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Alvera Mickelsen

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Alvera Mickelsen 1919 – July 12, 2016 was an American academic, author, and women's equality activist Mickelsen, an evangelical Christian, spent her professional life advocating "that being a feminist is a Christian responsibility," despite resistance from some sectors She published numerous books and scholarly articles on the topic of women's equality within Christianity Alvera Mickelsen joined her colleagues to co-found Christians for Biblical Equality CBE in the late 1980s, a non-profit organization of churches and individuals which advocates for the equality of women within the church, as well as in their homes and society Additionally, Mickelsen was a longtime professor of journalism at Bethel University in Minnesota from 1968 to 1986

Mickelsen, who was born in 1919 as one of 5 children of Swedish immigrant parents, was raised in a small farmhouse just outside La Porte, Indiana The family moved to nearby Michigan City, Indiana, when she was nine years old However, the Great Depression soon left her parents destitute just one year after they relocated to Michigan City Mickelsen still graduated from high school in 1936 and became the first member of her family to enroll in college She transferred between several colleges and universities due to scholarships, before graduating from Wheaton College in Illinois in 1942

Following her graduation from Wheaton College, she received her master's degree in journalism from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University She then became an editor for several Christian magazines and publications based in Chicago, before returning to Wheaton College as a professor She met her husband, A Berkeley Mickelsen, while teaching at Wheaton The couple married in 1952 and had two daughters Alvera Mickelsen continued to teach at Wheaton while simultaneously completing her second master's degree, this time in education, also from Wheaton

In 1965, the family moved to Arden Hills, Minnesota, where Berkeley Mickelsen had been hired as a professor of Greek, Hebrew and theology at Bethel Seminary Alvera Mickelsen also became a professor of journalism at Bethel College now called Bethel University in 1968, where she taught until 1986

During the 1970s, Mickelsen and her husband, who were progressive evangelicals, became concerned by the perception of a backlash against women's rights and equality within the evangelical community Together, Alvera and A Berkeley Mickelsen published two books which cited Biblical passages that supported the equality of the sexes They began touring Minnesota to debate leading pastors and theologians on the topic of gender equality within Christianity The Mickelsens later helped to establish the non-profit group, Christians for Biblical Equality CBE, during the 1980s Alvera Mickelsen also served as the first chair of CBE's board of directors

After the unexpected death of A Berkeley Mickelsen, aged 69, in 1990, Alvera Mickelsen continued to tour worldwide to promote gender equality and feminism within evangelicalism According to Mimi Haddad, the current President of Christians for Biblical Equality, Mickelsen was once asked by a Christian radio show host how she could be both a traditional evangelical Christian and a feminist simultaneously Mickelsen replied that the host should look up feminism in a dictionary, where the word was defined as "a belief that women should have social, political, and economic equality with men" The host replied that " 'Well, I believe in all those things', to which Mickelsen responded, ‘Well, then, you are a feminist!' "

Alvera Mickelsen died from natural causes on July 12, 2016, at the age of 97 She was survived by her two daughters, Ruth and Lynnell Mickelsen; her brother, Mel Johnson; and four grandchildren

Selected works authored

  • The Family Bible Encyclopedia: A-J Vol 1, co-authored with Berkeley Mickelsen 1978
  • Family Bible Encyclopedia: K-Z Vol 2, co-authored with Berkeley Mickelsen 1978
  • Bible Encyclopedia, Volumes 1-2, co-authored with Berkeley Mickelsen 1978
  • Women, Authority & the Bible 1986
  • How To Write Missionary Letters 1988
  • Women in Ministry: Four Views, edited by Bonnidell Clouse and Robert G Clouse 1989
  • Understanding Scripture: How to Read and Study the Bible 1992


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Painter, Kristen Leigh 2016-07-20 "Obituary: Professor, nonprofit leader Alvera Mickelsen blended feminism and Christian teaching" Star Tribune Retrieved 2016-08-06 
  2. ^ a b c Kleinhuizen, Monique 2016-07-22 "Bethel Remembers Alvera Mickelsen" Bethel University Minnesota Retrieved 2016-08-06 

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