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An interview with Pelican Project members Karen Swallow Prior, Kristie Anyabwile, and Tish Harrison Warren.

Two years ago, Karen Swallow Prior started fielding phone calls from women who all expressed the same desire: to find community among women united in their orthodox belief. “I kept hearing the same kinds of things from women—whether egalitarian or complementarian or otherwise—who wanted a space that was theologically rooted and rigorous but that was also robustly pro-female,” says Prior, “a space where they could be honest about what they believed, where women of different ethnicities and denominations could come together around common beliefs and commitments.”

A few months later, about 20 women from across the country met together to talk and pray about how to practice orthodoxy in the public square and how to equip the church to better disciple women in their midst. The group launched publicly this week as The Pelican Project.

Along with Kristen Anyabwile and Tish Harrison Warren, Prior spoke recently with CT about the formation of their group and why it matters to the cultural moment.

Does the church need yet another collective, group, guild, or parachurch ministry?

Prior: That really is an important question, isn’t it? A couple of years ago, when this idea began to germinate, I wouldn’t have thought so. But then I got an email from a stranger, a conservative pastor leading a conservative congregation. He reached out to me because he sensed that the women in his congregation were withering because of a lack of robust theological training and engagement. He recognized that in his conservative circles (which are mine, as well) the de-emphasis or watering down of women’s discipleship isn’t the result of our theology but rather the failure to properly apply it in whole. …

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