Priscilla Pope-Levison came to the Pacific Northwest twelve years ago for a faculty appointment as Professor of Theology and Assistant Director of Women’s Studies at Seattle Pacific University, and she has fallen in love with the region. Any free time will find her hiking or snowshoeing, gardening, or gazing out her study window at the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain range. Her interdisciplinary publications combine Theology, Gender Studies, Church History, and Mission and Evangelism. She recently completed her sixth book, Building the Old Time Religion: Women Evangelists in the Progressive Era, to be published in 2014 by New York University Press. She has also authored, Turn the Pulpit Loose: Two Centuries of American Women Evangelists and Evangelization from a Liberation Perspective.
With her spouse of more than 30 years, Jack Levison, she has published Sex, Gender, and Christianity, Jesus in Global Contexts, Return to Babel: Global Perspectives on the Bible and the UMW 2014 Spiritual Growth Study, How Is It With Your Soul? Pope-Levison hosted “Jesus in the Gospels” for the Second Generation Series of Disciple Bible Study. She is an ordained United Methodist minister and has served as a local church pastor and as a college chaplain. Despite their persistent presence on street corners and in churches, camp meetings, and public halls across the nation, the significant contribution of women evangelists to American religious life, past and present, has not been seriously considered.
During the Progessive Era, a period of unprecedented ingenuity, women evangelists built the old time religion with brick and mortar, uniforms and automobiles, fresh converts and devoted protégés. Across America, entrepreneurial women founded churches, denominations, religious training schools, rescue homes, rescue missions, and evangelistic organizations. Until now, these intrepid women have gone largely unnoticed, though their collective yet unchoreographed decision to build institutions in the service of evangelism marked a seismic shift in American Christianity.
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