Sophia and Daughters Revisited: Reflections on Women of Biblical Connection
By Rosalie Sugrue
Rediscover these characters as spirited, wise women of passion and compassion.
Tap into long-serving, New Zealand, Methodist lay preacher Rosalie Sugrue’s creative imagination as she tells the stories of 35 Bible women from their point of view.
Worship leaders and preachers, these stories and dialogues are perfect for you to share during the sermon or reflection time in your next service, and when these women appear in your lectionary scripture readings. The reflections are also suitable for personal devotions.
This easy-to-use book has feminist imagery and references focused on women of the Bible. It includes special prayers – on children, teamwork, families, inclusiveness, Advent, Lent, mothers, Bible Sunday, Disability Sunday, disasters – as well as dialogues suitable for reading aloud, and reflections on wisdom, journeys and aging.
This updated and expanded edition now provides reflections on Tamar, Dinah, Naomi, Michal, Vashti, Jephthah’s Daughter, Argula von Grumbach, Lenna Button, Susanna Wesley and Ann Turner. Almost every reflection is suitable for presenting in church during the sermon slot.
Rosalie has also included lots of lists and resources with a female focus to help you explore in pairs, groups or as individuals, Bible women and significant men. There are also many new prayers.
Praise for Sophia and Daughters
“Rosalie Sugrue’s imagination, insight and teaching skills enliven this material. If you are looking for stories, prayers and liturgies to introduce or lead worship, focused on the history of women in the Bible, Sophia & Daughters has strong feminist imagery and reference.
Here is a sequence of neglected and fascinating records of Biblical women extended into dramatic stories. At the same time, the worship resources are firmly set in a Southern hemisphere context which is user-friendly and address the church year as well as special occasion services.
The format will stimulate participation, provide a sense of drama or simply create space for meditative prayer. Use this book and see!” Shirley Erena Murray, hymn writer
(Review Touchstone, December 2019)
“In 2013 Rosalie Sugrue published Sophia & Daughters, reflections on 29 wise women from the Bible. Some of these, such as Eve, Sarah, Esther and Martha were reasonably well known; others such as Mahlah, Achsah, the wife of Manoah and Joanna were largely buried in the biblical text. Working often with sparse facts, Rosalie used her imagination to bring these characters alive. Underlying her work was a profound theological conviction that life and faith need to be freed from images and values defined by men and a male God.
Sophia & Daughters is now out of print. Rosalie has continued to develop her thinking in Sophia and Daughters Revisited.
The women in the earlier book have found their place in Sophia and Daughters Revisited together with new material. This includes addressing issues such as rape, incest and marital infidelity as experienced by women in the Bible. This is particularly important as both then and now women who have been abused or abandoned have often been left to bear shame, guilt and moralistic judgement. An interesting addition is a sole male biblical character, Oded. Oded is included because of his courage in speaking up and saving thousands of women and children from acute suffering as prisoners of a cruel king.
There is a helpful list of biblical kings and queens and an alphabetical list of over 110 biblical women. Queens were usually consorts, not sovereign in their own right. One of these consorts was Vashti who refused to yield to the king’s demand that exploited her as a woman. Rosalie develops Vashti’s inspiring story and presents her rightfully as a heroine.
Four women from outside the Bible are included: Argula von Grumbach, an influential supporter of Martin Luther, Susanna Wesley, who played a significant role in shaping the origins of the Methodist Church, Lenna Button, a key figure in establishing the first health camps for New Zealand children, and Ann Turner, who served with courage in the Wesleyan mission station in the Hokianga. These were all women who witnessed to justice, human rights, social compassion and enduring loyalty. A number of suggestions are made as to how their stories and other stories in the book could be presented dramatically in small gatherings or services of worship.
The last section is labelled ‘Additional resources.’ There are seasonal liturgies and fresh thoughtfully-expressed prayers for many different occasions and circumstances. There is a house blessing ritual. The book concludes with an index of all women named in the text and handy references for special occasions. Attention should also be drawn to the comprehensive prayer for women with which the book begins.
Like the earlier book, Sophia and Daughters Revisited is a gift from Rosalie’s creative thought and compassionate insight. It draws attention to women’s stories that are often neglected or unknown. It challenges all who read the Bible to think beyond favourite stories of Abraham, Moses and David and to explore the stories of women hidden below the surface. In doing this individual readers, groups and congregations will find themselves enriched.” John Meredith
About the Author
Rosalie Reynolds Sugrue is a fifth generation West Coaster. Both her parents being fourth generation Coasters whose forebears came seeking gold. Rosalie’s great grandfather, James Reynolds, was a local preacher from Cornwall who preached to miners on the beaches and helped establish the first Methodist church in Hokitika. His wife, Eliza, signed the petition that gave women the vote.
Rosalie’s mother Elva Reynolds was a Methodist Deacon and also a lay preacher. Rosalie is a past president of the NZ Lay Preachers’ Association, and the inaugural facilitator of the Methodist Lay Preachers Network 2004, serving as a co-facilitator until 2008. She has led hundreds of church services in New Zealand and the UK. She has also led rest home services, family services, cafe style worship, house blessings and devotions in many other situations.
A wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and author now retired Rosalie has worked as a psychiatric nurse, teacher and motellier.
She has been active in Jaycees, the Methodist Women’s Fellowship, the Community of Women and Men in Church and Society, National Council of Women, the Churches’ Agency on Social Issues, Victim Support and U3A.
She continues an active role as a lay preacher leading one to three services every month in a variety of churches.