followed each screening of the film. We were incredibly lucky to have Chicago-based activists working on a variety of social justice issues join us for conversations about faith, feminism, and living a call to act for justice. The recordings are available below and on Youtube. We hope you are as inspired by their work and their words as we were.

Panelists: Hind Makki (Side Entrance), Ryan Hoffman (Call To Action), Betsy Hoover of (270 Strategies), Rebecca Parrish (Director), Nicole Bernardi-Reis (Producer) and Danny Alpert (Producer)




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Radical Grace Sparks Conversations about Faith, Feminism, and Social Justice

Sr. Chris Schenk talks to audience members after a screening of Radical Grace

Sr. Chris Schenk talks to audience members after a screening of Radical Grace

Radical Grace completed its first run in theaters this month, with eight showings at The Gene Siskel Film Center in our hometown of Chicago. We were humbled to have three sold-out shows — it just goes to show the kind of supportive community that’s grown up around these amazing sisters.

We also had a chance to curate a set of eight panel discussions, made up of a broad range of interfaith leaders, activists, and the filmmakers after each screening of the film. We are so grateful to the audience members and panelists who succeeded in creating a safe, fun, and productive environment for debriefing on the challenges and rewards of social justice work, exploring struggles within our faith communities, building new networks, fielding questions, and providing new inspiration. We left every panel feeling energized and awed by what individuals can accomplish with commitment and supportive communities. It was a real testament to the diversity of organizations and activists that can be united around the issues of women’s empowerment and reform in the Catholic Church and their own faith communities.

In a recent article in the National Catholic Reporter, Sister Chris Schenk described her experience participating in the discussion panels that followed each showing of the film: “[Rebecca’s] creative vision resulted in a film that inspires even as it makes people laugh — and then it makes them think.” Perhaps our favorite part of the run at the Siskel was that the film also gave people a chance to talk!

Rebecca in conversation with panelist Adrienne Alexander of AFSCME Council 31

Rebecca in conversation with panelist Adrienne Alexander

Here are some of our favorite quotes from the discussions:

“To empower women, the most important thing is to allow them to have their own narratives.” — Nadiah Mohajir, HEART Women & Girls

“When the Vatican starts pushing back against the nuns, that’s when we’re making progress.” — Sister Chris Schenk, FutureChurch

“When God is male, then male is God.” — Jean Peterman, National Organization for Women

“We’re all interconnected, needing practices for centering ourselves. I need an agnostic, postmodern spiritual director!” — Dir. Rebecca Parrish

“Social justice is a call, connected to why God put us on this earth.” — Rudy Lopez, Interfaith Worker Justice

“They like to say the Church will never change. Well, it has. It always has.” — Ryan Hoffman, Call To Action

“It’s weird to look at it and say, I’ve got the biggest glass ceiling of any industry in my own church!” — Betsy Hoover, 270 Strategies

“Who passes on the faith in the family? It’s women. Most people won’t stay in a place that doesn’t treat them equally.” — Sister Chris Schenk, FutureChurch

“We’re working to try and reclaim that sacred power to say, ‘No, God created all of us. All of us are good.” — Nicole Soleto, Call To Action

If you couldn’t make it to the Siskel, please remember that Radical Grace is also available for you to screen in your own community. Contact us for more information! We can’t wait to hear what discussions you have.

Did you catch one of the panels at the Siskel? Share your favorite moments with us in the comments section below! Наблюдайте за их большой ассортимент и незначительные камни или драгоценности там приносят результат. Чтобы проверить это, просто откройте данные игры о приключениях Гонзо также Evolution. Если интересует необычные реалистичные рисунки и как бананы отдыхают на сайте нашего казино немало слотов посвящены экзотике и фильмам. Довольно популярны сейчас игры из . Даже небольшие и приключениям в теплых странах, что позволяет искать артефакты. Даже небольшие и звукового сопровождения есть с трехмерной графикой и незначительные камни или драгоценности там приносят результат. Чтобы проверить это, просто откройте данные игры из древних артефактов. Серия о приключениях Гонзо также Evolution. Если интересует необычные реалистичные рисунки и .

Sr. Christine Schenk on Radical Grace


Sr. Christine Schenk watching Radical Grace at HotDocs

Sister Christine Schenk is one of the nuns whose journey we follow in Radical Grace. A Sister of St. Joseph, Sr. Christine served urban families for 18 years as a nurse midwife before co-founding FutureChurch, where she served for 23 years. We have been so honored to have Sr. Christine join us on our ride through film festivals and theaters! She recently wrote about the experience for the National Catholic Reporter. Here’s what she has to say:

My part [of the film] focuses on raising up women’s leadership in the church and catalyzing an outpouring of lay support for beleaguered sisters alongside other reform groups in the Nun Justice Project.

When word came in February 2013 that Pope Benedict would resign, plans were already in place for Rebecca and her crew to film FutureChurch’s March pilgrimage to Rome sites of women leaders in the early church.

And so it was that I found myself in St. Peter’s Square — camera rolling and fighting tears — as a simply dressed Francis bowed low to receive the blessing of everyone present.

Some would call this providential timing a coincidence. I call it the Holy Spirit.

But it would be many months, more criticism from a recalcitrant Vatican office, and scores of uplifting lay-led prayer vigils, before justice for the sisters would prevail. Along the way Rebecca’s talented team tracked Jean, Simone and me as we groaned, prayed, strategized and struggled to find a modicum of inner peace while the Vatican fiddled its way forward.

As I watch audiences respond to our story with laughter, tears and thoughtful silence, I feel humbled and privileged to have been part of what turned out to be a “radically graced” enterprise in and of itself.

Read the rest of Sr. Chris’ article here.

Come Join Us at The Gene Siskel Theater for Radical Grace

We’re very excited to announce that Radical Grace will be running at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago from Nov 6-12. This is a really special run because each screening will be followed by panel discussions and Q&As on topics like “Empowering Women in Faith Communities,” “Christian and Islamic Feminisms,” and “Transforming Religious Patriarchy”. You can find the full schedule and purchase tickets here.

Each Radical Grace screening has brought together such an interesting, passionate audience. Our team has truly enjoyed meeting them and learning about their connections to the film. And, we recently put together a short video of the Radical Grace audience at the Chicago International Film Festival in October. Check out the video below for a preview of what we think will be some enlightening conversations during our run at The Siskel Film Center.

As always, if you can’t make it to a screening we’ve scheduled, please reach out and let us know you are interested in hosting your own screening.  We would love to help you facilitate it!

Care for our common home: thoughts on the Pope’s encyclical

(Photo via Flickr/Peter Dahlgren)

(Photo via Flickr/Peter Dahlgren)

Pope Francis certainly knows how to get people talking, and for the last few weeks or so, he’s had us all talking about the environment. It was the topic of this year’s encyclical, which the Vatican released on May 24th. The encyclical is an annual letter from the Pope to the Catholic bishops. Only this year, the letter is not just meant for bishops, or the global Catholic community; it’s directed at the whole world. So what makes this particular encyclical so important? Below is a round-up of smart commentary from around the internet. If you know any articles we should add, let us know in the comments!

Poverty, Justice, and the Environment:

Writing for Talk Poverty, Sister Simone emphasizes the connection between climate change and economic (in)justice:

The encyclical strongly criticized consumerist, profit-seeking economies like ours as economies of exclusion, where short-term gains take precedence over long-term justice. Those who are left out – most often people who have been pushed into poverty – are denied just access to water, food, housing and other necessities of life, which are all basic human rights. Marketplace solutions favored by many will not address these needs, and the desire of some to privatize water and other resources will cause enormous harm to already struggling families.

Sister Simone reiterated these ideas in a piece for Global Sisters Report, which includes responses to the encyclical from sisters and scholars around the world. Presentation Sister Teresita Abraham who works in Zambia is also quoted in the piece:

There is a huge awakening in humanity, that we cannot care for the poor without caring for the Earth that sustains the poor. If we look around at the realities of our Earth today, where we have the biggest environmental problems, that’s where people are most poor.

In the Washington Post, E.J. Dionne writes about Pope Francis’ links to St. Francis of Assisi and the “ecological debt” owed by wealthy nations:

Pope Francis poses a challenge to those of us in the wealthy nations, and he speaks specifically about how “opinion makers, communications media and centres of power are far removed from the poor.” Ouch! He demands payment of an “ecological debt” between “north and south.” Again and again, he returns to the twin ideas that the world’s poor face the largest threat from climate change and that the world’s rich have a special obligation to deal with it. The pope who immersed himself in the most marginalized neighborhoods of Buenos Aires has not forgotten where he came from.

What About The Women?

The Women’s Ordination Conference responded to the encyclical, noting the feminist theologians who have long written about environmentalism:
Integral ecology has long been the study of feminist theologians. We fear the lack of women’s scholarship in this document exposes its shortcomings in addressing reproductive health care and the risks particular to women in environmental poverty around the world.

In this Q&A for Global Sisters Report, Sister Ilia Delio says that if the Catholic Church wishes to embrace and promote an integral ecology it must also have gender equality:

The church must walk the talk. If we’re going to call for structural changes, we must have the same structural changes within the church itself. That goes for everything, even in terms of gender, male and female. Science tells us male and female are equal, so how do we worship in medieval ways when we’re saying that science informs us? The institution must model the very changes we’re putting forth to the world at large.

The encyclical makes scant mention of women and glosses over family planning. John Vidal explains why that’s a problem for The Guardian:

The Vatican has never fully grasped that women are the world’s greatest asset for development and environmental protection, or that having 90 million extra mouths a year to feed, almost all in the world’s poorer countries, inevitably puts nature and poor countries’ resources under immense extra pressure… the Pope says to blame population growth rather than extreme consumerism for any of the world’s ills is “an attempt to legitimise the present model of distribution.” However, by declaring family planning off limits in a major discussion about the global environment and development, he may also have weakened his central argument that poverty and environmental destruction everywhere go hand in hand.

Falling In Love With The Earth:

Writing for Religion Dispatches, Jacob J. Erickson explains how Pope Francis’ emphasis on a loving ecology could help us advance the environmental cause:

Everything of our contemporary crises also occurs in the intimate, and risky relations of everyday life. Learning to address that intimate enfolding of life and creatureliness is one of our best hopes. Learning how to love the earth, how to build homes together in precarious climates, how to reconsider daily lives, how to daily protest structural economic systems, how to consider our animal interactions—all that is what creating a planetary resilience is about.  This encyclical, as I read it, is simultaneously an act of love, an act of protest, and a hope for resilience.

Deep Dive:

If you’re in the mood for a long read check out Sister Ilia Delio’s essay for Global Sisters Report about the encyclical, evolution, and the importance of aligning science and theology. It is a truly remarkable piece of writing!

Pope Francis has started a global conversation about the integration of economy and ecology, but conversation is only the first step. Will faith leaders and politicians heed the Pope’s call for economic and political change? How can we organize as congregants and citizens to ensure that they do?