Email: Linnis Cook
Arch and Linnis retired from service as mission workers in June 2009. They are available to speak as their schedule permits. Email them to extend an invitation to your congregation or organization.
Linnis Cook and Arch Woodruff have been under appointment as mission co-workers since 1986. Linnis works with victims of domestic violence and prostitutes, and Arch is professor of New Testament at São Paulo Theological Seminary of the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil and professor of New Testament in the graduate religious studies program at the Methodist University of São Paulo.
Linnis, a lawyer, now works with the Asociação Fala Mulher and also serves on its board of directors. The Association has two projects: the Center for the Social Integration of Women (CISM), which works with prostitutes in the center of São Paulo, and Casa Abrigo, a shelter for women whose lives are at risk from domestic violence.
CISM helps women who have few or no alternatives for survival for themselves and their families. Though the “oldest profession” is not illegal in Brazil, the women are not free from violence, disease and low self-esteem. CISM offers workshops to address these concerns and also offers courses in sewing and weaving that can create an alternative source of income. Linnis helps these women with marketing. Their products were on sale at the 2006 Presbyterian Women’s Churchwide Gathering.
Casa Abrigo gives shelter for up to a year to 20 women and children who have been victims of extremely severe domestic violence. Fala Mulher manages a second “Casa Abrigo” in a neighboring city. Security for the women, children, staff and referring agencies is a serious concern in Brazil, which has a high rate of homicide and low regard for women. Add to that the corruptibility of police, the complexities of “hiding” children, who must go to public schools, and the need for the women to find jobs and go to court against their aggressors in nonsecure courthouses, and one begins to have an idea of the challenges Casa Abrigo faces.
“I’m very grateful to be able to work with the creative, dedicated and brave people in CISM and Casa Abrigo,” writes, Linnis. “I enjoy both the fellowship of colleagues and people who use the services of these projects.”
Arch has teaching responsibilities in Greek, New Testament and “Biblical Literature of the Second Temple Period” at the two institutions. He also is advisor to doctoral students. At the seminary library, when Arch starting asking questions about how the books were classified, he ended up classifying them himself. Over a 10-year period he classified about 10,000 volumes. Now, Arch is helping a new librarian to acquire this skill. Arch is also a socio, or member, of the Centro Gaspar Garcia and attends its events and supports its organizing work.
Arch is currently at work on a book about the Gospel of Mark and the sayings of Jesus. He has worked with colleagues from all over Latin America on the Latin American Biblical Bibliography and on a project on apocalyptic literature. He has served on the library and publications committees and has been parish associate at a church in a low-income neighborhood on the periphery of São Paulo.
A native of Summit, New Jersey, Arch grew up in Dorseyville, Pennsylvania. His undergraduate degree in mathematical statistics is from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. He did graduate study in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh and was a special student at the Waldensian Theological Seminary in Rome, Italy. His Ph.D. in religion was earned in a joint program of the University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He served as pastor of the Presbyterian Cooperative Parish in the canal area of Delaware, from 1974 to 1979. Arch is a clergy member of New Castle Presbytery.
Linnis was born in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in Valdosta, Georgia. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and a J.D. from Rutgers Law School in Camden, New Jersey. She has worked as a fund-raiser for United Neighborhoods in Wilmington, Delaware, as a paralegal for the Legal Aid Society and for VISTA, both in Wilmington and as a draft counselor and peace educator for the Friends Peace Center in Pittsburgh. Linnis has also worked for Georgia Legal Services as staff attorney in both Columbus and Macon, Georgia. She belongs to the Religious Society of Friends in Pittsburgh.
Arch - August 24
Linnis - August 21