The Religious Lives of Older Laywomen
The Final Active Anglican Generation
Review by Emily Zimbrick-Rogers forthcoming.
The Religious Lives of Older Laywomen draws on ethnographic fieldwork, cross-cultural comparisons, and relevant theories exploring the beliefs, identities, and practices of "Generation A"--Anglican laywomen born in the 1920s and 1930s. Now in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, they are often described as the "backbone" of the Church and likely its final active generation. The prevalence of laywomen in mainstream Christian congregations is a widely accepted phenomenon that will cause little surprise amongst the research community or Christian adherents. What is surprising is that we know so little about them.
Generation A laywomen have remained largely invisible in previous work on institutional religion in Euro-American countries, particularly as the focus on religion and gender has turned to youth, sexuality, and priesthood. Female Christian Generation A is on the cusp of a catastrophic decline in mainstream Christianity that accelerated during the 'post-war' (post-1945) age. The age profile of mainstream Christianity represents an increasingly aging pattern, with Generation A not being replaced by their children or grandchildren--the Baby-Boomers and generations X, Y, and Z. Generation A is irreplaceable and unique. "Generation" shares specific values, beliefs, behaviors, and orientations, therefore, when this generation finally disappears within the next five to 10 years, their knowledge, insights, and experiences will be lost forever. Abby Day both documents and interprets their religious lives and what we can learn about them and more widely, about contemporary Christianity and its future.
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