Our Mission


The Lydia Center for Women and Families has been formed to advance Reformed scholarship in the areas of gender, marital, and family ethics. The Lydia Center is named after the figure of Lydia in Acts 16, a seller of purple goods from the city of Thyatira who responded with faith to the Apostolic Gospel and became a vehicle of grace for her household and for the nascent Christian movement. Topics explored at the Center include biblical and theological perspectives on gender ontology; marriage roles and responsibilities; divorce; the nature and dynamics of domestic abuse; men and responsible headship; women and domestic and ecclesiastical patriarchies; and the nature and care of children. Through advanced courses, special lectures, and research, the Lydia Center for Women and Families provides resources for church officers and lay Christians who seek to navigate contemporary questions in gender, family, and ecclesiastical life.

For a fuller explanation of our philosophy and aims, please see here.

Dr. Mark A. Garcia, Ph.D. (Edinburgh)
President & Fellow in Scripture and Theology, Greystone Theological InstituteGarcia 11

Dr. Garcia is the lead instructor at Greystone, adjunct professor in theology and history at several seminaries, and has served as pastor for a decade. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University, Senior Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge, and is presently Honorary Research Fellow at the University of East Anglia. Dr. Garcia works primarily in biblical and systematic theology and ethics. His work with Lydia focuses on topics in biblical studies and theological anthropology in the context of pastoral theology and practice, including the theology of gender, marriage and divorce theory, and theological perspectives on parental and spousal abuse.

Associate Director
Dr. Valerie Hobbs, Ph.D. (Sheffield)
Fellow in Christianity and Language, Greystone Theological Institute
Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, University of Sheffield
Valerie Hobbs has served on various advisory boards, including the Executive Committee of the British Association for Applied Linguistics. Her research has consistently focused on examining the ways in which seemingly inclusive large institutions establish community boundaries and, in many cases, marginalize and exclude vulnerable members. Her areas of expertise range from language teacher training and education, code-switching in the language classroom, academic discourse communities and genre analysis, and (critical) discourse analysis of representations of women, marriage, divorce, spousal abuse, and disability in the Christian church. As her work is interdisciplinary, she employs methodologies from a wide range of fields of inquiry.