Margaret Wedgwood Benn
Margaret Eadie Wedgwood Benn ('1st Viscountess Stansgate' from 1942) (née Holmes) (1897 – 1991), was a dedicated British theologian, the President of the Congregational Federation, and an advocate of women's rights.
In her youth, in the 1920s, she was a member of the League of the Church Militant which was the predecessor of the 'Movement for the Ordination of Women' and was rebuked by the Archbishop of Canterbury for advocating the ordination of women.
Over the Twentieth Century, many UK congregationalists became convinced of the merits of ecumenical cooperation. The majority of Congregational churches moved to union with the Presbyterian Church of England in 1972, and the re-formed Association of Churches of Christ (in 1981). However, significant minorities did not share this conviction. A significant group left the Congregational Union on the formation of the Congregational Church to form the Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches (EFCC), but the major fraction that did not join the United Reformed Church became the Congregational Federation, a new association to promote and develop common interests.
Margaret Benn became, in 1972, one of the founders of the Congregational Federation, and served as its first President, helping to shape its principle of 'unity within diversity'.
Margaret Benn's Congregational theology had a profound influence on Tony Benn; she taught him to support the prophets and not the Kings - since the prophets taught righteousness.
- Tony Benn Free Radical, 2003, Continuum, p226.