Hattie E. Stowe, 78, a retired teacher who was active in church activities and in the civil rights and peace movements, died of congestive heart failure Monday at the Friends House Nursing Home in Sandy Spring, Md.

Miss Stowe taught at the Friends School in Baltimore for 17 years before her retirement in 1967. Prior to that, she taught Bible and English at Berea College in Kentucky for 23 years.

She was born in Southbury, Conn., and earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education from Syracuse University. Before joining Berea College, she taught school in Waterbury, Conn.

Following her retirement, Miss Stowe moved to the Friends House Nursing Home. She served as president of the House's residential association for two years and was chairman of the library committee there from 1970 to 1977.

She was active in the Religious Society of Friends and served on a number of church committees both in Baltimore and in Sandy Spring. A member of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the American Friends Service Committee and the United Nations Association, she participated in civil rights and peace marches in Washington and in Baltimore.

Survivors include two sisters, Elsie Frances, of Shelton, Conn., and Fern Elizabeth Stowe, of Sandy Spring, and a brother, Leland, of Ann Arbor, Mich.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Hattie E. Stowe Memorial Fund, Friends House Nursing Home, Sandy Spring.