Dietrich Bonhoeffer spent much of his time tutoring, guiding, and encouraging his seminarians, fellow pastors, and even national church leaders. He helped shape his interlocutors’ thinking in ways that enabled them to meet the unique and complex problems facing their respective church and other religious communities, as well as their country and world. When it comes to leadership formation, TDBI takes a cue from our namesake on by offering supportive dialogue, instruction, and comradery to clergy, institutional leaders, and activists. We do this through convenings (virtual and in-person), discussion groups, symposia, and one-on-one mentoring.
The purpose of Virago Collective is to build a national coalition of women of faith with effective skills and collective voice to support civic engagement for the betterment of women and their communities.
Virago is an ancient Latin word that describes a woman of great stature, strength, and courage. Originally coined because of the exemplary qualities of nuns (women of faith) who were set apart for their fortitude, it did not take long for pejorative references to also rise up to describe viragos such as amazon, brutish, shrew. Even today, strong women are held in the tension of admiration and scrutiny by men and women alike. Women of faith must continue to rise to new heights of strength and courage, ensuring their actions not only liberate themselves but others.
We continue to see a majority of women, especially women of faith from more conservative roots, either stay out of civic engagement altogether or limit themselves to culturally appropriate places on the sidelines. Regardless of political, racial, or even religious affiliations, women of faith have many points of intersection and commonality on systemic issues that impact them and others.
This TBDI Fellowship encapsulates a think and action tank model anchored in listening to diverse women of faith from around the country, hearing their perspectives, needs, and barriers to civic engagement. Those voices will drive the outcomes and shape their spiritual formation and engagement skills to strengthen & equip their voices and leadership in civic engagement.
Virago Collective hopes to eventually be a place for all women of faith but the first 1 to 2-year phase will be intentionally drawing from Christian (Protestant & Catholic) women with hope to add women of other faiths in the future.