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Garden Party held in the sunshine at Epworth Old Rectory

Garden Party held in the sunshine at Epworth Old Rectory
May 23, 2024 Bronwen

     Dr Ruth Slatter & Dr Hannah Worthern speaking                                            Afternoon Tea Boxes                                            Rev Angy Long

Over 60 women and men came to Lincolnshire on Saturday 18th May to hear a fascinating insight into the Methodist Women’s Collection from Dr Ruth Slatter & Dr Hannah Worthern.  This collection was started under the guidance of the Heritage Task Group headed up by Joyce Powell, by MWiB appointed researcher Sarah Braisdell in 2015 as she sorted through archives retrieved from Church House when NETWORK ceased and MWiB was formed in 2011 .

Following appeals to Methodist women during 2015 and early 2016 further items were donated to the collection – everyday items such as teatowels, jumpers and umbrellas but also one off items related to the work of Methodist women at home and abroad. The first exhibition relating to this collection ‘Transforming the World from the Kitchen? The Story of Women Working Together in British Methodism’ was opened at Epworth Old Rectory in 2016.

Subsequently in 2019 Dr Ruth Slatter and Dr Hannah Worthern, both academics, Ruth a historical geographer of religion and Hannah a historian of gender, started a British Academy funded project ‘Jumpers, Umbrellas and Plastic Bags: material culture and women’s everyday experiences of Methodism since 1945’ using objects from the Methodist Women’s Collection. In 2020 the manner of their work had to change but they conducted interviews online and on the telephone with twenty Methodist women and these transcripts have been added to the Methodist Women’s Collection.

In an entertaining and enlightening talk Ruth and Hannah introduced us to the Methodist Women’s Collection and shared many insights and stories gained from their research and stressed the importance of this unique collection as a feminist archive as well as a history of the Methodist Women’s movement to which we belong. Anya Johnson, Visitor & Collections manager at Epworth emphasised how important she considers the collection which is housed at EOR.

You can read more about Ruth & Hannah’s work in the book: Our Justice Journeys Three centuries of Striving for a Better World edited by Thomas Dobson and published by Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History.

Opportunity to tour the house and view objects from the collection in the permanent MWiB exhibition room followed along with much fellowship over Afternoon tea. Rev Angy Long, Chair of Lincolnshire District,  concluded the afternoon with a time of worship which was much appreciated by all present.

In addition a huge boxful of period products were donated by those attending and these will be distributed to local Foodbanks etc as part of our ongoing Period Poverty campaign – see our summer newsletter for more news on how you can get involved.

Enjoying the sunshine in Epworth