Elizabeth C. Parsons represents the sixth generation of a family of Christian educators grounded in the conservative wing of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Born and raised in the Midwest, she came to Massachusetts in the mid-1980s, following the lure of the Transcendentalists and the pull of her ancestors. Soon after relocating she met Lin Parsons through church connections and, this year, she and her husband will celebrate their 31stanniversary. While working in various non-profit positions in the Boston area, Liz obtained a Master’s Degree in Media Management from Emerson College and the M.Div. degree along with teaching certification from Harvard Divinity School. Her Harvard years ignited an interest in cross-cultural relationships and gave her greater exposure to the Anglican tradition.
In 1997, she was confirmed in the Episcopal Church and, three years later, she and Lin went as Anglican missioners to Zimbabwe where she served as Director of Lay Training for the Diocese of Manicaland. The Parsons later shifted to Zambia where she taught a range of practical courses at the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation, St. John’s Anglican Seminary, and the United Theological College of Zambia. Towards the end of her contract with the Episcopal Church, Liz began a doctoral program in theology and development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Following completion of doctoral studies, she briefly taught at Quincy College before being recruited to teach development-related courses at Boston University School of Theology. Evolution of her teaching interests coupled with moving to Portland prompted her not to seek renewal of her contract with BU in 2016. At present, she is attempting to practice more of what she had been teaching about religion and public engagement. She is the author of What Price for Privatization? Cultural Encounter with Development Policy on the Zambian Copperbelt(Lexington Books, 2010) and editor of The Greatest Work in the World: Education as a Mission of Early Twentieth Century Churches of Christ: Letters of Lloyd Cline Sears and Pattie Hathaway Armstrong(Wipf and Stock, 2015).